Books 2022

Since 2019, I have compiled an annual list of books that I have read throughout that year – excluding any academic or reference texts. Documenting things in this way has been both motivational and useful, but also humbling.

As somebody that has long considered myself an avid reader, it can be a bit of a shock to realise the number of books that you can or do actually ‘consume’ in reality. Reading is a commitment, and working your way through a book takes a significant amount of time and focus, both things which I feel I increasingly lack.

What I’ve discovered is that reading even what I would consider to be a relatively small number of books can be a challenge, particularly with the myriad of ways in which we can now fritter away our time, and I’ve come to appreciate the value of what we turn our attention towards. How many books can one person realistically enjoy over the course of a lifetime, and given that knowledge, how should we approach our selections? That perspective can be extrapolated and applied to other elements of our lives as well… and though I am not sure I want to meander too far down that particular path, reflecting upon what we wish to spend our limited time is perhaps something we should do more than we do.

This year, I was determined to read more than I did in 2021, where I completed what felt like an embarrassing total of just 13 books. 2022 started out slowly, but I found a rhythm while on holiday, sinking one after another. I must confess that a number of those at the end are short books, but they still count. If we get too far into the weeds of how long a book needs to be to be a book, then we’re probably over thinking things.

According to GoodReads, the total page count for 2022 was 8,110.

  1. Frank – Jon Ronson (2014)
  2. Dune Messiah (Dune #2) – Frank Herbert (1969)
  3. Blindness – Jose Saramango (1995)
  4. Seeing – Jose Saramango (2004)
  5. Binge: 60 stories to make your brain feel different – Douglas Coupland (2021)
  6. Exit Stage Left: The Curious Afterlife of Pop Stars – Nick Duerden (2022)
  7. The Every – Dave Eggers (2021)
  8. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood (2003)
  9. The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood (2009)
  10. Sex with Lepers – Chris Dire (2022)
  11. Leading from Anywhere – David Burkus (2021)
  12. Meantime – Frankie Boyle (2022)
  13. The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds – John Higgs (2013)
  14. How to Write One Song – Jeff Tweedy (2020)
  15. Sid Meier’s Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games (2020)
  16. What I do – Jon Ronson (2007)
  17. The Ultimate Introduction to NLP – Richard Bandler (2013)
  18. Let’s Go So We Can Get Back – Jeff Tweedy (2018)
  19. Bodies: Life and Death in Music – Ian Winwood (2022)
  20. NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories – Jeff Alulis (2016)
  21. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami (1987)
  22. Fake Law – the Secret Barrister (2020)
  23. Nothing But The Truth: A Memoir – The Secret Barrister (2022)
  24. Songs in the Key of Z – Irwin Chusid (2000)
  25. Upgrade – Blake Crouch (2022)
  26. Run – Blake Crouch (2011)
  27. Summer Frost – Blake Crouch (2019)
  28. You Have Arrived at Your Destination – Amor Towles (2019)
  29. The Last Conversation – Paul Tremblay (2019)
  30. Emergency Skin – NK Jemisin (2019)
  31. Randomize – Andy Weir (2019)
  32. Ark – Veronica Roth (2019)

The full list with commentary that I wrote immediately after completing each book can be found after the jump, but on reflection, some of my highlights were:

  • Blindness – Jose Saramango (1995) – A particularly dark tale centred around a pandemic of blindness which felt chillingly prescient, particularly as I read it while we were still enduring COVID-19 restrictions here at the time. It speaks of humanity and hopelessness in a way that I would recommend anybody read, but which you should probably approach with caution. It can be graphic.
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami (1987) – I had tried to read Murakami books in the past and never quite managed to complete them. This particular novel came recommended by a colleague, and it found me at a particularly emotional time. Its themes spoke to me in a way that – while I’m not sure I would say that I enjoyed it – it definitely made me think, acting like a mirror to much of what I felt at the time.
  • Upgrade – Blake Crouch (2022) – Crouch is steadily becoming one of my favourite authors. His dystopian novels are compelling, and I find myself flying through the pages. This is his latest, and worth a read for anybody who is a fan of that genre.

For 2023 I’m aiming for 50 books. We’ll see if I manage to get that far… You can find me over on Goodreads, if that’s a thing you do.

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Books 2020

Growing up, I loved to read, and would gladly spend hours demolishing stacks of books of all kinds from the library. As the years went by and the afflictions of adulthood responsibility mounted, I found that I was giving over less and less time to reading, and that twenty minutes before I fell asleep just wasn’t cutting it.

Last year I decided to make a concerted effort to dedicate a good chunk of time to recapture some of what I used to love, and in 2019 managed to get through a respectable total of 23 books. I wasn’t sure if I would top that this year. However, after discovering that my colleague Andrew Spittle had read 72 (!), I doubled down, even upgrading my old Kindle to a fancy new one with a warm backlight that has been much easier on my ageing eyeballs.

Below is a list of all the books that I’ve finished in the year gone by. Not included are those that I started but discarded through lack of interest, or any kind of academic-only reading, as that falls into something of a different category. The last time I did this, some folks asked for more specifics on what books I liked best, so for this year I’ve added some notes at the end, which might be rough as I jotted them down as I went. Click through for those.

I was aiming to read 50 books this year, but only managed to complete 40 in the end. While that is 8 more than last year (you can find the 2019 list here), I’m pretty sure I could have managed 50 if I had pushed for it. That said, I did take up learning Japanese, and re-discovered both music and film photography in force during lockdown, which probably accounts for the gradual slowdown over the year. If you’re on Goodreads, you’ll find me as clickysteve.

  1. Severance – Ling Ma (2018)
  2. Golden State – Ben H. Winters (2019)
  3. The Paper Menagerie – Ken Liu (2016)
  4. Welcome to the Heady Heights – David F. Ross (2019)
  5. Skin – Liam Brown (2019)
  6. OddJobs – Heide Goody (2016)
  7. Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries – Tim Anderson (2010)
  8. For Fukui’s Sake: Two Years in Rural Japan – Sam Baldwin (2011)
  9. Range: The Key to Success, Performance and Education – David Epstein (2019)
  10. A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy – Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum (2019)
  11. Photographing People – A Guide for Shy Photographers – Kevin Landwer-Johan (2020)
  12. Dark Matter – Blake Crouch (2016)
  13. Recursion – Blake Crouch (2019)
  14. Mohammed Maguire – Colin Bateman (2002)
  15. The Wall – John Lanchester (2019)
  16. The Photographer’s Playbook – J. Fulford (2014)
  17. PRACTICE LESS, PLAY MORE: The simple, three-step system to play songs you love on your guitar from day 1 –  Steve Mastroianni (2019)
  18. Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers – Dennis DeSantis (2015)
  19. Recording Unhinged – Sylvia Massy (2016)
  20. Unlocking Japanese – Cure Dolly (2016)
  21. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (2014)
  22. Revenge – Yoko Ogawa (2013)
  23. One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking – D Trott (2015)
  24. Three Japanese Short Stories (Penguin Modern) – K. Uno et al (2018)
  25. Striptease – Carl Hiaasen (1993)
  26. The Guest List – Lucy Foley (2020)
  27. The Parade – Dave Eggers (2019)
  28. Not the end of the World – Christopher Brookmyre (1998)
  29. Hardcore Self Help: Fk Anxiety – Robert Duff (2014)**
  30. Photographers on Photography: How the Masters See, Think & Shoot – Gerry Carroll (2018)
  31. Double Whammy – Carl Hiaasen (2005)
  32. The Alcohol Experiment: A 30-Day, Alcohol-Free Challenge to Interrupt Your Habits and Help You Take Control – Annie Grace (2018)
  33. Native Tongue – Carl Hiaasen (2005)
  34. In Your Defence – Sarah Langford (2020)
  35. Exit – Laura Waddell (2020)
  36. The Courage to be Disliked – Ichiro Kishimi (2019)
  37. Cult of the Dead Cow – Joseph Menn (2019)
  38. How to Ikigai – Tim Tamashiro (2019)
  39. Lockdown – Peter May (2020)
  40. Love Means Love: Same-sex Relationships and the Bible – David Runcorn (2020)
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