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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