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📚 2023

At the beginning of the year, I set out to read 23 books. Mission accomplished? As expected, my favorite of the year was not on that wish list.

Here are all 23, ordered by some semblance of category.

  1. The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison: Harrison at his best, just don’t expect a neat resolution.
  2. Empty Space: A Haunting by M. John Harrison: a fitting end to my favorite sci-fi trilogy.
  3. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka: if Harrison awards someone a Booker, I’d better read their book.
  4. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: the translation was good, but I imagine the original was even better.
  5. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline: I think about the Bronze Age collapse more than I do about the Roman Empire, actually.
  6. On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt: the year of LLM-generated garbage was a good time to refresh BS knowledge.
  7. The Revolt of the Masses by Ortega y Gasset: prophetic.
  8. Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber: bad.
  9. The Dao of Capital by Mark Spitznagel: investing should be left to the professionals.
  10. Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand: half of the book is good, but only time will tell which half.
  11. How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia: got me to buy an actual CD player, just so I could listen to this anthology.
  12. Against Method by Paul Feyerabend: his statement that in science “anything goes” could have been controversial only to those who willfully misunderstood.
  13. Fundamentals of Clinical Trials by Lawrence M. Friedman: too pedantic.
  14. Antinet Zettelkasten by Scott Scheper: almost a year in and I am still using index cards, although not in the way Scott intended.
  15. Writing with Style: The Economist Guide by Lane Greene: more fun than a style guide should be.
  16. Zombies in Western Culture by John Vervaeke et al: true and unnerving.
  17. The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási: don’t be fooled by the self-help title, it is a good book.
  18. Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis: the most influential of the books I’ve read this year as it led directly to my favorite.
  19. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by René Girard: the best book I’ve read this year, and one that I’ve been thinking about the most.
  20. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton: I should read it again.
  21. I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter: how a scientist deals with grief.
  22. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken: how a Christian deals with grief.
  23. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: I still can’t believe she was in her 20s.

Not too bad, considering we had a flooded basement and our second move in three years, with some writing wedged in between. And here is last year’s list.

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