Reading 2018

I grabbed the code I had lying around for last year and without too much trouble ran the same analysis for the books. The graph is not that dramatic this time though for some reason I did not read much during summer.

Pages read per month in 2018

Page-wise this year with 13398 pages was a bit weaker than last year (15049 pages).

By some miracle, I managed to post my top ten recommendations to twitter on the 31st.

Now as to the categories in which I read books and what I thought stood out.

Leadership

Not as many books as last year, but some very good ones and an area where I will read more. Rumelt has written one of the best books on strategy I’ve seen. Marquet’s highly recommended book I think will bear fruit on future re-reading. Scott’s book contains a fairly complete operating system for a modern tech company.

The cracking books are ok and did helped me crack a PM interview but still had nothing to do with the job I started working at last month.

  • Good Strategy / Bad Strategy, Richard Rumelt
  • Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet
  • Radical Candor, Kim Malone Scott
  • Cracking the Tech Career
  • The First 90 Days
  • Cracking the PM Interview

Diversity (non-white/non-male): 3/6

I don’t have an Engineering category this year (I abandoned The Rust Book and consulted but did not finish the App Architecture book). I am reading topical things for my new job so this year will be better.

Non-Fiction

I’m pleasantly surprised how much I’ve managed to read. Mishra’s book is one of the few really mainstream non-white perspectives on a very important part of our history and I keep enjoying seeing him take names in the LRB and the Guardian. Bluets is a beautiful introspective trip just like The Argonauts was. Sandifer is a critical tour de force of with an ideology and temperament I don’t see anywhere else. I’ve always been fond of Machiavelli but with Erica Benner’s rehabilitation of him I don’t have to be embarrassed about that anymore. Runciman’s book about the alternatives to democracy is like a protracted and focused episode of the podcast.

I don’t have a Fiction category or Sapiens would be there instead of here.

  • From the Ruins of Empire, Pankaj Mishra
  • Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
  • Ecology without Nature, Timothy Morton
  • A Contest of Ideas, Nelson Lichtenstein
  • Bluets, Maggie Nelson
  • Neoreaction a Basilisk, Elizabeth Sandifer
  • No Name in the Street, James Baldwin
  • Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker
  • Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner
  • The Chapo Guide to Revolution
  • The Hall of Uselessness, Simon Leys
  • Surveillance Valley, Yasha Levine
  • How Democracy Ends, David Runciman

Diversity (non-white/non-male): 5/13

Genre Fiction

I have been very light on genre fiction and I’m not sure whether SF will continue to be a thing I read much of in the future. The genre is bigger than ever but there is so little serious stuff coming out.

I am glad to have re-read Le Guin this year. Majestic.

  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor
  • Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin
  • The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin
  • Broken Angels, Richard Morgan
  • Woken Furies, Richard Morgan
  • The Planet on the Table, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin

Diversity (non-white/non-male): 5/9

Literature

I find it easier to read non-fiction because I can’t parallelize literature very well and whenever I read a dud (here’s looking at you Elif) they block the queue for everything else. Makumbi’s Ugandan family saga has opened up my perspective on the country like a good local novel can do. Hamid’s rumination on refugees is short and sharp like a blade. Shanbhag’s book is a quick family tale of rags to riches where everything becomes entangled.

  • Terug naar Oegstgeest, Jan Wolkers
  • Kintu, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  • Dorsvloer vol confetti, Franca Treur
  • Voyage to the End of the Night, Louis-Ferdinand Céline
  • Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
  • Ghachar Ghochar, Vivek Shanbhag
  • The Idiot, Elif Batuman

Diversity (non-white/non-male): 5/7

Kids

I read so many (34!) kids books this year and this number will probably only increase since we have only just started visiting the library. We live close to the Amerika Gedenkbibilothek which has a fairly sized kids department.

Franchises that did well with us this year were Kikker and the newly discovered Pip & Posy. We finished the seasonal Wimmelbücher (of which Fall was the highlight and Winter a disappointment). Let’s see whether these see renewed play next year.

The kids books do inflate my reading number a lot but that is not taking into account that I have had to read most of these books dozens of times. So there’s that.

  • So Müde und Hellwach
  • Welcher Po passt auf dieses Klo?
  • Mama kwijt
  • De dieren van Fiep
  • Kikker en Eend
  • Kikker is jarig, Max Velthuijs
  • Was willst du Baby?
  • Piep piep met Fiep
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear
  • So leicht so schwer
  • Der kleine Hase
  • Das kleine Lamm
  • Badetag für Hasekind
  • Sommer-Wimmelbuch
  • Frühlings-Wimmelbuch
  • Kaatje zegt nee
  • Pip en Posy en het nieuwe vriendje, Axel Scheffler
  • Das kleine Schwein
  • The Pony Twins
  • Sommer
  • Het vrolijke voorleesboek van Kikker
  • Winter-Wimmelbuch
  • Beestje, kom je op mijn feestje?
  • Hörst du die klassische Musik?
  • Het carnaval der dieren
  • Ssst! De tijger slaapt
  • Ik zou wel een kindje lusten
  • No Bad Kids
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training
  • Ein kleines Krokodil mit ziemlich viel Gefühl
  • Pip en Posy en de kerstboom
  • Herbst-Wimmelbuch, Rotraut Susanne Berner
  • Aki und Kon, der Fuchs
  • Die Wildnis ist unser Zuhause

Spirituality

Two solid books on this slow but steady path.

  • The Parent’s Tao te Ching
  • Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Previously in 2017 & 2016