I’ve read 32 books, which is four short of my goal and also four less than the previous year. It’s still not a bad score though and quality wise the list below contains many gems.
I resolved to read mostly books by women and minority authors. This lead to quite a few surprising experiences which I am certainly grateful for. I think I’ll continue to push myself to seek out such books in the year to come.
There are only a few comics in the list. I sort of fell off the comics bandwagon this year mainly because I just can’t seem to find a good place to discover things to read.
Anyway, here’s the list, with links to my reviews on Goodreads. A * denotes a particular favourite.
- A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James *
- Wild Life, Molly Gloss *
- H Is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald *
- The Little Book on CoffeeScript, Alex MacCaw
- The Incal, Alejandro Jodorowsky
- Hawkeye, Volume 3: L.A. Woman, Matt Fraction
- Roche Limit, Volume 1, Michael Moreci
- Breaking Smart – Season 1, Venkatesh Rao *
- Speak, Louisa Hall
- Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, James C. Scott *
- Blood and Guts in High School, Kathy Acker
- The Gervais Principle: The Complete Series, with a Bonus Essay on Office Space, Venkatesh Rao
- SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, Mary Beard *
- Ice, Anna Kavan *
- Microinteractions: Designing with Details, Dan Saffer
- Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, Jeff Gothelf
- The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes
- Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products, Richard Canfield
- Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
- Encounters with the Archdruid, John McPhee *
- UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design, Laura Klein
- Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse
- Marx: A Very Short Introduction, Peter Singer
- Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1), Hilary Mantel *
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates *
- Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays, Rebecca Solnit *
- Platform, Michel Houellebecq
- Designing Conversational Interfaces, Alper Çuğun
- The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion *
- Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
- Machine Learning for Designers, Patrick Hebron
- Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Kwame Anthony Appiah *
I guess this year finally marked the end of my album listening behaviour. Spotify’s Discover and Daily Mix features were the one-two punch that knocked it out. In addition I somehow stopped scrobbling to Last.fm in March. It’s switched back on now but the damage is done.
So the data I do have is incomplete. I did still deliberately put on a number of albums this year. But I won’t post them in order of listens like I did last year. This is subjective, unsorted and hand-picked. I will even sneak in a few albums that were published towards the end of 2015.
My sources included Pitchfork’s list of best new albums which used to be how I discovered new music and still wields some influence. I cross-referenced with Spotify’s top songs of 2016.
So first Spotify tells me what to listen to and then it gives me a list of things I actually listened to. This is getting weird…
Anyway, here they are. A * marks a particular favourite.
- A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… *
- Solange – A Seat At the Table
- Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
- The Avalanches – Wildflower *
- Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
- Whitney – Light Upon the Lake
- Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial *
- Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book *
- ANOHNI – HOPELESSNESS
- Moodymann – DJ-Kicks *
- Grimes – Art Angels *
- Floating Points – Elaenia
- The Range – Potential *
- Sepalcure – Folding Time
- Jamila Woods – HEAVN
Here’s a playlist which includes a couple of more albums if you want to have a listen.
On this final day of the year let’s do some more looking back. The last time I posted books read was in 2011. But that doesn’t mean I stopped reading. On the contrary.
Goodreads tells me I read 36 books in 2015, which was the goal I set myself for this year. I will admit not all of these are big reads. Some are short pamphlets and there is also a comic or two thrown in.
I think I am going to stick with this target for next year and I will also stick with reading widely. A few books were read because of a project at Hubbub for which I felt the need to delve more deeply in the subject matter. This is a good way to stretch intellectually. I also started experimenting with asking people who know me personally what novel I should read next which has led to some delightful discoveries. So I will continue to do that too.
Anyway, here they are in order of date read. Particular favourites are marked with a ❤️. I’ve written short reviews for most of these so I’ve provided links to those too.
- Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
- Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd, Frans Osinga ❤️
- Play Matters, Miguel Sicart ❤️
- The Vulture, Gil Scott-Herron
- You Need A Budget, Jesse Mecham ❤️
- The Hunters, James Salter ❤️
- Arnhem 1944: The Airborne Battle, Martin Middlebrook
- Generation X, Douglas Coupland
- The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
- The Organisation Man, William Whyte
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
- On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
- The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, G.K. Chesterton
- The Riddle of the Sands, Erskine Childers
- Mutual Aid, Pyotr Kropotkin
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo ❤️
- Dubliners, James Joyce
- Adolescent Mental Health: Prevention and Intervention, Terje Ogden
- Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
- Kanban and Scrum – Making the Most of Both, Henrik Kniberg
- Personal Kanban: Mapping Work – Navigating Life, Jim Benson ❤️
- Sugar Skull, Charles Burns
- X’Ed Out, Charles Burns
- Agile Game Development with Scrum, Clinton Keith
- Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West, Cormac McCarthy ❤️
- A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge
- Morgen zijn we in Pamplona, Jan van Mersbergen
- A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan ❤️
- The Invincible Iron Man: Extremis, Warren Ellis
- Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, Victor Papanek
- Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco
- Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
- Thrown, Kerry Howley
- PACE: A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Complete Cash Flow Clarity, Jesse Mecham
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Anthony Bourdain
Well what do you know, a blog post. Because looking back is the thing people do this time of year and I actually have the luxury of time to look back for a change, I thought I’d compile a list of albums I enjoyed listening to in 2015 that were also released in 2015.
There were quite a few albums I listened to this year that weren’t released in 2015. Those don’t show up here. If you’re curious, there is always Last.fm. Most notably, I discovered The Hold Steady through BEE and got seriously hooked on ‘Boys And Girls In America’. Some of the best rock music made this side of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, if you ask me.
Anyway, here is a list of the 15 albums from 2015 that I listened to the most, in order of number of plays. A ❤️ denotes a particular favourite. If you want to have a listen, here’s a Spotify playlist.
- DJ Koze – DJ Kicks ❤️ (Just a flawless mix of delightful tunes that lift the spirit.)
- Blur – The Magic Whip ❤️ (Lyrically interesting, sonically a kind of review or repetition of their whole oeuvre. Atmospherically I think they captured the spirit of the times quite well.)
- Tame Impala – Currents (The falsetto gets on my nerves some times, but the opening tracks have an irresistible groove to them.)
- Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit ❤️ (Strong contender for album of the year. Funny, imaginative lyrics and music that simply rocks.)
- Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… ❤️ (It is kind of amazing to me how Vile keeps churning out one great record after an other. This is his most optimistic to date.)
- Jamie XX – In Colour (There are a few letdowns on this one preventing it to be the kind of dance music album you play on repeat.)
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (All over the place. I dig the nods to P-Funk.)
- Everything Everything – Get To Heaven (I binged on this in July and have hardly listened to it since because of the love hate relationship with the singer’s voice. But this remains delightfully eclectic and energetic.)
- Dr. Dre – Compton (Not available on Spotify but I mention it here because I enjoyed the return to uncomplicated west side hiphop it offers.)
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion (Obligatory guilty pleasure. Each year I get hooked on one of these female pop stars. This was Carly Rae’s year.)
- Miguel – Wildheart (Easily the best R&B album of the year. Versatile, sexy, musically interesting.)
- Royal Headache – High (Great throwback to punk that sounds fresh at the same time. Great lyrics.)
- Destroyer – Poison Season (Wasn’t so sure about this one until seeing them live (again) at Le Guess Who? and now that I’ve heard the songs live I understand what they’re trying to do here. These songs are meant to sound BIG.)
- Deerhunter – Fading Frontier ❤️ (Another album of the year hopeful. Most accessible album of a band that continues to fascinate. Musically and lyrically imaginative and exciting.)
- Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone? (I return to this for its intimate atmosphere.)
I should have listened to these more but somehow didn’t. Here they are in no particular order.
- Lower Dens – Escape From Evil
- Ought – Sun Coming Down
- Beach House – Depression Cherry
- Kelela – Hallucinogen
- FKA twigs – M3LL155X
- Ratking – 700 Fill
This is the last list I’ll be posting on stuff from 2009, I promise. After this it’s all about looking forward. I’ve been tracking my reading on aNobii for some time. Here’s a list of the books I’ve found particularly worthwhile, ordered chronologically. My three absolute favorites are marked in bold.
- Faith in Fakes, Umberto Eco
- Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
- Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
- Black Dogs, Ian McEwan
- Out of Control, Kevin Kelly
- Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
- Game Design Workshop (2nd edition), Tracy Fullerton
- The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster
- Fight Club, Chuck Paluhniuk
- A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
- The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch
- Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
- Underworld, Don DeLillo
- Rum Punch, Elmore Leonard
- Digital Ground, Malcolm McCullough
- The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
Common themes: cities, complexity, society & the individual, inner & outer space, design.
I’ve been quite picky with what I read last year and will probably continue to do so this year. Many of these have heaps of dog ears and margin notes and its a wonderful feeling to have them sitting in my studio bookshelf, ready to be picked up and used when required.
Last year was thankfully much lower on travel than previous ones. We’re almost a week into 2010, I know, but I still thought it would be worth posting these.
- Saint Augustine
- Kuala Lumpur
One or more nights were spent in each place. All of these were lovely in their own way, but KL’s my favorite of the bunch. Best city for food anywhere on the planet. In case you’re interested, I keep track of these on Dopplr.
It’s all Peter’s fault, who in turn was ‘tagged’ by Thomas. At least I’m in good company. :-) Here’s a few silly top four lists (not necessarily definite):
Four Jobs I’ve Had
- Second rate paper boy (delivering folders and such) in De Bilt, the Netherlands
- Summer job preparing orders of computer hardware in Hilversum, the Netherlands
- Freelance interaction designer for Leapfrog, my own company
- Interaction designer at Bright Alley Interactive Communication
Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over
- Blade Runner
- Reservoir Dogs
- Seven Samurai
- Lost in Translation
Four Places I’ve Lived
- Blokzijl, the Netherlands
- Paris, France
- Schagen, the Netherlands
- De Bilt, the Netherlands
Four TV Shows I Love
- The X-Files
- The Simpsons
- Ren & Stimpy
Four Places I’ve Vacationed
- Costa Rica
- New Orleans
Four Of My Favorite Dishes
- Lamb chops
- Spaghetti Putanesca
- Dutch pancakes
Four Sites I Visit Daily
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
- Pulau Bunaken, Sulawesi, Indonesia
- Tokio, Japan
- Somewhere along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica
- The tatami of a Takeda Ryu dojo
Four Bloggers I’m Tagging
- Hessel (so he can do something with his ‘new’ domain)
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