Books I’ve read in 2015

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.

Orientation is the Schwerpunkt”

Putting this here so I can point to it. Such an impor­tant con­cept that has real­ly changed the way I approach deci­sion mak­ing. I used to oper­ate in some­thing like an observe-decide-act man­ner. But under­stand­ing that you can ori­ent to change your options is cru­cial for the abil­i­ty to win.

Ori­en­ta­tion is the Schw­er­punkt. It shapes the way we inter­act with the envi­ron­ment — hence ori­en­ta­tion shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.

Ori­en­ta­tion shapes the char­ac­ter of present obser­va­tion-ori­en­ta­tion-deci­sion-action loops — while these present loops shape the char­ac­ter of future ori­en­ta­tion.

—John Boyd, Organ­ic Design for Com­mand and Con­trol

Favourite music albums of 2015

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 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.

  1. DJ Koze – DJ Kicks ❤️ (Just a flaw­less mix of delight­ful tunes that lift the spir­it.)
  2. 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.)
  3. Tame Impala – Cur­rents (The falset­to gets on my nerves some times, but the open­ing tracks have an irre­sistible groove to them.)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.)
  7. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A But­ter­fly (All over the place. I dig the nods to P-Funk.)
  8. 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.)
  9. Dr. Dre – Comp­ton (Not avail­able on Spo­ti­fy but I men­tion it here because I enjoyed the return to uncom­pli­cat­ed west side hiphop it offers.)
  10. 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.)
  11. Miguel – Wild­heart (Eas­i­ly the best R&B album of the year. Ver­sa­tile, sexy, musi­cal­ly inter­est­ing.)
  12. Roy­al Headache – High (Great throw­back to punk that sounds fresh at the same time. Great lyrics.)
  13. 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.)
  14. 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.)
  15. Maji­cal Cloudz – Are You Alone? (I return to this for its inti­mate atmos­phere.)

Hon­orary men­tions:

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