Goodreads tells me I’ve read 48 books in 2018. I set myself the goal of 36 so it looks like I beat it handily. But included in that count are quite a few roleplaying game books and comics. If I discard those I’m left with 28 titles. Still a decent amount but nothing particularly remarkable. Below are a few lists and some notes to go with them.
Most of the non-fiction is somewhere on the intersection of design, technology and Left politics. A lot of this reading was driven by my desire to develop some kind of mental framework for the work we were doing with Tech Solidarity NL. More recently—since I started my PhD—I’ve mostly been reading textbooks on research methodology. Hidden from this list is the academic papers I’ve started consuming as part of this new job. I should figure out a way of sharing some of that here or elsewhere as well.
- Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom by Ilpo Koskinen et al.
- The Lean PhD: Radically Improve the Efficiency, Quality and Impact of Your Research by Julian Kirchherr
- Researching Information Systems and Computing by Briony J. Oates
- Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games by Ian Bogost
- Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism by Richard D. Wolff
- The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason by Chapo Trap House
- Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right by Angela Nagle
- Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet by Yasha Levine
- Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield
- Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase
I took a break from technology and indulged in a deep dive into the history of the thirty year’s war with a massive non-fiction treatment as well as a classic picaresque set in the same time period. While reading these I was transitioning into my new role as a father of twin boys. Somewhat related was a brief history of The Netherlands, which I’ve started recommending to foreigners who are struggling to understand our idiosyncratic little nation and go beyond superficialities.
- Simplicissimus by H.J.C. von Grimmelshausen
- Europe’s Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War by Peter H. Wilson
- Beknopte geschiedenis van Nederland by James C. Kennedy
Then there’s the fiction, which in the beginning of the year consisted of highbrow weird and historical novels but then ventured into classic fantasy and (utopian) sci-fi territory. Again, mostly because of a justifiable desire for some escapism in the sleep deprived evenings and nights.
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
- Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
- Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation by Phoebe Wagner et al.
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
- Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories by Michael Moorcock
- The Return of the Lloigor by Colin Wilson
- The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria
- Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
- Radio Laika – Verhalen uit de ruimte by Niels ’t Hooft
- The Vegetarian by Kang Han
- The Siege by Ismail Kadare
Having mentioned the arrival of our boys a few times it should come as no surprise that I also read a couple of parenting books. These were more than enough for me and really to be honest I think parenting is a thing best learned through practice. Especially if you’re raising two babies at once.
- 5 Days to a Perfect Night’s Sleep for Your Child: The Secrets to Making Bedtime a Dream by Eduard Estivill
- The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp
So that’s it. I’ve set myself the modest goal of 24 books for this year because I’m quite sure most of my reading will be papers and such. Here’s to a year of what I expect will be many more late night and early morning reading sessions of escapist weird fiction.