I’ve just completed the second year of my 1000 book challenge, which I wrote about a year ago:
A year ago I gave myself a challenge: read a thousand books in my lifetime. I decided to start counting books I’d read since November 14, 2014 (although I’d read many books before this, I really only wanted to start counting then, so I could better catalogue them).
Last year I managed to get through 24, which I was quite happy with. I ended up with a little more reading time on my hands this year and managed to get through 33, which has me happily surprised! Still going to be a long haul from here, but I’m more than 1/20th of the way done and have some good strategies for reading a lot of books.
Looking over the list of books, I don’t know that this year really had a theme, but I do see some common threads. I read a lot about systems and systems thinking, and a bit about hypertext systems. I read a bit about language, reading, and metaphor. I read a bit about corporations, what they’ve done to our planet, and how to shame them. And I’ve read a few more graphic novels; I’m really enjoying all that medium has to offer.
Finally, I realized in my first year the overwhelming majority of the books I’d read were written by men. This year I made a conscious effort to read more books written by women (13/33), and in the coming year I want read even more voices.
Below are the books I’ve read in the last year, along with notes for a few of the standouts.
- The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sachs.
Seconds by Brian Lee O’Mally.
Beautiful and funny graphic novel from the creator of the Scott Pilgrim series. Plus, it’s Canadian!
Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
Dragon Ball Vol 1 by Akira Toriyama.
Economix by Dan Burr.
I knew almost nothing about the American / global economic system worked before reading this graphic novel, but I found it a gentle introduction for people like me.
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows.
I wish I’d read this book earlier in life! It revealed to me a mental framework (and notation) for thinking about the world in systems. I had the vague notion that “systems are everywhere,” but this book really opened my eyes to what that means in practice. If you care about systems (education, politics, economics, oppression, biological, etc) then you should read this book. I can’t wait to read it again.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling.
My wife and I have been (slowly) reading the Harry Potter series out loud to one another, which is nothing short of magical.
Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams by Mitch Resnick.
Another book about systems! This time, about programming decentralized systems in a Logo-like programming language. Resnick shows how many complex systems emerge from simple parts, with no central control.
Memory Machines by Belinda Barnet.
A must read book on the history of hypertext.
The ABCs of Bauhaus by Ellen Lupton.
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.
My favourite novel I read this year. Graedon describes a noir-semi-dystopia New York City where a “word-flu” has infected the device-using population, causing aphasia in speakers, and literally erasing words from the dictionary. It’s beautifully written and a real fun read.
Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff.
This book opened my eyes (metaphor) to the way we create (metaphor), share (metaphor), and explore (metaphor) meaning and understanding. This book demands (metaphor) a re-read.
Spelunky by Derek Yu.
Bootstrapping by Thierry Bardini.
What we see when we read by Peter Mendelsund.
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkov.
If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut.
Everyone should read more Kurt Vonnegut.
The Corporation by Joel Bakan.
Terrifying, eye-opening look at corporate structure and its deleterious effects on our planet. Enraging that we, as a people, allow this to happen.
Dragon Ball Vol 2 by Akira Toriyama.
Is Shame Necessary? by Jennifer Jacquet.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.
Our Choice by Al Gore.
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.
Everyone who works in media (and if you’re a software designer or developer, you work in media) should read this book every single year.
Magic and Loss by Virginia Heffernan.
All About Love by bell hooks.
Making is Connecting by David Gauntlett.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
The Dynamic Library by Various Authors.
Adam’s Tongue by Derek Bickerton.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
Beautiful graphic novel / autobiography of the author’s life in Iran and as a Persian abroad.
The Selfishness of Others by Kristin Dombek.
Dragon Ball Vol 3 by Akira Toriyama.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
Here’s to the next 943!