To finish the year, I chose ten books that I have read and would recommend (or have already recommended) + my favorite this year.
Most of them are not from 2022. I just happened to read them this year. Here are some ideas if you still need to give someone a gift or want to prepare your 'to-read list' for 2023.
If you want non-fiction:
The chaos machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World, by Mark Fisher
In this book, journalist Mark Fisher explores how social media's business model creates extremism and destabilizes societies. He traces back in time to show how the formation of Silicon Valley itself already pointed to how social media and start-ups would evolve. He also travels around the world to show the growing unrest and consequences of increased polarization everywhere.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkman
A book to counter-act the need to always be on top of everything, to do the most we can out of our lives, and manage every second of our days. Burkman’s writing details the importance of time and provides a unique and compelling perspective on how to use our time wisely. If you have FOMO and are always worried about doing more of your day and your life, this is a book for you.
Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern, by Stuart Jeffries
This is a non-fiction written by Stuart Jeffries, a music and culture journalist that connects the dots between postmodernism and neoliberalism. It does so through different artists from the period (photographers, musicians, architects…), and technological development such as the MacBook and Netflix.
From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World Vol. 3, by Marilyn French
Writing about what she calls the “most cheering period in female history,” international best-selling author Marilyn French recounts how nineteenth-century women living under imperialism, industrialization, and capitalism organized for their own education, a more equitable wage, and the vote.
If you want fantasy/ dystopia:
Dune, by Frank Herbert
I read Dune in preparation to watch the new movie starring Timothée Chalamet and funny enough, I still haven't had the chance to watch it. It is a fun and fast-paced book full of adventure. It tells the story of young Paul Atreides who is moving with his family to a desert planet called Arrakis. Though inhospitable, it is filled with a powerful spice - a drug that increases mental ability and extends life - which powerful families are after.
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
What if the homeless, orphans, and anyone that fell between the cracks of society actually lived in a parallel world? Using his world-building abilities Neil Gaiman develops a whole fantastical subterranean world under the city of London. Using an adventure-filled metaphor, he contrasts upward London and underground London. Upward Londoners live in a normal world (9-5 job, apartment, long-term relationship). People living underground in London are "strange" individuals who lead lives filled with imagination and their own rules.
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is another classic that I read this year. It is a dystopian story from the point of view of a firefighter. But firefighters in this imagined future don't stop fires. They actually enforce a government ban on books. Firemen patrol streets at night in search of books and burn them and their owners’ houses. Fahrenheit is an attempt to combat censorship and defend literature as important for individuals and society alike.
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Probably my second favorite read this year. It tells the story through the eyes of Klara, an Artificial Friend bought by a family composed of a mom and a daughter. Klara was bought to be a companion to the daughter Josie, which is a common practice in this dystopian future. Like many stories about robots, it is connected to a central theme of what it means to be a human and what love truly is.
If you want stories from other countries:
The Anthill, by Julianne Pachico
The Anthill explores the sense of belonging and living in two different parts of the world. It follows Lina, born in Medellín, Colombia, who immigrated to the U.K. at the age of eight. She returns to Colombia to reconnect with a childhood friend in hopes of reestablishing her own roots.
Half of a yellow sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a yellow sun depicts one of the darkest periods of recent African and world history. Following two coups and turmoil in 1967, about a million Igbos returned to the southeast of Nigeria. There the Republic of Biafra was created. The Nigerian government with help from the British declared war to take back the territory and after 30 months of fighting, and hundreds of thousands of deaths - mostly due to hunger, Biafra surrendered. Chimamanda tells this story through two sisters, loosely based on her own mother and aunt.
Reward System, by Jem Calder
Reward System explores the strange loop of technology and the self through contemporary fiction. It follows two main characters, Julia and Nick, who reveal our current way of life in a startlingly original way, hyperaware but also deeply confused about who they are. It scrutinizes our modern and lonely life, through devices, and desires.
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Here are some of my texts from 2022 that you may have missed:
Why 'Don't look Up' is not a good representation of climate change
This is the last post of the year. I'll be taking two or three weeks off from Read, Watch, Binge. I'm hoping to bring some fresh ideas and high-quality writing to the upcoming year. See you in 2023!
If you're up for conversation, how can I contact you?
Your writing and storytelling style is quite engaging. I'm a huge fan of your work and you and I both share same interest in science so, it would really mean alot if you and I can discuss more stuff together about your opinions about science, life and other stuff.