Favorite books of 2022
23 books, 6400+ pages. That’s exactly the number of books I read in 2021! Here are some of my favorites books of the year.
How to Be an Antiracist (Ibrahim X Kendi)
Kendi posits that you can be racist or an anti-racist. “Not racist” isn’t a real position, because it effectively allows racism to persist by allowing racist policies to continue. Kendi weaves his own story into this narrative about racism in all its forms. A fantastic resource to learn about racism in these days when such books are extremely necessary.
The Psychology of Money (Morgan Housel)
One of the most approachable books about how to think about money. There isn’t direct advice like “put your money in low cost index funds”. Rather, it focuses on reinforcing the idea of taking on the level of risk that is appropriate for you. One of my favorite takeaways is that you should strive to be reasonable in financial decisions rather than try to be completely rational. This makes some room for emotion in decision making without overwhelming the rational side.
Man’s Search for Meaning (Victor Frankl)
This book is divided into two parts - the first recounts the author’s experiences in Nazi concentration camps, and this is the most interesting part of the book. He observed that prisoners who found a purpose to their life were more likely to survive the horrors of the camps. This half of the book was truly heartbreaking. The second part explains his approach to psychotherapy, known as logotherapy. This section never really grabbed my interest and I ended up skimming over a good chunk of this.
All Systems Red (Martha Wells)
A novella with a great premise. A robot manages to hack the part of itself that lets humans control it. It then decides that all it wants is to watch soap operas, and continues to work with humans as if nothing changed. It feels like a cross between the ideas of Asimov’s I, Robot and the humor of The Martian. One problem with the short length is that it makes it hard to actually flesh out the characters, and the human characters are rather dull. Wells builds an interesting world in a short span, but there’s still a lot to learn about it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
Flatland (Edwin Abbott)
Fascinating work of satire, ridiculing the rigid hierarchy of the late 1800s Victorian society. Shows how much you can express within the constraints of a 2-dimensional world. The narrator, “A. Square”, visits the three-dimensional world and brings revelation of higher dimensions to the disbelieving flatlanders. I was surprised by how accessible the author made the geometry ideas in this book. Just through reading about how a sphere would be perceived by flatlanders, you can almost imagine how we would perceive a 4 dimensional being in our world.
The Dragon Republic (R F Kuang)
An excellent sequel to The Poppy Wars, this book depicts a nation dealing with civil wars after it just won a war against its enemy. The depiction of war is as brutal as ever. Kuang has as many qualms about killing off main characters as does George RR Martin. However, this didn’t make the same impression that the first book did. Many of the familiar characters are missing. It’s still pretty damn entertaining, though. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite enjoy The Dragon Republic, the final part of the trilogy, as much as the first two.
There are no technical books in this year’s list, mainly because I didn’t read many. This year, I want to catch up on the many technical books that I have on my reading list.
At the start of 2022, I was hoping to finish some of the scifi/fantasy series thet I started in the previous year. I finished Poppy War, but still have Hyperion, Dune and Expanse from that list, and have added the Murderbot diaries as well. I’m hoping to finish at least a couple of those series.