Thursday, December 30, 2021

Reading Log of 2021

 During the pandemic with its increased idle time I like to think I read some good books, learning a few things and appreciating others.  These are some of the books that helped.

 Fiction

"Anxious People" (2020)by Fredrik Backman  is a little different than "Beartown" and at first thought too frivolous for me, but sticking with it was very rewarding.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/04/anxious-people-by-fredrik-backman.html

 "How to Pronounce Knife" (2020) a collection of short stories strung together with Laotian refugees.  The author, Souvankham Thammavungsa, born in a refugee camp, but raised in Toronto has gathered enough inspiring stories to perhaps educate us natives what it is like.  The title seems strange, but it is not unusual for non English speaking people find much of English non phoenetic.  There are rules, then there are exceptions which can be hard to master for newcomers.  Nail salons will never be perceived quite the same.  More recently I heard a favorite commentator, Jan Wong talk about this book and helped me remember and appreciate some of the nuance.

 "The Shadow King" (2019) by Maaza Mengiste recounts some Ethiopian history regarding the Italian invasion of 1935.  She had been told that her great grandmother had actually fought in the war, although most accounts give a masculine version of events.  History has been altered slightly, but to recognize that women did play a role in repelling the Italian invaders.

 "A Midsummer's Equation" (2011) Keigo Higashino  My second one of his books.  Brilliant.  His first book is kind of a model for mysteries.

"Blaze Island" (2020) by Catherine Bush from Hamilton Reads.  Modelled on "The Tempest" and expressing climate change concerns including geo engineering.    read more at:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/09/hamilton-reads-2021-blaze-island.html    Terry Fallis      

"Operation Angus" (2021) by Terry Fallis is   another in a long line of laughter inducing books.  http://www. therealjohndavidson.com/2021/10/terry-fallis-with-little-humour.html


 

 

 

 

"Klara and the Sun" (2021) is about an Artificial Friend.  I wanted to read something by Kazuo Ishiguro who has won the Booker and Nobel Prize.  On one hand he is suggesting that robots will advance enough to actually have emotions.  The Sun is something not quite understood by Klara, but is regarded as something beneficial to humans. 

 Non Fiction

Despite feeling a good fiction book is better written and entertaining I find politics and social reality more compelling.

"A Promised Land" (2020) was a Christmas present--one that is truly worthy.   I have read a lot about how evil Donald Trump is, but he is really a contrast to predecessor.    Barack Obama is very open about his decision process.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/01/a-promised-land.html

 

 

 

 

"The Arab Winter"  (2020) Global hopes were raised and then dashed.  Noah looks for the future.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/01/the-arab-winter.html

"Heartbeat of Wounded Knee " (2019) by David Treuer       http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/02/the-heartbeat-of-wounded-knee.html

"Einstein" (2007)  the first of two Walter Isaccson biographies.  Einstein is the standard we measure genius by, but he was a human with lots of interests.   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/03/einstein-by-walter-isaacson.html

"Knock on Wood" (2018)  got my attention from CBC Metro morning.  All sorts of myths about luck.   Also an interesting account of a retail lottery scandal.   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/03/knock-on-wood.html

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers (2018)   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/04/rule-makers-rule-breakers.html

"A Fine Mess" (2017.)  Taxes could be a tool to make the world a better place, but instead they are "A Fine Mess."  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/05/taxation-necessary-tool-for.html

The Value of Everything (2018) Mariana Mazzucato   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/07/the-value-of-everything.html    



 

 

 

"Dark Victory" (2007) biography of Bette Davis.  I remebered her only as an old movie star,but there is more to her background story--enhanced by makeup, dress maker, director, producer and cinematographer--personal life  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/08/bette-davis.html

"The Code Breaker" (2021)  Another book by Walter Isaccson.  The future is biological.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/07/the-code-breaker.html

 Chuck Conley gave me a book by Fareed Zakaria, one of favorite recommenders    "Ten Lessons For a Post Pandemic World" (2020).  It may be awhile before we actually get the end, but there is advice which is being modified including by Fareed who I watch most every week.

"After the Fall  (2021) by Ben Rhodes who I consider one of the more profound analysts.     http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/08/ben-rhodes-update-on-world-worth-reading.html

"Unfinished" (2021) Priyanka Chopra Jonas  More than a pretty face, but that is how she got started.  I have watched movies she has produced and realize she has been on both sides of the camera with a variety of movies that have been enjoyable.   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/08/priyanka-chopra-from-bollywood-to.html 

"The Organized Mind" (2014) there is confusion in the world  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/08/the-organized-mind-can-boost-how-you.html

"Compromised" (2020) Peter Strzok A man who served America well in their battle against outsiders wanting to harm America.  Trump did what he could to stomp on anyone daring to question his credibility and I admit I prefer Peter's version of what happened.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/09/compromised.html

"The Outlier" (2021) by Kai Bird about Jimmy Carter too often referred to as a weak president.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/10/the-outlier-unfinished-presidency-of.html

"Beautiful Things" (2017) For awhile Hunter Biden was used as an excuse to criticize the Democrats.  Here is his side of the story:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/10/the-hunter-biden-story.html

"Two Trees Make a Forest" (2019) a Canada Reads selection.   check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/11/two-trees-make-forest-canada-reads.html

"The Premonition" (2021) by Michael Lewis.  His books are always unique.  He picks a topic and then looks for the angles nobody else has bothered with.  Some of them turn out to be more relevant than what everyone else is touting.   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/11/the-premonition-is-more-relevant-than.html

"Disloyal' (2021) I've read a dozen or so books telling the real story of Donald Trump, but this is probably the most inside story we can expect.  Michael Cohen spent time in prison.  A good time to reflect.  Michael was also well acquainted with the rest of the family.   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/11/disloyal-michael-cohen-version.html


 

 

 "War" (2020) by Margaret MacMillan .  War is written about a lot, but not much studied in all its implications for society.    http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/12/war.html

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