Thursday, December 29, 2022

Books read in 2022

Another year of home activities which for me included reading.  One day divides our years, but usually we are in the middle of another book which was the same as the previous year.  If you have read any of my listed books feel free to give a different perspective.  What have you read?


From "Stolen Focus", (more below) it was suggested that fiction books seem to make readers more emphathetic. 

   "The Winners" (2022) by Fredric Backman.  This flowed the easiest of all the books I have read.  Check:

 "What Strange Paradise" (2021)by El Akkad Omar.  On  Canada Reads it championed by Mark Tewksbury.  The refugee plight . 

"State of Terror" (2021) by Louise Penney and Hilary Rodham Clinton is a political thriller.  Although fictional Hilary's influence is obvious with references to a former president and troubles with Russia and Pakistan.  As I agree with her views I enjoyed the book.

 "The Colors of All the Cattle" (2018) by Alexander McCall.   Another in the No. 1 ladies detective agency, found myself recommending to a librarian.  It has little suspense, sex, glamour and set in what some would consider an obscure country, Botswana.  But it is excellent in human relations with the vanities and insecurities felt my many.

"Tainna" (2021)  Norma Dunning was this year's Hamilton Reads selection.  A collection of 3 stores all with a connection to Innuit who had moved to urban centres, often sexually abused.  The title story appearing last was the most interesting from my viewpoint.

"A Painted House" (2000) by John Grisham.  I was expecting a court room drama or a murder mystery, but it was neither of those.  It was a summer of picking cotton from a the viewpoint of a seven year old.  He got quite an education, witnessing two murders and a child birth.  His family was in a very tight finances and the weather was closely watched and perhaps provides the most suspense.  The young boy offered a perspective different from the adults, not only in what he experienced, but what he thought about it.

"Scarborough" (2017) by Catherine Hernandez related stories of a daycare centre in Scarborough.  A Canada Reads selection for 2022.

"The Ministry for the Future" (2020) by Kim Stanley Robinson is science fiction regarding the climate crisis which will get worse, but does have solutions some of which might seem drastic.




 "Where the Crawdads Sing" (2018) by Delia Owens.  Also watched the movie which followed fairly closely.  A murder mystery framed in a natural setting

""The Flawless Place Between"  (2009) by Bruno Portier.  I think of it as a sort of primer for "The Tibetan Book of the Dead"  Check:

  Non Fiction

 "First Friends" (2021) by Gary Ginsberg offers interesting behind the scenes look at important influencers of American presidents.

"The Upright Thinkers" (2015)  by Leonard Mlodinow.  Being bipeds we are able to develop a unique brand of intelligence.

 "The Sum of Us"  (2021) by Heather McGhee. She advocates that racial harmony benefits everyone.

"Caste" (2020)  by Esabel Wilkerson. More profound than racism.


"The Narrow Corridor" (2019) by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.  One of the essential books to understand how freedom is best attained.









"The Chancellor" (2021) by Kati Marton.  A biography of one of the strongest leaders in Europe, Angela Merkal.

"Move: (2021)  by Parag Khanna who now is based in Singapore.  Is about geo political concerns.  One interesting observation is that Canada is relatively well positioned environmentally as we have lots of fertile soil and the author feels the Great Lakes region is one of the safets areas in the world.

"China Unbound" (2021) by Joanna Chiu  Born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada and traveled to many countries.  This was my top overall blog for 2022.

"The No Asshole Rule" (2007)  by Bob Sutton There are some people who just aren't worth it.

"The Power of Us" (2021) by Dominic J. Packer & Jay J. Van Pavel.  Discuss group dynamics and how they can be used to reduce prejudice.

"Stolen Focus" (2022) by Johann Hari.  It is not just individuals that are losing their ability to concentrate, but society as a whole.  With serious global problems we need to get a grip on focusing.  Climate change, pandemics, inequality, nuclear fears demand clear thinking or they will drown us.  Gets at root causes.


 "Nothing But the Truth" (2021) by Marie Henien has a reputation as a very good lawyer.  She would not discuss any actual names or many details of her cases.  It was more a personal ihstory, but did have some good points on how the law works and how it would be better perceived.  

"The Power of Regret" (2022) by Daniel H. Pink.  Despite the boasting of some, we all regreats.  The author demonstrates different ways of turning regrets to positive benefits. 


"The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell" (2017) by W. Kamau Bell.  A sort of autobiography of a standup comedian and his career.  I enjoyed him as host of "United Shades of America."  Two quotes:  "If you are looking for common ground with the man <referring to Donald Trump>  then you are meeting him on his territory."  and "Why are we acting like these two parties <referring to Republicans and Democrats> are enough?"

"My Best Mistake" (2021) by Terry O'Reilly is similar to Daniel Pink's book, but concentrates of celebrities who made mistakes that they were able to turn around.

The Age of Illusions" (2019) Deeper understanding of how we ended up with Donald Trump.

"The Sea People:  The Polynesian Puzzle" (2019) by Christina Thompson.  About the settlement of the Pacific Ocean.

"The Death of Expertise" (2017)  by Tom Nichols. There has developed a disdain for the words of experts that has caused a lot of suffering.

"On Consolation" (2021) by Michael Ignatieff explores concepts from Greek, Roman, Biblical  up to modern times.  " finally hits you that you are yoked with all the others in a common fate."  and  "you may not be special, but you do belong."  Deals with acceptance of suffering and death.

"The Penguin and the Leviathan" (2011) by Yochai Benkler.  Touting the merits of co-operation. 

"Freezing Order" (2022) by Bill Browder who was very involved in getting the Magnitsky Act into 34 countries.


"Numbers Don't Lie" (2020) Vaclav Smil.  Short surprising analyses of aspects of life.

"The Revenge of Power" (2022) by Moise Naim deals with how power has been concentrated by autocrats and a few suggestions to defend ourselves..  

"In the Shadow of the Sword" (2012) by Tom Holland about the rise of the Islam faith in the Mid East.

"The Russian Conumdrum" (2022) by Mikhail Khodorovsky focuses on Vladimir Putin, the autcrat controlling Russia.  Check

"And There was Light" (2022) Jon Meacham  A fairly comprehensive biography of Abraham Lincoln.     

"The Confidence Man" (2022) by Maggie Habeman.  The biography of Donald Trump from his beginnings to his latest treachery.


There were a few other books that I prefer not to mention.

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