Saturday, December 30, 2023

Books Read in 2023

 Reading is one of the joys of life and it helps to better understand a confusing world.  Fiction books help tell the truth by by lies.  Fiction books are said to develop empathy.


  "Finding Edward" (2022 by Sheila Murray was concerned with immigrants from Jamaica.  The author used parallel stories about 70 years apart.   When a draft was written there was a lot of discrimination against blacks which the author felt had not changed, but when the book was published she felt there was hope that things were changing.

 "Melting Pots and Tribal Enclaves" (2022) by Terry Morgan           check     

"The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida" (2022) by Shehan Karunatilaka.  Winner of the 2022 Booker Prize.  Set in war torn Sri Lanka.  Ghosts are the main characters with much meditations on life, war.

 "Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted" (2021) by Gary Barwin  Check

"Recessional" (1994) a rare second reading.  Perhaps looking at the natural progression of retirement.

"Do whatever they say or else" (1977) by Nobel literature winner.  Stream of consciousness by a teenage girl.

"The Oppenheimer Alternative" (2020) is listed under fiction, but has an amazing amount of actual history while using science fiction as a tool to make us THINK.  First read on new Kobo.  Check


 "State of Terror" (2021) Joint effort from Louise Penney and Hilary Clinton.  A political thriller with rich characterizations of Donald Trump  In my mind he was pictured as an egotistical maniac--in other words pretty close to reality. 

"Us Against You" (2017) by Fredrik Backman was the sequel to "Beartown" (2015) and the prequel to "Winners" (2022).  A very good read with the setting in a rural town in northern Sweden.   Check:







"Remember Me"  (2022) Charity Norman.  A sort of mystery from New Zealand.

 "A New Season" (2023) Terry Fallis.  An interesting romance starting with a grieving widower. Read more:

"The Outsider" (1942).  Albert Camus A man condemned because he didn't show remorse when it was expected

"Blood Lines" (2023) Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille.  A spy story with jurisdiction issues.  Hard to put down.  Reminded that Nelson DeMille auctions off character names for charities.





"Slouching Towards Utopia"  (2022) Until 1870 innovations raised global wealth, but not for individuals.  After 1870 we had a long growth period for more people until about 2010.   Check

 "The Next Civil War" (2022)  by Stephen Marche is a depressing read.  With the world beset by global problems, climate change, illegal invasions, pandemics, etc. America is split into antagonistic factions with little hope of resolving. 

"Homecoming" (2022) by Rana Foroohar outlines the global economy after the pandemic.  Some encouraging trends but also problems that need solving.  She offers lots of good ideas.

"While Time Remains" (2023) by Yeonmi Park.  Survived North Korea and sex slave in China.  Now in America she seems to favor right wing thinking. 

"The Road to Keringet" (2012)  Loaned to me by my sister Rebecca.  It hit home because a good part of that took place in my adopted home town including our local library.  A lot of psycho analysis.  Check

"The Shortest History of War" (2022) by Gwynne Dyer.  An important book that needs a bigger audience.  Our history has evolved to our current point when we have the ability to crash civilization.  If we can better understand our rational self interest there is hope, but it is likely to be a slow process, but we have taken some positive steps.  Check:

"Shopomania" (2022) Seemed to be set up in a whimsical pattern, but well thought out.  A lot of anecdotes about shopping.  At the end it is clear there must be a better way. Check:

"The Persuaders" (2022) by Anand Giridharadas.  More effective ways of dealing with the right wing supporters.





"The Ransomeware Hunting Team" (2022) explains the Ransomware phenomena 

"Untouchable  How Powerful People Get Away With It" (2023) by Elie Honig.  A former prosecutor explains how some people get away with crime.A big focus on Donald Trump and concern that the Department of Justice has delayed too long.  

"Biased" (2019) by Jennifer L. Eberhardt.  Lots of personal stories and scientific surveys to help better understand bias.  Done well.

 "The Edge of the Plain" (2022) It is all about borders something that is ingrained in us and then moves onto our future and how we need to change our thinking.

"Symphony for City of the Dead"  About the famous composer Shostakovich focusing on the Leningrad Seige.  (2015) by M. T. Anderson.  Check 

"Her Name is Margaret" (2023) by Denise Davy.  Denise is a reporter with the Hamilton Spectator who was able to interview dozens of relatives, helpers and friends of a homeless independent woman.  We are surrounded by the homeless.  check photo and link

"Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World" (2019) by David Epstein.  There has been a trend to specialize too often prompted by concerned parents.   We need specialists but we also need generalists who can connect a broad range of ideas.

"Peace by Chocolate" (2020) Immigrant from Syria comes to Antigonish, Nova Scotia and carries on the family tradition of chocolate.  Great Canadian success story.  Check

"The Hidden Wealth of Nations" (2015).  Points out how wealthy individuals and corporations are able to avoid taxes.  I believe the problem is still there, but progress has been made.

"Thinking in Bets" (2018) by Annie Duke.  All decisions are bets and you never have all the facts.  There is a trade off between skills and luck.  Luck is what you can't control.

"The Bill of Obligations"  (2023) by Richard Haass does not deny rights, but maintains they would be more effective if coupled with more conscious attention to obligations.  Check:

"Black Wave" (2020) by Kim Ghattas.  A good attempt to unravel the Mid-east history with a focus based after 1979.  An excellent quote explains the historian dilemma regarding what is the point.  From Soren Kierkegaard, "It is perfectly true...that life must be understood backwards.  But they forget the other proposition that it must be lived forward"

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