It always feels unfair to only document my favourite books I read during a year that came out that year, so I’m also listing my favourite catchily-named-non-that-year books, as I did last year and the year before. This year my comments on each may have become a little more facetious, as the actual books got more heavy-going.
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor – The version I read was technically published this year, but seeing as it was published before it’s going here. This is Ovid for the modern day: a 90s LGBT culture shapeshifter story with a picaresque vibe.
The Arsonists by Max Frisch – Thanks to watching Philosophy Tube this year, I discovered not only works of philosophy, but also some more-modern-than-my-early-modern-degree plays, and this one had me sat up reading it in one go. In short, don’t play with fire.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – I live-tweeted my response to reading the book I had never read due to irrational dislike until the BBC adaptation tempted me to give it a go. On here because it was actually an enjoyable, if occasionally digressive, experience.
No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre – I said I’d got into 20th century plays (that aren’t just Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead).
The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus – Yes, really. Was it not a year for the absurd?
To Save Everything, Click Here by Evgeny Morozov – I keep recommending this or bringing up concepts from it to everyone so it has to go on here. Why finding tech solutions to everything isn’t always the answer.
Hello World by Hannah Fry – My year really was all existentialism or technology. Fry’s account of how algorithms shape our world and what we can do about it is engaging and deeply interesting. Plus it helped me shape some of the articles in our online Digital Wellbeing course.
Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield – Another one, I know. Each chapter is about a different technology and how it has or might change our world, and it is surprisingly possible to even understand the chapters on blockchain and cryptocurrency (mostly).