2020 Reading List

Jan 01, 2021

I read fifty books this year. Anticipated it might be more due to the lockdown, but probably actually read less than normal during that period.

Top picks are below, and you can find the full list over at Goodreads.

Non-fiction

The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

Incredible journalism from an extremely committed author. Accounts of smuggling, trafficking, pirates, poaching, slavery, and more. Lot of things I didn’t really know about.

The Outlaw Ocean

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger

Really practical, short, got much more out of it than I thought I would. In particular, the worked examples were really effective.

If you are a teacher or a manager, instead of asking, “Are there any questions?” assume there are, and say, “Talk to your neighbor for sixty seconds and write down two questions.”

Sci-fi & Fantasty

Nexus by Ramez Naam

A trilogy set in the near future centered around a new nano-drug that enables people to link minds. Ticks all the boxes: cracking plot, realistic science, sets up many ethical dillemas and viewpoints, avoids annoying tropes.

Nexus

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Action packed fantasy heist duology. Witty and fun. (Bardugo also earned a mention in last year’s list with King of Scars.)

“It’s a terrible story,” said Matthias. “I doubt it’s true. It’s just what happens when you let men name the bridges.”

Blindsight by Peter Watts

I’ve never read anything like this, and I want more. Don’t want to spoil any of it. Mind opening.

“Still. There’s always a way to win.” “If I said that, you’d call it wishful thinking.” “If you said that, it would be. But I’m saying it, so it’s game theory.”

Literature

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Funny and poignant story of divorce. Not a combination I expected.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

A Polish murder mystery, I guess? Took a while to reel me in but couldn’t put it down by the end.

‘Would you like a cup of coffee?’ He flapped his hands. ‘I don’t drink coffee.’ Plainly, he wasn’t very bright. If he were, he’d have known that I wasn’t interested in his culinary likes and dislikes.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Bonus: TV

The Bureau by Éric Rochant

A French spy drama based on real accounts by former spies. Five whole seasons to enjoy! Jodie and I were hooked: watched two episodes a night consecutively for nearly a month.

The Bureau

Borgen by Adam Price

Danish political drama following a centrist politician becoming the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. The third season (which we’re only halfway through) feels a bit like an add-on, enjoyable but not quite at the same level was the first two.