At the end of each year, I list the books that I have read during that year. Earlier years were 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. Below, you will find the list of books that I’ve read in 2022. Every year I also include an overview of my other media consumption habits (magazines, RSS feeds, podcasts, etc.).
This year, I managed to read 55 books for a total of 13,085 pages. This is about one and a half times as many books and nearly 70% more pages than last year.
A little over 30% of the books that I’ve read were written by women. About a third of the books that I’ve read had authors that were born in the US or the UK, a third were from Dutch or Belgian writers, and a third came from the rest of the world. This is the same as last year.
I’ve ordered the list of books into categories that make sense to me (and that are in many ways overlapping and arbitrary). These are the books that I’ve read and what I thought of some of them:
My reading challenge
This year, I started a new thing: my personal yearly reading challenge. Basically, I’ve tasked myself with reading a bunch of prize-winning books, mostly fiction. I was supposed to read these 18 books, and managed to read 12 of them (I had already read one of the 18 in 2021). The challenge worked, as these books have given me a tremendous amount of reading pleasure. Galgut’s Booker Prize winning book was the best thing I’ve read in a long while. Sheldrake wrote a fascinating book about fungi. Koolwijk shows that the Dutch have a great tradition of writing for children. Grunberg blew my mind, and I could see why Gurnah has won the Nobel Prize for literature.
- Merlin Sheldrake — Entangled Life (link)
- Damon Galgut — The Promise (link)
- Pieter Koolwijk — Gozert (link)
- Arnon Grunberg — Tirza (link)
- Abdulrazak Gurnah — Admiring Silence (link)
- Caro van Thuyne — Lijn van wee en wens (link)
- Richard Powers — Bewilderment (link)
- Nadifa Mohamed — The Fortune Men (link)
- David Diop — At Night All Blood is Black (link)
- Jeroen Brouwers — Cliënt E. Busken (link)
- Anuk Arudpragasam — A Passage North (link)
- Patricia Lockwood — No One Is Talking About This (link)
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The book club read six books in the tenth year of its existence. MacAskill’s book led to the most discussion and the best conversation, but I thought it was disgusting. Luyendijk was an easy read that led to a good chat too. Higgins was interesting enough, Tarnoff has some sharp analysis about what is wrong with the internet, and Klein was too focused on the US (which I’ve lost interest in for the most part). Bridle wrote a poetic book that is worth your time.
- Joris Luyendijk — De zeven vinkjes (link)
- Eliot Higgins — We Are Bellingcat An Intelligence Agency for the People (link)
- Ben Tarnoff — Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future (link)
- James Bridle — Ways of Being (link)
- Ezra Klein — Why We’re Polarized (link)
- William MacAskill — What We Owe the Future (link)
Digital rights and technology
My friend Ot wrote a PhD thesis that is one of the best written that I’ve encountered thus far. I enjoyed Stikker’s book mainly for its alternative history of the internet (in the Netherlands). Rasch wrote an interesting long essay about autonomy in our technological predicament. I’ve added Eggers to this category, because as fiction is was terrible, but it does have some redeeming features as tech criticism.
- Ot van Daalen — Making and Breaking with Science and Conscience (link)
- Marleen Stikker — Het internet is stuk, maar we kunnen het repareren (link)
- Miriam Rasch — Autonomie, een zelfhulpgids (link)
- Dave Eggers — The Every (link)
Traveling for two weeks through Lebanon made me want to understand the country better. Fisk wrote an incredible journalistic masterpiece about the civil war. Hage’s fiction about the same topic was haunting, and so was Folman’s graphic novel.
- Robert Fisk — Pity the Nation (link)
- Rawi Hage — De Niro’s Game (link)
- Ari Folman — Waltz with Bashir (link)
I look forward to reading the third part of Sattouf’s coming of age story. Powers has fundamentally changed the way I look at trees. Ait Hamou and Geißler were not really worth the effort. D.B.C. Pierre’s book was a tough read, but he is clearly onto something about our social media infused world.
- Riad Sattouf — The Arab of the Future 2 (link)
- Richard Powers — The Overstory (link)
- Simone Atangana Bekono — Confrontaties (link)
- Ish Ait Hamou — Het moois dat we delen (link)
- Heike Geißler — Seizoenarbeid (link)
- Pierre, D. B. C. — Meanwhile in Dopamine City (link)
Both books by Van Leeuwen were fabulous (as ever). Samson’s book was a very funny look at primary school life. Hoogweg’s book was a visual fest, and so was El Hariri’s. Dr. Seuss is a master with words, but the racism is bit hard to take.
- Joke van Leeuwen — Ik heet Reinier en ons huis is afgebrand (link)
- Joke van Leeuwen — Nu is later vroeger (link)
- Gideon Samson — Zeb. (link)
- Pauline Hoogweg — De wereld maakt een koprol met Baz en Konijn (link)
- Rafik El Hariri — Indigo (link)
- Dr. Seuss — The Complete Cat in the Hat (link)
Sports and games
It was fun to read Hattersley’s older book about backgammon (from before a computer could check whether a strategy was the correct one), and I enjoyed Woods’ mix of practical golf advice and personal anecdotes.
Both Laing and Hartman are incredible writers and I very much enjoyed their books. Van der Kolk has given me a completely new perspective on trauma, and Ai Weiwei has done the same but then about China in the 20th century. The best designed book that I read this year was the one by Cheshire and Uberti: gorgeous maps. Klinenberg taught me the essential concept of social infrastructure. Rovers attempt at democratic renewal was well written and thought provoking.
- Olivia Laing — The Lonely City : Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (link)
- Saidiya Hartman — Lose Your Mother (link)
- Bessel van der Kolk — The Body Keeps the Score (link)
- Ai Weiwei — 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows (link)
- James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti — Atlas of the Invisible (link)
- Audre Lorde — The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House (link)
- Zineb El Rhazoui — Vernietig het islamitisch fascisme (link)
- Alberto Cairo — How Charts Lie (link)
- Oliver Burkeman — Four Thousand Weeks (link)
- Eva Rovers — Nu is het aan ons (link)
- Stephen Wildish — How to Adult (link)
- Eric Klinenberg — Palaces for the People (link)
- Jelle Brandt Corstius — Universele reisgids voor moeilijke landen (link)
- Dipsaus — De goede immigrant (link)
- Gillian Snoxall — Better Eyesight for Busy People (link)
- Trine Falbe and Kim Andersen, Martin Michael Frederiksen — The Ethical Design Handbook (link)
My consumption of other media
I am a subscriber to the following media: Parool, Economist, New York Review of Books, De Correspondent, Follow the Money, De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland, Logic, and OneWorld. I methodically page through them (refusing to look at any recommendation algorithm, like ‘most read’) and tag what I want to read. I then try to get to that, but usually have to let some articles drop by the wayside. I use my digital Economist subscription only to get a daily update via the Espresso app, I don’t go through the whole magazine as that is too time consuming. I should really read more of their things, maybe their audio queuing system in the app can help with that.
Since this year, I’ve become a member of the Algemene Onderwijs Bond (a union for educators), the Woonbond (a union for people who rent a house), de Bond van Volkstuinders (a union for people with or wanting to have an allotment), and of Nivon. All of them have magazines to browse through, which I do.
I strongly prefer to keep up to date through RSS instead of through email newsletters. Substack can be read via RSS, but I can’t fully escape email and read the newsletters I get from Priya Parker and for the local neighbourhood I live in. Every morning I receive the ANP press service newsletter aimed at journalists, giving me an update about what has happened and what will happen during the day. My favourite curators still are Cory Doctorow (although I nowadays skim rather than read him) and Stephen Downes. Both provide me daily with interesting links (thankfully via RSS).
Authors I follow via RSS include Kashmir Hill, Zeynep Tufekci, Bert Hubert, Evgeny Morozov, Jaap-Henk Hoepman, Karin Spaink, Ben Thompson, Linda Duits, Maciej Cegłowski (he hasn’t posted in a while), Ian Bogost, Harold Jarche, Rineke van Daalen, Aral Balkan, Cennydd Bowles, James Bridle, Ernst-Jan Pfauth, Axel Arnbak, Matthew Green, Yasmin Nair, and Bruce Schneier. Organizations and blogs I follow include Colossal, The Hmm, Bits of Freedom, EDRi, Digital Freedom Fund, Controle Alt Delete, Bij Nader Inzien, XKCD, EFF, Algemene Onderwijs Bond, Lilith, The Black Archives, Stop Blackface, and Stichting Nederland Wordt Beter. I keep up to date with technology news through Guardian Tech, MIT Technology Review, Rest of World, The Markup, and Tweakers. The only two Twitter accounts that I check regularly are the ones from Alexander Klöpping and Nadia Ezzeroili.
Using Pocket Cast, I still listen to all new episodes of Napleiten, De Rudi en Freddie Show, Radio Rechtsstaat (although they seem to be on a break) and (forever) This American Life. New on the must listen list are the Bits of Freedom podcast, Stuurloos, Vos en Lommer, Voordat de bom valt, Against the Rules, and most of Ezra Klein’s episodes. I am slowly catching up to the full backlog of the Vogelspotcast. Podimo has entered the market and I don’t want to use their app, so I lost touch with Een Podcast over Media and with Dipsaus.
When an episode looks appealing I will listen to Lex Bohlmeier’s interviews for De Correspondent, Cyberhelden, Cautionary Tales, Docs, Freakonomics, Philosophy Books, Philosophical Disquisitions, The Nextcloud podcast, Philosophy 24/7, Philosophy Bites, Planet Money, and The Tim Ferris Show (barely ever). I seem to have given up on 99% Invisible, RadioLab and Esther Perel. I am also way behind in Ear Hustle. I intend to listen to most of Conversations with Tyler episodes in the coming year.
There were a few one-off podcasting series that I listened to this year. Mother Country Radicals (great!), The Missing Crypto Queen, Rampvlucht, Dit kan geen toeval zijn, and the two podcasts about Rian van Rijbroek: Achter gesloten deuren and In de ban van Rian. Still queued up are Can I tell you a secret?, Wild boys, Het geheim van Rijswijk, and De zaak Ramadan.
What will I be reading in 2023?
I will try to fully complete my personal reading challenge for 2023. That will be these nineteen books. Next to that, I want to read a few books that are on the topic of (the morality) of work: The Refusal of Work, Werk is geen oplossing, and Automation and Utopia.