Books Read in January

A great way to start the year. I’m in Chennai and had nothing to do except read.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

This is my first Austen. I tried to place close attention to the conversations and motivations of the characters, and imagine how a less skilled author would have done the same thing.

The Witcher Series, by Andrzej Sapkowski

  • The Lady of the Lake
  • Season of Storms

With these two, I’ve now read all the Witcher books. The Lady of the Lake was quite exquisite. The entire series was leading up to this one as all the stories converge to a set of brutal, poignant and unpredictable set of events. Highly recommended.

The Season of Storms is an unrelated prequel that can be read by itself but has some spoilers about events in the last book.

Ilium, Dan Simmons

It’s the Iliad, but with post-human Shakespeare-reading robots, meddling ‘gods’ and a human society that has lost all knowledge of its past. If that sounded fun, this book is for you. I tried to go in blind and enjoyed this. Unfortunately the story doesn’t end here and there’s one more book that continues (and hopefully concludes) things.

Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre

A gloomy book about a lonely writer pondering his existence. Quite nice.

Books Read in December

Not the best month: I started Ian Stewart’s Does God Play Dice and abandoned it because it required a greater commitment of effort than I was able to give.

I’m also midway through a couple of other books but have not finished either of them yet.

I did finish an audiobook called The Art of Reading from The Great Courses. It has inspired me to tackle books that I previously considered too hard. So, I expect the quantity of books read to be lesser from now, but hopefully the quality is higher.

Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson

A slim book, what I liked most was how the times and place were brought to life.

Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman

A ‘productivity’ book from someone who embraced productivity tools, got burned out, and tries to give some perspective on things that matter more than trying to make the most of every minute.

Books read in November

Axiomatic, by Greg Egan

A short story collection from one of my favourite hard-sci-fi writers. Excellent as always.

The Witcher series (continued), by Andrzej Sapkowski

  • Baptism of Fire
  • The Tower of the Swallow

Things are getting interesting now, with the Witcher assembling a rag-tag party to search for Ciri.

Indica, by Pranay Lal

I’ve longed to get a book like this: a natural history of India. The photos and illustrations are quite beautiful.

Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I wanted a bit of epic science fiction, and this is my first foray into this author’s books. It is quite nice. Humanity and a bunch of aliens face up to a fearsome race of planet-destroying ‘Architects’.

Books read in October

The Witcher series, by Andrzej Sapkowski

  • The Last Wish
  • Sword of Destiny
  • Blood of Elves
  • Time of Contempt

I got the entire Witcher series as an ebook collection, and was hooked right from the start. These books gave me a break from the usual boring TV shows. The first two were quite nice, as they were more of short-story collections. I have another four to go but plan to mix it up a bit next month.

Books read in August

The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Cambell

A beautiful synthesis of several major world myths. If you like going down the TV Tropes rabbit hole, this is for you.

Civilization, by Niall Ferguson

I suppose I’m not enough of an expert to comment, but the tendency to pigeon-hole vast swathes of history into a few fixed theories seemed too forced to me.

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

I read the Penguin edition as part of a collection called Four Tragedies. The annotations are quite extensive and extremely useful to new readers. That apart, it’s Shakespeare, of course it’s great.