Books I read in 2022
When You Had Power – Susan Kaye Quinn
Watching the Clock (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations) – Christopher L. Bennett
Pharaohs of the Sun – Guy de la Bedoyere
Read in full:
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel – (also watched tv series)
Read this novel. No, really, you NEED to read this. ‘Survival is not sufficient’. A postapocalyptic novel centered on a few people surviving a pandemic does not sound like something you want to read in the peak of a Covid outbreak… but, it was. While the events of the pandemic were shockingly prescient, the journey of its protagonists was enthralling and uplifting. The novel is brilliantly structured and layered with cultural references, with theatre people and a graphic novel at the heart of the story. This book reminded me why art matters so much to me.
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig, read by Carey Mulligan
A lovely, affirming novel. Sure, a bit of a self-help, Hallmark ‘girl ditches dreams to marry the hometown guy’ vibe, but it was just what I needed. The sliding-doors premise is deftly handled, with a couple of interesting little – I don’t know the technical term for it – elements that knit the threads together in unexpected ways.
The Book of Two Ways – Jodi Picault: in print, and audiobook read by Patti Murin
Normally I’m not a fan of ‘data dump’ research-as-narrative but the Egyptology material in this was fascinating. Certainly there were some extended sections of exposition/explanation/navel-gazing that got a bit tedious and some of the family relationship elements were a bit heavy handed. The ending felt unsatisfying at first, though I can understand why the author made that choice. On the whole it was a very enjoyable novel and fueled my obsession with all things Ancient Egypt and archaeological.
The Doctor Who Sat for a Year, Brendan Kelly, read by the author
A lovely reflective journey about the author’s foray into meditation.
Severance – Ling Ma
Another plague novel, where the afflicted become zombie-like husks of their former selves, going through the motions of their daily routine. The protagonist was rather unlikeable at times, but the premise hooked me in. Despite some patches of overly-long flashback/memory narrative, the story was engaging. Was the ending satisfying? I’m not sure.
Hamlet, MacBeth – well, after reading Station 11, you must read Shakespeare.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin. Part of the Station-11 classic lit binge. Watched a TV adaptation, too.
Three Martini Afternoons at the Ritz
Read most of:
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – JRR Tolkein
Untamed – Gennon Doyle
Some good stuff: a wake-up to authenticity
Dedicated – Pete Davis
Some useful thoughts on focus.
Stuffocation – James Wallman
On middle-class excess consumption
(yeah, self-help, don’t @ me)
The Witch’s Daughter, Paula Braxton, Read by Marisa Calin
One of those stories I really wanted to like, with elements of modern cottagecore and historical fiction. I may pick it up in paperback where I can read at my own pace.
I didn’t enjoy this narrator’s voice. There are a lot of narrators like this who keep their voice artificially level at the end of sentences, which always seems weird to me, like a dash rather than a full stop, and makes the passage feel ‘breathless’.
There must be a dozen other audiobooks I started and ditched on account of the narration. My library did a platform migration so I don’t have the full list. Not that it matters: YMMV, as always. I expect others are not bothered, or they wouldn’t do it like this.
The Jane Austen Remedy – Ruth Wilson
There was a lot I liked about this, but despite the author’s working-class roots, it was somehow dripping with privilege that is denied most of us. Who can abandon their work and family to spend a year reading in a sweet cottage? Puh-leeez.
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
I loved Heinlein as a teen, but find him much harder to read these days. Maybe it’s the didactic, mildly misogynist tone?
Started and quickly abandoned:
Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel, read by several
-I don’t know if it was the writing of the characters or their characterisation by the voice actors but I just couldn’t care about them, and it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere I wanted to follow. Such a contrast from Station Eleven, which gripped me from the first page.
Wilbur Smith: River God
Abandoned from the first few pages. Florid writing and creepy mysogynist narrative about a young girl.
Pendragon, James Wilde, read by David Shaw-Parker
I’m keen for a good Roman Britain novel, but why are these things always so cliched? The gruff ex- or almost-ex Army mercenary protagonist, the drunk guy spilling beans, the snooty patrician, the urchin, the mysterious pagan, and there’s always a woman being abused. And look it’s probably a decent story. Maybe I’ll pick it up in paper form and try again.
The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos – Dominic Smith
I got a good way into this, and it had some interesting elements – I’m not sure why I didn’t persist with it. I think in part it just generally felt a bit bleak.
A large part of the reason I haven’t read much fiction is that I spend a chunk of most days with my head in a textbook. Finished my cybersecurity graduate certificate and my Masters of Education degree!
CompTIA Security+ SYO-501 – Prowse
Security in Computing – Pfleeger, Pfleeger, Margulies
File System Forensic Aalysis – Carrier
Real Digital Forensics – Jones, Bejtlich, Rose
Windows Forensic Analysis – Harlan Carvey
Guide to TCP/IP – Pyles, Carrell & Tittell
Plus all the random bits of sociology I read when teaching that subject. Ploughed through big chunks of Durkheim and Weber again, a bit of Martineau, and of course always spend a bit of time with Marx and Foucault.
The Lost Arabs – Omar Sakr
Selected Poems – Ai Qing
Selected works – Martial