Category Archives: General

Favourite Books of 2023

While I wouldn’t call this year’s reading pace sedate, it definitely felt more relaxed, so that was great. Almost all the books I read this year were continuations of a series I had already started. The challenge with reading book 3 or 4 of whatever, is it’s often been years since I started the series and I can’t remember anything that happened. The price of reading a book or 2 a week on average I guess. My solution this year was to reread all the previous books in the series before reading the new one, which really helped in the “picking a new book” department. I also decided to go back and reread a few of my favorite books from the past, which I really enjoyed.

Sci-fi books continue to be a big genre for me. I read Wool by Hugh Howey, which was made into an AppleTV+ series called Silo, as well as “newer” science fiction titles from Emily St. John Mandel (a Canadian!) and Christopher Paolini’s 2020 award winning To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. The follow up book, Fractal Noise, was not as good. I reread Martha Wells Murderbot series but was disappointed with the new addition, System Collapse. Amazon did two original series of sci-fi shorts: a third installment of The Dispatcher series, which I really liked, and then the more traditional offering called The Far Reaches collection. How It Unfolds and Slow Time Between the Stars were very good. Sadly, I’m still eagerly waiting Dune part 2.

I read Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. I liked season one of the Amazon series “Reacher” and have already started in on season 2. I saw Christoper Nolan’s, Oppenheimer. Interesting. I thought it was well done. Long, probably spent too much time on the interviews that ended in his security clearance being revoked but still good.

No real blockbusters I was looking forward to this year, although new books from Dennis E. Taylor, Jason Kasper, Andrew Mayne, and Jeremy Robinson, who wrapped up his crazy 15 novel crossover thingy, were all good. If there was a disappointment this year it would probably be James Rollins’ Tides of Fire. I just wasn’t interested in the science behind this novel (although it’s been in the news a fair bit) as much as prior novels and the “Sigma Force” spark seems to be dwindling. The Bobiverse books continue to be my go to, feel good books and I read (all!) of them a lot this year. I have to say, book 4, Heaven’s River, is growing on me.

I spent some time updating my book database app. It’s an iPhone app that drives all the data you see on the Books page. I added each book’s comment section to the data stored, which has been invaluable for “remembering” what books were about. I also converted its backend storage to SwiftData, a new database framework from Apple. I still save json files, as one of those is read by custom php to produce the Books page.

Okay, my favourite books of 2023. Like last year, I wouldn’t really put any of these books ahead of the other, they are all about the same. I thought Emily St. John Mandel’s trilogy, Station Eleven (now an Amazon series, which I have not watched), The Glass Hotel, and Sea of Tranquility were great. My only regret is that I read Sea of Tranquility first, as it is the closest to science fiction and it was on Obama’s 2022 best books list. They were definitely more “literary” than I usually read but they were great and I loved the Canadiana. If you plan to read them, please read them in order! Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry was fantastic. Of course, it’s also been made into a TV series (on AppleTV+). This seems to be true of so many books now.

There you have it. I hope 2024 is filled with exciting new books for everyone out there.

Favourite Books of 2022

After last year, I wanted to slow my reading progress and hopefully find more joy in it, rather feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Of course, that’s not really how it turned out. For whatever reason, I flew through quite a few books early in the year and things just went from there.

Like last year, I read a lot of series, so that helps to really stack up the number, and for the most part, I enjoyed them. It does make picking “favourite” books harder though, as you can’t really pick one book from a series as a favourite. I suppose I could pick a series, like I did last year but…

I read a few “classic” sci-fi books this year in Dune and The Peripheral. Interestingly, both have found their way onto a screen, one as (finally!) a very good movie and the other as an Amazon Prime series. The finale of The Peripheral Amazon series was way out there, so while I’m somewhat interested to see where they go with it, I’m not as invested as I was early on. Eagerly waiting Dune part 2.

No real blockbusters I was looking forward to this year, although new books from James Rollins, Steven Konkoly, Jeremy Robinson, and Andrew Mayne were all good. If there was a disappointment among this year’s reads, I would have to say it was Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’ve really like some of his earlier work, and while this one was “okay”, it just felt too “both sides ism” for me.

I didn’t read Dennis E. Taylor’s new singleton book, Roadkill? I don’t even know the title, yikes! Bobiverse books 1-3 were still strongly represented though. I’ve even started to write a few posts about the books, trying to explain some of the science. The other thing you may notice is the Pinterest widget/embeds are now gone, replaced by something I coded myself. The Books page now shows all books read every year (instead of only the last 50) and the covers conveniently like to their Amazon Kindle page.

Okay, my favourite books of 2022. Despite being the much smaller percentage of my reading volume, non-fiction titles continue to dominate. I wouldn’t really put any of these books ahead of the other, they are all about the same. The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko was fantastic. It had an unfair advantage as one of the trips I took this year was rafting the Colorado, so this book was such a great setup for that. American Prometheus, by Kai Bird was also great. A bit detailed at times but a very interesting perspective on Oppy. Christoper Nolan is making a movie, Oppenheimer, based on this book, really interested to see how that turns out. Also interesting that Oppenheimer was finally “cleared” of all wrongdoing and/or suspicion this year and issued an apology for his treatment and the stripping of his security clearance in 1954. Finally, Blake Crouch continues to impress, this year with Upgrade. Interesting idea and very interesting perspective.

There you have it. I really don’t want to read over 100 books again next year, I need to savior them, and hopefully remember more of them, although that is probably asking too much. May all your reading dreams for 2023 come true.

Favourite Books of 2021

While 2021 was another sucky year with respect to all that’s happening in the world, it will definitely go down as my all-time book reading record, with well over 100 books read this year.

Sadly, the Pinterest widget only displays the last 50 pins in a board, so you’ll see less than half the books I read but it’s the only easy option for now.

I powered through quite a few series this year, which is one of the reasons for the high book count. Not having to think about/find the next book to read is a big deal when you are reading 2-3 books a week.

Many of the series were entertaining and I definitely recall wanting to “get back” to them to see what happened next. Having said that, when I think back over the year, only one series really stood out as a favourite. Singletons continue to dominate my favourites.

Like last year, this year’s big disappointment was a highly anticipated book, Infinite 2, by Jeremy Robinson. Infinite was one of my favourite books in 2019 and I reread it in preparation for the sequel. Unfortunately, Infinite 2 just didn’t work for me. The fact that I can barely remember the plot line as I type this speaks volumes. Also like previous years, I continue to reread the Bobiverse books, albeit only books 1 through 3. They never get old.

Okay, here are my favourites from 2021. Andy Weir continues to be one of my favourite authors and while Artemis was good, The Martian, and this year’s addition, Project Hail Mary, were GREAT! Walter Isaacson also continues to be one of my favourite authors, his biographies are amazing and The Code Breaker, which features the story of Jennifer Doudna, is no exception. The bulk of the book was written before it was known that she would share the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on gene editing and CRISPR. Finally, the series I was most excited about this year was “Season 2” of Dean Koontz’s Nameless. Season 2 was a fitting conclusion to what was an excellent Season 1. I think it would have been very interesting if Koontz had decided to write this as a full novel as opposed to a bunch of short stories but the result is still great.

I hope you had a great reading year and I’m looking forward to 2022, with lots of releases already on the calendar.

Favourite Books of 2020

2020 was another good reading year for me with 64 books read. While this post comes late, better late than never in some cases.

It was challenging to choose 3 favourites from the past year. While there were many good books, not as many stood out strongly as they had the year before. Possibly the biggest disappoint was the release of the much anticipated Bobiverse Book 4, “Heaven’s River” by Dennis E Taylor. The first 3 Bobiverse books continue to be my all time favourites and I reread them frequently. Sadly, Book 4, while I understand the evolution of the narrative, took a completely different path from the previous 3 and went far more dystopian. The Bobiverse has always been an uplifting, escape for me and Book 4 was definitely not. In fact, I recently reread the series but only the first 3 books, excluding the 4th.

Enough chatter, here are my 3 favorites from 2020. The most interesting aspect of these picks is they are all non fiction, which makes up a small percentage of the books I read each year.

Favourite Books of 2019

Ah, one of those dreaded “best of” posts. As you can see from my Books page, I managed to read/listen to 71 books this year. Granted, several of them were short stories or novellas, but still, a new record for me! Given this new PR, I thought I would post my 3 favourite books from this year.

While many were good or very good, and a few terrible, these 3 make my best of list because they had super characters, great storylines, and unique twists and turns that kept me thinking about these books long after I finished reading them. All three of these fit into the hard science fiction genre, which is one of my favourites in addition to non-fiction science books.