I’m not sure what compelled me to start publishing the list of all the books I read in the year, but I’ve been doing it a couple of years in a row. Since three makes a trend, here’s my third annual list.
I gotta start with Homegoing. This is literally one of the best books I’ve read in a few years. It is super compelling, very touching, enthrallingly written and weaves a complex story in a very satisfying way.
Looking back at this list, some of the standouts were the truly excellent Half a Yellow Sun; Sea of Tranquility, which I finished and re-read almost immediately to better understand all the nuances (which I’d never done before); Finding the Mother Tree was something I’d been meaning to read for a while and it was beautifully written and an important subject; Namwayut was a book by Chief Robert Joseph, whom I’ve known a little for many years and found his telling of his story to be powerfully written and deeply moving.
VanBikes was written by my friend Colin, and I’m so proud of him for telling this story which he’s been working on for so many years—it came together beautifully. Run Towards the Danger has stayed with me and still feels very present. Invisible Boy was an amazing insight into a situation I know nothing about and is extremely compelling. Finally, I’ve been an Elvis Costello fan since I was a teenager, so I don’t know why it took me so long to read his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink. As I write this I’m about half-way through and am enjoying it a lot.
Here’s my list of books I read in 2022 in the order I read them:
- Indigenous Relations — Bob Joseph & Cynthia F. Joseph
- Under a White Sky — Elizabeth Kolbert
- Life in the City of Dirty Water — Clayton Thomas-Müller
- Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Factfulness — Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Oka Rosling
- Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi
- The 1619 Project — Nikole Hannah-Jones
- How the Word is Passed — Clint Smith
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — Mark Haddon
- The Sixth Extinction — Elizabeth Kolbert
- Caste — Isabel Wilkerson
- State of Terror — Hillary Clinton & Louise Penny
- Stolen Focus — Johann Hari
- Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
- How to be Perfect — Michael Schur
- Finding the Mother Tree — Suzanne Simard
- Americanah — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Comedians — Kliph Nesteroff
- Sing Backwards and Weep — Mark Lanegan
- Underground Airlines — Ben H. Winters
- Transcendent Kingdom — Yaa Gyasi
- Origin — Jennifer Raff
- Entangled Life — Merlin Sheldrake
- Big Lonely Doug — Harley Rustad
- Fundamentals — Frank Wilczek
- The Islander — Chris Blackwell
- Ragged Company — Richard Wagamese
- Paris 1919 — Margaret MacMillan
- Sea of Tranquility — Emily St. John Mandel
- Lonely Boy — Steve Jones
- Sea of Tranquility — Emily St. John Mandel (I had to read it again immediately to fully appreciate it)
- Vanishing Half — Brit Bennett
- The Glass Hotel — Emily St. John Mandel
- Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel
- Quiet — Susan Cain
- Subdivided — Jay Pitter & John Lorinc
- The Netanyahus —Joshua Cohen
- The Midnight Library — Matt Haig
- How to Be Animal — Melanie Challenger
- Nasty, Brutish, and Short — Scott Hershovitz
- Namwayut — Chief Robert Joseph
- The Last White Man — Mohsin Hamid
- Humble Pi — Matt Parker
- Monkey Beach — Eden Robinson
- Too Dumb for Democracy? — David Moscrop
- Vanbikes — Colin Stein
- Profiles in Ignorance — Andy Borowitz
- Run Towards the Danger — Sarah Polley
- True Reconciliation — Jody Wilson-Raybould
- Surrender — Bono
- Invisible Boy — Harrison Mooney
- Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink — Elvis Costello
I’m looking forward to all the books to read in 2023!
Before the pandemic, my family and I used to go to a lot of concerts. It was one of our favourite things to do as a family. I think I went to like 18 shows in 2019. My son Ivan, in particular is a huge music fan and musician, and so concerts have always been a big family activity. One of the most difficult restrictions for us over the last couple of years was the loss of seeing live music.
As I reflect on 2022, I thought I’d publish a list of concerts we saw this year. Almost all were really excellent. A few stand out. Godspeed You! Black Emperor was great mostly because it was the first live show we’d seen since Thundercat in February of 2020. That was special.
Midnight Oil was perhaps the very last band that I loved as a teenager who are still making music and touring to see live with my teenaged son — having seen Elvis Costello, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Bauhaus, David Byrne and Johnny Marr (and Morrissey, although I wish I hadn’t) with him over the last few years. It was a truly great show, and a privilege to see them again.
Seeing Dan Mangan is always such a treat! This show was rescheduled several times, and it felt complete to see him play live again.
Destroyer lives just down the street from us, and I got really into him during the pandemic without realizing he was a neighbour. Seeing him was very special because on one hand he’s just this guy I see around Strathcona, and on the other I have loved his music over the last couple of years. He put on a fantastic show.
CHVRCHES was stellar from start to finish, a really incredible show. Kraftwerk were a delight to see, sounded great and the 3D visuals were amazing.
But in the end, The Smile was hands down the best show I saw this year, and it was so fun to make a road trip down to Seattle with my son to check them out (they didn’t play Vancouver). An absolutely great last show to cap the year!
Here’s the full list of 2022 shows listed chronologically:
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- Beach House
- Dan Mangan
- Midnight Oil
- Animal Collective
- Stewart Copeland and VSO
- King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
- The Smile
As 2021 comes to a close, I wanted to share all the books I read this year. My habit of reading is one of the few things that has benefitted from all my time at home this year.
So here’s the list. This is in the order of how I read them, not how much I enjoyed them. There were so many good books, it’s hard to focus on just a few (and now that I look at them all, I must admit there’s one or two I don’t even remember reading).
As far as entertaining reads, I really enjoyed Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Project Hail Mary, The Soul of an Octopus, The Birth of Loud, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey.
Meaningful and powerful reads included Seven Fallen Feathers, Paying the Land, The Power, Gutter Child, Just Mercy, Five Little Indians, This One Looks Like a Boy, A Fine Balance, and Overstory.
In the end, not a bad list…
- Mediocre — Ijeoma Oluo
- How To Kill a City — PE Moskowitz
- Seven Fallen Feathers — Tanya Talaga
- Stories of Your Life — Ted Chiang
- Paying the Land — Joe Sacco
- Evicted — Matthew Desmond
- Exhalation — Ted Chiang
- Happy City — Charles Montgomery
- Sputnik Sweetheart — Haruki Murakami
- Do Better — Rachel Ricketts
- Good Lord Bird — James McBride
- 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act — Bob Joseph
- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
- The Power — Naomi Alderman
- Indigenomics — Carol Anne Hilton
- Born Standing Up — Steve Martin
- The Devil You Know — Charles Blow
- A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson
- All Our Relations — Tanya Talaga
- Watchmen — Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Peace and Good Order — Harold Johnson
- How To Write One Song — Jeff Tweedy
- Gutter Child — Jael Richardson
- The Body, A Guide For Occupants — Bill Bryson
- The Right To Be Cold — Sheila Watt-Cloutier
- Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls — David Sedaris
- Year Book — Seth Rogen
- Minor Feelings — Cathy Park Hong
- A Promised Land — Barack Obama
- Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
- The Day the World Stops Shopping — J.B. MacKinnon
- Power, A Users Guide — Julie Diamond
- Think Again — Adam Grant
- The Premonition — Michael Lewis
- DreadfulWater — Thomas King
- The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
- Willful Blindness — Sam Cooper
- Mission Economy — Mariana Mazzucato
- The Bomber Mafia — Malcolm Gladwell
- In Search of April Raintree — Beatrice Mosionier
- This Is Your Mind on Plants — Michael Pollan
- The Red Power Murders — Thomas King
- How to Change Your Mind — Michael Pollan
- Money — Jacob Goldstein
- Indian In the Cupboard — Jody Wilson-Raybould
- The Birth of Loud — Ian S. Port
- Winners Take All — Anand Giridharadas
- Just Mercy — Bryan Stevenson
- Five Little Indians — Michelle Good
- Bewilderment — Richard Powers
- Unreconciled — Jesse Wente
- This One Looks Like A Boy — Lorimer Shenher
- Dune — Frank Herbert
- You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey — Amber Ruffin
- Amusing Ourselves To Death — Neil Postman
- Lost Connections — Johann Hari
- Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut
- Birds Of All Feathers — Michael Bach
- A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
- Out of Office — Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
- Overstory — Richard Powers
In the middle of all that, I happily finished my first book and released it, which was definitely one of my highlights of the year.
I haven’t decided what I’ll start 2022 with – likely Indigenous Relations by Bob Joseph & Cynthia F. Joseph.
If you read something you loved in 2021, leave a comment below and let me know.
Happy New Year, all!
PS: Here’s my list from 2020.