I’m writing about the books I read…

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:

  1. Indigenous Relations — Bob Joseph & Cynthia F. Joseph
  2. Under a White Sky — Elizabeth Kolbert
  3. Life in the City of Dirty Water — Clayton Thomas-Müller
  4. Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. Factfulness — Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Oka Rosling 
  6. Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi
  7. The 1619 Project — Nikole Hannah-Jones
  8. How the Word is Passed — Clint Smith
  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — Mark Haddon
  10. The Sixth Extinction — Elizabeth Kolbert
  11. Caste — Isabel Wilkerson
  12. State of Terror — Hillary Clinton & Louise Penny
  13. Stolen Focus — Johann Hari
  14. Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
  15. How to be Perfect — Michael Schur
  16. Finding the Mother Tree — Suzanne Simard
  17. Americanah — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  18. The Comedians — Kliph Nesteroff 
  19. Sing Backwards and Weep — Mark Lanegan
  20. Underground Airlines — Ben H. Winters
  21. Transcendent Kingdom — Yaa Gyasi 
  22. Origin — Jennifer Raff
  23. Entangled Life — Merlin Sheldrake 
  24. Big Lonely Doug — Harley Rustad 
  25. Fundamentals — Frank Wilczek
  26. The Islander — Chris Blackwell
  27. Ragged Company — Richard Wagamese
  28. Paris 1919 — Margaret MacMillan
  29. Sea of Tranquility — Emily St. John Mandel 
  30. Lonely Boy — Steve Jones
  31. Sea of Tranquility — Emily St. John Mandel (I had to read it again immediately to fully appreciate it)
  32. Vanishing Half — Brit Bennett 
  33. The Glass Hotel — Emily St. John Mandel 
  34. Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel
  35. Quiet — Susan Cain
  36. Subdivided — Jay Pitter & John Lorinc
  37. The Netanyahus —Joshua Cohen
  38. The Midnight Library — Matt Haig
  39. How to Be Animal — Melanie Challenger
  40. Nasty, Brutish, and Short — Scott Hershovitz
  41. Namwayut — Chief Robert Joseph
  42. The Last White Man — Mohsin Hamid
  43. Humble Pi — Matt Parker 
  44. Monkey Beach — Eden Robinson
  45. Too Dumb for Democracy? — David Moscrop
  46. Vanbikes — Colin Stein
  47. Profiles in Ignorance — Andy Borowitz
  48. Run Towards the Danger — Sarah Polley
  49. True Reconciliation — Jody Wilson-Raybould
  50. Surrender — Bono
  51. Invisible Boy — Harrison Mooney
  52. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink — Elvis Costello

I’m looking forward to all the books to read in 2023!

Concerts in 2022

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
  • Alt-J 
  • Beach House
  • Destroyer
  • Dan Mangan
  • Midnight Oil
  • Kraftwerk
  • Animal Collective 
  • Wilco
  • Stewart Copeland and VSO
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
  • The Smile

Books I read in 2021.

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…

  1. Mediocre — Ijeoma Oluo
  2. How To Kill a City — PE Moskowitz
  3. Seven Fallen Feathers —  Tanya Talaga
  4. Stories of Your Life — Ted Chiang
  5. Paying the Land — Joe Sacco
  6. Evicted — Matthew Desmond 
  7. Exhalation — Ted Chiang 
  8. Happy City — Charles Montgomery
  9. Sputnik Sweetheart — Haruki Murakami
  10. Do Better — Rachel Ricketts 
  11. Good Lord Bird — James McBride
  12. 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act — Bob Joseph
  13. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
  14. The Power — Naomi Alderman
  15. Indigenomics — Carol Anne Hilton
  16. Born Standing Up — Steve Martin 
  17. The Devil You Know — Charles Blow
  18. A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson
  19. All Our Relations — Tanya Talaga
  20. Watchmen — Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  21. Peace and Good Order — Harold Johnson
  22. How To Write One Song — Jeff Tweedy
  23. Gutter Child — Jael Richardson 
  24. The Body, A Guide For Occupants — Bill Bryson
  25. The Right To Be Cold — Sheila Watt-Cloutier
  26. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls — David Sedaris 
  27. Year Book — Seth Rogen 
  28. Minor Feelings — Cathy Park Hong 
  29. A Promised Land — Barack Obama
  30. Project Hail Mary — Andy Weir
  31. The Day the World Stops Shopping — J.B. MacKinnon
  32. Power, A Users Guide — Julie Diamond
  33. Think Again — Adam Grant
  34. The Premonition — Michael Lewis
  35. DreadfulWater — Thomas King
  36. The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
  37. Willful Blindness — Sam Cooper 
  38. Mission Economy — Mariana Mazzucato
  39. The Bomber Mafia — Malcolm Gladwell
  40. In Search of April Raintree — Beatrice Mosionier
  41. This Is Your Mind on Plants — Michael Pollan
  42. The Red Power Murders — Thomas King
  43. How to Change Your Mind — Michael Pollan
  44. Money — Jacob Goldstein 
  45. Indian In the Cupboard — Jody Wilson-Raybould 
  46. The Birth of Loud — Ian S. Port
  47. Winners Take All — Anand Giridharadas
  48. Just Mercy — Bryan Stevenson
  49. Five Little Indians — Michelle Good
  50. Bewilderment — Richard Powers
  51. Unreconciled — Jesse Wente
  52. This One Looks Like A Boy — Lorimer Shenher
  53. Dune — Frank Herbert
  54. You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey — Amber Ruffin 
  55. Amusing Ourselves To Death — Neil Postman
  56. Lost Connections — Johann Hari
  57. Slaughterhouse-Five — Kurt Vonnegut 
  58. Birds Of All Feathers — Michael Bach
  59. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
  60. Out of Office — Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
  61. 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.