Books I read in 2021

For the first time since 2012 I read more than 20 books in a single year, including novels by Nobel Prize winners Naguib Mahfouz (Palace Walk) and Doris Lessing (The Fifth Child). I am a slow reader and typically I can read only at night, but still I am excited with this little accomplishment.

If I had to choose the book I enjoyed the most in 2021 probably I would say Bukowski’s ‘Post Office’, just because of his brutal honesty and vivid stories. Also this year I read one of the most well-known novels ever –Dostoevski’s ‘Crime and Punishment’. This was a fantastic experience.

Among my favorite non-fiction books of this year are ‘The Age of the Vikings’ by Anders Winroth (Yale University, University of Oslo) and ‘The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurus’ by Stephen L. Brusatte (University of Edinburgh). The first book is a quite modern and detailed monograph of Viking culture based on the most recent archeological findings. My favorite part of this book is the section on the Gotland stone and others alike.  This particular one was made in the 7th century and is a fantastic piece of art showing warriors and a ship. The second book is also based on recent geological and paleontological studies. This book on dinosaurus is really well written and engaging.

Two books that somehow complement one another are ‘A natural history of the future’ and ‘Numbers don’t lie’. The first book tries to explain the fate of the Earth in the coming decades and the author argues that quite a lot of adjustments will be necessary to deal with climate change. The biological laws predict that the living environment of cities around the world will change, not necessarily for the best. A number of biological species and pests will find their prefered habitat in the warmer places of the future. The second book exposes the huge challenge of developing more environmentally friendly sources of energy. A challenge that our present society seems to be unable to address.

Also this year I started giving some recommendations on a selected number of songs to accompany my readings. I like all sorts of music but typically orchestral and jazz have a more meditative charm to focus on reading. Yes, I admit Wagner or Beethoven are exciting and full of energy, but for my reading time I would go with Philip Glass and Max Richter.

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