Books I read in 2022

With so little time available and an abundance of books to read, I believe one of the most complex tasks is making choices. The presence of numerous good books makes it impossible to select the best ones. Therefore, I have decided that I will try to focus only on those books that have stood the test of time.

 In 2022 I managed to read only 15 books. I started with  Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China from James Fallows. I decided to read this book mostly because I had previously read another book of the same author (Looking at the sun, which was focused in Japan, and other Asian countries but China) and I learned a  lot about Asia.  Originally published in 2008, the book offers an educated description of China from the point of view of a western journalist. However I was a bit surprised when I saw a top review from a reader stating that the book is “pretty dated” for 2018. Well, I guess the person who wrote that comment also would consider Charles Dickens pretty dated because it does not convey an accurate description of today’s modern London. J. Fallows’ book was published in 2008 and gives an excellent account of China in 2008. 

The two books of Fallows above mentioned both are very good. I am giving three stars to “Postcards” just because I wanted to learn more about the cultural aspects of China. One good book I like to recommend to learn about Chinese culture is “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China” by Jung Chang.

Albert Camus is an author that for a long time I wanted to read and –although it is extremely distressing– I liked very much his novel “The Stranger“.

A thousand brains by Jeff Hawkings proposes that the basic unit for information  processing in the brain is the cortical column, which is made of about a hundred neurons. Entire areas of  the neocortex are made of collections of  cortical columns.

Token Economy by Shermin Voshmgir. The author is professor of economics at Vienna University. The book explains how a blockchain works and how cryptographic tokens can be used to advance the current framework of the internet to create automatic contracts to validate a variety of operations of trade and communication.

In Civilized to Death by Christopher Ryan the author argues against the Narrative of Perpetual Progress (NPP). Ryan uses several examples to show how science and technology have not really been beneficial to human society as a whole. As provocative and counterintuitive this might sound, the author states that a number of diseases, such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes among others,  did not exist in pre-technological societies.

My favorite book of 2022 –or series of books in this case– is The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg. I read the first three volumes in 2022 and the fourth book in January of 2023 and I have to say the whole story of Karl Nilsson and his family is phenomenal. 

One book that disappointed me was Klara and the Sun. I expected more from a Nobel prize winner. Story is too simplistic. A sun worshiping robot with human-like emotions and religious-like tendencies.

I have the feeling that in 2023 I will read awesome books too. I want to rediscover Dostoevsky once again and other classics as well. Also recently I have been interested in the frontier between philosophy and literature. Nietzsche once said that Dostoevsky was the only person who has ever taught him anything about psychology. This year I want to spend some time reading the works of both Nietzsche and Dostoevsky. I want to see if now is the right time for me to read The Gay Science and  The Brothers Karamazov. We will see.

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