Monthly Archives: December 2013

Reading List 2013

After skipping a couple of years, in 2012 I once again started to record a summary of the books I had read over the previous twelve months, using my handy Goodreads account (not that I ever use the site for anything else).

Looking back, this year seems a paltry amount compared to last, although I suppose the fact that I undertook a literature history course in 2012 skewed the results somewhat. I’m not going to bother splitting the fiction list up into fiction/fantasy this time due to the shortness of the list; any links are to my reviews blog.

Fiction

  • Ed the Happy Clown (Chester Brown)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Apocalypse Nerd (Peter Bagge)
  • Player One (Douglas Coupland)
  • The Dispossessed (Ursula Le Guin)
  • Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
  • The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
  • Speaker for the Dead (Orson Scott Card)
  • The Shambling Guide to New York City (Mur Lafferty)
  • A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien)
  • Sweet Tooth (Ian McEwan)
  • The Bloody Red Baron (Kim Newman)
  • Mentor (Tom Grimes)
  • Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
  • Stoner (John Williams)
  • Redshirts (John Scalzi)
  • Bring Up The Bodies (Hilary Mantel)

As per usual the start of the year was dominated by Christmas presents, including a set of three Hemingway novels; I greatly enjoyed A Farewell To Arms, and still have For Whom The Bell Tolls to read next year. I also finally read Ender’s Game, just in time to not bother going to see the movie, and finished the year with Hilary Mantel’s pair of Booker prize-winning novels about Thomas Cromwell.

Non-fiction

  • Don’t Forget To Write (Pam Hobbs)
  • Getting Things Done (David Allen)
  • The Stranger’s Long Neck (Gerry McGovern)
  • The Naked Jape (Jimmy Carr, Lucy Greeves)

This list is a bit of a fib to be honest, since I finally finished the first two books which had been in a partially-read state for years. The one book I read for work, The Stranger’s Long Neck, was thought-provoking for anyone involved in UX.

Highlights

Out of the 23 books I managed to read, I think I’d have to put the pair of Mantel novels near the top of the pile. Despite their provocatively misleading style, they are beautifully written. Stoner is the other book I would recommend anyone pick up if they haven’t read it (and it seems to be one of those “best book you’ve never read” kind of hidden gems).

What I Listened To In 2013

I’ve been writing this yearly overview of what I’ve been listening to for several years. And yet, despite feeling that I am discovering new music every year, the top few bands somehow remain the same. This year seems particularly bland and uninspired, with hardly anything new in the list. Maybe Spotify has made me complacent about listening to new music; despite feeling that I’m experiencing more different music than ever before, it’s all an illusion.

Top 10 Artists listened to in 2013

  1. Metric
  2. Ginger Wildheart
  3. The Wildhearts
  4. Hey! Hello!
  5. Pearl Jam
  6. Young The Giant
  7. The Joy Formidable
  8. Guns N’ Roses
  9. The New Pornographers
  10. David Bowie

Comparing this year’s top ten artists to last year’s list, the top three remain the same, albeit in a different order, and two more entries from 2012 are still in my top ten. I don’t even remember listening to that much GN’R or New Pornos over the last twelve months, yet somehow they still manage to wind up near the top of the list year after year.

Top 10 Albums listened to in 2013

  1.  Synthetica – Metric
  2. Young The Giant – Young The Giant
  3. Hey! Hello! - Hey! Hello!
  4. The Big Roar – The Joy Formidable
  5. The Very Best of Ella Fitzgerald
  6. Tricks for Dawn – Mary Lorson
  7. 555% – Ginger Wildheart
  8. Copper Blue – Sugar
  9. Black Pudding – Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood
  10. Fantasies – Metric / Spilling Blood – Oceanographer

Now this list of the top albums I listened to is at least a little more interesting and varied than the artists list.

I discovered Metric towards the end of last year, and I’ve spent a lot of time listening to their back catalogue, particularly 2012′s Synthetica. This year I also finally listened to Sugar’s excellent debut, Copper Blue, 20 years after everyone else in my generation. A single album that was actually released in 2013 sneaks in, in the form of ex-Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan’s collaboration with Duke Garwood. And I spent quite a while listening to the various excellent projects produced by ex-Madder Rose singer, Mary Lorson.

Track of the Year

According to Last.fm the track I listened to the most over the last year was actually Massive Attack’s Teardrop. But a close second was this standout track from my #1 album – Breathing Underwater by Metric: