Jamie's Notes

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Favourite books from 2019

I read 37 books this year – average for me, and only possible because I have no hobbies or social life.

My top five books of the year were:

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
This book resonated with me because I harbour dreams of chucking everything in the bin, moving to a remote community and growing my own veg. Since I have no practical stills whatsoever I live the life vicariously through the writing of others. In this book, a family makes the move to remote Alaska and get much more than they planned for.

Kane and Abel, by Jeffrey Archer
It’s a tale of life, love, money and revenge; skillfully woven through generations of history. None of the characters are particularly likeable, but it was a solid book and an enjoyable read.

The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
I started reading this after watching a couple of episodes of the TV series. The book, as seems always the case, is much better than the dramatisation. It’s epic in scale, intelligent and tightly plotted. My least favourite of the trilogy, but it gets prize place because it led me on to the rest.

Tampa, by Alissa Nutting
No idea how I found this one. Celeste Price is young high school teacher with sexual proclivities for her students. It’s obscene, explicit and dark; but funny in a weird way. The protagonist is intensely scary and unpredictable. Very different from anything else that I read this year and I’m glad I read it. Can’t imagine that it was an easy sell to publishers though.

The Art of Noticing, by Rob Walker
What did we do when stood in a queue before we had mobile phones? Buggered if I can remember, but it was a long time ago. Rob Walker is on a mission to help us remember, with a book full of tips and activities designed to help us reconnect with the world around us. It includes activities like urban exploration, photo walks, taking the long way, and ‘Let a Stranger Lead you’ – where you follow a stranger around for a bit. I enjoyed that one, apart from the restraining order bit.

The full list of books from 2019 is here.

2019 in Numbers

Yeah, I could write some nice words about how my year has been, but instead I’m going to give you the cold, hard data:

  • 1,644,669 steps walked
  • 16,544 miles driven
  • 2,394 flights of steps climbed
  • 822 miles walked
  • 280 RSS feeds tracked (RSS is definitely not dead)
  • 136 bus journeys
  • 420 photos
  • 65 Geocaches found
  • 50 journal entries
  • 10 counties visited
  • 37 books read
  • 35 takeaway meals
  • 33 blog posts written
  • 7.3 pounds gained (correlated with number 12?)
  • 4 taxi journeys
  • 3 London Underground journeys
  • 0 countries visited

A Year of Reading: 2017

I don’t know how it happened but the stats don’t lie; I read more books last year than in any year since I started counting.

Books: Audiobooks: Pages:
48 3 24174

It’s tough to choose favorites in a year full of so many good books, but here’s a couple that stood out:

Favourite Fiction Book

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett

I like churches and I like history; so a book about a man who sets about to build the worlds greatest gothic cathedral in 12th century England is right up my street.

This is a huge book of over a thousand pages. The author has done his research too. He skilfully weaves fact and fiction so tightly that it’s difficult to separate them.

I knew the village an its inhabitants so well by the time the book came to a close that I felt a brief pang of grief. A brilliant book and one I will definitely return to.

Favourite Non-Fiction Book

Getting things Done, by David Allen

There’s been so much written about this book already that nothing can be gained by saying any more.

I’ve not managed to become an effective practitioner of GTD but I’m working at it, and the results so far have shown that it’s a goal worth pursuing.

Previous Years:

Year Books Audiobooks Pages Total
2016 36 8 20584 45
2015 34 14494 34
2014 42 18537 42
2013 31 12576 31
2012 29 10974 29