I didn’t read much in proper book form during 2016. I would highlight Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly’s examination of the Western canon All Things Shining, J. A. Baker’s beautifully thorough observation of (of all things) hawks The Peregrine (so I guess I’m a member of the Werner Herzog Book Club now), and, as my hard sci-fi fix, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora. I’ve only recently started Richard Fariña’s picaresque Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me but, oboy, ain’t it a cool read.
Mostly, though, I’ve been carrying my Kobo Aura (an ereader which I do recommend) around and reading articles saved for later online. Here’s a list of those worth a mention:
On our anarcho-capitalist society:
- Four Futures, Jacobin Magazine;
- On Social Sadism, China Miéville;
- I Used to Be a Human Being (previously), Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine;
- The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority, Nicholas Nassim Taleb;
- Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives, Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing;
- Welcome to Airspace, The Verge;
- Go Pro, the Hyper Professionalization of the Emerging Artist, ArtNews;
- Why Professors Are Writing Crap That Nobody Reads, Intellectual Takeout;
- My Year in Startup Hell, Fortune;
- All LinkedIn with Nowhere to Go, The Baffler;
- Twenty-First Century Victorians, Jacobin Magazine;
- Fuck Work, Aeon;
- On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit, Judgment and Decision Making vol. 10, no. 6.
On art, film and media:
- The Ecstatic Truth (about Werner Herzog), The New Yorker;
- Never a Hippie, Always a Freak (about Frank Zappa), n + 1;
- Escaping Reality: the Iconography of Vaporwave, Bandcamp Daily;
- The Weird, Wonderful World of Subversive Garfield Spinoffs, The Awl.
On design and technology:
- H.264 is Magic, Sid Bala;
- A Hacker’s Guide to Bending the Universe, Backchannel;
- A Devil’s Dictionary of Educational Technology, Bryan Alexander;
- The First Roman Fonts, I Love Typography.
- Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful, Gabriel Weinberg;
- 39 Studies About Human Perception in 30 Minutes, Kennedy Elliott;
- How Should You Organize Your Closet? Exactly Like a Computer Organizes Its Memory, Wired.
In retrospect, quite a large proportion of articles are too 2016, weltschmerz and outrage inducing texts. Not that they aren’t thoughtful — or, should you disagree, representative of my particular filter bubble — but perhaps I should stop reading so disproportionally much about politics and economics. No good sleep lies that way.