2023 in Books: January & February Update.

So far this year, I have only finished six books. Not too bad for around 8 weeks, but still less than I had hoped. However, at least they have been a diverse set of books, with one that really altered my view of the world.

This book is a contender for best cover of the year; I just love it.

Indeed, changing my view is an apt term, as the book in question, “An Immense World” by Ed Yong, is all about animal senses, and how the creatures we share this world with have vastly different experiences of what it means to view the world. This book really helped me to appreciate the fact that how we see the world is not the only way. I mean, I always knew that animals had different senses, but never fully appreciated how fundamentally foreign this made their view of the world. Plus, I learned the term “umwelt,” and it’s always cool to find a new German word for a concept that you never knew existed.

Then I added in a couple of relaxing fiction books to the fold: the first two entries in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series. Well, as relaxing as murder mysteries can be. Actually, this was another interesting foray into different points-of-view, as I quite liked reading about protagonists who were nearing the ends of their lives, and how this change in perspective affected the motivations of characters and flow of storylines.

That’s an Americana in case you were wondering.

“Spare” by Prince Harry was a revealing look into modern royalty. I had never bothered much with the scandal and tabloid stories regarding the royal family, and mostly kept my royal watching to the big events (weddings, funerals, and jubilees). But being as Harry is my age, I was keen to hear his side of things. And basically, it’s what I expected. The institution of the British Royal family is clearly one not well-suited to providing a sound mental health support to a growing man, especially one who had his mother taken from him in such a jarring way.

“Courage is Calling” by Ryan Holiday is exactly what you would expect it to be if you have read any of his other works centred around the stoic way of life. I like picking up these books as he dutifully churns them out, to help guide my thinking in approaching everyday life. So many philosophies can seem academic or separated from daily life, but stoicism always seemed the most practical and applicable.

A bonus appearance by Saskatoon, who wasn’t quite enthusiastic about me reading instead of paying attention to her.

And lastly, “First Steps” by Jeremy DeSilva, a fascinating book detailing the unique nature of human bipedalism, how it evolved, and how much of the way our species came to develop and dominate the globe was impacted by the strange journey we took moving around on two feet. What’s more, this book was given to me by my son for Christmas, and I was thoroughly impressed at how well-suited it was to my tastes, and yet how it had up until then flown under my radar (which is usually so adept at finding books I want to buy).

Anyhow, that’s my recap on 2023’s books so far; looking forward to this month’s selections.


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