A quick end-of-year retrospective, with selected media I consumed (and enjoyed) throughout the year. This is not limited to things that were published this year. Overall, another year in which I hardly listened to any new music – probably just Kanye?, but I managed to squeeze in a decent amount of books and games.
- The Floating Opera, John Barth.
- Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons (re-read). Top notch sci-fi, especially the first one with its Decameron/Chaucer-style narration.
- Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card. As I write this, I’ve just realized there’s a interesting parallelism between the Ender’s piggies and the cruciform people of the priest’s tale in Hyperion, silent in their inscrutable ways.
- A Judgment in Stone, Ruth Rendell. “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.”
- Limonov, Emmanuel Carrère. He’s a great pen for sure. I wasn’t overly fascinated by the subject.
- Good Omens, Terry Pratchett
- Eureka Street, Robert Wilson McLiam
- Second Hand, Michael Zadoorian
The biggest letdown of the year was Fall; or, Dodge in hell, latest novel by Neal Stephenson, that really tested my perseverance.
- Portugal, Cyril Pedrosa
- El Eternauta, Héctor Germán Oesterheld
- Patience, Daniel Clowes
La Republique du catch, Nicolas de Crécy
- How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg.
- Infinite Powers, Steven Strogatz.
Both are good, but I found Ellenberg’s work way more interesting for my taste; more fun anectodes and curiosities, more ecletic.
Around technical books, I really liked Fluent Python by Luciano Ramalho, that became my reference for the language; skimmed through Data Science from Scratch by Joel Grus – I like the guy and his quirky takes, but I wouldn’t recommend the book; read Deep Learning with Python by François Chollet, which can be a good practical intro for newcomers (but not much more).
- Disco Elysium. Dialogue-driven RPG with exceptional writing.
- Subnautica. Lone survivor of a spaceship wreck, stranded on a planet covered by water where you can literally lose yourself. This game never ceased to amaze me, from start to finish.
- Elsinore. Find your own way out of the Danish tragedy using rumours and gossip.
- Into the breach. Delightfully quick turn-based mech battles on a tiny 8x8 chessboard.
- Superhot. Super-fun mechanics. FPS puzzles that play a bit like Portal.
Movies and shows
- Parasite, Bong Joon-ho. Give this man an Oscar already.
- A marriage story, Noah Baumbach
- The Irishman, Martin Scorsese
- J’ai perdu mon corps, Jérémy Clapin
- Once upon a time… in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
This was the year I finally binged Breaking Bad and Neon Genesis Evangelion (totally worth it).
Couldn’t bring myself to watch the new Black Mirror episodes, and that says it all.
I did keep up with the latest seasons of Mindhunter and Bojack Horseman.
A lot of NBA (especially The Lowe Post) and a lot of The Ringer content.
A special place in my heart for Exponent.
I’d like to find something math or AI related which is really compelling – all I tried so far didn’t stick.
Maybe 2020 might be a good time to try some audio books?