Books I read in 2022

1. All about love – bell hooks

I thought it was an ok book, not as mind-blowing as I thought it would be. There were ideas in it that I had read in other books, so maybe it just means that I had read a lot of self-help books. I do have a couple of friends who thought this book was great.

2. The big short – Michael Lewis

I found this at a Little Free Library in Berkeley. I have read a few other books by Lewis before, I have enjoyed all of them, and I had been meaning to read this one, so I was really happy to find it serendipitously. One gift of Lewis is that he’s able to make otherwise complicated financial (and other) concepts easy to understand. He engages me in his storytelling, and kept me wanting more after I finished reading his books.

3. Utopia – Thomas More

The book I read last year about Hieronymus Bosch made a reference to Utopia, so I thought I might check it out. It is a cleverly written short fictional book, I enjoyed learning about the ideal society that Thomas More envisioned, and can’t help but daydream what it would be like to live in such society.

4. Emotional intelligence – Daniel Goleman

Another one from a Little Free Library. I thought it was uninspiring and that I’ve read most of its content elsewhere, but maybe it could just be that it has been around for a long time, and other books and articles copied ideas from this book and got to me first.

5. Kristallnacht – Martin Gilbert

Found at a Little Free Library again. After reading Hitler’s biography last year, I continued my interest in learning more about WW2, so I was really excited to randomly encounter this book. Kristallnacht was a sad and cruel event that happened in 1938, where under Hitler’s regime, over one night, so many synagogues all over the country were burned, Jews were beaten and killed, and Jewish people owned stores were destroyed. It is so hard to believe that these atrocities happened less than 100 years ago. millions of refugees had to find new homes all over the world.

6. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance – Robert Pirsig

This is a great book for people who like to contemplate philosophy. Intertwined with the philosophy bits, are his motorcycle road trip journey, his relationships with his son, and the rest of the world. It was really interesting to get inside the head of Pirsig.

7. Poet in New York – Federico Lorca Garcia

I remember randomly reading about Garcia and finding out that he spent some time studying English at Columbia University, and that this book was written while he was there, so I was interested in seeing New York through his eyes. It was originally written in Spanish, and the book came with the original, a translated version, and some of his personal letters. While I know nothing about poems, I could appreciate the emotions he poured over in each poem. Sadly he was killed not long after he returned to Spain.

8. Sanditon – Jane Austen

Another Little Free Library find. I don’t think I have read Jane Austen, and I had not heard of this book before, but I wanted to give it a try. Apparently, this is her last book, and she actually didn’t finish it before she passed; it was completed by someone else. But I don’t think this discounted the quality of the book. It was quite interesting to follow the journey of the female protagonist as she navigate relationships with guys in her social circle.

9. Napoleon Bonaparte – Vincent Cronin

Another Little Free Library gem. One day I went on a hike to visit 10+ Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood, and I ended up walking away with only this one book. I really enjoyed learning about Napoleon with a more personal touch. But I worry that maybe this author painted Napoleon in too much of a positive light, I became such an admirer after I finished the book, but some of my friends don’t share my positive opinions about him, so I need to learn more to acquire a less biased point of view.

10. Paul et Virginie – Bernardin de Saint Pierre

This was one of Napoleon’s favorite books (along with Werther), so I was curious to read it. The author is very descriptive and engaging, and the story has a good arc. I thought it was a little boring in the first half, but I enjoyed it more in the second half.

11. The master and margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

This was recommended by a friend, and later I found out it is actually quite popular among other friends too. This book can probably be characterized as magical realism, but maybe a little more magical and less real. I enjoyed all its twists and turns.

12. For whom the bell tolls – Earnest Hemingway

This was my proudest found from a Little Free Library. It was actually quite unassuming: black, old cover with no title on the bind, and only “Earnest Hemingway” engraved on the cover in a small font, very easily overlooked. It turned out that it was a first edition copy, there were only 70k of it, and I encountered one by chance! The book was such an easy and engaging read. The whole story of the book only takes place over a few days, but it is so gripping, and I couldn’t stop to find out what happened next.
I look forward to reading more Hemingway in the future.

13. The fall – Albert Camus

This is probably the 4th or 5th Camus I’ve read. This book is like any other book of his, pretty hard to read. Even though the book is in a conversational style, the narrator was telling a tourist in Amsterdam about his life and experiences; I was not sure what to make of this book in the end. Maybe that’s what Absurdism is about?

14. Simple passion – Annie Ernaux

Around that time, Ernaux had just won a Nobel Prize and gave a talk at Columbia, I was fortunate enough to attend it, and I checked out simple passion afterward. It is a short book about how she had an affair with a married man, and how she did whatever she could to sleep with him. I suppose her literary style is quite unusual, even though the content didn’t resonate with me.

15. Attached – Amir Levine

This book was first recommended to me a few years ago, I did care enough to read it at the time, but recently it came to my attention again, so I thought I should give it a chance. I thought it was quite good, it gave me a lot of insight into how I navigate relationships, though even after I finished the book, I still can’t put myself into one of the three attachment style categories that he described in the book, but maybe that’s the reality for most people, our attachment styles are fluid and changes depending on our current emotional state and who we interact with. Regardless, it was interesting learning about the different styles.

16. The adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow

Another Little Free Library find, I had taken 15-20 such books with me back to NY to read, and this is one of them. It is quite a thick book, almost 600 books. I only chose to read this because a friend of mine was reading it at the same time. I started later than he did but finished first, because it was so gripping in the second half. The first 100 pages were hard to engage with, since there was not much plot, but the later parts made it worth it.

17. Biotechnology law, a primer for scientists – Alan Morrison

I took a law class for scientists in the fall semester, and the professor was the author of this book, and we were asked to read it. I learned a lot about a lot of IP law and some regulatory and contract laws in this class. It was fascinating to be exposed to something this relevant to me, but I never learned beyond the surface level.

18. Venture deals – Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson

I had known this book for quite some years, but never quite mustered up the courage to read it. 2 days after I picked it up and about 70 pages in, I got the Forbes recognition, and I started getting attention from some investors, so I read it with the perfect timing. I recommend it to anyone interested in raising VC money for their startups. I am a complete newbie in the area, so this book really provided the foundation for understanding fundraising.

Any recommendations for me for 2023? 🙂


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