Favorite Books of the 2010s

I’ve wandered in and out of various on-line solutions for keeping track of the books I am reading, but thankfully I’ve never fallen out of the habit of logging all of the books I read in a paper journal that dates back to the fall I started graduate school.

Flipping through what I read in the 2010s, here are some favorites and other observations…

If I had to recommend a single set of books I read, it would be Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book and then Blackout and All Clear. They’re a blend between science fiction and historical fiction, with a grounding premise that time travel is possible, is controlled by academics, and is used for research purposes.

The books in my list that most caught my eye as “oh, that was fun, I should re-read that” were Cline’s Ready Player One, Cornell’s London Falling, Stephenson’s Anathem, Weir’s The Martian. So I read some good sci fi this decade.

I read a lot of mystery novels, but the standout is probably Laurie King’s Mary Russell series. My enjoyment of that series has led me to read a pretty wide range of Sherlock Holmes spin-offs this decade. I also read my way through almost the entire collection of Agatha Christie novels.

On the non-fiction side, I spent the first half of the decade mostly on technology topics, including some classics I’m surprised I only read this recently like Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, and Margolis and Fisher’s Unlocking the Clubhouse. Of the many video game texts I read, Bogost’s How to do Things with Videogames and Koster’s A Theory of Fun are standouts. More recently I’ve been reading non-fiction about higher ed; I quite liked Roth’s Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters and Felton et al’s The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most.

The most random books I read are probably Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Mueller and The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book that Everyone Uses but On One Reads by Shea.

Finally, I’m not sure how this summarizes the 2010s, but the first book I read in January 2010 was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Austen and Grahame-Smith. The last book I finished in December 2019 was Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty by Lang.

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