Tsundoku | My Reading List for April and May 2022

Two very slow reading months. So two months in one list.

I'm not really in a reading mood right now. I don't take the time, as currently, I much rather either learn Japanese, some Swift (a new project) or play video games on the Steam Deck.

I only read two books throughout April and May. However, I'm on holiday in a bit over a month and will take the time to get back into the habit. Or at least try to.

Also, I usually use the time commuting to catch up on reading, and it gets me at least two hours per week. But lately, I have had to take the car to work, and I tend to listen to podcasts much more than audiobooks.

So, all in all, lazy months.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

After Story of Your Life, another collection of Ted Chiang short stories. Not as good as the first one, but still a great read. I want more. But there is no other collection out yet. If anyone can recommend some more science fiction on par with Ted Chiang, I'd be more than happy!


Ted Chiang


Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

A great book! Not everything in here was new to me, but it is still a book I believe everyone should read. While the book focuses on attention, it is about so much more. It's basically a "what is wrong with society, using focus as a case study ". Turns out, a lot.

Stolen Focus

Johann Hari

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Tsundoku | My Reading List for March 2022

Middle of April already, and I haven't finished a book yet. I'm lazy this month and feel like I'm a bit burned out on reading. I have started Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, and I can't get myself to read more than a few pages per week.

Usually, when this happens, I read something very lightweight and quick. To get the muscle going again and all that. I have yet to read a paper book this year, so maybe, we'll go that way.

Regardless, here is last month's reading list.

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

A short book, so a short review: It's good, nothing groundbreakingly new, but well presented. I had never heard of the Toltecs before, and I'd like to dig deeper into this culture.

The Four Agreements

Miguel Ruiz


Originals by Adam Grant

Mediocre, although pleasantly written book. The anecdotes are fun to read, but nothing struck me as surprising enough to highlight. (This is the type of book I tend to review by the amounts of highlights I made: a lot of highlights, good book. A few highlights, not so good book.) Also, I ended up skipping a whole bunch of chapters. Meh!


Adam Grant


Personal Socrates by Marc Champagne

The questions are intriguing, and most profiles interesting. But this book could easily be shorter (and better) by removing a lot of fluff. However, I had to skip the chapter about astrology altogether. Why was this included? A little side-note: Baron Fig is one of my favourite brands in general, so I was astonished seeing them be the publisher of this book.  

Personal Socrates

Marc Champagne

Baron Fig

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

And there I was, convinced that Science Fiction is mostly about spaceships and aliens. This book is fantastic. Every short story is an absolute joy to read, and I can't wait to dive into Chiang's second short story collection, Exhalation.

P.S: There is one story about spaceships and aliens, and the movie "Arrival" is based on that one.

Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang


Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

An essential book. It's a dictionary of all the different emotions, states, etc. Having the exact definition of words while talking is crucial in avoiding unnecessary frustration and even hurt feelings. Also, I believe the power of language is an essential factor in fully understanding and communicating our inner world. Read this!

Atlas of the Heart

Brené Brown


Tsundoku | My Reading List for February 2022

I know, I know, I'm late. I am sorry, but I am too busy with overkill.wtf currently.

I thought I ended up reading much less than I wanted. No particular reason, but I found it hard to read last month. Maybe it's because of all of the stuff happening in the world (I did some doom-scrolling, unfortunately), but I often felt too tired reading.

But, in the end, I've read five books and didn't even realize. I tend to read daily, and when I don't, it makes me feel like I didn't touch a book at all. But I had longer sessions and got a lot of reading in that way.

This mental discrepancy is bizarre.

One Blade of Grass by Henry Shukman

One Blade of Grass is the memoirs of Henry Shukman, a Zen teacher of the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in New Mexiko. It's a fantastic book, and it made me look deeper at zen.

But sometimes it's a bit too colourful in its description. (This is not an issue; I sometimes just had difficulties following the story. Then again, Shukman was a poet, which you can feel reading this.)

One Blade of Grass

Henry Shukman


Buddha by Karen Armstrong


If a book is called "Buddha", you expect it to be a biography of, well, the Buddha. Karen Armstrong's Buddha looks like a biography of Siddharta Gautama but is instead a retelling of how Buddhism came to be. (To be fair, there doesn't seem to be enough source material to create a complete biography of Gautama Buddha.)

It's still a good book, but not entirely what I expected. For a biography of the Buddha, I preferred Thich Nhat Hanh's "Old Path White Clouds" more, though due to the "no-sources-issue", it's more a fictional than factual biography.


Karen Armstrong


How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur

Excellent read, hilarious, but what do you expect from the guy who wrote The Good Place?

Talking of The Good Place, this book is everything Schur learned from philosophy while producing the show. It dives into different philosophical schools to show you how to be morally "perfect". It sounds much drier than it is. Read it if you care about this stuff!

How to Be Perfect

Michael Schur


First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson

It was a decent read at first, but it just felt too long after a while. Too much randomness and jumping through autobiographical parts for my liking. Good message, but I had to skip a few pages to get through.

Then again, I have never really suffered from this level of anxiety and so have difficulties relating to what Wilson describes.

Gorgeous cover, though!

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

Sarah Wilson


Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

What a fantastic book, both the story and the writing style. But I don't get how Saramago pulls it off. How can he write these long, intertwined sentences with commas and commas and even more commas and still make it work?

I was sad when it was over; I would take a few chapters more. Which is a good sign, I believe. I definitely will look at his other stuff.

Death with Interruptions

José Saramago


P.S: I'm publishing these reviews as I finish a book on GoodReads (and then add the review here.) If you're eager to see what I read, follow me there.

Tsundoku | My Reading List for January 2022

January's reading list was very meta. So incredibly meta, I felt Mark Zuckerberg's breath on my neck whenever I was reading.

In my metaverse (Get it? Meta? A verse? Because writing? Hey, don't close the tab!) I read seven books in total, five on writing.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a classic. A classic I've read before. If you want to know anything about habit-forming, this is the book you read. And because this year I wanted to dive deeper into some new habits, it's the book I reread at the beginning of January. And I might do this yearly now.

This year's habits are: learn Japanese, write and read daily, exercise twice a week, journal heavily, and meditate daily.

Atomic Habits

James Clear


Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

I read several books, collecting a bunch of essays on writing by different authors. (Which is why I could read seven books in the first place. Most were short.)

Zen in the Art of Writing is part memoir, part writing guide. I liked the autobiographical anecdotes, but the rest, while sometimes inspirational, often felt too far away from my writing life. You got to hand it to Bradbury, though. He is a fantastic writer, but I don't have the same problem he has, I guess?

Zen in the Art of Writing

Ray Bradbury


Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I finished this book on Monday (January 31st), so my thoughts are still a bit too raw for my liking. I tend to wait at least a few days before forming an opinion on anything.

Alas, I understand why this is a classic. And while it follows a similar style as Zen in the Art of Writing (part guide, part memoir), this book felt closer to my turf. Maybe it's the whole "writing is like meditation" stick; perhaps it's just the way Goldberg writes, but I enjoyed this slightly more than Bradbury's book. It's also a bit less author-centric.

Writing Down the Bones

Natalie Goldberg


You are a Writer by Jeff Goins

Ever heard of the phrase, "this could have been an email"? Well, this book certainly should have been a blog post!

While reading, I kept wondering when the introduction was going to end, and then I've realized I was halfway through. The only positive thing I took from this book is a mantra I already follow religiously and try to teach other people: "If you write, you are a writer!"

You are a Writer

Jeff Goins


Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Several Short Sentences About Writing is slam-poetry in book form. It's a decent, weird book. It's short. Finished it the same day I started reading it. Though, I skipped the last chapter as I didn't care much about the examples of good and bad writing.

Several Short Sentences About Writing

Verlyn Klinkenborg


Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler

So many memoirs this month, and Everything Happens for a Reason is another one. Kate Bowler was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at 35. Throughout the book, she tries to figure out why bad things happen to good people? Why her? Is this God — or someone — testing her? Does everything happen for a reason? (The answer is in the subtitle of the book.)

Good read, although sometimes slightly random. (Why does she mention over and over again how hot her husband is?)

Also, she is about to release a new book.

Everything Happens for a Reason

Kate Bowler


A Swim in a Pond in The Rain by George Saunders

Oh, damn! George Saunders. Such an incredible writer.

Until recently, I had no clue who he was. Then Saunders launched a (paid) newsletter, my Twitter timeline went berserk, I looked him up, subscribed to this newsletter, fell in love with his writing, got this book, read it, adored it, and ended up writing a whole Letter of Clio inspired by that book. I wrote::

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders is a book on writing. Russian writing. It contains seven short stories by Russian behemoths like Chekhov, Tolstoy and Gogol, with interludes by Saunders analysing what makes these stories great (or not so great).
When Saunders goes into the details of these stories, telling his readers why an author did X and why it makes us feel Y, he manages to excavate things we subconsciously feel but didn't (know how to) put into words. Consequently, you get to love the stories even more and feel a deeper connection to fiction and fictional storytelling.

A Swim in a Pond in The Rain

George Saunders


Next month's reading topic will be philosophy. I want to refresh my knowledge of Buddhism and Stoicism and get deeper into Existentialism.

I'll try to mix in more fiction this time around, though. I nearly burned out during January if it wasn't for Saunders saving me from writing-guide-exhaustion. Also, reading about writing is not writing, and I prefer to do the thing instead of talking/thinking about the thing.

Tsundoku | My Reading List For December 2021

Look at my new, fancy bookshelf

I didn't think I'd get around reading that much last month — mainly due to the move. But I ended up inhaling five books in four days during my off-time. It shows you what not using a phone for a few days can achieve.

The focus of December has been money. I have been thinking about some financial changes I want to introduce to my life, so I figured it would be a good idea to refreshen my knowledge of the financial world and learn a thing or two. I read four books on money, all very different (and yet very similar).

In the future, I might do this more often. Have a particular month turn around a single topic and read non-fiction books based on this. But I will still read fiction books. It's my way to wind down in the evening.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

This book is... challenging. It's anything but a happy, feel-good story. And yet it keeps you hooked. The gist is: Due to a dream, a woman turns vegetarian, impacting her family and everyone around her. However, it's not about vegetarianism, and frankly, it doesn't even go into the topic at all. Trigger-warning: It talks of abuse.

The Vegetarian

Han Kang


A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

I read every book on Greek mythology I can find. Thus, I have heard of most of the bigger storylines already. This was still somehow new, though. A Thousand Ships is a retelling of the Trojan War from the women's point of view. What happens to them after the war ends? What do the widows feel? What happens to the losing side? This book tries to answer that question.

A Thousand Ships

Natalie Haynes


Happy Money by Ken Honda

Happy Money was the first book in my money deep dive. It shares its same name with another famous money book, but it is by Japanese author Ken Honda. In it, he focuses on our relationship with money and tries to help the reader heal from untreated wounds. From time to time, the book is a little weird. Honda tells us to thank our money for every transaction and keep having a positive attitude. These parts were a bit too esoteric for my liking.

Happy Money

Ken Honda


The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

The Millionaire Fastlane focuses on getting rich quickly (quickly, not easily!). The author believes there is no way to get rich by investing only while still young enough to take advantage of your wealth. Instead, DeMarco wants to teach you how to get rich while young and what it takes to get there (a company). And yes, I know how this sounds. But believe me, this is not a money-grabbing scheme by the author. Frankly, it's not really about money but rather a guide on entrepreneurship. What makes a company successful, how do you deliver value to your clients, what different types of company structures are better suited for wealth, etc.? I can recommend this to anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

The Millionaire Fastlane

MJ DeMarco


Die With Zero by Bill Perkins

This book resonated the most with me. In Die With Zero, Bill Perkins teaches you to use money to maximise life quality. According to the author, different life periods are better suited for specific experiences than others. So, instead of saving when young, you should use some of it to go skiing, for example. Because at a particular time, you'll be too old to have this experience despite now having money to burn. The book also tries to uncover the exact moment you should stop saving and start using your money. The goal? Die with a zero on your bank account.

Die With Zero

Bill Perkins


The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

This might have been the book I should have started my deep dive with. When I ended up reading this one, I've already known most of what this book talks about. Still, I believe it was a great way to summarise what I've learned. If you want to follow in my footsteps and reread the mentioned books, I suggest starting with this one.

The Psychology of Money

Morgan Housel