Book of the Year

Every year, I find some book that’s extraordinary, or different, or great, or just plain fun. This doesn’t mean that the books came out in that year, just that I found them that year. I’ve not collected them formally up until now, so I’ll have to catch up now.

2018

S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

This is a weird and wonderful book, because while the book contains a rather weird story, that’s not the main thing. The main thing are the notes that are in the margin, where two people talk about the book, and find some great conspiracy around its author. The main event is not the story in the book, it’s the story around the book, and the huge number of things that they put into the book. At one point, there’s a paper towel with notes on it, between two pages. That kind of effort is just amazing, and the book is amazing.

2019

How To Invent Everything by Ryan North

Just imagine you’re on a leisurely trip through time and your time machine breaks. What do you do now? Well, the first step is to find out which time period you’re in. Hopefully, people are already around, because then step 2 will be much simpler: just re-build civilisation. For that, you’ll have to invent everything. Fortunately, that’s much simpler than you’d think, because humanity took looooong breaks between the imporant steps. This book will give you the quick course.

2020

We have no idea by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

So you think you know anything? Wrong! We know a small handful of things about “normal” matter, which just makes up at most 5% of all matter/energy in the universe. The rest? We don’t even know what the rest is. So, no we have no idea.

The only bad thing about this book is that, after a while, you’ll know that you have no idea. And the book will tell you again. And again… and again…

2021

Immun by Philipp Dettmer (english version)

The graphics of “kurzgesagt” explain in detail one of the most complicated machines we’ve found in nature: the human immune system. Not only is this very relevant today, it’s also super-interesting and presented in an easy-to-digest manner and with humor.