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Art of Understanding Art

If, like me, you’ve ever stood in front of a Rothko, desperate to understand what all the fuss is about, then this book is a great starting point because it prescribes a practical method of experiencing art. The author suggests that it’s possible to achieve a level of transcendental enlightenment through an art object and details a process in which to engage with art in order to achieve it. Once practiced, the results can be up-lifting.

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We Should All Be Feminists

Feminism is a word we’re all familiar with but from my experience very few men take time to truly understand what it means. Ashamed of my own ignorance, this book is my first foray into understanding feminism. Everyone should read this, it’s incredibly short but in the few stories that the author recounts she says so much about what feminism really means and what it feels like to be a woman in a society still rife with inequality.

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Lost Japan

At the start of this year I was adamant I’d be booking a trip to Japan. Due to more pressing engagements (see next book in this list) that has not happened. I chose this book after searching for something that would give insight into Japanese culture without being too dry or factually dense. It certainly delivered on that front.

The author, an American expat who has spent many years living in Japan, talks in detail about his interests in various Japanese traditions that for numerous reasons are dying out or changing shape. If you’re fascinated by Japanese culture and interested in Calligraphy, Art, Theatre, and Architecture then get this book.

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Pregnancy For Men

This book is perfect if you’ve recently learned you’re about to become a father, if not then you probably won’t get much out of this. It’s packed full of helpful tips, facts, stories from other dads, and includes a healthy dose of tasteful wit. The mother-to-be has also picked it up a few times and hasn’t rolled her eyes, so that’s a good sign.

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Sapiens & Homo Deus

I have already written a short post on both of these books. If you haven’t read them yet then I implore you to do so.


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Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

This is the only fiction book I read this year. I’m not sure what that says about me but in between starting the year on Sapiens and ending on Homo Deus I found little time for fiction.

In all honesty, I bought this book because I liked the cover and thought the pages had interesting typographical layouts. In the book the author deals with a family’s grief and loss of their mother through a visiting crow. It sounds weird, it is weird but it is also an incredibly beautiful and poetic book. At times it feels more like a collection of poetry and it certainly opened my eyes as to what a novel could be. I only wish that I had read more Ted Hughes beforehand to appreciate the references.

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