Books & Study Life

9 Books I loved last year

Choosing only a few books to read was very difficult. I should mention that 9 Books I loved last year started out as 5 Books I loved last year. On top of that, luckily, I blogged last year about 3 Books You Should Read (Enlightenment now by Steven Pinker, The colour of time by Dan Jones, A Lab of One’s Own by Patricia Fara). Thus I just link to that post and added 3 more books to my list. I did enjoy all those three, so make sure you check that post if you are looking for book recommendations.

Now I’m going to say a few words about each book, starting with top left and going all the way to bottom right. Of course all the books are reviewed on Coffee&Books.

Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann I was curious when I’ve heard of this book. Black Tudors in England?! I had no idea that they were and, even more, that there are records about them. She tells the individual stories of a few black people and I found all of them interesting.

Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone This is a book I received as part of a book blog tour. It is a memoir written by a fuel smuggler. It’s not a book I would have picked from the shelves, but the blurb sounded interesting. So, I signed up to the blog tour. I’m glad I did because the book was fascinating. After telling my husband about it, he picked it up to read and he did enjoy it as well. If you are looking for something a bit unusual, do read it.

Mad Dogs And Englishmen by Ranulph Fiennes
The English history, seen from the point of only one family, through the eyes of a family member. Ranulph can trace his family line to before William the Conqueror came into power and they were involved in plenty of historical events during the last 1000 years or so. I loved it.

Michael of Romania by Ivor Porter
This is the biography of King Michael, written by someone who knew him. King Michael died in late 2017 and at the beginning of 2018 I’ve read this book. It is lovely written and interesting. Even if Romania’s history is not something that interests you, you might still find this book fascinating.

Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts, Paul Collier. I was pondering if I should talk about this one or about Exodus by Paul Collier, a book about immigration and multiculturalism in the 21st century. I did like both, for different reasons. In Refuge, their ideas make sense and I think it would be so much better for everybody if governments would follow their advice. I think refugees should stay as close to their countries as possible, that means it will be easier for them to get back, the cultural differences aren’t as big, and, with help from the developed countries, both the host country and the refugees could benefit from investment that leads to jobs and education.
The other book, Exodus, was about migrants. I’m a migrant myself, but I’m not part of a diaspora, so reading this made me think and understand better why some (most?) migrants from developing countries act as they do.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
This is an old book, but I’ve only read it in 2018. I might re-read it in a couple of years. It is not the first book I read about evolution by Dawkins, but it’s better than the other one I’ve read (Climbing Mount Improbable). If you want to know more about evolution, explained in easy to understand terms (high school level), then this is the book you should read.

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
I received this book as a gift, along with two more in the series. I was expecting it to be fun and it is. I think this is a book great both for adults who want to know a bit more about all aspects of everyday life in Tudor England, but it is also great for teenagers who learn history at school. The style is wonderfully commercial and easy to read.

Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
A psychology book about how we think. I think this is one of the books that changed how I think. Another book that I will re-read in a couple of years. The most important thing in the book, for me, was the availability bias, how things more talked about appear to be more important or relevant, despite that not being the case in real life.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd
I saw Dr. Shepherd at Breakfast, talking about this book. It sounded so interesting that I knew I wanted to read it. He is a forensic pathologists, now retired. During his career he had to deal with all sort of situations, from the aftermath of terrorist attacks, including 9/11 and 7/7, to stab victims. His care and respect for his patients was the thing I loved most about this book.

These are the 9 books I loved last year. Do you have any book recommendations for me?

4 Comment

  1. Interesting selections. I love the sound of mad dogs and englshmen as well as unnatural causes. Will have to see if I can find these to read

  2. The only book I have from your top nine is The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. I’ve bought it a while ago, and maybe should tackle it this year finally, as I really want to read some non-fiction this year.

  3. As I mentioned in your earlier review of it, I have the Ian Mortimer book on my shelf and you’ve inspired me to try and read it this year. Several of your others look quite interesting… Unnatural Causes perhaps the most. I always find stuff like that fascinating. I’m curious, too, about the “black gold” book since I live in a part of the US where crude oil is drilled and refined. There’s a fun little museum in our area that I’ve visited quite a few times:

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