Dan Hough

The Books I Read in 2019

Published 01 January 2020 in Vancouver, Canada (~5min read)

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Finished: 5th Jan 2019.

What an unexpectedly delightful book. I knew I’d enjoy it when I spotted it in the store but I didn’t know what to expect from the actual content. It’s a strange call-to-arms for anybody who doesn’t really fit society’s mold, as well as a satisfying and funny stream-of-consciousness. A mundane situation, explored deeply. Great fun, quick and easy read.

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura

Finished: 21st Jan 2019

Pretty thought-provoking early on as the author explores what the world would be like if various modern conveniences suddenly disappeared without anybody really noticing. About 75% of the way in, though, I sort of lost interest. I’m not sure why, but as the story became more about the protagonist and less about the alternative world imagined earlier on, it became less compelling.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Finished: 2nd Feb 2019

A curious novel. Much like If Cats Disappeared From The World I found myself losing interest towards the end as the point of the story became less clear. Strangely, however, after the Kitchen story ends (it has no named chapters, just asterisks denoting a change of scene), there’s a good 30 pages left which start a whole new, seemingly-unrelated story which was much better and more my cup of tea.

Drawing the Border: The Irish Border in British Politics by Ivan Gibbons

Finished: 9th Feb 2019

Like many Brits, I’ve long been unintentionally ignorant of Britain’s relationship with Ireland and the history thereof. Over the last few years I like to think I’ve become better-informed, more sensitive and more sympathetic, but there’s still a lot I don’t know about this subject. I picked up this book hoping to fill in some gaps and it helped a lot. Anybody living in Great Britain - especially if you’re English: this book will make up for one of several important missing pages from your school history textbooks.

Inspired by Marty Cagan

Finished: 23rd April 2019

About a year into my Product Management career is when I decided to read this book, recommended by my friend Susana and available in the Marvel library (it’s a shelf of books in a meeting room). After trying some other PM books this was much more accessible and enjoyable. The interesting case studies don’t ramble on and there’s some practical advice without being prescriptive. It genuinely helped me to feel more inspired about my job, which I was struggling with a little last year. I would recommend this to anybody considering a career in product management or just starting out.

Carry on, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Finished: 22nd April 2019

This is my first foray into the world of Bertie Wooster and his “man” Jeeves. Although I have seen bits of the Fry & Laurie TV adaptation, and that massively informs how I read this book in my head. I wish I’d discovered this sooner. The shorts in this one are incredibly digestable and fun. I love the rise-and-fall of Bertie’s hopeless scrapes which inevitably end happily thanks to Jeeves. Really fun read.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power

Finished: 2nd July 2019

I found out about Squirrel Girl from one of my favourite webcomic authors of all time, Ryan North. On Twitter he would go on and on about it all the time, and I didn’t pay much attention until I was in Orbital Comics just before leaving for Canada. I wanted something fun and quick to read which would be a nice, easy distraction during the inevitable stop-start of my long journey to Vancouver. SG did not disappoint…

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True

Finished: 4th July 2019

I sort of just devoured these volumes. As many reviewers have said, SG’s positive, good-natured, humourous and empathetic attitude is absolutely wonderful. She sees good in everybody but still manages to kick butt when the time comes. If I ever have kids they would find a good role model in Squirrel Girl. Ryan North‎, writer, and ‎Erica Henderson, artist, also have a letter section which is charming and a delight to read. I always take the time to read every letter and every response. Can’t wait to read more!

Thank you, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Finished: 1st August 2019

I finished this during my travels around Canada and the USA, but I bought this one in Toronto. Great stuff, but not quite as fun as the last one.

Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.