Biggest Book of the Year
Rem Koolhaas: Elements of Architecture
At more than 2,500 pages and with a weight of approximately 4 kilo Elements of Architecture is the biggest book of the year.
Fernando Aramburu: Patria
Francesco Pecoraro: Life in Peacetime
Guzel Yakhina: Zuleikha
Guzel Yakhina: Zuleikha
The book is full of moving scenes, but the ending, although a variation on other classic (movie) endings, is perfect and heartbreaking. I just can't get it out of my head.
Best Book I Wish I Had Read Years Ago
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Best Book About Dinosaurs
Steve Brusatte: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
Summer 2017 I visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada, which brought out the little boy in me. I'd never seen so many dinosaur fossils before. The book by Steve Brusatte is an excellent summary of the state of the art in dinosaur research.
Carlo Rovelli: The Order of Time
Philip Ball: Beyond Weird
As with all books about cutting edge physics I would need to read both books a second time to properly digest the material.
Andreas Reckwitz: Die Gesellschaft der Singularitäten
Die Gesellschaft der Singularitäten is by far the best and most complete analysis of contemporary society that I have read.
Menno Schilthuizen: Darwin Comes to Town. How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution
A reminder that even when it comes to my immediate surroundings there is so little that I know.
Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep
If I would have to recommend one book it would be Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, because it is the most useful book I've read this year. Caffeine has an average half-life of five to seven hours. Thus, if you have a cup of coffee (or tea) at 8:00 p.m., by 2:00 a.m. about 50 percent of its caffeine content may still be active and circulating through your brain. After reading this I resolved to no longer drink tea after 6:00 p.m. As a result the quality of my sleep has improved.
Best Book About Wittgenstein That Is(n't) About Wittgenstein
David Markson: Wittgenstein's Mistress
Thomas Bernhard: Korrektur
Peter Wadhams: A Farewell to Ice
A Farewell to Ice is a deeply disturbing and depressing book. Because of various feedback effects global warming will continue even if humanity were to drastically cut emissions now. Peter Wadhams ends on an optimistic note, arguing that there is still time for drastic action. It's just that I don't share his optimism.
Lisa Halliday: Asymmetry
I understand why Asymmetry appeals to many critics and readers: a storyline about the relationship between a young aspiring writer and a successful elderly writer who resembles Philip Roth and another storyline about a US/Iraqi citizen who is wrongly detained at Heathrow airport, but I found it too formulaic.