Just rambling about some books, podcasts and records I’ve been exposed to a bunch over 2020.

Books

  • How to Solve It - George Pólya

Classical asymmetry: obvious once you see it.

  • Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut

I think I’ll remember the poor soul claiming to have lived through much worse until he didn’t.

  • Consider the Lobster - David Foster Wallace

This was when I realized how bad at languages I am.

  • Meditations - Marc Aurel

Even though Marc Aurel’s views are fairly explicit and specific, granting standards of philosophy, I observed a strong interaction effect between literary source and my state of mind on the reaction I had on the read.

  • Siddharta - Hermann Hesse

I didn’t get it.

  • The Descent of Man - Grayson Perry

Well, at least I can say that I’ve read a book on gender, now.

  • Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosphy - Simon Blackburn

It all makes sense looking back.

  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

For no apparent reason other than his high haptic sensitivity I identified loads with the gentle giant.

  • L’Etranger - Albert Camus

I often don’t like the glaring sun, either.

  • Frappe-toi le coeur - Amélie Nothomb

So many whys.

  • All That Man Is - David Szalay

It took me a New Yorker article a to appreciate some aspects of the bigger picture now seeming to be central. I’m not sure what this says about me, the book or the New Yorker or whether it says anything at all.

Podcasts

  • The Portal by Eric Weinstein

Bursts of high entertainment and beautiful speech. To the point where the latter would almost veil the fact that I wouldn’t be able to point to anything I actually took away from it.

  • Conversations with Tyler

Highest value. What really stood out for me were the discussions about music, e.g. about the Beatles with Ted Gioia, as well as Tyler Cowen’s overt statement expressing that he doesn’t understand why someone would listen to podcasts when they could read or listen to music. Also, there was something very humble, unpretentious and relatable about him, this complete and distinguished Renaissance man, showing love for Nirvana.

  • France Culture

Stumbled across many topics sparking interest in me. Sadly, hardly any productions did I actually enjoy.

  • Lex Fridman Podcast

Always disappointed by episodes with technical guests. I guess this means he really seeks to reach large crowds.

  • The Joe Rogan Experience

Took some visceral pleasure from the discussions with athletes and mostly discarded the rest; except for, of course, the Kanye episode.

  • Broken Record

Felt superficial.

  • Transfert by slate.fr

Well-read, moving stories saturating me quickly.

Records

  • Music for Silence - Nick Murphy

Nick Murphy did what was necessary for me to forget about Run Fast Sleep Naked.

  • Igor - Tyler the Creator

Such complexity, such sophistication - I’ve been in awe of Tyler the Creator’s work on all fronts.

  • Joy as an Act of Resistance - Idles

I truly appreciated the overarching concept, the attention to detail and of course the energy, for the actual songwriting seemed a bit dim once I was levelheaded again (as much as I ever get levelheaded, that is).

  • The New Abnormal - The Strokes

It felt gentle and beautiful to me. Gentle and beautiful is of course not all I’d hope for from a The Strokes album after all those years.

  • Graal - Christian Löffler

I loved the songs without lyrics and always felt a slight unease for the songs withlyrics.

  • A Hero’s Death - Fontaines DC

Made me feel much younger than I am.

  • In Rainbows - Radiohead

Previously cherry-picking bits and pieces from The Bends, Kid A and Ok Computer, this has become my single favorite Radiohead album.

  • Teens of Denial - Car Seat Headrest

What a blast. At times slightly cringy, most often excellent, always genuine.

  • Not Waving, But Drowning - Loyle Carner

Sympathy

  • Channel Orange - Frank Ocean

I know I’m late to the party.

  • The Slow Rush - Tame Impala

I don’t want to be too negative so let’s just say: I will, from now on, certainly do no more ‘full Tame Impala discography’ sessions anymore.

  • Endtroducing - DJ Shadow

I had always been looking for this without knowing. Reminded me of RJD2’s Deadringer but more aggressive, grimmier, darker.

  • Wu Hen - Kamaal Williams

It just works.