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Annual Reading Diary 2018

January 9th, 2019 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Breakdown

The second consecutive year I’ve fallen short of my reading goal. Not even close to reaching parity on fiction/non-fiction books. Reading really is a domestic pursuit and work and family pressures have been catching up with me in recent years. It’s been hard to get into a reading rhythm and I’ve defaulted to work related stuff as a result. Time for new resolution in the new year.


  • “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World” Bradley Hope and Tom Wright. A page turning account of how a mid-twenties MBA stole $5 billion to live the highlife in Hollywood and brought down a Malaysian PM in the process. Stay for the insights into SEAsian politics and banking and financial services providers governance.
  • “Sabrina”, Nick Drnaso. A rightly lauded graphic novel that shows how powerfully the medium can convey a sense of mood. Personalises the impact of the swing towards conspiracy theory and alternative realities in the public sphere. Disconcerting.
  • “Educated”, Tara Westover. A memoir of how the daughter of an extremist survivalist in rural Idaho who was never schooled and didn’t get a birth certificate until she was 9 years old became a Cambridge educated historian. An extraordinary story.
  • “Best We Forget: The War for White Australia”, Peter Cochrane. An important account of the kind of history that Australia excels at forgetting. Something that will slowly seep into the public consciousness over time.
  • “No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis”, Peter Mares. An engaging and readable account of one of the major policy crises of our time. Dives deep into aspects of the issue that don’t usually attract public attention.
  • “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia”, Peter Pomerantsev. Not published in 2018, but feels more timely than ever. A Soviet-born UK journalist returns to Russia to work as a TV producer and documentation in the heart of Putin’s hall of mirrors. A disturbing account of what it’s like to live in a post truth, post institutional world.
  • “Pachinko”, Min Jin Lee. An immersive and granular multi-generational family saga straddling Korea, Japan, WW2 and the Korean War. Lots to say about familial obligation and the immigrant experience from a perspective that will be unfamiliar to many Western readers.


  • “Weatherboard and Iron”, Barnaby Joyce. The trifecta. Terrible politics, policy and prose. A really tough read.

The List

  1. “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World” Bradley Hope and Tom Wright
  2. “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start Up“, John Carreyrou. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  3. “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy”, Michael Lewis. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  4. “Educated”, Tara Westover. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  5. “The Arsonist”, Chloe Hooper. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  6. “Sabrina”, Nick Drnaso. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  7. “Radical Heart”, Shireen Morris. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  8. “Best We Forget: The War for White Australia”, Peter Cochrane. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  9. “The World As It Is”, Ben Rhodes. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  10. “The War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence”, Ronan Farrow. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  11. “Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up”, Gabrielle Chan. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  12. “Teacher: One Woman’s Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching”, Gabbie Stroud. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  13. “No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis”, Peter Mares. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  14. “Convenience Store Woman”, Sayaka Murata. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  15. “Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism in the Eyes of Every Day People”, Julia Boyd. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  16. “The Dawn of Eurasia: On The Trail of the New World Order”, Bruno Macaes. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  17. “Milkman”, Anna Burns. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  18. “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia”, Peter Pomerantsev. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  19. “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia”, Clive Hamilton. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  20. “How to Break Up With Your Phone”, Catherine Price. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  21. “The Death of Truth”, Michiko Kakutani. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  22. “Fear: Trump in the White House”, Bob Woodward. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  23. “The Billionaire Raj”, James Crabtree. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  24. “Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America”, Cass Sunstein. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  25. “Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump”, Dan Pfeiffer. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  26. “So You Want to Talk About Race”, Ijeoma Oluo. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  27. “Why I’m No Longer Talking About Race to White People”, Reni Eddo-Lodge. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  28. “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google”,Scott Galloway. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  29. “BRIT(ish): On Race Identity and Belonging”, Afua Hirsch. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  30. “The Three-Body Problem”, Cixin Liu. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  31. “A Wink From the Universe”, Martin Flanagan. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  32. “Pachinko”, Min Jin Lee. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  33. “Weatherboard and Iron”, Barnaby Joyce. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  34. “All for Australia”, Geoffrey Blainey. Buy –Borrow – Toss
  35. “Blue Collar Frayed”, Jennifer Rayner. Buy –Borrow – Toss


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