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Books I read in 2015

  • The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
    19th December 2015

  • The Soddit by A. R. R. R. Roberts
    16th December 2015

  • How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young
    16th December 2015

  • Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams by Paul Martin
    19th November 2015

  • The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
    29th October 2015

  • How Not to be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg
    19th August 2015

  • Illuminatus! Part 3: Leviathan by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
    15th August 2015

  • Illuminatus! Part 2: The Golden Apple by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
    3rd August 2015

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    28th July 2015

  • Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
    16th July 2015

  • The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs
    9th July 2015

  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane
    5th July 2015

  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    8th June 2015

  • Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth by Marcia Bjornerud
    30th May 2015

  • The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and Lola Rogers (translator)
    6th April 2015

  • Crash by J.G. Ballard
    8th March 2015

  • The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle
    23rd February 2015

  • Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland
    16th February 2015

  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
    22nd January 2015

  • Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicombe
    15th January 2015
    Andy Puddicombe's book is a populist take on mindfulness practice for the modern world, and draws on his own experiences both as a Buddhist monk and as someone who has learned the hard way how to apply mindfulness to the business of day to day living.

    Although this wasn't my first encounter with mindfulness I found a lot in here to help with my own practices, especially as I started reading it at a time when I felt I was looking for ways to re-engage with them. Puddicombe is great at communicating the core ideas and finding ways to illustrate them using his own experiences.

    One gripe however is that since the original publication of this book in 2011, Puddicombe seems determined to turn 'Headspace' into a commercial venture. One effect of this is that the web addresses linking to the guided meditations no longer work - instead you must sign up to the Headspace website to access the 'free' content, and pay a subscription to 'unlock' additional content. I don't doubt that for some people this is a very effective way to start (and stick with) regular meditation practice; but the delivery via a social media platform that's accessed through a computer or mobile feels (to me) to be a bit at odds with living more mindfully.

    That said, the book stands up on its own. I don't know if more experienced practitioners will find much new in it, and someone looking for deeper insights into mindfulness would be better to look at something like John Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You are. But personally I found plenty of good practical stuff in it, and I'm sure that it would make a great introduction to the practice of mindfulness.

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