2023 in books

my reading seems to have continued its upward trend in 2023. i feel like i’ve read a bit of everything: a lot of light romantic novels, children’s stories (which often got gifted to my little cousins or niece), historical stuff, health books, books about life in faraway places, books about making art and comics, quite a few featuring death, some graphic novels, a whole series from elena ferrante, and a lonely planet guidebook… i like the chaotic nature of this selection — it feels right for my scattered brain and its many interests.

some thoughts:

– the number of books read surprises me a bit, because i don’t feel like i spend a lot of time reading — apart from audiobooks or time spent in waiting rooms, i rarely read during the day. i had an inkling that i did spend a lot of time reading fanfiction in the night, but it’s only now that i’ve replaced it with books that i know how much i was actually reading. 😳

– getting a digital library card definitely helped, as did the new kindle with backlight. i still wake up in the middle of the night a lot, and reading helps pass the time until sleep comes again. as a result, most of these were read in digital format, then some in paper form and less as audiobooks (mostly while cleaning or cooking):

– i’m the kind of person that gifts books to all the children in my life, and i’ve doubled down on this since my niece came along. it’s been a pleasure exploring new books for her, discovering the ones that are appropriate to different ages and will help her stay curious. i have been making a little stack at home, ready to dole out at the right time.

– highlight reads of the year… probably discovering the light, fanfic-ish style of ali hazelwood, which became a kind of comfort reading. the same with alice ozeman‘s heartstopper series (which i’ve read in one go, on a bout of post-christmas indigestion). i think outlive was probably the book i “underlined” the most, and mouth to mouth was the one that surprised me the most at the end. there were 2 books that i finished but did not enjoy: all of this and i feel bad about my neck.
– looking at the nationalities of the authors i’ve read, i think i actually did a good job spreading things around… but i feel like i could have done even better. in 2024, i want to try to read works from a wider set of nationalities— i guess that will be my reading goal for the year.


the crookes radiometer

have you ever heard of a crookes radiometer? it’s a little gimmick, a glass campanula with a sort of windmill inside… except, it has no batteries at all and it’s not the wind making it go, it’s the sun!

there’s not much to it: four very lightweight panels resting on a pin, inside a glass bubble with gas at a specific pressure. one side of the panels is coated in black. as it heats up with the sun, it creates some temperature differential in the gas which makes the whole thing spin. the more the sun shines on it, the faster it goes! (here’s a more scientific explanation)

pretty neat, right? we have one sitting in a table that gets sunlight throughout the day, and don’t seem to get tired of seeing it spin. it definitely feels like magic! :)


analogue wednesday #220

this domain turned 16 years today! although i don’t write much these days, i’m still happy to have this collection of stories and images, from so many years of adventures past. onwards, to the next 16!



so here’s something we stumbled some months ago which made us happy: is a geeky crossword puzzle made of regular expressions.

the idea is cleverly simple: find the character that fits both the patterns on the vertical and horizontal clues. they start with super easy crosswords on a tutorial of sorts, and then advance to more complicated concepts and grid-shapes which are trickier but just as much fun to figure out.

we’ve done all of them now, but if you’re up to a challenge or a way to brush up on those skills, give it a go! :)

geek in canada

the arthur conan doyle room

libraries are nice places in principle… but a beautiful one, with a literary giftshop aaaaaand an arthur conan doyle room definitely takes the cake! :D

we read about the room on (where else?) atlas obscura and put it on our plans. then, on a day of walking around downtown toronto, we made a detour to the toronto reference library, to discover this room.

it looks like a place right out of baker street, with its carpet and bookshelves, where you can find not only books by doyle, but also books about doyle and his works, translations in many languages, pastiches (which are sort of fanfiction!) and more. some are rare books, but despite this, the nice librarian just let us have a look around and even read, if we wanted.

we had it all to ourselves for a while, snapping photos and taking our time admiring all the spines of books collected over the years, from collections, auctions or just donations.

for a fan, this was such a treat! :)