A pile of books
Book Review Personal

My Top 5 books of 2021


What a year! Besides finishing my PhD and starting this blog, I read a lot. This last years post is dedicated to the top 5 books I read this year. They are not necessarily from 2021, but I read them in 2021. I did some reviews of them this year, but not for all. Where I can, I will link also to the review.

Before I go, let me wish you a great 2022! I hope I can find the time to continue this blog. See you next year!

5. The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck

This book is short and poignant. Mark Manson tells the theory of how to utilise Stocism or Buddhism to not care too much about the things we do in life. We are all getting told that we are special and according to the author, this is simply not true. By letting go of these notions, we truly can become more ourselves.

Read my full review here.

4. The Brutish Museums

Dan Hicks has written a fantastic book about the sacking and looting of the Benin Bronzes, that are now displayed in museums around the world. It is not only about the Benin bronzes though, as the book tackles a much wider debate on modern-day museums, repatriation and the general way we treat the heritage of other countries.

Read my full review here.

3. Playing with the Past

Matthew Kapell and Andrew Elliott have composed a great volume about historical gaming and how video games tie into history telling. Articles cover cultural identity, authenticity or remembrance. With countless examples, the authors of this volume describe how video games shape our understanding of the past and create another level of authenticity.

You’ll find the book on Bloomsbury Publishing.

2. The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space

This book was not what I expected. I read it for my PhD, because my supervisor recommended it for me. I was expecting some boring facts about railways. But no! It was one of the most interesting books I have read so far. It describes the changes that were taking place socially and culturally during the Industrial Revolution with the example of the railway journey. This is my secret tip for everyone!

You’ll find the book on University of California Press

1. Why those who shovel are silent

This was my favourite this year. Allison Mickel describes how modern-day archaeology is behaving on excavations in West Asia and how different approaches result in different participation of the local communities. She more or less describes one bad and one good example and how locals are involved in the process or not. This is a book, that I basically wanted to write at some point in my life, but Allison Mickel has done a far greater job than I ever could have done.

Read my full review here.



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Sebastian Hageneuer

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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