This, that, here & now

I'm Kalbir Sohi and I work with technology. I'm doing some occasional writing.

More about me.

Get the atom feed (for RSS readers).

What I read: Jul-Dec 2019

July - December 2019

So, in the second half of last year I didn’t get round to publishing what I’d read. Luckily I still kept the record, so here’s an update. It’s missing a lot of articles but the books are here. Things slowed down quite a lot as I was working again and we had our second daughter in August, two kids doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for reading!

In 2019 I read 21 books, and a lot of New Yorker articles (I’ve put a few stand outs below). Nearly 2 books a month feels a bit ahead of where I’ll get to this year. 2019 is really a year of two halves, 14 books in the first 6 months, 7 in the second (after Lily was born).


  • Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan — I read this after loving the excerpt in the New Yorker. It reminded me I’d always dreamed of learning to surf. It was good to start with but I couldn’t finish it. Two reasons: 1. I feel like he never really described whatever was driving him around the world in search of the perfect wave. He touched on family issues, not fitting in, self esteem…but never approached them with emotional honesty. 2. There are only so many times you can read a description of the minutiae of catching a wave.
Continue reading →

What I read: April/May/June 2019

April/May/June 2019

I’m back at work so reading is slowing down. A bit more variety and more New Yorker articles as I’m cracking on through the pile I’d built up. Only the articles I really enjoyed here.


  • Milkman by Anna Burns. Outstanding book. For anyone who has lived (or particularly grew up) in a culture of hierarchy, gaslighting, spoken and unspoken rules, anger and otherness. Can’t tell you how much this book churned me up, in a good way.
Continue reading →

What I read: March 2019

March 2019


  • Transit by Rachel Cusk — I’m reading the trilogy and marvelling at Cusk’s spare writing, her storytelling through the withdrawn narrator letting the other characters form the foreground whilst she emerges from the gaps in their stories. A new writing.
Continue reading →

What I read: Jan & Feb 2019

I’ve started to keep a small note of things I’ve read over the past few months and I thought it might be interesting to publish it here as the format I use (a really long note in Simplenote) can get a little unwieldy.

So here are some things I read in January and February. I’ll mainly keep it to books and longer bits of writing (that I’ve enjoyed in the latter case). I’m a subscriber to the New Yorker magazine so that will turn up quite a lot (and I was going through quite a big backlog in Feb!).

January 2019


  • Play it again by Alan Rusbridger — good read, lots of interesting musing on the theme of learning later in life. Found the Guardian stuff a little less interesting. Too much name dropping and self importance at times.
Continue reading →

Some links #4

17. Santi Cazorla interview

One of those “what if?” scenarios. Santi Cazorla was Arsenal’s best player, the one who made our team hum and gave us the glimpse of a world in which we were playing beautiful football and winning. Here he describes the gruesome treatment he went through for his injury and subsequent major infection, which almost led to amputation. Beneath it all is the sunny, humble, funny demeanour that endeared him so much to Arsenal fans. I’m glad he’s playing again, and sad it is not in a red shirt.

Continue reading →

Some links #3

11. The return of Simone Biles and the costs of Gymnastics

Watching Simone Biles is incredible, she is an athletic genius. This article looks at an issue that I think about quite a lot in other contexts, I tend to call it “soft failure”. US Gymnastics (as an organisation) is going through an incredibly challenging time in the wake of the systematic sexual abuse of gymnasts enabled by the structures in place in that organisation. What it needs to rebuild is a hard failure, a failure so epic that none of the things that came before it can be countenanced. A hard failure is what the sexual abuse scandal and information about the other psychological abuse that was going on in pursuit of gold medals should lead to.

Continue reading →

Some links #2

6. Awesome maintainers

I’ve been following Nadia Eghbal’s work on open source economics, particularly looking at the people who maintain open source projects, for a few months. Her work is wide ranging and super interesting, and this is a great new project she has started (using the awesome list style that you know I love) to track people talking about the experience of being an open source maintainer. This is hugely valuable, reminding us that so much of our current software defined world is built on the back of the unstinting individuals who give up their own time and effort to keep these projects going.

Continue reading →

Using loom

I love the tool loom. It’s a chrome extension that lets you quickly record videos and share them on the internet. It will record your desktop, what you are saying and even your camera if you want it to.

Continue reading →

Awesome lists

I found myself talking quite a lot about awesome lists recently. These are community curated lists of useful stuff, hosted on GitHub. If that sounds a little vague, it is because there are so many awesome lists that it’s hard to pin them down.

Continue reading →

Why I like Miranda July

Miranda July is one of my favourite writers. Her writing is invariably funny and disarming– she writes with a light touch as if her purpose is to do nothing more than give you a little peek into her way of living.

Continue reading →