I finished 24 novels in 2019 (slow reader) and gave up on another two. Here they are in descending buckets of goodness.

(† = short story collection, ‡ = novella, + = re-read, * = didn’t finish)

Unputdownable / Utterly Brilliant

Anna Burns: Milkman (2018)
Elif Batuman: The Idiot (2017)
Mohsin Hamid: Exit West (2017)
Amos Oz: Judas (2014)
Julian Barnes: Talking It Over (1991)
Naguib Mahfouz: Miramar (1967)
James Joyce: Dubliners†+ (1914)
Edith Wharton: Ethan Frome (1911)
Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary (1856)

Good / Brilliant in Parts

Arundhati Roy: Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) David Guterson: Problems with People† (2014) Louise Erdrich: Shadow Tag (2010) Colm Tóibín: The…


with apologies to Leonard Cohen

Update 1: Now available in audio courtesy of the brilliant Shawn Wang
Update 2: This is now the
official song of Babel.js!

I heard there was a clever trick
That rewrote all your JavaScript
But you don’t really care for magic, do you
Well it goes like this: the source, the dist
The ES five, the ES six
The sacred script transforming Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

So I added all the shiny things Classes, spreads and template strings Through syntax sugared code I tried to woo you Generators, const and let I used them…


In which I explore their similarities (while you remain skeptical)

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Credit: StarLineArts/iStock/Getty Images Plus

You: You’re writing about computer code and poetry? At the same time?

Me: I want to explore their similarities.

You: Seriously? Computer code has nothing in common with poetry. Poetry is grace, and code is function. Poetry connotes. Code commands.

Me: But both try to represent complex ideas in concrete form. Poets build intimate impressions out of inadequate words. Coders instruct alien objects using a vocabulary rooted in the Middle Ages. Both perform their own kind of sorcery with a language designed for more humdrum tasks.

You: But poets are aesthetes, fashioning sentient imagery through language and form. …


The Zen of Dependency-Free Modules.

See also: Just vs Lodash Tradeoffs

Just is a library of zero dependency npm modules that do just one thing.

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https://github.com/angus-c/just

What’s so special about zero dependencies? Well, package size for one thing of course. A tiny library footprint is essential when developing mobile web apps for poor network conditions, and the big name, dependent-rich utility libraries will all-too-quickly bloat your client.

But there’s something else perhaps more important: simplicity.

I love npm and I love dependencies, but the point of dependencies is to delegate complexity. The logic of every utility offered by Just is already simple enough to be expressed…


A Visit from St. Nicholas is a poem written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823. You might know it from the opening line: “Twas the Night before Christmas”. Anyway, it’s pretty bad. The meter is awkward and the sentiment cheesy.

As a service, here’s an all-new, saccharin-free version of the poem, written from the perspective of a worry-worn JavaScript developer on the eve of the big release.

’Twas the night before Launch Day, and all thro’ the house Not a keyboard was stirring, no trackpad or mouse; The branches committed, each package declared, All sources deployed and the README prepared…

Angus Croll

Literature fanatic. JavaScript developer. Author of "If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript" https://anguscroll.com/hemingway

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