I read 119 books in 2012, so I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books, using the Goodreads site to log and track. I was well ahead of the pace until July 31st and nearly didn’t reach my goal, but I did, reading an entire book on the last day.
I published a recap of the first half of 2013 in July and just posted the second half of the year round-up. Beware! both posts are quite long as I offer short comments on most of the books. Goodreads has a nice visual of the covers of my whole reading year right here.
Some quick full year stats :
- 55 nonfiction
- 45 fiction
- 32,090 pages (according to Goodreads) – Ms. Rowling accounted for 4,100 in her seven books…she can write long ones!
- 14 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels, who rounded out the last of my survey of the Big Three (Asimov was 2011 and Heinlein 2012)
- I rated 20 on Goodreads as five-star. Not all are must-reads, but these are ones I thought were excellent at the time…and maybe read-agains
- Two books received my ignominious one-star not-only-no-but-really-no UNrecommendation – Glenn Beck’s Arguing with Idiots, and Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven
- One review continues to generate interest: I decided not to give Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Jesus one star, but my fair and balanced review really upset some of the sheep, though I’ve received 30 “likes” for it
- Three authors asked me to read/review their books and I got a fourth book from a Goodreads giveaway whose author read my review
Probably the most significant book-related matter of 2013 was the devastating loss of our library of nearly 5,800 books. While only about 500 were directly destroyed by fire, all but about 20 of the rest were smoked and sooted beyond recovery.
I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books (using the Goodreads site to log and track), as last year I read 119. Through June, I’ve managed 58.
I’m grouping the books as I did in last year’s recap by the month in which I finished them (and fiction/nonfiction subgroups.) As the list is already quite long, and I’ve decided to tag all of the authors and titles, I’m publishing the first half of the year as a standalone.
Some quick stats for the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): heavier on the nonfiction (again) for the six months so far this year:
- 34 nonfiction
- 24 fiction
- 9 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels. The last of the Big Three (Asimov and Heinlein being the other two, though Heinlein doesn’t warrant the distinction…IMO), I think he did well with science fiction and not so well with things that involve people.
- I’ve rated 10 as five-star on Goodreads
- I gave 2 books a one-star rating (not-only-no-but-really-no)
- I’ve linked all of my Goodreads reviews (even if only one line) to each title, in case anyone is interested in what I thought.
And, now to the books of the first half of 2013…
Posted in Books
Tagged 2001: A Space Odyssey, 21st Century Dodos, A Fall of Moondust, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, Andrew Keen, Arguing with Idiots, Arthur C. Clarke, Bernie Glassman, Calculating God, Childhood's End, Christina Perozzi, Daniel Coyle, Design, Easts Shoots and Leaves, Echoes of the Well of Souls, Edgar Allan Poe, Frd Collopy, Hallie Beaune, Islands in the Sky, J. G. Ballard, Jack Chalker, James C. Bradford, Jeff Bridges, Jen Campbell, Jim Holt, Jonathan Haidt, Jules Verne, Lynne Truss, Managing as Designing, Maria Konnikova, Marilyn Monroe, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Max Brooks, Michael Avallone, Michael J. Fox, Mitch Alborn, My Story, Nate Silver, On a Pale Horse, Pierre Boulle, Piers Anthony, Planet of the Apes, Quarterdeck and Bridge, Rendezvous with Rama, Richard Boland, Right: A New Design Perspective for Business Innovation, Robert J. Sawyer, Scott Trent, Simon Zingerman, Steampunk Poe, Steve Sack, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, The Atrocity Exhibition, The Cult of the Amateur, The Deep Range, The Dude and the Zen Master, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, The Happiness Hypothesis, The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE, The Naked Brewer, The Signal and the Noise, The Songs of Distant Earth, The Talent Code, The Thousand Coffins Affair (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. #1), The Throwing Madonna, Tom Peters, We All Need Heroes, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, Why Does the World Exist?, William H. Calvin, World War Z
A coworker likes to say, “It’s never boring”, and around our house, that’s an appropriate phrase. This week we made a radical jump: no more cable television. Yep. Cut the cord…or cable as it were. While we have a few issues with Verizon since we moved back to the states in 2007 (their customer service is deplorable), this one was totally on us.
We haven’t really been watching television, save for a couple of shows, for a long time and to pay the amount of money we were shelling out for a DVR and two set tops boxes and no movie channels was absurd. We DVR’d two shows for everyone (The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family), Once Upon a Time for Drew (though I would watch it with him), NOVA, and a few shows for Andrea that she never seemed to have time to watch. Not worth it at all.
As with many of life’s changes, Andrea makes the decision first…and I more often than not must socialize the concepts for a while before I come around. And when she sets her mind to something, she runs with it. She can spend a couple of long nights researching options and then one day I come home to a small box on the counter containing something even smaller that I have to figure out how to make work for us.
The magic little device is a Roku streaming player. And little it is, as you can see in the picture. Andrea looked at Apple TV, but we nixed that pretty quick. Too many limitations – content, recurring costs, etc. and it’s wedded to the dreaded iTunes. To be fair, Roku and Apple TV do have a common limitation that I hope someday somebody will figure out: neither can stream from VIDEO_TS folders. DVD content has to be converted into something palatable.
Connecting the Roku is simple. HDMI cable into our receiver, network cable from the router (they do have wireless versions as well.) That’s it. Then you start setting up your channels. They make it pretty painless. Now, some of the Roku channels might require fees – Hulu Plus is one we’re looking into – but the rates per month are fractions of what Verizon was charging us.
How many readers remember television antennas? All but forgotten I’d venture. It probably never occurs to the aluminum foil hat folks worrying about cell phone radiation that they are being bombarded with a constant stream of digital over-the-air broadcasts. But all those local television stations make their content available to anyone with an antenna and a digital decoder.
Posted in Books, Cognition, Personal thoughts, Tech
Tagged antennaweb.org, Apple TV, corpus callosum, emotional intelligence, Hauppauge, Jules Verne, junk food, left brain, Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Mike Gazzaniga, plex, Ray Kurzweil, right brain, Roger Sperry, roku, Scott Trent, split-brain, TED.com, The Throwing Madonna, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verizon, Willaim H. Calvin, Win TV