Jump to content

Guyscanwefocus' reading challenge 2018


Recommended Posts

In the spirit of the new year, I am trying to pick up old healthy habits that went by the wayside in 2017.  One of those is running.  Another is reading.

 

My goal is not a specific number of books (in 2017 I only read 5), but to simply read more and enjoy it.  To that end, I'll be keeping a list here.  Note: I'm cheating a bit by including books I started in 2017.  Asterisk indicates started prior to 2017; Two asterisks indicates it is a re-read.  

 

Completed (in order):

Breakthrough: Why We Can't Leave Saving the Planet To Environmentalists*

The Golden Compass*

Resolving Ecosystem Complexity

The Investor's Manifesto**

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How To Correct Them

Nod

It happened in the Florida Keys

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius*

Annihilation

The Subtle Knife

How to Read Water

A Wrinkle in Time

The Wrong Stars

Two's Company, Three is Complexity

Lobsters

The Dispatcher

Old Man's War

The Ghost Brigades

The Last Colony

Assassin's Apprentice

The Human Division

 

In Progress: 

Ecological Forecasting

Untangling Ecological Complexity

The Amber Spyglass

Saga of the Icelanders

Geographical Ecology

Naked Statistics

 

 

I'll be updating as I progress!

Edited by Guyscanwefocusplease
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 18
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Actually walked into a real brick book store on Saturday and picked up a book called Nod by Adrian Barnes. I figure if I am going to make a list, I might as well put my opinion down on what I read.

 

The book follows a Canadian writer and his girlfriend through the breakdown of society when one day, for no reason, humans can no longer sleep. Well, most humans, anyway. I won't spoil anything.

 

It is an excellent premise and a horrifying book- the closest thing to The Road I have ever read. It gets difficult to read in parts and has unusual literary style and random segways I didn't care for, but I still blew through it in two days. It was worth the money to pick it up for the premise alone.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/23/2018 at 9:56 PM, paintybeard said:

I read "Nod" a couple of months ago. As you say, it is in many ways a horrifying book and I cannot really say that I enjoyed it. Felt a little guilty about that after I read about the authors personal history.

Yeah, I felt very.... conflicted as well.  It's hard to describe to folks that hadn't read it.  Though, interestingly, Adrian's diagnosis came after Nod had already been written... what a coincidence...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just finished "It happened in the Florida Keys" by Victoria Shearer.  It's a collection of non-fiction short stories going back about 200 years.  I live down here, and this is a small enough place that everyone knows the history (except me), so I thought it important to know it myself!

 

Some fascinating stories in there, including a few that I had never heard before- including the only combat encounter between a war blimp and a U-Boat ever in WWII.  It also includes more well known stories, including how the keys was ground Zero for the Cuban boat lift (mass migration from Cuba), and how the Keys declared independence (then war) on the USA in 1982, briefly forming the Conch Republic.  That's where we get our motto- "We seceded where others failed!".

 

I actually loved the book- it leaves out a few stories I expected to see in there, such as the time one of our spy blimps got loose, was found by a fisherman, and later found 1000 feet in the air with a fishing boat floating 200 feet below it, drifting in the breeze.  But, if you ever intend to visit the FL Keys, you need to give the book a read- it includes some great background that will make a lot more sense once you come to visit. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, was on a business trip with no internet for the past 2.5 weeks.  Lots of time to read during travel, and finished three books!  Here are my assessments:

 

Mediations by Marcus Aurelius

Picked this up on the recommendation of a friend.  It’s translated more or less directly from Marcus Aurelius, and it’s pretty cool to read a direct personal reflection that is over 2,000 years old.  Not surprisingly, this makes it difficult to read in spots.  That being said, there are some uncanny similarities to modern times.  One could argue that Marcus Aurelius is one of the top 5 most powerful and influential people in recorded history- yet he spends several paragraphs in one of his reflections trying to convince himself to get out of bed.  In a way it’s both saddening and freeing to see that even the “greats” struggle with everyday things.

This book is short but because of its dense material and archaic writing style it took 3 months to finish.  I am glad I read it.

 

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer 

While on my work trip a colleague was reading this book.  We’re both biologists and this book is narrated by one that travels into a quarantine zone known only as “Area X”.  The premise on the back was really interesting sounding, and the book was short, so I gave it a go.

I finished the book in under 24 hours (it doesn’t even pass 200 pages).  The premise was really cool, but I felt the writing was too fluffy and abstract- there were a lot of long words in places short words would have worked just as well, and there are strange philosophical points that don’t really have anything to do with the main text.  In short, it felt like the author was trying (and failing) to write a character smarter than he was.  Maybe I’m being too hard. 

At the end of the day, the premise was really interesting, but the writing and plot just never “grabbed” me.  It just kind of ended.  I won’t be reading the other 2 in the trilogy.

 

The subtle knife by Phillip Pullman

My wife got me into the “His dark materials” trilogy and thus far I am really enjoying it.  Fighting bears, other worlds, witches, and a very sharp knife.  It’s interesting and entertaining without being too simple or complex.  The writing style is notable- it feels as if the entire thing was written perhaps a half century ago.  This gives the books a sort of gravitas of classic fiction, though they are barely 20 years old.  I love it and look forward to reading the third!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a very strange coincidence, I finished "Annihilation" last night too. We seem to be very much on the same wavelength for books to read, although it took me rather longer than you to get through it. As you say, an interesting concept that the author didn't do as much with as he might. I too thought that the vocabulary was deliberate over-ornate to make the story seem more mysterious. Unusually in a book of this type I saw quite a lot of the plot coming and pretty much was able to see where the book would end, especially as there were 2 more books to on the horizon. I might get the sequels from the library, but would not buy them.

 

 So glad you have enjoyed "The Subtle Knife". I think this and it's sequels are just about the best fiction I have ever encountered and my copies are dog-eared with frequent re-reading. Unusually amongst trilogies the middle volume is not just a pot-boiler but a very good story in it's own right. And the last book is very moving indeed. Please do post your thoughts when you complete the series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it's been a few months.  I picked up a new video game (Sea of Thieves) and have been playing that a lot.  I don't play many video games anymore, but this one was too good to pass up. I highly recommend it if you enjoy sailing or pirate games!

 

Along that vein, I finally finished How to Read Water.  What an excellent book. It's dense,  and as such can be hard to just sit down and read.  However, it has a lot of fantastic information in there and is a good read for anyone from the landlocked pond watcher to the experienced waterman.  I finished it while off at sea, and one of the captains (with way more experience than me) borrowed it and remarked that there were things in there that even he didn't know.  He ordered a copy as soon as we got to shore, so that should tell you something.  If you ever wanted to know more about why coasts, seas, lakes, ponds, or puddles act the way they do, or if you just like nature in general, this is a fantastic book. The best book on water I have ever read.  I see myself coming back to it often in the future, as once it is read it becomes a great reference to have on the shelf.

 

I also finished A wrinkle in Time.  I read this classic in elementary school, but it had been so long that I could not remember any of the plot.  All I remembered is that when I first read it, I loved it.

 

I loved it the second time around, too, but for different reasons.  So much of what I read, even for fun, is dense and requires a certain level of brainpower I just don't always have when I get off work.  A Wrinkle in Time takes me back to a time when I could just read for fun and think nothing of it.  This puts it in excellent company with the Hobbit and some of the Dragonlance books.  If you haven't read A Wrinkle in Time, I suggest it for three reasons:  1) It's very short and easy to read; 2) It's a classic (and if you have kids, you can read it to them); and 3) it's just downright strange and enjoyable.

 

I'm also marking off The Wrong Stars as read.  I bought it back in January, and got 95% of the way through before the book just magically vanished.  I enjoyed it, but I probably won't be reading the remaining books in the series.  I enjoyed the premise and the characters.  The crew's dynamics were great, and the author has a very interesting and original take on Aliens that I really enjoyed reading about.  However, the plot just seemed like an old re-hash told a dozen times before.  Perhaps there is a big twist that I missed, but it just didn't grab me.  If you like sci-fi or world-building, I suggest reading it for those reasons.  Maybe someone who has picked it up can tell me how it ends and if it is worth going back to grab from the Library. 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Knocked out another book this weekend- "Two's company, Three is complexity".  This is a pop-sci book that introduces complexity science.  Many fields, from fluid dynamics, to economics, to biology deal with complexity and I wanted to learn more about it for my own job.  It's a good introduction- especially the first half. The back half gets a little repetitive, but it's easy to read throughout and is a good starter on the topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been awhile! The summer is the busiest time of the year for folks in my field, so my free time has dwindled to basically nil.

 

I did manage to read two more books during the past two months:

 

"How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie

 

"On writing: A memior of the craft" by Steven King

 

Both books were fantastic, simple to read, direct, and extremely informative.  Dale Carnegie has hit on the inner workings of human psychology in a way that astonishes me- especially since it was written 80 years ago!  I cannot reccomend this book highly enough.

 

On writing was also extremely useful to read.  I consider myself an aspiring fantasy writer, though I don't work at it all that much.  Either way, seeing what makes good or bad writing, and how the master himself does it, was both entertaining and really useful.

 

Next on my list are some science books- going back through the history of my field and reading some foundational works to give myself that context!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, ladystorm said:

I track my books on Goodreads.

I'm around 220 for the year.  I'll hit at least 300 before the year is out.

 

Thanks for the suggestion!  I post it here because this is the only forum presence I have- but I think starting in Jan I'll move this over to goodreads.

 

300 books?!? How do you do it???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Similar Content

    • By Inarah
      Some of y'all may remember going to school in the 80's in your brand new corduroy pants. 
       

       
    • By TripleH
      New books be Dave Taylor, one of which features Aaron Lovejoy, Matt Dipietro, and Elizabeth Beckley of Miniature Monthly and others.
       
      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1560579763/the-art-of-volumes-1-3?ref=user_menu
       
       

       
      If you would like to just get two of the three books, the best way to do so is to pledge for one of the books, then increase your pledge total to include the Add-on price for the second book below. 
       
      We will be using BackerKit as our pledge manager and that's where you'll have the opportunity to make those specific choices. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or by messaging me here on Kickstarter.
       
      THE ART OF…
      For more than 30 years I have spent a great deal of time talking with hundreds of artists who paint miniatures – for fun, for a living, for relaxation – and I am always intrigued to learn more about their philosophies, approaches, and processes. Some of these artists have spent decades refining their technical skills, while others bring their “traditional” art training to the miniatures world. Some draw inspiration from the most unusual of places, while others find it in popular culture turned on its head.
       
      THE ART OF… series of books will highlight fantastic miniatures artists from around the world, bringing their thoughts and passions to stand alongside their magnificent and inspirational work. We’ll be featuring both individuals and groups in this series, as we explore innovative approaches, studied refinements, and even tangential influences.
      These books will be both a celebration of the artist and their art, as well as an opportunity for them to present their thoughts on particular topics and let the world know why they approach their art the way they do. These will not be “How To” books, but rather complements to their existing outlets work that the artists are already doing.
      This is just the beginning of THE ART OF… series. With so many wonderful miniatures artists, there is so much potential to explore.
       
      Volume 1 – THE ART OF... Miniature Monthly
      Miniature Monthly is a collective of three professional painters from the US – Aaron Lovejoy, Elizabeth Beckley, and Matt DiPietro – who have a Patreon (Miniature Monthly) producing painting tutorial videos. All three are (or have been) studio painters for a number of different companies and they each bring something different to the table. This book will be a high-quality, softback artbook of 128 pages.
      Aaron will cover:
      • Creating a team/collective – looking at The Painters’ Guild and Miniature Monthly
      • Striking a balance between Speed and High-end painting
      • Freehand – Adding depth and texture
      Elizabeth will cover:
      • Smooth Skin – featuring work on the Kingdom Death minis
      • Chibi Art – how painting chibis differs from “standard” miniatures
      Matt will cover:
           • Ancient methods with infinite possibilities.
      • The Art of miniatures, – Finding your voice and engaging with the audience.
      https://www.patreon.com/miniaturemonthly
      https://www.facebook.com/miniaturemonthly
      https://www.instagram.com/artoflovejoy/
      https://www.instagram.com/miniature_mistress/
      https://www.instagram.com/mattdipietroart/

       
      Volume 2 – THE ART OF... Christof Keil
      Christof Keil (aka k03rnl) is an artist from Germany who has made a name for himself with his incredible kitbashes and conversions and his work to turn 2D artwork into 3D pieces. Christof’s day job as a blacksmith working on enormous metal sculptures has given him a precise eye for balance and motion. This book will be a high-quality, softback artbook of 96 pages.
      • Kitbashing – a focus on anatomy, balance, silhouette
      • The Black Phalanx – a kitbashed project
      • Sculpting – creating reliefs and busts
      • Painting Black – an exercise in mimicking the masters
      • Black Templars – recreating the John Blanche art of 3rd Edition
      https://www.instagram.com/k03rnl/
      https://www.instagram.com/black.phallanx.sculpts/
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfsw4HOpTJ2MWvSbiBCT7-g

       
      Volume 3 – THE ART OF... Ana Polanšćak
      Ana is a professional miniatures painter from Croatia who is widely regarded for her world-building miniatures art. Her converted and sculpted miniatures blend seamlessly with her terrain work to create dark corners of worlds that beg to be explored – at your peril. This book will be a high-quality, softback artbook of 96 pages.
      • World Building – a focus on selecting a starting point and key developments. Working on your own worlds and collaborating with others
      • Gardens of Hecate – a world created by Ana
      • AoS28 – Hosting the LEGEN and the Sunhold campaigns
      • Sculpting – What it’s like to turn concepts into physical sculpts for the miniatures market, and the reliquary/artifact creations
      https://www.instagram.com/gardensofhecate/
      http://gardensofhecate.blogspot.com
      https://gardensofhecate.com
    • By Inarah
      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crosslances/the-scenic-library-3d-printable
       
      "Crosslances is an artistic reality consolidated for many years, we have dedicated ourselves very often to model making and playing miniatures in 28/32mm scale.
      This time, however, we want to launch a completely different project, an absolute novelty, our original idea.
      In fact, we want to make available to you these fantastic sculptures of ours, which can be printed directly at home, painted and placed inside your bookshelves to obtain stunning effects!"
       
    • By GodOfCheese
      This miniature had some DRAMA associated with it.
       
      I painted her for quite a while, and then she went into a kind of miniature limbo in which I just couldn't stand any color on the sculpt.  Finally I ended up dunking her in the Simple Green and leaving her there for a week.  The paint came off, but strangely the bones sculpt was dyed a strange orange color and its texture changed.  It got really, really soft... almost floppy.
       
      ...but eventually I got the fig to take a brown basecoat, and the rest of the painting process went off without much of a hitch, except the OSL.  The figure was so weirdly soft that drybrushing made it wobble.  So her OSL is a lot lighter than I would have hoped.
       
      Anyway, here she is :-)
       
       
       
       



    • By Kev!
      Howdy
       
      I like, big, books and I will not lie...
       


       
      Read 'em and weep,
      Kev!
×
×
  • Create New...