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Posts concerning reading

2017 Goals/2016 Goals Review: A Year of Treading Water

16:10 01 Jan 2017

On every front except work, 2016 was a bad year for me.

Not in big ways; I didn’t have any major setbacks, bad injuries, or dramatic blowups. It just sucked in a low-key but consistent way.

It was bad in terms of the goals I set myself at the start of the year, too.
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Favorite Books of 2015

22:20 02 Jan 2016. Updated: 08:25 04 Jan 2016

I read quite a lot of books in 2015, and while I didn’t rate as many books at 90 as in 2014, it was nonetheless an excellent reading year for me.
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2013–2015 Goals Review/2016 Goals

18:16 01 Jan 2016. Updated: 23:21 01 Jan 2016

I haven’t written about yearly goals since 2013. Time to revive the practice.
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Favorite Books of 2014

20:20 08 Apr 2015

2014 was a good reading year for me. In particular, it included a stretch of reading that brought back to me a joy in reading that had been, if not missing, at least muted.
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Favorite Books of 2013

20:40 13 Feb 2015

After a few years of reading less than I wanted, I managed to make more of an effort in 2013. 2013 was the second year that I made myself rate books after reading them, and thus far the year with the lowest average rating. There were still some gems, however.
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2013 Midpoint Reading Review

23:58 30 Jun 2013

At year’s middle, I’ve read 20 books, four shy of my goal of four books per month—but much closer to that total than I had expected after some long periods of minimal reading. While I’m happy to be reading more often again, there are only a couple of books I’ve read so far this year that are really good.
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Dropping the San Francisco Chronicle

23:54 19 May 2013

I’ve been a subscriber to the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 13 years, the entire time I’ve lived in the city. I started that subscription because I was used to living in a household where newspapers were a daily staple, and because I wanted to support local journalism. I also felt that major cities should have newspapers and I should thus support the city paper.

And now I’m ending my subscription.
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Favorite Books of 2012

22:43 13 Jan 2013

2012 was another year of little reading for me. I finished 37 books, with long periods of not reading anything at all.

The best book I read was James Gleick’s The Information, a history of information and our ways of conceptualizing it. Some of it was familiar to me, but much of it was new, and all of it fascinating. I highly recommend it.
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Books, Ebooks, and What to Keep

20:49 03 Jun 2012

In the time since I bought a Kindle, I’ve been extremely happy with it. But the rise of the ebook has brought with it questions about my relationship with books, specifically about book ownership and the notion of a personal library. I’m still trying to cut down on the physical books in my possession—the limited physical space that partly prompted acquiring a Kindle in the first place is still the same—and am finding it difficult to do so.
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Favorite Books of 2011

15:44 08 Jan 2012

2011 involved less reading for me than any year other than 2004, with a rather low total of 37. I’m not sure why it was so low, but I went through a very slow reading period after starting Gravity’s Rainbow in mid-August, and after starting (and never finishing) it I didn’t finish reading another book until the end of October.

2011 was my year of the ebook; I read more ebooks than paper books for the first time, 32:5. I’d be surprised if that trend were reversed (failing some kind of major economic/technological breakdown), and anticipate reading mainly ebooks in future.
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Embassytown Review

23:01 26 Jul 2011

I just finished China Miéville’s Embassytown, and was quite impressed with it. I think it’s more like “straight sci-fi” than his previous works, while at the same time being ambitious and different in the Miéville way and achieving the strangeness present in most of his work.
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The Kindly Ones Review

23:50 19 Jun 2011

Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones is the best work of fiction I’ve read in the last couple of years. It is the story of Max Aue, a Nazi military bureaucrat, as recollected by him in his old age. It’s powerful, gripping, disturbing, shocking, and insightful, and I highly recommend it.
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Favorite Books of 2010

19:52 12 Jun 2011

2010 wasn’t a great reading year for me.
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Favorite Books of 2009

22:53 31 May 2011

I read 55 books in 2009; my reading rate seems to be dipping towards about one book per week.

A dozen books stand out for me from that year.
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The New Yorker on Waiting for GRRM

23:51 19 Apr 2011

Laura Miller’s “Just Write It” is an overview of fan discontent with George R. R. Martin over the amount of time it’s taking to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. As a longtime (perhaps erstwhile—but I am planning to read the next book) fan, I thought it covered the ground well, and in particular the interesting question over what duty, if any, an author has to finish a story.
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China Miéville and “Uncoding the City”

23:07 03 Mar 2011

There’s a fantastic interview with China Miéville over at BLDGBLOG, quite long and ranging over a lot of interesting topics. Perhaps my favorite piece:

I know there’s a very strong tradition—a tradition in which I write, myself—about the decoding of the city. Thomas de Quincey, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Iain Sinclair—that type-thing. The idea that, if you draw the right lines across the city, you’ll find its Kabbalistic heart and so on.

The thing about that is that it’s intoxicating—but it’s also bullshit.

—Geoff Manaugh & China Miéville. “Unsolving the City: An Interview with China Miéville”. BLDGBLOG, Tuesday 01 March 2011.
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Third-Generation Kindle Review

19:47 11 Jan 2011

I bought a Kindle back in November, and have now had time to evaluate it. I’m happy with it and so far have seen few downsides.
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2010 Goals Review

11:51 31 Dec 2010

I once again had eight goals for 2010, and it’s not too likely that any more of them will be accomplished before the end of the year.
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Buying a Kindle

20:35 21 Nov 2010

Despite my love of books as physical artifacts, and my love of simply having physical books around, this evening I pulled the trigger on buying an ebook[*] reader, and I went with the Kindle on the basis of recommendations from a bunch of people I know who have them.

I was motivated largely by space considerations: I already have too many books for my living space. While I could alter that space to accommodate some more books, it’s ultimately unsustainable. In addition, I’ve been feeling more and more that I need to cut down on the physical objects I have (and/or care about), and that a minimalist approach to “stuff” would be healthier for me.
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Andre Agassi’s Open

08:58 17 Aug 2010. Updated: 15:46 17 Aug 2010

I read Agassi’s autobiography during a five-hour layover in Philadelphia airport this weekend, and have to say I was impressed—with the book, not the layover. I had expected it to be of interest mainly for its hardcore tennis content, with some celebrity stuff thrown in, but I found it gripping throughout and was very impressed with Agassi’s voice.
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Travel, Ebooks, and Real Books

09:27 01 Aug 2010

Despite my techie nature, I’ve never been enamored of books in electronic format. I love the feel of books, and while I have no trouble reading large amounts on screens of various kinds, I don’t like the idea of doing so for books.
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An Eldritch Reading

23:19 22 Jul 2010

I generally don’t listen to podcasts much, but I just listened to the first ten minutes or so of “The Haunter of the Dark” on HPPodcraft.com and I’m really impressed by the quality. They’ve been going for quite some time, so there are plenty of podcasts beyond that one (although many are discussions rather than readings).

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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

23:57 21 Jun 2010

I’m not a fan of the Harry Potter series. I’ve only read the first one, didn’t particularly like it, and it’s not my kind of fantasy series.

I’m not a fan of fan fiction, despite technically having written some. I regard it as being of dubious quality, despite knowing perfectly well that it’s not more likely to be bad than anything else.

Nevertheless, I was, and remain, captivated by a particular piece of Harry Potter fan fiction: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Its twist is that its Harry is a hyper-rationalist genius. You should go read it now.

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