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My Reading List for the Summer Holidays

The other day I finished Jeffrey Konvitz’s “The Guardian” and now I have the feeling that I have read enough 70’s horror, if at least for a while. Since summer vacation is only a few measly days away, I thought it’d be a good idea to plan my reading for the next two months.

Browsing through the Storytel catalogue I decided on the following, albeit not necessarily in that order

  • Cal Newport: Digital Minimalism
  • Adam Savage: Every Tool’s a Hammer
  • Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus
  • Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons for the 21 Century
  • Terry Pratchett: The Colour of Magic
  • Dan Simmons: The Terror

To be fair, I already started reading “Digital Minimalism” and guess that I will have it finished during this weekend and will most likely continue with the Adam Savage book. If I enjoy the Pratchett book, I just finished “The Unadulterated Cat” this morning and had lots of fun reading it, as much as I guess I will be, I keep the option to continue the series right away. Maybe I will read it as the last book in this list, for just this purpose.

Also I plan to re-read “Atomic Habits” and make some notes this time.

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The Book-Log

Earlier this month I published my reading list from 2018, and in the process realized that putting it together took a felt eternity. Some books were in my Kindle, some in Audible and some in Storytel. It was a bit of a hassle to look them all up and a rather time consuming endeavour.

Sure, I could have relied on Goodreads, but, as far as I know, it integrates only with the Kindle, and audiobooks would have to be added manually. Also, that seems to be a bit too much.

I tend to post a quick note (you find new books filed under reading here on the blog) when I finished a book, but even that I sometimes forgot. So, browsing through that list wasn’t always helpful.

So, the other day, I chose to create a reading page, or better a Book-Log here on the blog, which contains all books I read since I started tracking them.

I thought putting them straight here on the blog might help me to keep it updated regularly (cough because this already works so well with my /Now-Page cough). Since this blog is all just plain-text files, it is rather easy to maintain.

I have set up a ”Drafts” action which quickly appends a new book to my book-log. This process is so quick that there is a good chance that I might stick to the setup. I only need to have Drafts close by.

Additionally I have set up a second reading-action in such a way, that it creates an entry both here on the blog and in my Day One journal, which I have started to use again (don’t-get-me-started).

You can have a look a the Book-Log or check out some of the reading posts.

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My “The Books I Read List for 2018”

I started out rather strong and finished a couple of books right in the beginning of the year, and then I explored Audiobooks, which was the moment, when thing got, not necessarily out of hand, but surely a bit wild.

Once I started to read audiobooks two things happened almost immediately:

  1. The time I spent reading an actual book declined almost immediately (this has also to do with the fact that I prefer focussing on one book at the time)
  2. The time spent listening to podcasts declining equally dramatically. This is something that I always was thinking during all the Audible ads during podcasts: what I start listening to those, I will stop listening to this. Guess what, it happened. At the moment I have a developed a bit better balance, usually catching up with some shows once I have finished another book.

But now the books. First the actual books, and then the audiobooks. Technically there are a few audio-dramas in between, but I kept them in anyway. Also, I did not link to the book either, kind of was too lazy for that.

The Books

  1. James S.A. Corey: Persepolis Rising
  2. Dan Brown: Origin
  3. John Scalzi: Your Hatemail Will Be Graded
  4. Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman: Good Omens
  5. V.A.Schwab: Vicous

The Audiobooks

  1. Douglas Adams: Life, the Universe and Everything
  2. Douglas Adams: Mostly Harmless
  3. Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the fish
  4. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhikers Guide
  5. Douglas Adams: The Restaurant at the end of the world
  6. Ernest Cline: Ready Player One
  7. Martha Wells: All Systems Red
  8. Martha Wells: Exit Strategy
  9. Martha Wells: Rogue Protocol
  10. Martha Wells: Artificial Condition
  11. William Peter Blatty: The Exorcist
  12. Ransom Riggs: Library Of Souls
  13. Ransom Riggs: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
  14. Ransom Riggs: Hollow City
  15. Stephen King: Elevated
  16. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History Of Time
  17. Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale
  18. Stephen Fry: Mythos -The Greek Myths Retold
  19. Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  20. Neil Degrasse Tyson: Astrophysics for People in A Hurry
  21. Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere
  22. Tim Lebbon, Dirk Maggs: Alien – Out Of The Shadows
  23. George R.R. Martin: Nightflyers and Other Stories
  24. John Scalzi: The Consuming Fire
  25. John Scalzi: The Android’s Dream
  26. John Scalzi: The Redshirts
  27. John Scalzi: Agent To The Stars
  28. John Scalzi: Head On
  29. John Scalzi: The End Of All Things
  30. John Scalzi: The Human Division
  31. John Scalzi: Zoe’s Tale
  32. John Scalzi: The Collapsing Empire
  33. John Scalzi: Lock In
  34. Jason Dark: John Sinclair Compilation 4-7
  35. N.K. Nemesin: The Stone Sky
  36. N.K. Nemesin: The Obelisk Gate
  37. N.K. Nemesin: The Fifth Season
  38. Jonathan Maberry: Lullaby
  39. Michael McDowell: Blackwater – The Complete Saga
  40. Herbie Hancock: Possibilities
  41. Joe Harris, Chris Carter, Dikr Maggs: The X-Files – Cold Cases
  42. Sir Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes – The Definite Collection
  43. Daniel José Older: The Last Shot
  44. Peter Clines: The Fold
  45. Peter Clines: 14

45 audiobooks! I’m sure there are people that have been listening to more, but I think this is quite an achievement. For my yearly stats post I had already calculated that this sums up to 23 days and 1 hour listening to audiobooks.

I’m looking forward to see how my list for next year is going to look like.

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The one with the “Murderbot” and other Novellas

I posted a short micro-blog the other day, when I started with the Murderbot Diaries, and in the meanwhile I of course finished the whole series. Suffice to say, that I liked it a lot. Great story, great writing and the character of the Murderbot is just the best.

At the moment there are four books in this series (a fifth one is said to be published in 2020 and a prequel on Wired) and it was one of the few books (or series in this case) where the thought: “Hey let’s listen to this again” crossed my mind. Which, I guess, is a good thing.

And no, I didn’t listen to it right away again.

In the process I realized, that I kind of like the format of the novella. Long enough to develop the story, but not so long that it becomes a “project”, for the lack of a better word, which I enjoy for other reasons. To be fair though, the books read as if it would be one long book, since the story continues. I guess that’s the advantage of reading the series when it’s done already.

Following this path, I continued with Stephen King’s Elevation, which I presume can be described as a novella as well. Who cares, but it was a very good story. Since I realized that I liked the size of novellas, it seemed the natural choice for me to continue with Stephen King’s The Stand, which is anything but a novella. I know, weird.

After that though, I think I might return to the Murderbot, but that is still about 46 hours ahead. Which reminds, to start writing my “The Books I read in 2018” list.

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The Audiobooks and one other thing that I listened during the last weeks

Since finishing the The Complete Sherlock Holmes I have read a few more books, but, aside the Herbie Hancock autobiography didn’t came around to quickly post a note to the blog. This is unacceptable of course.

Anyway, here is now the list, because you need to know:

  • John Scalzi: Redshirts
  • Herbie Hancock: Possibilities
  • John Scalzi: The Android’s Dream
  • The X-Files: Cold Cases (technically this is not really a book, it’s an audio-drama in fact, and features both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and it is a hell of a fun and I will definitely get the follow-up as well)

Currently I’m listening (I still can call it reading):

  • N.K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season

In my cue currently are:

  • Michael McDowell: Blackwater – The Complete Saga
  • Neal Stephenson: The Diamond Age
  • John Scalzi: Agent to the Stars
  • Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere
  • Ted Gioia: The History of Jazz
  • Craig Alanson: Columbus Day

With all of these books I hardly find the time to listen to some podcasts, but I still catch up every Thursday with The Magnus Archives which hasn’t lost any of its excitement and, I guess, soon with reach it’s end.

So, that’s it for now. If there is something new coming up, I’m sure there will be a “look-what-I-finished” post.

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Currently Reading

I have been listening to audiobooks plenty before but since I started to use Storytel I have been a bit on binge.

After having finished Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry I continued re-reading Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy read by Stephen Fry. I enjoyed how his reading brought the book to life, which also reminded me how much I liked his podcast when it was still around.

Anyway, once the book one was finished, I went straight to the next books in the series, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Life, the Universe and Everything which are equally well read by none other that Martin Freeman.

I read part of the series (if not all, not sure anymore) in German many years ago but only remember parts of it (mostly of the first book), but it is save to say that the/a translation really don’t do justice to Douglas Adams’s eloquent, witty and funny style, which I now for the first time read/heard in English. I find this very inpsiring.

It goes without saying that will continue with, Mostly Harmless and So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, the two remaining books in the series. Folowing those I have a couple of books in the cue but am not sure yet with what I will continue once I’m done. Maybe something sciency for a change, or Game of Thrones, I even might make it finally through Lord Of The Rings? Let’s see.

In terms of normal books, as in: looking-at-words-and-not-have-them-spoken-through-the-ear-right-into-the-brain, I continue with my reading list and currently read Scalzi’s Your Hatemail Will Be Graded after which I most definitely will contiue with the Old Man’s War series.

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What’s next on my Reading List

Many things work better for me when I have a goal, a deadline or something like this and finding motivation for reading is not that different. Now that I finished my last book it is time to think what I want to read next.

  • Dan Brown: Origin The latest book in the series with Robert Langdon. I am already half-way through this one, and like it so far.
  • John Scalzi: Your Hatemail will the Rated
  • John Scalzi: Don’t Live for your orbituary
  • John Scalzi: The Last Colony (Old Man’s War #3)

Yes, there is a lot of Scalzi in this list, but hey, he’s great and the first two books are like a collection of blog posts from this site (which is actually a great read in itself).

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What’s next in my Reading List

The other day I finally (I’m sorry to put it this way) finished “The Night Ocean” and am now thinking what to read next and this is what I came up with.

Even though the I have managed to read more or less regularly during this year I did not read as much as I hoped to. I finished the Expanse series (okay the novellas are still waiting for me) but aside the aforementioned “The Night Ocean” by Paul La Farge not much else. Something had to happen.

The obvious solution is: a clear goal. Hence I needed a list.

Over the last few months I have every now and then downloaded a few samples or simply bookmarked some books that seemed to be interesting and now I have been running through them and looked for a possibly rather diverse list of books.

  • John Scalzi: An Old Man’s War I have read one of his short-stories and enjoy reading his blog, so it was an obvious choice to start with this one. Also if I like it, it is a whole series of books with which I can continue1.
  • Mark Benecke/Florian Hilleberg: Brandmal (John Sinclair series) Something in German for a change, pulp-horror fiction. I like this series and read some of the booklets as a kid. No literature for sure, but fun entertainment.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 Cosmic Avengers Even though I am not really a comic-reader I find myself buying a few every now and then. I know, weird. Recently I bought a whole bunch of comics during an Amazon sale yet haven’t come around at all to even look at them. I guess it’s better to start catching up with them.
  • Chet Baker: The Missing Years A memoir by Artt Frank I used read a lot Jazz Biographies but haven’t done so in a long time. This one seems like a good one to check out.

Probably my actual reading list will look different after I finished Old Men’s War, but let’s see.

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The next books on my Reading List

I’m taking a short break from the Expanse series.

I just finished reading the 3rd book in the Expanse series, Abaddon’s Gate, and already look forward to the next book, Cibola Burn, which is already waiting for me on my Kindle. Since I now read the first three installments in a row, I thought it would be nice to read something else in between and already have something in the line. Actually it’s two books, a short one (as in very) and a little longer one.

First of all a short one: John Scalzi’s “The Tale of the Wicked” which I learned about on Wil Wheaton’s blog. After that I will continue with Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology“. I preordered it already in the last year, and it was released just last week (or so). I have read a few of his book in the last year, and come to like his work a lot.

My reading challenge for this year is 17 books and now I’m at three. I guess I’m good on track.

Recently I have put a few minutes of work into my /Now page, and integrated the RSS-feed from my currently reading list on Goodreads. If everything goes as planned, the “Currently Reading” list should update automatically. That is, as long as I read on my Kindle.

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The Books I finished in 2016

Two years back I realized that I by far don’t read enough and started to do
something about it. And even though I made some progress in 2015 I challenged myself to at least read one more book than I did in 2015. Seven books would suffice, which seemed manageable.

So, I did what every reasonable person would do and had set a goal in my Google Calendar app to read every day. Getting a daily reminder was in the beginning rather helpful to get into a daily routine. At some point during the summer I realized that I started to skip watching TV in the evenings and rather sat down to read which I now prefer. Also listing my currently read book to my /NOW page might have been some extra motivation.

Either way, the strategy seemed to have worked and I managed to finish 18 books, which is far more than I had expected when I set out for the challenge. That said, it is still early in December and I might be able to add one or two more books to the list before the month is over.

Here’s now the list (so far).

Books I finished in 2016

  • Stephen King: Doctor Sleep
  • Randall Munroe: What If
  • Steven C. Schlozman: The Zombie Autopsies
  • David Eddings: Pawn of Prophecy
  • Jon Robson: So, You have been publically shamed
  • Ariel Waldman: What’s It like in Spaced
  • Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House
  • Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian
  • Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys
  • Neil Gaiman: Coraline
  • Neil Gaiman: American Gods
  • Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • Matt Gemmel: Changer
  • Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
  • Ryan Brist: Luke Skywalker can’t read and other geeky truths
  • H.P. Lovecraft: At the Mountains of Madness (short story)
  • Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five
  • Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

Audiobooks

  • Dan Brown: Illuminati (Angels and Demons)

I have the feeling that I did quite well during this year and I’m not sure would I manage to read more in the next year. So my minimum challenge would be to read at least as much as during this year.

Also in the upcoming year I will list the book(s) that I am reading on the /NOW page and in December of 2017 you will figure out if I have succeeded or failed my own challenge.