Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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RIP Kobo

My kobo1, appears to be no longer capable of holding a charge. I plug it in overnight and it seems like it’s charged, but then a few hours later (during which time it isn’t being used) and I see this:

My kobo won't hold a charge :(

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, as it is more than 4 years old and in electronics time that’s like 1000 years old. Plus I’ve not been able to get it to connect to my computer for quite some time now, which means that I haven’t been able to put any new books on it. I was hoping to read the books that I already had on there that I hadn’t yet read though. I’m in the middle of reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. Though I can’t tell you exactly how far because my goddamn kobo won’t hold a charge. Guess it’s time to start looking at what’s happened in eReader technology in the last four years…

  1. Which I had named Luna, after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. []

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Books I Read in 2016

I set my goal to read 16 books in 2016 and I started off strong with books I was reading for fun, but the decision to take on teaching a new course meant that come the summer, when I did my course development, the type of book I was reading was predominantly textbook. Also hampering my reading was the launch of PokémonGO, as I used to do a lot of reading on my commute to work, but once I got hooked on trying to catch ‘em all, I ended up spending much of my commute either catching Pokémon or grabbing stuff from PokéStops as I whizzed by them on the bus or train1 or doing my Pokémon inventory management2.

Anyway, I did manage to surpass my goal of 16 books:

I read 21 books in 2015!

The books were:

2016 Books

2016 Books 2

2016 Books 3

This list includes:

  • 4 fiction books
  • 8 non-fiction books
  • 9 textbooks

I think my goal for next year should be to read fewer textbooks!

Looking at the list, the book I most enjoyed this year was the Voodoo Killings, followed by Dear Committee Members, and the books I learned the most from were the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and The Spirit Level. The book I liked the least was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking3

In terms of stats, I read 7,711 pages of books4 in total, with book lengths ranging for 181 pages to 704 pages.

2016 books - stats

Not surprisingly, the most popular book I read was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the least popular book was the textbook I assigned to my class. Apparently only one other person on all of Goodreads read that textbook, which I’m hoping means none of my students are on Goodreads!

I’m not planning to teach any new courses next year, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be reading more books for fun!

  1. Back before they changed the game so that you can no longer get stuff from Pokéstops when you are travelling at fast speeds. []
  2. For the uninitiated, you only have room for 250 Pokémon in your PokéBox, so once you’ve caught that many, you have to free up space by transferring some of the Pokémon to the professor in exchange for candy. This takes some work, as you need to figure out which Pokémon you have extras of and then figure out which is the lowest value Pokémon so you know which one to get rid of. []
  3. And that includes all the textbooks I read! []
  4. I also read some unholy number of pages of journal articles. I wish there were a site like Good Reads where I could track all my journal article reading! []

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All the Books I Read in 2015!

I started tracking the books I’m reading on GoodReads this year and it made a nice summary of the 18 books I read (i.e. surpassing my goal of 15 books), so I just stole screenshots from that report. #Efficiency

GoodReads 2015 - part 1
GoodReads 2015 - part 2

The above list includes:

  • 4 books that I read for one of the courses that I taught
  • 5 books that I read for my book club
  • 1 book that I read for work
  • 8 non-fiction books that I read out of interest

Wow, I just realized there isn’t a single fiction book on that list that I just chose to read myself. Good thing for my book club or I wouldn’t have read any fiction at all!

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Reading Fiend

Two parallel stacks of books on blue backgroundNow that I have copious amounts of time on my hands, I’m doing what I did the last time I suddenly had copious amounts of time on my hands – reading all the books ever!

Since finishing school, I’ve read one complete book (The Bridge to Teribithia – which I read for the book club that my friend Shalu just started), started two other books (Ender’s Game and A Short History of Nearly Everything) and nearly completed another book (Born to Run). To give you a sense of how bad my ability to read for fun has been while I’ve been in school, Sarah and Dave gave me Born to Run TWO Christmases ago, and I’ve only now gotten around to reading it! I also started reading Thinking, Fast and Slow near the end of the summer, as it was a recommended book on the syllabus for my Internet Marketing class (and it sounded super interesting), but once my classes, including Internet Marketing, started, I didn’t have time to finish it. So I’ll get back to that soon!

As I’ve now returned to the land of reading things other than textbooks and Harvard Business Review articles1, I also finally gotten around to joining Good Reads, where I will track all the stuff that I’m reading because in addition to loving to read, I love to track things! So you can friend me over there is you want to follow my reading adventures, which you totally know you want to.

Image Credit: Posted by Horia Varlan on Flickr using a Creative Commons license.

  1. Not that I intend to stop reading stuff from HBR – I *love* those articles! []

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Nerd Stats 2012

Here is a quick summary of my blog and Twitter stats for 20121:

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 % change from 2011
Blog postings: 423 357 344 380 201 -47%
Tweets: 2,227 1,815 2302 3,625 8752 -76%
Visits to my blog 32,410 45,153 44,689 60,560 63,844 +5%
Average number of blog visits per day 933. 1264 122 166 175 +5%
Busiest day on my blog: Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)5 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)6 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)  Oct 10, 2011 (374 views) Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)7 -6%

It’s pretty clear from the above that I was a lot less active on my blog and on Twitter this year – which is pretty much what I expected would happen once I started school. I was pleased to see that despite the decrease in blogging, I still managed to squeak out a slight increase in visits to my blog and I’m approaching my goal, as per my 101 list’s item #82 “up my blog readership to an average of 200 readers a day”8. Also, if you are so inclined, you can also check out the blogging annual report that the helper monkeys of WordPress were so kind as to compile for me.

Also, perusing through some of my old postings, I noticed that when I first started blogging my Nerd Stats for the year, I also included a list of all the books I’d read – or at least the ones I could remember – in the year. I’m sure I’m not going to remember all of them as I haven’t been tracking them, but to the best of my knowledge9, I read the following books in 201210:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg11.
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchn Rubin
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Your Brain at Work by David Rock

Textbooks:

  • Financial Accounting in an Economic Context by Jamie Pratt
  • Corporate Finance by Berke et al
  • Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour by Langton et al
  • Managerial Economics (Custom Edition)
  • Management Ethics by Bowie & Werhane
  • plus countless journal articles and course notes!

And that, my friends, is my final blog posting for 2012! See y’all next year!

  1. To see previous years’ nerd stats postings, click the year in the table. []
  2. note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2013” posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []
  3. not sure why this value is not equal to the number of visits to my blog divided by 365 days. Probably some some of rounding error []
  4. ibid []
  5. thanks to the Hockey Hotties posting []
  6. thanks to the Blogathon! []
  7. This makes me sad, because the posting that drew this attention was my dad’s obituary. []
  8. Which should really say “views” per day, not readers, as the blog stat tracking thingy tracks viewers, not individual readers. []
  9. Where “my knowledge” = anything I wrote about on my blog, is sitting on my bookshelf that I can see and remember that I read, and was recorded by my e-reader. []
  10. In no particular order. And for the textbooks, I didn’t read all of them from cover to cover – just the required chapters []
  11. In progress. []

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Any resemblance to actual persons, living or undead, is purely coincidental

Somewhat spoiler-ish. I’m too lazy to do an actual thorough review or anything, but if you are planning to read the book and don’t want to know anything, I suggest you skip this posting.

I just finished reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. At the very end of the book there was the typical disclaimer, “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” I think you can see why this made me laugh.

The book itself was quite good. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to read this book because, while I love zombie movies and TV shows, I thought, “A book about zombies? How scary can that be?” But it was. Not scary the way a movie would be, but definitely frightening to think about what it would be like if the zombie apocalypse were to actually happen. What was also intriguing was the exploration of what it would be like in different countries – zombies freezing in northern climates and then thawing in the spring, more militarized countries having different capacities to fight hordes of the living dead, how countries might go about repopulating the Earth once the zombies were beaten.

I’m interested to see how this will turn out as a movie, which apparently will be coming out next summer1.

  1. After some delay due to them having to refilm the ending on account of the first version of the ending sucking. []

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Books, books, books!

Book 8Now that I’m on summer “break”1, I’m actually allowing myself to read things whose titles don’t include words like “Financial Accounting”, “Organizational Behaviour”, or “Corporate Finance”.

So far, I’ve managed to knock back:

I also have  some books that I started before the start of school, but never managed to finish:

And then I have a few other books I’m wanting to read:

Just to name a few.

Now comes the part of the blog posting where I claim that I’ll write blog postings about the books that I have read, and the books that I will read, for the duration of the summer. Chance of this actually happening = 0.01%.

Image Credit: Posted by Brenda Starr on Flickr.

  1. Where by “break” I mean I’m only working full-time, updating the course I teach (note to self: send email to admin peeps re: updating course), working on my business plan and a couple of assignments for school. []
  2. I knocked back the first two books in the series – The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – over the Christmas break []
  3. Started reading this on my summer vacation last year. []

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BBC Book List

So this list has been sitting in my “Draft” blog posting folder for about eleventy billion years. Don’t even remember where I first saw it, but since my brain is sleepy and I don’t feel like actually writing anything of substance tonight, I give you my copy of “which of the BBC’s top 100 books have I read” list1.

Bold = I’ve read the whole thing
Italics = I’ve read part of it
[my additional comments in square brackets]

==

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman [I *loved* the first book and just couldn’t put it down. The second two were OK, but didn’t catch me the way the first one did.]
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams [loved, loved, loved this whole series. That Douglas Adams was a frood who really knew where his towel was.]
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling [I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series several times over!]
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee [I remember reading this is high school. Don’t remember a heck of a lot about it though.]
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell [Read this one in high school and wrote an essay about it.]
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell [Never read the book, but *loved* the movie when I was a kid.]
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling [This was my favourite of the Harry Potter series.]
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien [Read it in high school. Did not like.]
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald [‘Daisy’s changed her mind!” Read it in high school. Liked it a lot.]
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens [I’ve seen the movie!]
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky [Another one I read in high school and absolutely loved. I think I still have a copy of this that belongs to my friend Jody.]
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman  [Hilarious!]
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding [Shockingly, I have not read this.]
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding [Saw the movie. Hated, hated, hated it!]
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley [Read in high school. Wrote a comparative essay of this and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.]
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

==

So, I’ve read 20 of the 100. How many have you read?

  1. I had to Google it to find a source, because when I’d copied it from wherever I got it, I didn’t include my source in my draft blog posting. Reference FAIL! []