My “The Books I Read List for 2018”

This year was interesting in many ways and in terms of my reading list especially.

For starters 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.

The Thing with “The View From The Cheap Seats”

I am enjoying Neil Gaiman’s work since for a while and this book turns out a huge inspiration and source of discovery for me

I discovered Neil Gaiman’s writing a few years ago and since then I consider myself a huge fan of his work. I have read so far only a small fraction of this work and even though I usually read his books in one go, “The View From The Cheap Seats” is one that is yet unfinished. I’m coming back to it from to time though and tend to read it only in small-ish chunks, like chapter or one at a time.

I find this book to be very inspiring and full of wisdom and amazing quotes. I’m confident that no other book I own, has that many highlights. And most of all, this book has cost me quite a bit money so far. I daresay, it is, not only my most annotated book, it is also easily the most expensive I own, and according to my reading position, I’m only somewhere around 30% into the book.

In case it not yet clear: I enjoy this book a lot.

What it is, is a collection of talks, speeches, forewords and more and it is extremely interesting. Not only does it offer into a view into how Neil Gaiman works and thinks, about the books that made him him and what not, it also shines light on other authors and works unknown to me.

Whenever he speaks/writes about an author, about a work, maybe even talks about how a certain work came into being, what inspired it, I have the urge to check out the work or author in question myself, and this is where this book gets expensive. Naturally this is not a bad thing.

The other day I read two chapters and ended up purchasing Clive Barker’s Hellbound Heart and Fritz Leiber’s Selected Stories. Neither I have heard of before.

Hellbound Heart I only knew by proxy, as it had been, as I know now, the book the movie Hellraiser is based on. I’ve seen that movie only once, more moons than I care to admit to ago, and the only thing I remember of it, is a pale dude with a spikey head and lots of chains.

I do though have the feeling that book and movie, as so often, because books are usually so much better, have not much in common. I might have to rewatch the movie.

Anyway, I enjoy coming back to this book to get new inspiration or simply to learn more about writing, stories, or on how to tell a story. But I’m now more than 400 words into this, and will now stop and continue with “Hellbound Love”, or the Fritz Leiber stories.

The Big Sleep 📚

Quite a while ago I listened to this Criminal episode about Raymond Chandler, and ever since I planned to read the Philip Marlowe books and had “The Big Sleep” already, albeit vaguely, on my reading list.

Needless to say, I never came around reading it but for whatever reason, I recently purchased the book and as of yesterday I finished the audiobook: The Big Sleep

It sure was a fun read, and as noir as it gets. It’s very colourful and I enjoy this style. I have already purchased the next book in the series as well as added the remaining books to my wishlist and will start to read them soon as well. The audiobooks are in fact nicely read by Ray Porter, who sounds, just like someone to has to read these books.

And a little side information: the podcast episode was published on the 19th of December 2014. In other words: it took me about 4 years to get to it. Fast as a shark.

The thing I forgot to write about yesterday

And yes, by the time you read this, the show is long over. I had so much things on my hands that I forgot to bring this up earlier. So… the concert went very well, thanks for asking.

As far as I know it was more or less sold out and we played well and our soloist(s) for this gig, were finnish drum legend Teppo Mäkynen and Jukka Eskola on trumpet and flugelhorn. The band was very well conducted by Ville Vannenmaa.

Some words about the concert.

Teppo is surely a drummer in his own right, and easily plays the most beautiful style I have heard so far. There is a lot of color and nuance in his playing, he swings, and is never too loud. I sat right next to him in the section, it wasn’t too loud even once and always with amazing sound and swing. It’s a joy to listen to him.

On this concert we performed his exclusively compositions, one of which, Universal Four, featured me on tenor. This was of course an honour, but the tune was a tough nut. Even though the melody is rather simple, the bass figure in return, turned the simple upside down. It was very challenging to hear the beat right, and it routinely made me feel being wrong, when playing right.

Hence, during rehearsals and dress rehearsal, I therefore mostly manage to played crap on the melody. Luckily during the gig, I nailed the melody and the following solo was a joy to play with such a drummer behind me. Thanks again Teppo!

Since the program went so well, I hope we’ll have the chance to play the program again some time.

Some Stats for 2018

I like the recent trend of the services that I use to give some insight into my usage stats. Also this year is no exception, even though I had to collect some of the data manually.

As in the previous year(s) I enjoy to have a look at the numbers. In this post I have put together mostly my online-stuff. My health stats could also be interesting to look at, but at the moment they are spread around too much, that is in Fitbit, Google Fit and some are even in Apple Health, that it is a bit too much of a pain to collect them. Maybe next year.

But let’s start with this blog.

Blog

WordPress hasn’t yet, and it seems that they are either not going to, or at least equally late as me, published yearly stats yet, but I have noticed in the dashboard a (new?) section with annual site stats.

For 2018 it looks like this:

Published Posts:193
Total words:14,307
Avg Words per Post: 147

193 posts doesn’t seem so bad, not daily, but at least it’s close to every other day, but it’s a huge step back from 2017 where I had 376 posts. I think I will put the whole table eventually online.

Not included in these stats is the amount of time I have switched hosts (3x’s, WP.com, self-hosted, Blot.im and back to Wp.com) and or switched themes. I’m not sure would I like the numbers of the latter. Not even talking about time-spent-tweaking-CSS… Some things are probably better of not-said, if only for my own wellbeing.

Some Reading Stats

I am still putting together the list of books that I read (or listened to during 2018), which, due to the lack of integration between Goodreads and Audible, turns out to be more time intensive that I hoped. The stats resulting out of that are looking somehow like this.

Books

With 7 actual books this doesn’t look like much compared to last year, but since I started to listen to audiobooks, I will look over this.

Audiobooks

For the majority of my audiobook reading I used Audible, which also provides some detailed statistics. In the beginning of the year though I used Storytel, which in return doesn’t offer any. So I calculated those myself, which was a bit tedious and probably not entirely correct since I tend to listen at about 1.2 speed.

Either way, I finished 43 audiobooks in 2018, which is probably a lot, at least for me. In terms of listening time this look like this:

Storytel434 hours
Audible553
Total:23 days 1 hour

Read Articles (read: Pocket)

According to Pocket I read 153k words in the app, roughly being two books. This sounds about right and it comes with a nice graphic as well:

What this graphic is not showing is how this relates to the amount of articles saved.

Todoist

Todoist was one of the first services that I use to give out stats to its users, and I already shared them with you, but I finished 1818 tasks in the app.

I guess that it’s for the moment. My complete reading list will come out and some point as well.

Sick day #3

Another sick day, another day on the sofa.

This mostly translates to that I watched some more movies, or actually, I slept through my second viewing of “The Nun” in the morning (it was a rental, so I kind of had to).

I also happily noticed that a new episode of Star Trek Discovery is out and now we are watching Paranormal Activity.

Which is reminds me that such movies are funner during day time.

60 Day Streak

60 days, posting at least once a day! I’m surprised that I have managed to get it this far myself. A month ago, when I managed my first 31 day streak on this blog, I wondered if I manage to keep it and don’t break the chain, and so far I did.

While I didn’t set out for such a long streak, I’m now certainly even more motivated to keep things going. My next goal would be maybe 100 days. But then again, I don’t want to jinx it.

Today’s view from the Hotel Window

It’s been long ride, and by now it’s pitch black outside. So yes, I’m currently at the Ylläs Jazz & Blues festival, where we are going to perform the music of Esperanza Spalding as a support act for the Ricky Tick Big Band. This is going to be a fun show.

A quick side info: 9 years ago, during another concert trip, I launched my “personal blog” Too Much Latte while I was on the way here. I remember being rather adventures doing that in the bus, from my phone (I guess iPhone 3g or such) on WordPress.com. I also remember that the 3g network wasn’t then what it is now. Which should come as no surprise.

Needless to say that that blog has been merged long ago into this, though I’m sure I haven’t imported all posts. I just did a search on Archive.org and figured there are some archived pages and learned that I already then was doing “status” updates there. I will have to browse through that once and get some of the old stuff out.