Monday, January 30, 2017

Nooooo! Don't Leave Me!!!!

Peter Capaldi announces he will stand down as Doctor Who at the end of the year.

This is not the feel-good news I needed right now, BBC!

And Here I Feel Good About Myself If I Manage To Get All The Laundry Done.

One of the cool things about working where I do is that, once in a while, they'll get some really interesting people in as speakers. So I just got to hear a talk by Story Musgrave. Who I always knew was very accomplished, but it turns out that doesn't even begin to cover it. This guy is amazing. He's a farmboy turned astronaut/mathematician/engineer/pilot/mechanic/brain surgeon/about a zillion other impressive things. If you wrote a novel about him, people would complain it broke their suspension of disbelief. He's basically a real-life version of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. Only weirder.

Glad I got the chance to attend that.

Friday, January 06, 2017

First Currentlies of 2017

I'm gonna do this while I'm thinking of it, so that I don't have the add "belated" to the post title yet again.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Bluish-green sweater. White socks.

Current mood: Mostly okay, but... I dunno. I'm tired of things. I'm tired of winter. I'm tired of night shifts. I'm tired of the low-level but relentless nastiness that's been camped out in my sinuses for the last two months. I'm tired of not living in a Star Trek utopia.

Current music: Most recently, Determination, a rockin' collection of covers from the Undertale soundtrack by RichaadEB//Ace Waters.

Current annoyance: See above for a list of things I am tired of. I was going to say that it's not an exhaustive list, but, really, I think the last point probably covers just about everything.

Current thing: I've been wasting ridiculous amounts of time lately watching YouTube videos of people playing random videogames, for reasons I don't remotely understand. I think I'm finally starting to get over it, but, then, I've thought that before and somehow kept right on doing it.

Current desktop picture: Still this one.

Current book: The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. Which I am enjoying. It seems to be exactly the right kind of immersive reading experience my brain needed about now.

Current song in head: Earlier it was "Auld Lang Syne." Um... Way to be late to the party, brain.

Current refreshment: Water. Gotta keep those sinuses hydrated.

Current DVD in player: Just finished season 6 of Game of Thrones. Which I thought started out kind of slow, but ended strong. It's definitely left me wanting more. Although, knowing how this usually goes, by the time I'm able to watch season 7, I'll probably have forgotten half of what happened in season 6, as well as most of the minor characters' names (again). I'll probably also have been at least partially spoiled for two or three significant plot points. Seriously, what is it about this show that sends spoiler etiquette right out the window like [season 1 spoiler redacted]?

Current happy thing: My reading for 2017 has started out well, in terms of quality if not necessarily quantity, and I'm feeling weirdly optimistic about the possibility of actually making some progress through the TBR shelves this year.

Current thought: Well, we're past the winter solstice. Eventually the sun won't be going down just as I'm getting up when I'm on night shifts anymore. That'll be something to look forward to.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016: My Year In Books

Well, here we are, all crossed over into the new year and still hurtling forward in time at the dizzying rate of one second per second.

As I alluded to last time, at this point I traditionally like to take a look back at the previous year's worth of reading. I read 146 books last year in total (although a few of those were re-reads), which is respectable number, but one that's pretty much in line with the last few years. We, uh, won't discuss how many books I now have on the To Be Read shelves. Let's just say that if I'm making any bookish New Year's resolutions, one of them ought to be trying to keep that number from hitting quadruple digits. Um.

If you're interested, you can see the complete list of what I read this year here, or, if you prefer a pretty parade of covers, here.

As usual, I have a list of the best books I read this year. Or, rather, the books I rated 5 or 4.5 stars out of 5 after I read them, which is the only way I can compile a list like this without going completely nuts with indecision about it. Although, even so, I can't help feeling that I'd like to add Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky as an honorable mention, despite the fact that, for reasons that made sense to me that the time, I only rated it four stars. Because that's one that's really sticking with me.

Anyway. The Strugatskys aside, here's the Best-Of list for the year:


The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
City of Stairs and City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather and Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
Railsea by China MiƩville
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Non-fiction and Humor

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Which is a pretty substantial and nicely varied list, and a bigger one that I might have expected it to be. So, whatever else one might say about 2016, at least it was a good reading year for me. Which, of course, is what's really important.

Anyway. Happy New Year to all of you! And may you also have a great year of reading, or of whatever else it is that brings you joy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my first book of 2017 may be calling my name...