Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update on books

At this point, mostly I just wanted to update the log of books read so far. Given the rate at which I'm reading, and especially given the rate at which I'm updating the blog at the moment, it is quite difficult to keep track.

At the start of the year, I set myself a goal of 60 books for the year. This is starting to look comically light. I don't want to revise the target at this time, as I'm wary of taking on too much, but in the back of my mind there is a whisper of a new, higher, number.

The book of the year so far remains "Animal Farm", which was really quite astonishing. However, I did feel a little bad for both the exceptional "Fragile Things" by Neil Gaiman and, especially, for "The Children of Hurin" by Tolkien, both of which held that position for a matter of days before being superseded. Other books of note are "The Kite Runner", which was excellent until the last thirty pages or so, but which I didn't feel ended well, and "Wolf of the Plains", which was a much lighter read, but was very enjoyable for all that.

At the start of the year, I also said that I wanted to read twenty books from "The List". Thus far, I have read five ("Northern Lights", "The Subtle Knife", "Animal Farm", "The Kite Runner", and "Elric").

One of these days I intend to put The List up here, but not today. However, it is made up of four different lists: two "100 most popular" lists, one from the UK and one from the US, the legendary "Appendix N" from the 1st Edition "Dungeon Master's Guide" (much of which is rubbish, but some of which is simply fascinating - more on that at some later date), and the corresponding "Inspirational Reading" list from the new Pathfinder roleplaying game.

There is quite a lot of overlap between the "100 most popular" lists, and between the "Appendix N" and Pathfinder lists. There is almost no overlap between the "100 most popular" lists and the two roleplaying lists, except for J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm not particularly surprised by this.

#19: "Eberron: Grasp of the Emerald Claw", by Bruce R. Cordell
#20: "Elric", by Michael Moorcock (book five from The List)
#21: "Pathfinder: The Twice-Damned Prince", by Brian Cortijo and James Jacobs
#22: "Eberron: Voyage of the Golden Dragon", by Nicolas Logue
#23: "Wolf of the Plains", by Conn Iggulden

Monday, March 08, 2010


It is of course absolutely typical that I wrote a blog post explaining why I was too busy to update the blog, only to decide I wasn't happy with it, take it down, and then find I was too busy to ever get back to revise the post.

Anyway, in the meantime, that post has become almost entirely redundant, as the vast majority of what it says is now no longer true. The basic thrust was that, around the start of February, I took stock of all the various elements of my life, and decided that there wasn't even a single one that was quite right. Several of them were close, and some others easily fixed (which is not quite the same thing), but there was nothing that was quite there.

And so, I set out a bunch of resolutions to sort out the mess, which formed the content of the deleted post. (However, most of them dealt with work matters, hence my dissatisfaction with the post.)

Over the past several weeks, the various elements have now been sorted out, so that I am mostly happy with the way things have been going recently. Unfortunately, there has been a cost to all this: in order to get everything going again, I have had push things really hard. The consequence, quite apart from not being able to update the blog, is that I have been really tired all the time. Indeed, it has been so bad that for the past several weeks I have reached Friday and just stopped. There has been nothing left in the tank, so to speak. (Of course, by Monday I was invariably quite recovered, and ready for another punishing week of work.)

So, something has had to give. And so, gradually, the various resolutions have slipped away, one by one, until only a few remain intact. And those will basically be going soon. (Still, I'm not sure that matters - they served to solve a short-term problem, and perhaps that is enough?)

It has also become clear that I'm simply doing too much. The current rate is unsustainable, and something will have to be dropped. Fortunately, this is an easy choice: my Spanish course is coming to its natural end next Wednesday. Still, I find myself wondering if that is enough, especially as there are other things I would like to be doing, but have neither the time nor the energy.

So, anyway, that's what's been going on with that "Coming Soon" post for the last several weeks.

#16: "Hot Pursuit", by Corey Reid
#17: "Shadows of the Last War", by Keith Baker
#18: "The Kite Runner", by Khaled Hosseini (another book from The List)