Wednesday, February 10, 2010

State of the Passions: Books

Recently this blog turned 150 days old. I began this blog with a goal of bettering myself incrementally each day:
This blog will document my passions, progress, and random musings so at the end of the day I can look back and see that, while I have not reached everything I have hoped for, I am further than when I started. And tomorrow is always another day on the road to a new Jay.
I then laid out My Passions in my second post. So where I am 150 days later, specifically Books?

I made a personal goal to read non-website-based content about 30 minutes a day. At that rate I would finish a medium sized books (400 pages reading or 7 hr listening) every two weeks, or roughly two books a month. I also enforced the rule that each subsequent book be in a different genre than the last; I gain little from reading only fantasy or even bestseller fiction novels all the time. Finally, I would accent my animation knowledge by reading animation-related books and websites, although I wouldn't count the website reading towards my 30 minutes.
Based on the rules above I've done pretty well, although I could do more when it comes to posting it to my blog. Here are the books I've "read" (audio books count too) since I started this blog in September:

A Brief History of Time (book)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (audio)
Meg: Hell's Aquarium (book)
Richest Man in Town (audio)
Dare to Discipline (book)
The Lost Symbol (book)
The Gathering Storm (book)
Outliers (audio)
Ishmael (book)
SuperFreakonomics (audio)

Looking at this book count it looks like I read 10 books in 5 1/2 months (although The Gathering Storm is an 800 page book and twice the size of most others on the list). But one thing I realized while reading is that my time and tastes change each week, so instead of reading or listening to one book straight for two weeks I would alternate between two or three each week. This occurred even more often as I switched between audio books and paperback books. With audio books I could listen while I drove or did household chores while with paperbacks I would find time at home to sit and read but could only do this for a few days in a row as I had other tasks at home that needed my attention (and could listen to audio books). And each day I read a paperback book my tastes would change so I would read one genre one day and change it up the next day with a different paperback in a different genre. Instead of finishing a book every two weeks I would finish a book, then start another book, then listen to another book, then start another book in a new genre, and would go 3-4 weeks without finishing a book but then finish three different books in a span of a few days. Presently I am in different stages of reading the following books:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (1000+ pg book, although I may count each individual story towards my goal)
The Catcher in the Rye (book)
The Gunslinger (audio)

Along with the next few I've already purchased and may begin while reading the others:
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Mere Christianity
Born to Run
The Fountainhead

Finally, I am subscribed to Entertainment Weekly and RealSimple magazines which go towards my weekly reading time, as well as the excepts I study in various animation books (Drawn to Life vol 1 and 2, Animation Tips and Tricks vol 1-2, Character Animation Crash Course, Batman Animated, etc).

Overall, I am doing well with my goal in books! As with most of my passions I could always spend more time reading (I still have wasted time which could be put to better use) and I may increase the book requirements through the year. One of the great benefits of reading is I am finding many subjects that I never knew anything about and am fascinated to read and post more. My Space and Numbers post started from "A Brief History of Time" while many of my Random Facts came from Outliers and SuperFreakonomics. And I need to post more reviews of the books that I read, although the one I did reminded me of how much I hated book reports in school so this may be a goal that I remove.

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