The year 2018 had a very cold beginning here in US. Now that I stopped shivering I can write my obligated annual “good-better” summarizing/planning post. My 2017 was good, although I didn’t quite accomplish the goals I set out at the beginning of the year:
- Read 50 books, 20 of which from shelves at home. Partially Done. I did finish 50 books and here are the book reports: Q1; Q2; Q3; Q4. Amazingly, the average length of this year (2017)’s books is 341 pages, compared to (2016)’s 343, and (2015)’s 342. As a statistician, I can’t help marveling at these numbers. There had to be something significant going on other than coincidence. Only 16 of the 50 books were from shelves at home, so this part of the goal wasn’t reached. I am not going to lose sleep over it though. 🙂
- Visit 3 new countries. Done. I visited South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Swim 80 times (average 1.5 times a week); yoga at home everyday. Not done. I only swam 37 times, average 0.7 times a week. I didn’t count how many days I did yoga at home, but I suspect it was less than every other day. On average I walked 4,953 steps a day, slightly short of last year’s 5,080 and a lot fewer than the previous year’s 7,000. Seems I missed the marks of my exercise goals quite a bit!
- Publish 40 blog posts. Not done – only published a shameful 7 posts, not even half of last year’s not-so-good 18.
- Lose 5 pounds. Not done – my weight throughout the year moved up and down within a six-pound range. At least I weighed one pound less on December 31st than on January 1st, so I consider it losing 1 pound.
All in all, my 2017 wasn’t very productive in reaching goals. However, it was a great year in traveling – I actually was in four continents! 🙂 Here is this year’s travelogue:
- January. London, United Kingdom (work)
- May. Seoul, Busan, South Korea; Beijing, China
- July. Mystic, CT; New England
- October. Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne, Uluru, Australia; Queenstown, New Zealand
- October. New York City, NY (work)
I haven’t got a chance to write about the 19-day Australia/New Zealand adventure – one of the best trips of my life! It involved 12 flights, 8 hotels, 4 time zones, and temperatures anywhere from 50 to 100 degrees. I ended up being poorer financially but much richer in experiences and memories, not to mention the thousands of photos I brought back with me!
Now here are my goals for 2018:
- Read 50 books – at least 5 in Chinese, at most 25 in audio format
- Visit 5 new countries
- Swim 50 times; yoga at home everyday (except this past week :))
- Publish 30 blog posts; write at least 3 full-length travel articles in Chinese
- Learn to cook 3 new dishes
- Lose 5 pounds
I am looking forward to a better year ahead – more explorations and adventures. I can’t wait to start.
Happy New Year! 2017 is now history and I am glad to report that I did reach my goal of reading 50 books, finishing the last one with 40 minutes to spare :). I didn’t quite make the 20-books-from-home-shelves goal though – I read 16, not bad actually with only 4 books short.
Anyway, here are the 14 books I finished in the fourth quarter:
- The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
- The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
- Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
- Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie
- The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
- People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
- Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
- The Three of Us (我们仨) by Yang Jiang (杨绛)
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike
- Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy
- Phantom by Jo Nesbø
- Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life by Kenneth Haugk
Five of these are from shelves at home. I enjoyed most books on this list, especially #1, #6, #10, and #13. The classic #9 is powerful, and I regret that I wasn’t able to see her house while in Amsterdam last year. Maybe next time.
Again I set a goal of finishing 50 books in the coming year. I also decided that at least 5 of them should be in Chinese. In addition, half of them are to be really read using my eyes (i.e., not audio books). These specific goals will help me get a better feel of both languages and become a better writer.
I look forward to another good year of reading!
It is time for another book report, right before I depart for a long trip. My goal this year is to read 50 books, 20 of which from shelves at home. I finished 12 in Q3. According to Goodreads, I am one book behind schedule. Not too bad – still three months left to catch up. 🙂
Here are the books I finished in the third quarter:
- The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
- A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis by Devin Brown
- Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
- The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
- Havana Storm by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler
- The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott
- Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
- The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel
- 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time by The Editors of Time Magazine
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
Three of these are from shelves at home (behind the goal again). I enjoyed most books on this list. Fictions #1 and #4 are very good; Non-fictions #8, #9, #10, and #12 are really informative, I learned quite a lot from each one.
I need to finish 14 books in the next quarter to reach my goal of 50… Not sure I can accomplish the 20-books-from-shelves goal though, as that requires an impossible 9 in Q4.🙂 Keep reading… till the next report.
The second book report of 2017 is overdue… Can’t believe ten days have passed since the beginning of the new quarter! My goal this year is to read 50 books, 20 of which from shelves at home. I finished 13 in Q2 , still a little behind schedule. But I am on track now as I already added two books in July. 🙂
Here are the books I finished in the second quarter:
- Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God by Bill Hybels
- Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
- The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation by Robert Pinsky
- Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers by Simon Winchester
- Red Rising by Pierce Brown
- Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
- The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity by Skye Jethani
- Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert Wolke
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie
Four of these are from shelves at home (behind the goal again). As usual, the books on this list are quite eclectic. My top two are #8 and #10. I picked up #7 and #9 after watching the authors’ TED talks – both met my expectations. #6 has some very insightful and interesting discussions. All the books on this list are informative and enjoyable, except #12, which I probably would hate if I had read the book, but the audio book I listened to was quite entertaining.
Keep reading… till the next report. 🙂
It is time to post the first book report of 2017, now that three months are already behind us. My goal this year is to read 50 books, 20 of which from shelves at home. I only finished 11 in Q1 , a little behind schedule. I am quite optimistic about reaching the goal though, considering how many ‘currently-reading’ ones I have at the moment.
Here are the books I finished in the first quarter:
- Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
- The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel
- The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Paul Hattaway & Brother Yun
- Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- The Leopard by Jo Nesbø
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
- Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership by John Maxwell
- Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Four of these books are from shelves at home (behind the goal of 20 as well). As usual, the books on this list are quite diverse in terms of genre, time frame, and author’s nationality. My two favorites are #6 and #8 – truly outstanding and highly recommend. I don’t like #1 and #10, while all the others are good in one way or another.
Keep reading… till the next report. 🙂
On this last day of 2016, I am ready to post the Q4 book report. I did manage to finish 11 books this quarter, therefore reached my goal of 50 for the year. Plan to keep the same goal for 2017, although the genre and format of the books are likely to change. 🙂
Here are the books I finished in the past three months:
- The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People by Edward Hallowell
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
- Fool’s Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe by Gillian Tett
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell
- Talking from 9 to 5: How Women’s and Men’s Conversational Styles Affect Who Gets Heard, Who Gets Credit, and What Gets Done at Work by Deborah Tannen
- Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World by David Kent
I enjoyed most books on this list, especially #6, #8, and #11. I learned a lot from #7 and #10. The only book that I don’t like is #9.
Currently I am reading a few interesting books which will hopefully end up in the 2017 Q1 report, including a big one that should be counted as 6 books. 🙂 Stay tuned.
It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that we were already five days into the fourth quarter of the year, and I totally forgot about posting my Q3 book report, as well as a few other things that I do on a quarterly basis. Life had been busy this summer, so I only finished 11 books in Q3, which makes a total of 39 books this year, still ahead of schedule to reach the goal of 50. Looking good.
Here are the books I finished in the past three months:
- The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
- The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks
- Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben
- The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
- The Clocks by Agatha Christie
- I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
- 1Q84 Book 3 by Haruki Murakami
- Last Year’s Resolution by Robert Lampros
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Border Music by Robert James Waller
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
The books on this list go from extremely boring (#10) to very good (#9), and everywhere in-between. The three nonfiction books on this list (#2, #6, #11) are all interesting and informative.
Only need to finish 11 more books in Q4 to reach my goal. Rather than starting new books, maybe I should work on those that I started but have not been actively reading. Will see how it goes. Keep reading…