Books read in 2018 Q2

I just came back from cruising around the Baltic Sea, and the second book report of 2018 is over due. My goal this year is to read 50 books, 25 of which in non-audio format and 5 in Chinese. I finished 14 books in Q2; only two of which I actually read as opposed to listening, and there was one Chinese book. Now I begin to think the non-audio part of the goal is quite challenging.

Here are the books I finished in the second quarter:

  1. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  2. Perturbed Chinese 忐忑的中国人 by 梁晓声
  3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  4. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  5. Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman
  6. Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette
  7. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  8. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  9. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  10. New York Post Fiendish Sudoku: The Official Utterly Addictive Number-Placing Puzzle by Wayne Gould
  11. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  12. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  13. Prayer by Ole Hallesby
  14. Adultery by Paulo Coelho

As usual, the books on this list are eclectic in many ways and I liked most of them. I read quite a few books from the author of #2 twenty years ago, and this one is as good as expected. I really enjoyed #7 and #9. I finished all 200 puzzles in #10. There are many interesting and though-provoking topics in #8 and #12. I don’t like #14 at all.

Keep reading… till the next report. 🙂Books 2018Q2

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Books read in 2018 Q1

It is time to post the first book report of 2018, one day early since I don’t plan to finish another book today. My goal this year is to read 50 books, 25 of which in non-audio format and 5 in Chinese. I finished 12 books in Q1; 3 of which I actually read as opposed to listening, and no Chinese books yet. A little behind schedule but I am still quite optimistic that I could catch up.

Here are the books I finished in the first quarter:

  1. Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America by David J. Kent
  2. Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire by Diana Preston & Michael Preston
  3. The Last Child by John Hart
  4. Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie
  5. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  6. 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth and Other Useful Guides by Matthew Inman, the Oatmeal
  7. A Mathematician’s Apology by G.H. Hardy & C.P. Snow (Foreword)
  8. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  9. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
  10. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
  11. The Door to December by Dean Koontz
  12. The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg

As usual, the books on this list are quite diverse in terms of genre, time frame, and author’s gender and nationality. I really enjoyed seven books on this list, especially #1, #3, and #9. I don’t like #4 and #6 and only gave them 2 stars on Goodreads.

Keep reading… till the next report. 🙂

Books 2018Q1

A Good 2017, A Better 2018

Books 2017

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: Q1Q2Q3Q4. 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)

Australia-New-Zealand-Trip-locationsI 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.

Books read in 2017 Q4

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:

  1. The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  2. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  3. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  4. Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie
  5. The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
  6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  7. Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
  8. The Three of Us (我们仨) by Yang Jiang (杨绛)
  9. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  10. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  11. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  12. Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy
  13. Phantom by Jo Nesbø
  14. 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!

Books 2017Q4

Books read in 2017 Q3

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:

  1. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  2. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis by Devin Brown
  3. Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
  4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  5. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
  6. Havana Storm by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler
  7. The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott
  8. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  9. The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel
  10. 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time by The Editors of Time Magazine
  11. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  12. 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.

Books 2017Q3

Books read in 2017 Q2

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:

  1. Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God by Bill Hybels
  2. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  3. The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation by Robert Pinsky
  4. 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
  5. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  6. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil
  7. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  8. The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity by Skye Jethani
  9. Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
  10. The Martian by Andy Weir
  11. What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert Wolke
  12. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  13. 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. 🙂

Books 2017Q2

Books read in 2017 Q1

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:

  1. Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
  2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters
  3. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel
  4. The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Paul Hattaway & Brother Yun
  5. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
  6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. The Leopard by Jo Nesbø
  8. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  9. Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership by John Maxwell
  10. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
  11. 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. 🙂

Books 2017Q1