Books read in 2019 Q3

I was two books behind schedule at the end of last quarter. I am happy to report that I managed to finish 15 books in the past three months, and I am finally back on track to reaching the goal for this year.

Here are the books I finished in Q3:

  1. The Man on Mao’s Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China’s Foreign Ministry by Ji Chaozhu
  2. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
  3. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  4. End of Watch by Stephen King
  5. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
  6. Elevation by Stephen King
  7. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
  8. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  9. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
  10. When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought by Jim Holt
  11. 显微镜下的大明 (The Great Ming Dynasty Under A Microscope) by 马伯庸
  12. Python for Data Science For Dummies, 2nd Edition by John Paul Mueller and Luca Massaron
  13. The Cider House Rules by John Irving
  14. Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers by Stan Slap
  15. Neon Prey by John Sandford

Some very interesting books on this list! My top six are #3, #7, #8, #10, #11, and #13. I considered #9 and #14 a waste of time. #12 has good contents but was poorly written – I wrote a review on Goodreads. All other ones were quite enjoyable.

Looking forward to reading more and finishing the year strong. It could be more challenging than I thought though. Will see. 🙂

Books 2019 Q3

 

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A Good 2018, A Better 2019

books year 2018The year 2019 started a little differently, with my mom and I struggling to get over jet-lag. Now that my sleep is more or less back to normal, I can write my obligated annual “good-better” post. It is quite overdue…

I failed to accomplish most goals I set out at the beginning of 2018, but it was a very good and productive year nonetheless.

  • Read 50 books – at least 5 in Chinese, at most 25 in audio format. Not done. I only finished 48 books but I could argue that with 1,440 pages, Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ should count as three books. 🙂 Only 2 of the 48 books were in Chinese; and 6 were non-audio books. Here are the quarterly book reports: Q1; Q2; Q3; Q4.
  • Visit 5 new countries – Done. And some more. I visited 9 new countries this year! Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
  • Swim 50 times; yoga at home everyday. Not done. I met slightly less than half of the swimming goal, and yoga at home even less. I did attend 8 hot yoga classes though, which were much more strenuous than the home practice. 🙂 On average I walked 7,317 steps a day, the highest in recent years. This compensated somewhat for my failed exercise goals.
  • Publish 30 blog posts; write at least 3 full-length travel articles in Chinese. Not done. I only published 16 posts on this blog, and wrote 1.5 Chinese travel articles. 😦 Definitely need to write more in 2019!
  • Learn to cook 3 new dishes. Done. I successfully cooked two new dishes (one pork, one chicken) using my Crock pot. I also learned a dish or two from my mother during the last week of the year (and a few more in the new year. :))
  • Lose 5 pounds. Not done by a wide margin! I actually gained 7 pounds in 2018. I blame it on two wonderful cruises, both times followed by a trip to China. I guess this coming year I should aim to lose 12 pounds…

There is a good reason why I deviated a bit from my goals – 2018 was a year of big change. I started A New Journey, by taking a break from work to travel and spend more time with family and friends. With 88 days away from home, I wasn’t able to carry out read/write/swim/cook routines as usual. At one point I was four books behind schedule, and gaining weight was not surprising at all.

That said, this journey has been very rewarding so far. I did two cruises with Windstar, which gave me the 9 new countries. Plus a 2000-mile road trip in US Northwest from Crater Lake to Glacier National Park via Columbia River Gorge. Awesome trips, great memories.

I also spent quite a lot of time with my family and many friends during two trips back to China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong); also with David’s family from three road trips to New England. Starting from Christmas Eve is my mom’s three-month visit in US. I really enjoy and cherish our time together – chatting, walking, exercising, shopping, cooking…

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It is rather difficult to predict what is in store for me in 2019. Besides, it is a little late to think about new year’s resolution. Therefore I am not setting any goals except the usual 50-book challenge on Goodreads. Just let the fun continue, and I will report back on the first day of 2020 what transpired…

Happy New Year!

 

Books read in 2018 Q4

In my last book report I mentioned that I would need to finish 16 books in the fourth quarter to accomplish my 50-book annual goal. Well, I ended up reading 14, therefore I am two books short of meeting my reading goal for 2018. 😦 Given that Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ has 1400+ pages, which is more than enough for three average-length books, I can persuade myself that I did a decent job. 🙂

Here are the books I finished this past quarter:

  1. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
  2. The Stand by Stephen King
  3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
  4. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
  5. 纵有万般心碎,也要笑得甜美 by 谢姣姣
  6. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  7. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
  8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  9. The Sea Wolf by Jack London
  10. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
  11. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  12. The Outsider by Stephen King
  13. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  14. Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

I enjoyed most books on this list, except #4 and #14. Here is a mini book review I wrote on #4; and I didn’t include the meaningless long subtitle of #14 in the list.

I learned a lot from #7, highly recommend. #8 exceeded my expectations. Books from Stephen King, Erik Larson, Haruki Murakami, and Michael Lewis were as good as ever. Looking back, I indeed accomplished a lot in Q4 in terms of reading! 🙂

Just set a goal of 50 again for 2019. Keep reading…

Books 2018 Q4

 

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 2015 Q4

The year 2015 is coming to an end. I finished 11 books in the 4th quarter therefore exceeded my goal of reading 45 books this year with a total count of 50. Actually I was holding back from finishing more books this past week. I don’t want to read more than 50 books in a year so I am pushing them to the next year, which means I will likely finish many books in the first quarter of 2016. 🙂

I am one of the 20,600 or so people (as of now) who completed their 2015 reading challenge on Goodreads. Hopefully more people will read more books in 2016.

Here are the eleven 2015 Q4 books:

  1. The Internet of Things: How Smart TVs, Smart Cars, Smart Homes, and Smart Cities Are Changing the World by Michael Miller
  2. Three Fates by Nora Roberts
  3. The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
  4. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  5. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
  6. The Wisdom of Oz: Using Personal Accountability to Succeed in Everything You Do by Roger Connors & Tom Smith
  7. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  8. Night by Elie Wiesel
  9. Coma by Robin Cook
  10. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  11. Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate by David J. Kent

The books in this list are so eclectic that it is difficult to come up with top suggestions. Almost all of them are good – seems I am getting better at picking books. The only one I don’t like as much is #6 which didn’t teach me anything new.

The 50 books I read in 2015 are from 50 different authors. I will stop following this one-book-per-author rule in 2016. Looking forward to another good reading year ahead! Book reports will be posted quarterly as usual. Please let me know if you would like to connect on Goodreads. Here are the earlier book lists for this year: Q1 Q2 Q3

2015 Q4 books

Books read in 2014 Q4

The year 2014 is coming to an end. Since it is highly unlikely that I will finish another book this year, it is okay to post the Q4 book report now even though the time is not up yet.

I finished 9 books in the 4th quarter, therefore reached my goal of reading 40 books this year. I am one of the 12,700 or so people (as of today) who completed their 2014 reading challenge on Goodreads. My plan is to set the goal at 45 for 2015.

  1. Christine by Stephen King
  2. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink
  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  4. Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran
  5. Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang
  6. An Introduction to R by William Venables and David Smith
  7. Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
  8. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  9. A Room with a View by E.M.Forester

Quite a few of these books are amazing. It was interesting to read 3, 4, 5 in a row – each book helped me learn history of a different country in a different time period via memorable stories. I now have a better understanding of Nazi Germany during World War II, the French Revolution, and the Qing Dynasty under Cixi’s rule. The last one was particularly fascinating as it felt quite the opposite to the history I learned growing up in China.

“Kafka on the Shore” is the first book I read from the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The story is weird but I like it a lot. I will read more of his books in 2015.

“Christine” is the 27th book I read from Stephen King, who ranks the 2nd on my ‘most-read’ author list. The top is Agatha Christie from whom I have read 31 books.

I am looking forward to another good reading year ahead! Book reports will be posted quarterly as usual. Please let me know if you would like to connect on Goodreads. Here are the earlier book lists for this year: Q1 Q2 Q3

Books 2014Q4