Category Archives: Unrelated Reading

One-Hundred Books in 2012

I started 2012 with half-a-dozen resolutions. Unfortunately, I never did get around to writing a novel, finding a job that provided health insurance, or learning how to cook more than pasta, meat, and eggs.

I did however, manage to read more this year than any year previously. I kept a running tally all year, and now that the dust of my New Years celebrations has settled, I can happily say I managed to crack three digits in the past 12 months.

My initial goal was 75 books (2011’s was 52), but in part because of my summer on Calf Island, I blew that away in August. Between Americorps and GIS classes I’ve had less time for reading in the last few months, but I still pushed through a veritable tower of paperbacks in the weeks running up to the end of the year.

Here’s my list (more or less in the order I finished them):

1. Ringworld. Larry Niven
2. The Ringworld Engineers. Larry Niven
3. The Ringworld Throne. Larry Niven
4. Ringworld’s Children. Larry Niven
5. Nation. Terry Pratchett
6. Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon. Jeff Grub and Matt Forbeck
7. Empire. Orson Scott Card
8. Nine Princes in Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #1). Roger Zelazny
9. The Guns of Avalon (The Chronicles of Amber #2). Roger Zelazny
10. Sign of the Unicorn (The Chronicles of Amber #3). Roger Zelazny
11. The Hand of Oberon (The Chronicles of Amber #4). Roger Zelazny
12. The Courts of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #5). Roger Zelazny
13. Trumps of Doom (The Chronicles of Amber #6). Roger Zelazny
14. Blood of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #7). Roger Zelazny
15. Sign of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #8). Roger Zelazny
16. Knight of Shadows (The Chronicles of Amber #9). Roger Zelazny
17. Prince of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber #10). Roger Zelazny
18. Iron Council. China Mieville
19. Embassytown. China Mieville
20. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the fire that saved America. Timothy Egan
21. The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1). Robert Jordan
22. The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time, #2). Robert Jordan
23. The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time, #3). Robert Jordan
24. The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time, #4). Robert Jordan
25. The Fires of Heaven (Wheel of Time, #5). Robert Jordan
26. Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time, #6). Robert Jordan
27. A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time, #7). Robert Jordan
28. The Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time, #8). Robert Jordan
29. Winter’s Heart (Wheel of Time, #9). Robert Jordan
30. Crossroads of Twilight (Wheel of Time #10). Robert Jordan
31. Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time #11). Robert Jordan
32. The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time #12). Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
33. The Botany of Desire. Michael Pollan
34. Towers of Midnight. Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
35. The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins
36. Catching Fire. Suzanne Collins
37. Mockingjay. Suzanne Collins
38. Shogun. James Clavell
39. Going Postal. Terry Pratchett
40. The Fifth Elephant. Terry Pratchett
41. Night Watch. Terry Pratchett
42. Monstrous Regiment. Terry Pratchett
43. Eric. Terry Pratchett
44. Three Musketeers. Alexandre Dumas
45. Count Zero. William Gibson
46. Komarr. Lois McMaster Bujold
47. A Civil Campaign. Lois McMaster Bujold
48. Diplomatic Immunity. Lois McMaster Bujold
49. Dinocalypse Now. Chuck Wendig
50. Twenty Years After. Alexandre Dumas
51. Monster Hunter Internationa. Larry Correia
52. Memory. Louis McMaster Bujold
53. A Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde
54. Beyond World’s End. Mercedes Lackey
55. Spirits White as Lightning. Mercedes Lackey
56. Mad Maudlin. Mercedes Lackey
57. Freehold. Michael Z. Williamson
58. The Weapon. Michael Z. Williamson
59. War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells
60. The Forever War. Joe Halderman
61. Starship Troopers. Robert A. Heinlein
62. Victory of Eagles. Naomi Novik
63. Tongues of Serpents. Naomi Novik
64. The Lightning Thief. Rick Riordan
65. The Sea of Monsters. Rick Riordan
66. The Titan’s Curse. Rick Riordan
67. The Battle of the Labyrinth. Rick Riordan
68. The Last Olympian. Rick Riordan
69. Star Wars: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. Michael A. Stackpole
70. Star Wars: X-Wing: Wedges Gamble. Michael A. Stackpole
71. Star Wars: X-Wing: The Krytos Trap. Michael A. Stackpole
72. Star Wars: X-Wing: The Bacta War. Michael A. Stackpole
73. Genellan-Planetfall. Scott Gier
74. On Basilisk Station. David Weber
75. Forward the Mage. Eric Flint and Richard Roach
76. The Apocalypse Troll. David Weber
77. Star Wars: The Hutt Gambit. A.C. Crispin
78. Star Wars: Rebel Dawn. A.C. Crispin
79. The Surgeon’s Mate. Patrick O’Brian
80. Better to Beg Forgiveness. Michael Z. Williamson
81. Cross the Stars. David Drake
82. Starliner. David Drake.
83. 1632. Eric Flint
84. 1633. David Weber and Eric Flint
85. H.M.S Surprise. Patrick O’Brian
86. Music to my Sorrow. Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill
87. Eisenhorn. Dan Abnett
88. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. Steve Perry
89. Star Wars: Ambus at Corellia. Roger Macbride Allen
90. Barrayar. Lois Bujold
91. Shards of Honor. Lois Bujold
92. Leviathan. Keith Thompson
93. Behemoth. Keith Thompson
94. Goliath. Keith Thompson
95. Cloud Atlas. David Mitchell
96. Ring of Fire. Eric Flint
97. The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho
98. Fire on the Mountain. John N. Maclean
99. The Philosophical Strangler. Eric Flint
100. 1634: The Baltic War

My goal for 2013 is 75 again, I think that that’s a more realistic number than 100. I doubt very much I’ll be coming into a glut of free time any time soon. Certainly nothing like what I had during this past summer, when all there was to do in the evenings was organize the veg survey data, read, and swat mosquitoes.

I’m also going to make a concerted effort to include more non-fiction in my library over the next year. I tend to seek out books that allow me to turn my brain off while I read, but I feel like more than 3% of my yearly total should be academically engaging. Historical Fiction is a nice compromise I guess, but I’d like to do better in 2013.

Packing again: Hardly the Bear Necessities

I’m happy now that I left my last job a week early so I would have time to pack and prepare for Connecticut. I’ve gotten pretty good at packing the crucial bits of my life into small boxes over the past couple of years, but this jaunt has some unexpected wrinkles.

First, I’m actually sort of close to a bunch of friends of mine, I may not lose the entirety of my social life once work starts, this means I have to actually bring “nice” clothes along. Shirts with collars, shoes not made of reinforced and waterproofed leather, a ‘dress’ hat or two. You get the idea. This wasn’t an issue in California (where the nicest place I visited was Disney world) and in other places I’ve worked I didn’t have any constraints on space.

Another major difference in this job’s packing is that I got a Nook recently, with all my recreational reading digitized the only books I need to hump around are my field guides. There are still quite a few of them, but its nothing like the fifty pound box of reading material I was used to driving around with.

Lastly, I’m being given a lot of my gear on site this time around. In the name of uniformity I’m being provided with a few shirts, a set of coveralls, and even boots! This has lightened my load significantly, which is awesome.

So with all that taken care of, what am I bringing?

  • Entertainment:
    1. Nook
    2. Journal
    3. 2x Frisbees (in case I lose one)
    4. Cards
    5. “Fancy” clothes (so I can rub elbows without passing on my grass stains)
  • Gear:
    1. Camp stove / Mess Kit / Water bottles
    2. “Don’t die in the woods” kit (First aid, Lighter, Iodine, Deet, Compass, ect)
    3. Fly Rod ect
    4. Tent / Sleeping bag / bedroll
    5. Boots / Gaiters / Socks
    6. Non-work Clothes
  • Other Necessities 
    1. French Press / Ground coffee / Mug
    2. Computer
    3. Tangle of wires and chargers that are probably important
    4. Camera
    5. Field Guides
It didn’t take me long to put all that together, the issue now is wracking my brain to be sure I didn’t forget anything. Did I forget anything?! Not that I’m travelling so far that I won’t be able to retrieve things left behind, but it would be embarrassing…


Things have gotten better since this picture was taken. I still feel like I’m forgetting something though.

Going back to school. Mostly.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been on a “break” from the serious business of getting lost in the woods and torn apart by mosquitoes. In this specific case a “break” means that I’ve gone back to school — because that’s basically the same thing, right?

You see, I got all the way through college, and then a few years more, without really learning the nuts and bolts of how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) works. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can plot a point on a map as well as the next field tech, and I can follow a transect that’s been laid out beforehand, but beyond that I was (and still sort of am) clueless. And in a field where the lion’s share of job opening include: Should have GIS Knowledge in the “Preferred Qualifications” section that wasn’t acceptable for me.

At any rate, after putting off going back to school to fix this problem for awhile, I finally caved this January. I’m now enrolled in Penn State’s Post-Baccalaureate GIS Certification program. So far I’m enjoying being back in something like a learning environment. The pace of the course is fairly sedate and the actual learning is fun. True, I’d forgotten what it was like to have homework, but it isn’t as bad as my memory made it out to be. Best of all, the entire program is online, which means I’ll be able to continue studying as long as I can find an internet connection once or twice a week. It will take a year to earn the certificate, but I’m convinced that the experience is worth it.

I swear my next update will have pictures.

Hibernation: Not just for bears.

To be completely candid, Winter is not my favorite season. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow and the holiday season, but I don’t like freezing whenever I go outside, and my wintertime employment is far less exciting than what I’m capable of finding during the warm months. Driving back across the country, from warm and sunny California to (unseasonably) warm and sunny Pennsylvania, was (again) an almost religious experience. Four days of solid driving, only taking the breaks that biology insisted upon, left my head light and my ears ringing.

I’ll be in Philadelphia, where I’ve taken two part time jobs, until late-May, at which point I’ll head to Connecticut for an internship with the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge. That, at least, should be amazing.

Until then my days are mostly to be devoted to staying warm, staying busy, and recounting the last of my stories from years past. Bear with me.

My 52 books for 2011

My name is Tyler and I have a problem with books (we all have problems with books here, Tyler). Seriously folks, I read probably more than is conducive to actually getting things done

I read as often as I’m able and get “new” books from garage-sales, goodwill, and trades more often than by visiting “real” bookstores. My collection is out of control, now spanning three states as I’ve had to abandon dozens of volumes in the hands of friends and family as I’ve loaded (or reloaded) my car for the next job.

This past January I set myself the very achievable (I thought) goal of reading 52 books in 2011. It averages out to one a week, which hardly holds a candle to the frantic pace of undergraduate English classes.

1. A Feast for Crows. George R.R. Martin
2. Pygmy. Chuck Palahniuk
3. World War Z. Max Brooks
4. The Warrior’s Apprentice. Lois Bujold
5. Snuff. Chuck Palahniuk
6. The Vor Game. Lois Bujold
7. Cetaganda. Lois Bujold
8. Ender’s Shadow. Orson Scott Card
9. Shadow of the Hegemon. Orson Scott Card
10. Nine Princes in Amber. Roger Zelazny
11. Shadow of the Giant. Orson Scott Card                                                                                                                           12. Ethan of Athos / Labyrinth. Lois Bujold
13. Abarat. Clive Barker
14. Stranger in a Strange Land. Robert A. Heinlein
15. Nine Princes in Amber. Roger Zelazny
16. Komarr. Luis Bujold17. A Civil Campaign / Winterfell gifts. Luis Bujold
18. A Wizard of Earthsea. Ursala K. Le Guin
19. The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm. Translated by Lore Segal
20. The Stainless Steel Rat. Harry Harrison
21. I am Legend. Richard Matheson
22. Down and Out in Paris and London. George Orwell
23. Diplomatic Immunity. Luis Bujold
24. The Name of the Wind. Patrick Rothfuss
25. The Wise Mans Fear. Patrick Rothfuss
26. Battle Royale. Takami, Koushun
27. The Magicians. Lev Grossman
28. The Historian. Elizabeth Kostova
29. Scorpion (Sundance No. 32) Peter McCurtin
30. Post-Captain. Patrick O’Brian
31. HMS Surprise. Patrick O’Brian
32. Notes From Underground. Fyodor i
33. A Dance With Dragons. George R.R. Martin
34. The Book Thief. Markus Zusak
35. Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton
36. The Lost World. Michael Crichton
37. Tarnsman of Gor (Gor #1). John Norman
38. Outlaw of Gor (Gor #2). John Norman
39. Priest-Kings of Gor (Gor #3). John Norman
40. Nomads of Gor (Gor #4). John Norman                                                                                                                             41. The Best American Non-Required Reading 2009. Various Authors
42. The Control of Nature. John McPhee
43. Ender in Exile. Orson Scott Card                                                                                                                                   44. Reamde. Neal Stephenson
45. The Left Hand of Darkness. Ursula Le Guin
46. Anasi Boys. Neil Gaiman
47. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers
48. Where the Wild Thing Were. William Stolzenburg
49. Snuff. Terry Pratchett
50. The Magician King. Lev Grossman
51. Inheritance. Christopher Paolini                                                                                                                                     52. Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk

Some of these were, in fairness, pretty horrible. (See: All the Gor Novels). I tend towards escapist stories when I read, because although I guess its occasionally nice to read about someone undergoing more hardship than I ever have or ever will (The Book Thief) I much prefer to ingest a story that takes me away from that sort of thinking.

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