The best of 2013

See last year’s roundup.

Besides work and family, I get enjoyment out of books and film. In terms of books, this year was a pretty serious one for me.

Goodreads Challenge 2013

I was able to acheive my Goodreads goal (again). It says 50, but if you minus off the graphic novels, coursework and essays it is more like 44. Considering my family was in Japan for a total of 13 weeks, I probably should have read more. I did spend quite a bit of time reading D&D and Shadowrun rulebooks… so… there’s that.

Looking back, my overall reading theme was “internet theory” — including cypherpunks, hackers, anonymous and the like. This trend started before the Snowden revelations, but picked up halfway through the year. Since reading Future Perfect last year, and thinking about information politics I have been diving deep into the internet and politics. I suspect that trend to continue in 2014.

The best book of 2013 I read was This Machine Kills Secrets. I highly recommend it. Furthermore I would recommend Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking if you want to learn more about the ethics of computing. From those two books you can go many directions. I listen to the Suprisingly Free podcast to get ideas.

Audio vs Text

Last year I set the goal of reading more books rather than listening to them. I wanted to push down the ratio of audiobooks from 75% to half. I almost achieved that:

  • Audio 25 = 56%
  • Text 12 = 27%
  • Both audio and text 7 = 16%

With Amazon’s new Whispersync technology and strategy of bundling of Audible and Kindle books, I have been getting both versions for books that I want to get through quickly but still need to take lots of annotations. I still would like to read more, but audio fits into my daily life better.

Next year’s goal

I set the goal of getting into “deeper” books last year. Althought I was able read some classics. like Crime and Punishment, I strayed quite a bit. I feel that grasping the “classics” properly requires me to read them, yet I read fiction mainly for relaxationa and entertainment, and thus tend to use the audio medium. In order to read more classics, I need to change my reading habits, and I am not sure if I am ready to do that. Interesting to think that the medium determines the “quality” of books I am reading.

Next year I will probably continue reading non-fic about internet politics. I would like to try to go back and re-read some books from the past, both non-fic and fic. That and I have a few series that I started this year that I can continue reading (Vorkosigan Saga, Oxford Time Travelers, Small Change, etc.) Plus I am looking forward to more Hawkeye and Saga! In all, I do not plan to be buying a ton of books in 2014.

A note about film

Last year I dedicated a whole post to film. This time I just thought I would note the highlights of the 47 films I saw. The following garnered 5 and 4.5 stars:

As you can see, I was catching up on some films from the past. As for new films, although I enjoyed the spectacle of The Desolation of Smaug, Gravity was probably the best film of the year from a critical perspective.

Author: Chad Kohalyk

Bellatrist, communitarian, tech contrarian. Generous with Likes. http://chadkohalyk.com