books


Just a quick post today wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

It wasn’t a very exciting New Years for me having to work well into the early hours of the morning, however it gave me time to reflect and focus on what my goals are for 2009.

So this evening in order to keep these goals on track I’ll be posting my 2009 New Years Resolutions on this site.

Update:  So my New Years Resolution for this year is 3 part.

First is that I have always wanted to give weight training a decent go, so I have purchased a home gym set up.  I suppose my goal here is not to look like the fool of a guy who has purchased gym equipment but never uses it.

Second is that I want to move house in the next 6 months and so want to complete the majority of my ‘100 Books…‘ list and really cull down some more of my physical possessions.

Finally, I would like a Pug.  I already keep, raise, show Cavies (Guinea Pigs), but I feel something is missing in my life and I think that a small dog such as a Pug can help fill that void.

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I took the plunge today and purchased a few titles from eReader.com to test out my iPod touch as an ebook reader.  I’m hoping that in a small way the touch might help me out in reducing the number of physical books I own.

As a sample I purchased the January and February issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction as well as the January – Febrauary 2009 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.  It’s been a while since I’ve picked up either of these titles at my local newsagent so I thought they would be good titles to test out the device.

Asimov's Science Fiction January 2009 Asimov's Science Fiction February 2009 Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January / February 2009

Also, in keeping with my 100 Books… project, I purchased a copy of the first book in the Christian Jacq ‘Ramses’ series, The Son of the Light.

Son of the Light

If your already an iPhone or iPod touch owner you may have noticed a plethora of ebook applications (including those only including stand alone titles) in the App Store.  Over the coming weeks I’ll be testing a few of these out.

In order to read these titles on the iPhone you need to download a copy of the free eReader application.  Once downloaded they can only be viewed with this reader – either on the iPhone itself or on your computer of choice.

Downloading the titles to your iPhone can be done directly through the application…or you can purchase titles while browsing on your computer and download them directly from your iPhone at a later time.

With the close of 2007 marking the end of the first full month of the ‘cultnation’,  I thought it would be a good exercise to review the 5 most viewed entries during the period.

#1  100 Books…

While a page more than a blog entry, the ‘100 Books…‘ list drew by far the largest number of page views during the month.  I have big plans for this entry (and it’s associated project) so I’m glad fellow bloggers and general surfers have found it interesting to date.

#2  New Music, 12th December 2007

Maybe I didn’t realise just how popular searching for ‘new music’ was on the net, as this entry also drew a large number of page views.  It was pointed out to me by one of my readers that a little more information regarding each of the releases (and maybe the album covers) would be a good inclusion…I’ve taken note and my next entry which I should be posting this evening will be a little more detailed.

#3  The ‘Baroque Cycle’, Neal Stephenson (100 Books…)

Of all the title specific entries made in December regarding books, it was Neal Stephenson’s epic ‘Baroque Cycle that proved the most popular.  Hopefully, I interested a few readers enough that they will pick up this series.

#4  New Album…Burial – Untrue

A brief entry, but a popular one.  In short, if you like electronic music I don’t think you can go wrong with either of Burial’s albums.

#5  cultnation’s – Top 5 Portable Games for 2007

I couldn’t resist this one.  Every gaming site in the world releases at least one (usually more) top games lists each year, so I thought why not me on my little blog.  By getting in early – releasing the list mid-december (just on my b’day) – I was thinking I might get a little more interest from fellow bloggers.  What do you know, it worked!!!

I hope you enjoyed my first month.

A few weeks before Christmas I was lucky enough to win an auction on eBay for 400 second-hand Science-Fiction and Fantasy paperbacks…all for the magic price of AU$50.

At the time I thought it was a bargain, however on getting the books home I soon realised that the collection had previously shared a residence with a smoker, with the second hand smoke of many a cigarette strongly evident as I unpacked my winnings from their boxes.

I’m fairly particular with how I keep my books and I absolutely hate getting them soiled or damaged in any way. Many people who see my shelves ask me if I’ve even read half the titles as they still look new, with no dog ears, no cracked spines, no pen / pencil marks and definitely no greasy fingerprints on the covers. So you can probably imagine my disappointment being confronted with the strong smell of spent tobacco on each and every book.

Despite the fact that they are aflicted with a condition that will prevent them from ever joining my library as part of the permanent collection, they should certainly give me a good year or two of disposable reading with the auction containing a majority of titles I have never read before.

All in all, at 13 cents a book I suppose I shouldn’t really worry or complain about it too much.

The enormity of the task I have set myself in reducing the number of physical copies of books I own hit me this morning when I realised that I had not yet considered any of the non-fiction titles in my collection.

In the short term I thought that the best option would be to start a separate list for my non-fiction ‘keepers’ and so the new ‘50 Non-Fiction‘ list was born. Like my ‘100 books…‘ list I will be updating this list progressively as I pull more of my books out of storage and review the titles currently on my shelves.

As an example of what to expect, here is a copy of the first entry in the new the list.

The Encylopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs – Robert Beer

The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs

1999, hardcover, approx. 390 pages

ISBN 1-57062-416-X

Robert Beer has collected in this amazingly hand illustrated volume the complete spectrum of Tibetan symbols and motifs. Each illustration is accompanied by detailed notes explaining variation in style and the historical and /or religous significance they play in Tibetan culture.

Over the Christmas / New Year period I’ve set myself the challenge of reading the following books on Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Rise The Fall

“My master has no feelings and that master is the nature of things.”

Napoleon to Josephine, 3 December 1806

The Song of Departure The Sun of Austerlitz The Emperor of Kings

 

While I have read the fiction trilogy on Napoleon some time ago I though it might be an interesting idea to pair them up with the two part biography which has been sitting on my desk for nearly 12 months now unread.

You may be interested to note the author of the Napoleon historical fiction series is also a well published French academic, much like Christian Jacq the author of the ‘Ramses’ series which I blogged about yesterday.

As you may have established from some of my earlier posts, I tend to read a lot of historical fiction (and non-fiction).

Thanks to a post by Thor on his blog mind? what mind?, I was directed over to LibraryThing to check out their social cataloging site for books.

Having the addictive personality that I do, it didn’t take much convincing for me to sign up and start adding some of my collection onto the site. If you’d like a sneak peak at some of the titles in my collection (other than just my 100 Books… list) why not head on over to my new LibraryThing library and take a look around.

Update: 21 December 2007

I can’t believe how useful this site will be for me. I spent some time yesterday adding around 50 of my books to my library page and soon realised that it may have to subscribe to the site to gain the full benefit of it’s wealth of information.

The LibraryThing service is free to for the first 100 titles you enter after that they have a tiered membership system, somewhat based on how much you think the service is worth, with a suggested annual fee of $10 or a once off lifetime subscription of $25. In my opinion the service is definitely worth the the cost. I also like the fact that if you do not renew the following year…all the information you entered while still subscriber will still be available to you in the system, you just can’t add any more titles.

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