100 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.

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.

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.

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.

The ‘Ramses’ series by Christian Jacq holds a special place in my collection, as much for the memories I have of hunting down each release, as it is the fact that I found each of the volumes such an enjoyable read.

At the time this series was released I was living in a rural city in South Australia and had to place special orders for anything I wanted that wasn’t considered mainstream stock for a bookstore / newsagency in such an area – think of a city full of heavy industry and mining and you’ll understand. The ‘Ramses’ series fell into that category. I still remember going from bookshop to bookshop on my infrequent visits to Adelaide to see if they had the next volume in stock.

I will admit that I was fussy about it all, as I would only buy the trade paperback edition of each title…I had to keep the series a matching set after all.

The Son of Light The Temple of a Million Years The Battle of Kadesh The Lady of Abu Simbel Under the Western Acacia

Over 5 volumes Christian Jacq tells the story of the life of Ramses II, starting from the age of 14 in the first novel and moving onwards into and through his 60 year reign as Pharaoh of Egypt in the following releases.

For me, knowing that Christian Jacq is a leading French Archaeologist brought a level of legitimacy to the storyline despite the fact that I knew I was reading a work of fiction…overall, I would say there was a lot more historical detail included in the story than I initially expected.

As I had an attraction to historical fiction and the history of ancient Eqypt prior to reading this series of novels, it is perhaps not surprising that I found them so enjoyable. I now consider this series as one of my favorites and therefore have included it as an addition into my ‘100 Books…’ list.

There are now 5 multi-volume historical series set in Ancient Egypt authored by Christian Jacq…all of which I will add to the site over the coming weeks.

You can access my ‘100 Books…’ list by clicking on the tab at the top right of the page or by clicking here.

Isn’t it great when you rediscover something you love, but had forgotten about some time ago.

Today I was unpacking one of the many boxes of books I have in storage when I found myself looking at the first volume of the ‘Baroque Cycle’ by Neal Stephenson and I broke out in a smile. These 3 books helped me get through a serious illness a few years ago and even though I felt terribly miserable at the time, there was something about holding these weighty volumes in my hands, admiring the fantastic covers and burying myself deep in the richly detailed storyline that made that time bearable. Judging by my smile earlier today, I’d say their power over me still holds true.

Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson The Confusion, Neal Stephenson The System of the World, Neal Stephenson

While I will always provide larger images (just click on the thumbnail) for each of the titles I add to my 100 Books… list, I highly encourage you to check these ones out for the amazing meld of artwork that each of them holds. See if you can identify any of the works of art that have been used…

More widely known for his Cyberpunk novels ‘Snowcrash’ and ‘The Diamond Age’ (and lets not forget Cryptonomicon), Stephenson shows that his literary skills are up to the task no matter what genre he decides to work in.

This is one huge historical series, rich in detail and scope, with a story that never lets you go.

You can access my ‘100 Books…’ list by clicking on the tab at the top right of the page or by clicking here.

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