A notch above a monkey

Books I read in 2018

…were too few. Even worse than 2016 from which I lifted this post’s beginning. At least none of them were duds. All of them are worth reading, but I reserved bold for those that are not too niche.

Links lead to Smile Amazon. I still get nothing from referrals, but at least some charity might get few cents instead of also nothing. Brodeck Report is lacking a link because graphic novel has not been translated to English yet. Book titles are in the languages in which I read them.

The list:

  • The Magic of Watches by Louis Nardin. A very fine introduction to the world of (wrist)watches and one of the best designed books I own. A very good introduction for already interested that is at its weakest when it is trying to sell you this hobby, but more than makes up for it elsewhere.
  • Platero y Yo by Juan Ramon Jiménez. Bittersweet stories about author's friendship with a donkey. Above my Spanish level and will have to read it again some day. Lovely prose where my understanding was not too foggy.
  • Brodeckovo poročilo (Brodeck Report) by Manu Larcenet. A fantastic graphic novel based on a novel by Philippe Claudel about difference and intolerance in a village near French-German border soon after WW2. Wonderfully drawn and impactful, it would be difficult to imagine it is not doing justice to original material which I have not read yet.
  • Architecting Angular Applications with Redux, RxJS, and NgRx by Christoffer Noring. I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a good introduction to the topic, but I am still not persuaded about the approach. I have some qualms about organisation of the content as the book seems to be confused about who its audience is and certainly about many technical mistakes in code samples, but I would still recommend it as the best introduction to those who need to get acquainted with its topic.
  • The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P.D. James. Judging by this book P.D. James deserved her high reputation. Crime stories best read around Christmas, all of them superbly conceived and written. Highly recommended.

My plan for this year is simply to get into a habit of reading books again with a healthy mixture of fiction and non-fiction. No particular number in mind, but single digit would be disappointing as it would mean I again wasted too much stuff on mostly short fluff found on the net.

It would be great, if I managed to rise to last year’s challenge of reading a book in each to me familiar language, but probably won’t.

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2017 review

I finally have an accurate answer, shorter than two paragraphs, for those who actually want to know how I am. It is: “My wife had an absolutely awful year so mine wasn’t good either.” It turned out that my last year’s gloomy prediction was still optimistic. 2017 was full of accidents, family tragedy, acts and behaviour that could really nurture one’s misanthropy.

I tried to keep such tendencies in check with an exception reserved for the most dysfunctional organisation I know of. Their every medical report was full of lies and when I think of them I only feel loathing.

2018 has inherited everything needed to be another bad year and my only real goal for this year is to try to make it passable. Take care of loved ones. Everything else will be delegated to modest hopes and ambitions without firm commitment.

Bigger ambitions in 2017 were sunk in a stream of events that taught me at the very least that there are different kinds of lost years. I wouldn’t change anything if I had to relive this one so at least regrets were not compounded. Well, almost. Profound sadness from the start of 2017 developed into anger that certainly exhibited itself in my crankiness. For this I am very sorry. Otherwise I am fine.

2017 really proved how important it is to take care of your health and I did it with mixed results. On one hand I continued to meditate and averaged almost 50 minutes of recreation per day. I also got noticeably overweight and certainly not from a well balanced diet. I do not feel too bad about this, considering the year, as I am prone to comfort eating, but I would prefer a year with only half as much exercise if I also fixed my weight and diet. Also, long term stress will kill you.

Last year I haven’t done any homeconfs, nor did I build anything new nor find a new hobby. I was too preoccupied with problems at home to indulge in a quest for bigger problems to solve. My Spanish definitely stagnated which is something I definitely want to change this year. I would love to scrape together enough time for at least some of the listed wishes.

If this year eases on character-building experiences, then I’d like to give my learning more direction and depth. Spend less time on things that become quickly obsolete if they are not necessary.

I published here rarely because I wrote rarely. What I did write reads clunky and awkward and more practice is sorely needed. It would be almost impossible to publish less than I did last year, but another such year might help if it unshackles me from a self-imposed expectation of finishing the things I started. Curious to see how this turns out.

When thinking of it, 2018 looks like a maintenance year. By which I don’t mean to forsake anything new, but my focus will definitely be on solving existing issues instead of creating new ones. Let’s see how it goes.