January, 2016

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Fav pics from 2015

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from 2015.

A year of books

Monday, January 4th, 2016


A couple years ago I started doing a personal annual review in the style of Chris Guillebeau. Basically, it’s an end of year reflection on what went well and what didn’t over the year, followed up by setting some goals for the upcoming year. I’ve found it a useful process, especially as I’ve diversified the way I spend my time such that the normal professional measures don’t apply as much.

While I don’t publish all of this publicly, I did want to share one part this year.

Last year, I set a goal to read more. I didn’t have any idea how many books it would be reasonable for me to read in a year, but I set a goal of 50. Mid-year, I realized this was a pretty high goal that I most likely wouldn’t get close to. But then as the year went by, my reading rate accelerated, in no small part due to the fact that I was actually keeping track.

In the end, I read 51 books in 2015. The list is below, with those I’d especially recommend in bold. (And most of the books on the list are quite good; really, there are only a couple I wouldn’t recommend.)

Reading was one of several things I turned to this year when things weren’t going well otherwise. Other things included baking bread, gardening, sitting in the sun, walking, and writing letters. So when the depressing world news got to be too much or a conference call that had been difficult to schedule was cancelled at the last minute or someone said something mean or I just otherwise felt bummed, I tried to turn to one of these things. I think my overall health benefited from this.

And I read some great books.

  1. Everybody Matters by Mary Robinson
  2. Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman 
  3. The Importance of a Piece of Paper by Jimmy Santiago Baca
  4. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  5. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  6. Border Patrol Nation by Todd Miller
  7. A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
  8. The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
  9. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  10. Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather
  11. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
  12. Legal Research Explained by Deborah E. Bouchoux
  13. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  14. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
  15. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
  16. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  17. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  18. How to be Both by Ali Smith
  19. To Animas With Love by Carol Smith
  20. Lost and Found by Brooke Davis
  21. The Bestseller by Olivia Goldsmith
  22. Perfect by by Rachel Joyce
  23. A Year and a Day on Just a Few Acres by Peter Larson
  24. The Stranger by Harlan Coben
  25. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler 
  26. The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
  27. Curriculum Integration: Designing the Core of Democratic Education by James A Beane
  28. The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw
  29. Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler
  30. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  31. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
  32. The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
  33. Reamde by Neal Stephenson
  34. Cherry by Mary Karr
  35. The Fourth Hand by John Irving
  36. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
  37. Junkyard Dreams by Jeanette Boyer
  38. Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet
  39. The Last Theorem by Arthur C Clarke and Frederik Pohl
  40. African Air by George Steinmetz
  41. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
  42. Tribes by Seth Godin
  43. The Last Juror by John Grisham
  44. In Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  45. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
  46. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
  47. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by  J. Ryan Stradal
  48. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  49. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
  50. To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron
  51. Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas