2012 Summary: Reading

This is a summary of my reading from this past year. I set a goal on Good Reads to read 25 books this year, and I just managed to meet my goal. So here’s a summary of my reading from the past year, in descending order of my assigned rating.

    1/5 Stars

  1. Caitlin Kiernan’s Threshold
    Read: June 16, 2012
    A friend lent me this book, but I didn’t enjoy it very much. As I recall, it is a fiction book which blurs the line between reality and delusion, but I found the blur to be too great to be sensible.
  2. Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin
    Read: September 7, 2012
    As a fan of Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Lolita, I had hoped that this book would be just as enjoyable. On the contrary, the book followed the unfortunate mishaps of Professor Pnin. As unfortunate as the mishaps were, however, I didn’t find any of them particularly interesting.
  3. 2/5 Stars

  4. Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas’ The Memory Book
    Read: August 22, 2012
    This book seemed to be okay… …as a textbook. The book was too practice-based for me when I read it (I was taking no courses, and thus had nothing extensive to try memorizing). It was also to repetitive. I found the book to be mostly examples, all of which were extensions of only a couple of key ideas presented by the book.
  5. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why
    Read: October 16, 2012

    After seeing his interesting TED talk, I decided to check out Sinek’s book. Unfortunately, it was less than impressive. I found the presented argument to be less than impressive, although in the end I think I personally agree with the underlying idea that people should start projects with understanding the purpose, or the WHY.

  6. Shane Mac’s Stop With The BS
    Read: December 4, 2012
    I admit that I did find some of the ideas in this book interesting. However, on the whole, I found most of the experiences of Mac (this book was a compilation of short thoughts he had on random topics, all written while on a long train ride) to be all-in-all un-enlightening.
  7. David Allen’s Ready for Anything
    Read: December 30, 2012
    After finding his Getting Things Done to be quite useful, I thought I’d also check out Allen’s Ready for Anything. In this book are 52 short essays, each covering some aspect of productivity. Unfortunately, more than new ideas, I found this book to be mostly essays on “How to fix your GTD… …when you’re doing it wrong.” But I did get quite a few good quotes from the book…
  8. 3/5 Stars

  9. David Allen’s Getting Things Done
    Read: January 3, 2012
    This is Allen’s Getting Things Done–one of the best known self-help books. It wasn’t my first time reading it, but it was my first time implementing the system. I’ve been using the system since (tweaking it here and there), but I’ve found it to be working pretty well. I’ll be revisiting this book again this week to touch up my GTD system before I go back to work next week.
  10. John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began
    Read: January 8, 2012

    I decided to check out the Tomorrow series after watching the movie (trailer above) with some friends. Unfortunately, the movie never made it to North America; my friend only had it because she brought it back from Australia. Anyhow, I quite enjoyed the movie, and likewise, I found that I also enjoyed the series. It follows a group of teenagers who, upon returning from a camping trip in the surrounding Australian outback, find their country invaded by another, and everyone in their home town taken into some work-camp like environment. It follows their attempts to both survive and fight back.

  11. John Marsden’s The Dead of Night
    Read: January 22, 2012
    The second book in the Tomorrow series.
  12. John Marsden’s A Killing Frost
    Read: February 4, 2012
    The third book in the Tomorrow series.
  13. John Marsden’s Darkness, Be My Friend
    Read: February 23, 2012
    The fourth book in the Tomorrow series.
  14. John Marsden’s Burning For Revenge
    Read: March 24, 2012
    The fifth book in the Tomorrow series.
  15. John Marsden’s The Night is for Hunting
    Read: April 6, 2012
    The sixth book in the Tomorrow series.
  16. John Marsden’s The Other Side of Dawn
    Read: April 8, 2012
    The seventh (final) book in the Tomorrow series.
  17. Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games
    Read: April 15, 2012
    I don’t have to say much about this book because it was so big this past year anyways… My brother had the box set, so I decided to borrow it and check out the series. As it turned out, the books turned out to be a very light read. I did like the series, as I found the plot and characters to both be interesting.
  18. Suzanne Collins’ Mocking Jay
    Read: May 13, 2012
    The third (final) book in the Hunger Games trilogy.
  19. Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson’s The One Minute Manager
    Read: September 19, 2012
    A super short read, this book talks about managing people effectively by developing goals with them, praising them for what they do right, and letting them know where they went wrong. I liked the idea of the book, but I didn’t like how it was presented.
  20. Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex
    Read: September 27, 2012
    Middlesex is an autobiography by intersex individual Cal. I liked how the style in which the book was written, and I liked reading about all the challenges experienced by the narrator. What I didn’t like was the autobiography being more about Cal’s ancestry as opposed to Cal himself.
  21. Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You
    Read: October 27, 2012
    As a regular reader of Newport’s blog, I decided to check out his new book when he announced it on his blog. I thought it would be interesting to get a perspective countering the Passion Hypothesis. However, what I found instead was a common-sense argument against a weaker version of the Passion Hypothesis (ie. if you want to get a good job, do what you love). His points I feel are an important reminder to some, but all-in-all I didn’t feel they brought many new ideas to the table for most.
  22. 4/5 Stars

  23. Philip Dick’s Ubik
    Read: January 2, 2012
    A science fiction read, Ubik was the best book I’d read in a long time. I especially liked the style it was written in. However, it may be too bizarre for some to enjoy.
  24. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
    Read: April 29, 2012
    I think many people are familiar with the dystopia that is Brave New World. I liked the ideas that were presented in this novel, but I do recall preferring the style of 1984 over that of this one. Still, a good read for an interesting thought experiment about various aspects of society.
  25. Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire
    Read: May 8, 2012
    The second book in the Hunger Games trilogy.
  26. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    Read: October 6, 2012
    I feel that the ideas on personal development in this book are both practical and important. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People looks at how you operate alone (eg. with your emotions and decision making), and then with other people. In looking at these aspects of life, it helps the reader explore whether or not they’re living life as they want to, and if not, it pushes them to change.
  27. Daniel Pink’s Drive
    Read: November 14, 2012
    I feel that Drive offers an important perspective on motivation that explains much behaviour in the world today. For instance, why are students not motivated to do their homework when we tell them they will get an A for getting it done? This book explains why carrot-and-stick methods of motivation do not always work, and why it is often important to consider autonomy, mastery, and purpose when considering motivation. I feel that this book provides a good overview of why this may be a better explanation for motivation than simply the carrot-and-stick motivation that was commonly referred to previously.
  28. Matthew Inman’s How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you
    Read: December 31, 2012
    This is the first laugh-out-loud book I recall reading since Azumanga Daioh (see below; all the sub versions were cut horribly, so I decided to go with a dub). I thought it was a funny look at cats for cat-lovers.

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