Weird Book Reading

I am currently reading a book. I am almost always reading a book, so that is a bad statement, but I am currently reading a book. And this book is a book that I have read before. It isn’t one of the books I normally read, in fact I read it the one time and put it aside. But I needed a break from reading the Hawking book that I am not quite in the middle of.

The Hawking book is a tough read. All it is showing me is that I am not as smart as I hoped I was. It is an interesting book, and I still plan on finishing it, but it is such a dry book.

And for some reason that I can’t explain, I didn’t want to read any of the books in my “unread” pile. I haven’t bought any new books recently, so at least that pile isn’t growing, but it isn’t shrinking either.

Maybe I’ll get my motivation back. Maybe I’ll start reading new books again. Maybe I’ll finish the Hawking book.

Maybe.

Odd Job

The other day a friend and fellow blogger asked me to do him a minor favor. It was no problem at all except for what he asked me to do. He wrote a short story, and wanted me to review it. He wanted me to proofread it and edit it. My mom right now is laughing hard enough to hurt herself.

Let me explain why. Growing up I was the absolute worst speller. I would have my mom edit, if not rewrite my schoolwork I was so bad. And if it wasn’t for spell check, I probably would have a lot more mistakes in my blog. Blogging has taught me to take my time and reread my work, and I do catch a lot of mistakes, but to actually edit someone else’s work? This was actually a little scary for me, a lot of added pressure. Even when I take my time, I still make a lot of mistakes.

Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to read this story that he has been writing for months now, especially since it all started with a conversation between us. I had this idea that I told him about, a story I knew I wouldn’t ever really write. And his story was a good story; I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t the story I thought he was going to write. Where he started is not where he ended, which frees up my idea again.

Maybe this blogging thing really is helping my writing. I take my time, write a blog, walk away, reread it, and make changes. And I really did appreciate that he asked me to read his work. I know how much a second set of eyes can help. Someone else may catch some things that you wouldn’t. I’ve seen that happen with this blog. Others pointed out mistakes I made but that I didn’t see to me. And a writer cannot take offense to someone pointing out mistakes, cause they will be made. Mistakes happen. Anytime someone points out mistakes I have made, I actually appreciate them even more. It shows that they are actually reading my work, as bad as it can be.

And my mom knows, I have a history of making mistakes.

Rerun

A friend of mine has repeatedly asked me why I buy my books rather than go to the local library. The library, after all, does have a large selection (though my Clarke collection is bigger than most libraries). Sometimes I am asked why I don’t have an eReader and download my books. Both questions are valid, and if I did buy eBooks I would save a ton of space on my bookshelves. I easily have over a hundred books, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if I have over five hundred.

Yesterday, I just wasn’t in the mood to open up any of my unread novels, and really not in the mood to read the Stephen Hawking book that I am just over a quarter of the way through. So, I went down to my geek room and just stared. I knew I wanted to read something that I have read before, but the question would be which book. I finally decided on With the Lightnings by David Drake. This is a book I have read years ago. It is the first book in a series that is still on going. And to be honest, it’s like I am reading a new book. I can’t remember reading the story. So it is both a rerun and new to me.

I am very proud of my book collection. And excluding the unread pile, I have read them all at least once, and some of them I have read so often that I had to tape the spine back together. I enjoy books; I like the feel of them in my hand as I read them. I like looking at how far I am into the book.

So yes, I may be rereading a book, but how many of us can say that they haven’t watched an episode of some TV show more than once. Or how many times have you watched that fantastic movie.

So yes, it may take me more time to get through the book. But you cannot judge. After all, I have no commercials.

Complete Lack of Self Control

I recently posted that I am in the middle of reading On the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking, and I have still not finished it. In my defense, it is over a thousand pages long and includes data, formulas, graphs, and scientific detail. It is a hard read, probably the hardest read I have ever tried. It is still fascinating, but there are some points where I read a paragraph over and over, and I still don’t get it. Some of these people have been dead for hundreds of years, and are still smarter than me. But I am going to force myself to finish this book. It is a mission, though I may take breaks in the middle of it.

Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, the other night I found myself at Barnes and Nobel again. While I didn’t plan on buying another book, because I have plenty in my “to read” pile, there were a couple of books that I just had to have. One was the latest part of a series that I am completely addicted too. And the second was a book on failures of the presidents. Not failure presidents, just some of the president’s greatest failures. And on top of that, I can neither confirm nor deny that I also bought a Doctor Who book.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to have these books. And on top of these two new books, I have about another half dozen that were already in the “to read” pile. I cannot let myself not have a stack of books waiting to be read. It always seems that as I read one book, I am already thinking about the next book. It is never that I am bored with the book I am in the middle of; I just can’t wait to get to the next one. And it makes me impatient. I try not to rush through whatever book I am reading (though I may be rushing through the current book).

As I said earlier, with On the Shoulders of Giants, I may take a break after I finish the portion about Copernicus. All of this math and these formulas and graphs are just burning me out. At least I have another book ready to go. I just have to pick one.

Introduction

I started reading this new book today; it’s a collection of science fiction stories that are supposed to be a mix of sci-fi and horror. Now, I bought it because one of the stories is from Arthur C. Clark even though I probably already read this particular story, and I am always up for reading the writings of new authors. To be truthful, at this moment, I have not even gotten past the introduction. And in this introduction, the editor takes the time to make fun of those who actually read them. Saying things like the reader (me) is too afraid to go further. The reader is afraid to be scared. However, the editor did bring up some good points, like how Science Fiction and Horror used to be the same thing in some peoples eyes. Look at how they are linked in some cases. Doctor Frankenstein was very much science fiction and horror, though we do seem to be getting closer and closer to science fact and horror nowadays. War of the Worlds could be science fiction and horror. The Day the Earth Stood Still would be science fiction, though in the new version the acting could be considered horror.

However, him making fun of the introduction readers got me thinking about all of the introductions I skipped over the years. I didn’t always read the introductions; in fact I hardly ever read them back in the day. I used to go right to the story; the story was the whole reason for purchasing the book. What was the point of the introduction anyway? It used to be just a waste of space before the story. I guess as I get older, I have settled into reading the introductions. I guess I am getting moer bang for my buck.

Too Stubborn

I have easily over four hundred books in my collection. Mostly science fiction and biographies, but I also have books on physics, mysteries, history, I really do have books in almost every genera. Again, most of them are science fiction, and most of those are Star Wars. I’m even proud of the fact that I have more books by Arthur C. Clarke than most libraries.

And I read them all. That’s right, over the years I have read every book that is on any of my bookshelves. And in some cases, I have read them more than once. The I have just finished reading the X-wing series  and I can’t even tell you how many times I have read the books in that series. I have read them so often that the bindings are being held together by tape.

Now, I’m not saying I enjoyed all of the books I have read. Some were downright awful. But I finished them. And that’s just because I am stubborn. I know that if I leave the book on the shelf unread, it will annoy me, so I have to power through and finish the book. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” for example, the original is a tough read, adding zombies to the story didn’t help it at all. Well, maybe it did, I never actually read the original. “Moby Dick” would have been a fantastic book if I read every other chapter. The alternating chapters were like reading marine science book, and that’s not what I wanted to read.

And speaking of books, a few Christmases ago, my family bought me the first four books in the Harry Potter series. They were wrapped and waiting under the tree, tormenting me since I knew exactly what they were. Well, my impatience won out and I opened the first book, read it rewrapped it and moved onto the next book. I actually finished all four books before Christmas, rewrapping them when I was finished. And I believe I did that in the span of five days.

Heck, I even spent one night reading a Tom Clancy book, finally falling asleep when I was finished, at about 7 am.

Again, sometimes, I am too stubborn.

The Beginning

Happy New Year to my few readers! Every year large groups of people make resolutions to improve their life. The problem with the resolutions is that some of don’t even make it to the end of the day, and most resolutions are forgotten about by the end of February. A few years ago I made a resolution to never make any more resolutions, and I have held to that. This year, I am going to make goals. Goals that I want to accomplish by the end of the year, but if I don’t accomplish these goals, I’ll just move on to them next year.

 

1. I plan on paying off my final student load by then end of the calendar year.
2. I will go kayaking more often than I did last year. Shouldn’t be that hard, as I hardly went kayaking at all last year.
3. I will go SCUBA diving more often than I did last year. Once would do it.
4. I will go cage diving with great white sharks again this October.
5. I will continue to eat somewhat healthy. I will try to eat salads almost every day for lunch, and as little soda as possible.
6. I will read another biography on a president. I have fallen off on reading those in the last few years.
7. I will read as much as I can. I enjoy reading and unlike TV, books have no commercials. Damn, stole that quote from “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.”
8. I will take off for my Birthday. Wow, that’s an easy one.
9. I will watch less Discovery Science (ok, this is probably not going to happen).

10. I will continue to blog. My goal is 6 posts a week on this blog.
And that is it. 10 goals. Most are easily achievable, and those that are not, oh well.

Thought Process

A few days ago, I noticed that someone dropped off a book I am currently reading into my offices kitchen. The leaving of books has been happening for a while now. I presume someone is trying to reduce the size of their library, but they books usually left are romance novels, not books I would read. Well, the other day, I noticed that someone left “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” by Michael A. Stackpole.

Now, the first thoughts to go through my head was “Who stole my book?” and “Did I leave my book here?” Now, these are really stupid thoughts for me to have. This book is one of my favorite books, and I have read it multiple times. I’ve read it so often that I cannot even tell you how many times I have read it. My book is all beat up. My book is currently being held together by tape and hope. I have read this book so often that I could pick it up, open it to a random page, and not miss anything cause I know the book that well. The copy in the office kitchen looked like it was read once. It almost looked like it was brand new. I have no idea why those thoughts would have gone through my mind.

The last thought though, that I understand. The last thought I had was “I should take that copy for myself.”

Too bad I didn’t.

Feeling Stupider

I bring it upon myself. I know this. I get myself into situations where I realize that my intelligence is lower than I wish it were. I know I am not stupid, but I also know I am not as smart I as I wish I was. And that bring us to today’s blog.

I just bought three books that are probably beyond me. And these are not the first books I have bought that did that to me. The first book I bought I though I could read easily was the non-fiction works of Arthur C. Clarke. This is the man who is credited with geosynchronous satellites. That’s right, this is the man who came up with the math for satellites, although his theory was based around space stations. And I read his work, and it was so far beyond me, 70 years after he came up with the math.

Now I have bought three more books. “The Physics of the Impossible” and “The Physics of the Future” by Michio Kaku, and “On the Shoulders of Giants” by Stephen Hawking. That’s right, Stephen Hawking is in my library, and all I can think of is the Weird Al song, “White and Nerdy.”

And again, these books may be beyond me. But so far, I like the one I am reading. It’s fascinating, enjoyable, and fun. This isn’t science fiction, this is science reality. Maybe this is what I get for watching so much Discovery Science.

I do have to admit, that I have seen Michio Kaku on Discovery Science so often that I hear his voice when I am reading his book.

I wonder if that’s what is going to happen when I read Hawking’s book.

Wandering

Walking into work today, well, walking in from where I parked, I found myself gazing up at the stars, and I realized two things. First, I get into work way too early. Before the sun even rises. Roosters are not even up when I am at work. But that is not the point of today’s blog.

I also realized that my mind wonders to wandering. I would love to travel in space. I would love to go to the stars and see what is there. I think that’s why I read so much science fiction and science fantasy. It allows me to go to where I will never have the chance. It allows me to actually use my imagination, and use the imagination of others to travel where I can’t go in reality.

Now, some may ask what the difference between science fantasy and science fiction is. Well, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction is what you do not want to happen, but there is a good chance that it will, like most of his writings. And Science Fantasy is what you want to happen, but probably won’t, like Star Wars.

I would love to walk on another world. I would love to travel among the stars. And yes, I would even go to Mars knowing it was a one-way trip. It would be amazing.  Besides, the human race has already started to ruin this planet, I think we should spread to other planets, and ruin them.