Category Archives: Books

Therefore I Geek Podcast Episode 38, Ready Player One and Armada

ready player oneIn which, Andrew and Tracy discuss Ernest Cline’s well-loved novel Ready Player One and his newest book Armada, that recently hit bookstore shelves.  This podcast does contain spoilers, so consider yourselves warned. Continue reading

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Editorial | Why I Read Vonnegut

On an earlier podcast, I briefly mentioned the story of why I finally started reading Kurt Vonnegut. It’s actually a rather embarrassing story: I like watching repeats of Criminal Minds on Netflix while doing laundry (folding clothing is insanely boring and requires distraction). The show doesn’t always have the most erudite plotlines, but I found myself intrigued by and then identifying with the FBI agent Emily Prentiss. In the second season, she confessed to Agent Derrick Morgan that she was a “huge nerd” who loved to read Vonnegut, a fandom that they share. Continue reading

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Filed under Books, Editorial, Geek Life, Tracy Gronewold

Guest Blog | Why I’ve Never Liked Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon and ubiquitous reading material among millenials. It’s easy to see why – the books are escapist, fun, and relatable. So sometimes I feel very alone when I make the startling confession: I really don’t like Harry Potter at all.

My reasons for dislike are numerous, but tend to all come back to a central problem. The first half of the series is for children; the second half is for adults. That’s fine,having the characters grow with the audience is brilliant as a marketing strategy; but in this instance, it deals a body blow to the continuity of the story. The contrived, cobbled-together world of Hogwarts and the greater Wizarding World is perfect for a children’s series. Ghosts as teachers? Cool! A school with a vicious three-legged dog hiding behind a door where a talented first-year could easily find it? Exciting! This kind of world serves perfectly for a story about a young boy from an abusive background who gets to escape the doldrums of suburban England and jet off to wizarding school.

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Reading List of Doom 2: The Changing Face of Doom

Reading List of Doom. And this is only the prioritized stuff.

Reading List of Doom. And this is only the prioritized stuff.

It has been just over eighteen months since I first opined about the “Reading List of Doom.” In that time I have had the pleasure of finishing quite a few wonderful books and I’ve changed the way I read quite a bit. With that in mind, I thought it was high time I revisit this never ending yet glorious topic.

I’ve mentioned before that I have given up reading comics in hard copy. While this was a difficult decision for me, it is one that I have been ever so pleased with, and though I don’t consider comics part of my reading list, the shift to digital has resulted in some other changes. Often, I used to work on the List at work during my lunch. I would either transport my book back and forth, or, as was more often the case, I would simply have a work book and a home book. While this did double the number of books I was reading at one time, I often found that it felt like I was making less progress overall, even with the extra time. Trying to dive deep into the plot of a book while trying to eat and not think about work just didn’t work out very well. Instead of this only mildly successful endeavor, I have started reading my comics at work. With the help of a new Kindle Fire, I am able to easily make my way through the week’s comics over the course of several days. On average I can read four comics each day during my lunch, though if I’m trying to read Silver Age X-Men­ it is often closer to one and a half. Regardless, I have discovered that my comic reading has gone up dramatically, much to my enjoyment.

Turns out this glow isn't so great for you.

Turns out this glow isn’t so great for you.

Since I have given up my lunch reading, I felt it was important to provide myself with reading time elsewhere in the day. The time I have found works best is the hour before bed. Since I suffer from sleep apnea, I have spent a fair amount of time doing research online about ways to improve the quality of sleep I get. In my research I discovered that although playing a video game or watching Netflix until I pass out might be an enjoyable way to spend the evening, staring at the LCD/LED screen is not so good for me. Turns out that the color of light emitted from these screens is blue and blue light is great for helping the brain to wake up. Looking at screens right before bed causes the brain to have a much more difficult time shutting down to go to sleep, thus resulting in a less restful night. Because of this I have endeavored to turn off all screens (TV, computer, phone, iPad, etc.) an hour before bed. This has now become my reading hour. While it’s true that there are some nights I don’t get the full hour because I can’t keep my eyes open (Yes, I’m getting old. Shut up.), I feel like I am making much better progress on the List.

As for the List itself, it expands and contracts as I buy new books and finish old ones. No longer does it reside in a stack on one particular shelf. This is largely due to the fact that I bought new bookcases and could actually give the books a more permanent home. The List is now more a concept in my mind. In many ways it always has been, and the physical stack was merely a manifestation of my desire to read certain books in a given order, which to be quite honest, was never very concrete. I would often add or subtract books from the list as the mood would strike me. It is ever changing and will never be finished. As much as I am a completionist, I take a certain pride and deep pleasure in knowing that no matter what I do, I will leave this particular task unfinished.

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