Resolution Progress 2017: First Quarter

(Original ; Half ; Three-Quarters ; Final)

For the first quarter, I should have progressed about 25%. So, let’s see where I am.

My Five Star-Rated Books Read in 2016

So, out of the many books I read this prior year, here are the ones I gave five stars.

  1. To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Weinberg, Steven
  2. Thinking: The New Science of Decision-Making, Problem-Solving, and Prediction in Life and Markets by Brockman, John
  3. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Isaacson, Walter
  4. Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Ridley, Matt
  5. White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Wise, Tim
  6. Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Haley, Alex
  7. Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World by Grant, Adam M.
  8. Eaters of the Dead by Crichton, Michael

I hope to make this a regular feature of the blog.

Last year was a banner year with 14. It looks like 2013 was about equal with 8.

The TBR Long Tail

My “to be read” (TBR) list is long. Too long. Over a thousand books long.

Part of the problem is Goodreads. I will hear about some book say on the radio, open up the app, find it and mark it TBR. Often enough, I will find that I already have. There are 207 TBR physical books I own and 156 TBR Kindle books.

That puts me almost in the realm of where the author of Coming to Terms With My Unread Pile is. Enough are virtual I do not have the same problem. And I never have a fear of not having something to read.

  1. I have several I am reading on at any given time, so finishing one means reading more on another(s) until I pick something else.
  2. Given every year I have the goal of reading some specific, I separate out those books so I can make sure I pick up those when I need to start something new.
  3. I buy books for cheap (used, sales), so I am not spending that much per book but still obviously a lot on them.

 

This section resonated:

For a while I made great progress [in reading through the books], cutting the pile down by a third. But eventually I once again started acquiring books faster than I could read them. Several factors contributed to this. Obviously I buy a lot of books but I get surprisingly number for free either as gifts or through library conferences and book festivals. However they were acquired, my unread pile has become a series of three piles.

Goodreads does point out a glaring issue. Some of them all have the date “January 10, 2008” which I am going to guess is when I imported my collection from LibraryThing into Goodreads. In eight years I have not read these seven books. The TBR counts by year:

  • 2015: 350
  • 2014: 195
  • 2013: 175
  • 2012: 84
  • 2011: 104
  • 2010: 2
  • 2009: 6
  • 2008: 10

I had hoped the distribution of books by year would start high and quickly fall off into a relatively low numbers by the end. Essentially a Long Tail. Too bad real data is messy. :'(

There is now a temptation to go read the 2008-2010 books just to get them read. Eighteen is not bad at all. But, the sad reality is there is no way I’m going to read everything on the TBR list. The 363 ones I own is doable in 5 years if I buy nothing at all in that time. (Unlikely.)

Resolutions 2016

I try to set achievable, measurable resolutions.

  • Read 75 books. In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, I set the goal for 52 even though I kept reading far more.
    • Hit 25,000 pages. Last year dropped below 20K, so I really need to get the average back up to something respectable.
    • Finish series already started. 24 of the 75
  • Lifting. I got to each by looking at the past 6 months of progress, calculating the difference and doubling it.
    • Bench 240 pounds (1RM equivalent). I ended 2015 at 192 1RM. So by the above formula, I ended up with 240. That is a bit more than what I might have used for guessing at 2015’s.
    • Squat 300 pounds (1RM eq). I ended 2015 at 250 1RM. That site thinks 310, so OK.
    • Deadlift 335 pounds (1RM eq). I ended 2015 at 290 1RM. The formula predicted 392, but this is the one that burned me last time. That site thinks it should grow about 45, so I added that to last years.
  • Drop to 20% body fat. Monitor said I was at 24.7%. Last year’s 15% was probably too ambitious for me.
  • Do the White and Orange trails in under an hour. It is only a bit over 15 minute improvement. And my feet hurt for a week. Once I’ve dropped the weight, it should be easier to achieve.
  • Attend 12 social events when invited. My social outlets have mostly dissolved. It probably has come time to dust off this 2011 resolution. An average of one a month should manageable.

Resolution Progress 2015: Third Quarter

OK, the year is about three quarters done, so here is where I am with each resolution.

  1. Read 52 books. Three-quarters of 52 is 39. I am close to done at 49. My Goodreads user challenge. With 5 in progress now, and 3 more than half read, this should be complete soon.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. Of the 49 books read so far, 37 are by female authors, so I am on well above with 75%. (I’m unlikely to fall beneath 50% by even reading all male author books through the end of the year.)
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 171 1RM. That is 64 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. And 20 up from three months ago. Just 14 more to go by the end of the year, I think I can do it.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). Completed at the half.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 278 1RM. Looks like since July the gain has been about 62 pounds. This looks manageable as I just need another third of that progress to hit the goal.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. No progress.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Completed first quarter.
  4. Declutter Part II. No progress.

Resolution Progress 2015: First Half

Here is where I am about halfway through the year.

  1. Read 52 books. A half of 52 is 26. I am a few books ahead at 34. My Goodreads user challenge.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. Of the 34 books read so far, 28 are by female authors, so I am on well above with 82%.
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 157.5 1RM. That is 50.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 27.5 more to go. I was recently happy to manage two 45 lb plates on the bar 5x5s. Guess I get to be a big boy now.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 262.5 1RM. That is 155.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. That completes the goal. Guess I will reset for another 105 pounds for 350.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 273.33 1RM. That is 121.67 up from the 151.66 1RM last quarter. Just 26.67 more to go.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. No progress.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Completed first quarter.
  4. Declutter Part II. No progress.

 

Well Read? Seven Years Later

My reading list So at five years later, I happened to run across a photo and blogged about the progress I had made by that point (47). I decided to go through the photo and mark all the books onto a Goodreads shelf “z-photo-reading-shelf” to better track this.

Of the 77 books, it looks like 62 are marked read. Here are the ones both in the photo and still need to be read. (I really like Goodreads’ multiple shelves function.)

None of these are by female authors, so I’ll have to pass up cranking through the remainders for another time. Maybe.

P.S. I count ten read since March 2013, so I probably had actually read about 57 and just did not count very well.

Resolution Progress 2015: First Quarter

I figured I would get back to doing quarterly reviews of progress on the resolutions for the year.

  1. Read 52 books. A quarter of 52 is 13 (the same as a suit in a deck of card). I am a few books ahead at 16. My Goodreads user challenge.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. So far only 3 are by male authors, so I am on track with 81%.
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 145 1RM. That is 42 up from the 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 40 more to go.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 169 1RM. That is 62 up from the 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 76 more to go.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). Finally recently did my first deadlift and started at two 45 plates for 5 reps, which is a 151.66 1RM. Still learning form, so the weight was very manageable.  Just 149 more to go.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. I did buy a set of calipers with a chart which says my suprailiac is 25.6%. Since I figured 25-30%, this is about what I expected. But I have a long way to go. Visually, I can see veins and muscle definition emerging, which is encouraging.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. I did take a 825 mile trip for Mom’s birthday over a weekend. We went to Amelia Island and Jekyll Island. That was fun.
  4. Declutter Part II. Lost some of the progress made. Some of the pants now too big for me are separated out and put away. I’ll give it some time before I donate them. Started organizing and boxing the books I’ve read.

Review: Gate of Ivrel

Gate of Ivrel
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this to me as the basis of Stargate. The concept of using a system of gates to reach other worlds certainly resembles Stargate.

I like C.J.’s The Dreaming Tree, so this was obvious for me to try.

I kept hoping to discover Arthur and Merlin as Morgaine sounded like she would be tied to tales of them. With three more in the series there is still hope.

View all my reviews

Resolutions 2015

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above little things’. ― John Burroughs

    1. Read 52 books. Yeah, I know. In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, I read more than this same exact amount. I like the number because it is a book a week.
      • Read 50% by female authors. After reading “Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds“, I did an analysis of my own books for the past 2012, 2013, and 2014. My best year was 17% female authors. So I’ll push for at least 50% this year. Ideally, I would do even 90% female but that might mean buying a lot more books. That best year? Most of the books by female authors came from participating in a book club with most female members.
    2. Biking was an abysmal failure last year. Weight lifting is my new health and exercise thing. Based on some stuff I’ve read, these should be reasonable achievements for someone who has reached novice level. As I understand, someone who is my height takes longer to reach them, so with three months now adding another year, I think I can reach these by the end of next year. Looking to do something like a 4 day rotation of chest, back, legs, cardio (bike).
      1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). Benchmark lift Tuesday was 80 at 10 reps which by my phone app was a 107 1RM equivalent. This puts the goal at 78 more.
      2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). Benchmark lift Saturday was 80 at 10 reps which by that calculator was 107. This puts the goal at 138 more.
      3. Deadlift xxx pounds. Do not have a benchmark lift yet. According to one resource this should be 305, but I should probably look to see what I can do before committing to something.
      4. Drop to about 15% body fat. I think I am closer to 25-30% at the moment. Setting a specific target weight seems like a bad idea because I’ll need to add several pounds of muscle in order to achieve the above, so I will likely gain weight even while dropping fat. Setting the body fat target should achieve the real purpose.
      5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. Muscle is good, but I think I have been so lazy for so long that I have major stamina issues. Bike day is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Right now, I am struggling with 30 seconds high with 120 seconds slow. This goal is to get this closer to 60 seconds high with 60 seconds slow.
    3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Work conference does not count. It might be to visit family, but the distance ensures my home town does not count. Yes, this is the same as last year’s failed. I use up my vacation time for work and this seems like a good way to encourage that.
    4. Declutter Part II. Continue the progress made from last year. Shred and trash more unneeded paper. Get all statements to be kept in folders. One last closet is still a mess and needs to be emptied of stuff.

Old resolutions: 20142013, 2012201120102009.