They are out there.
Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species
I am not entirely sure what to make of the fact that I agree with the writings of a frequently grumpy Anglo-American sexagenarian a lot , but maybe it’s just because we both love hiking. Wes hail, Mr. Bryson!
Another favourite read this year was The Martian – hard science makes for a good read; I finished the book during two nights with little sleep.
Towards the second half of the year I opted for some non-fiction.
I’ve been a fan of Tim Minchin’s songs for a while. Today a coworker sent me this inspirational speech he did in 2013, for a graduation ceremony.
My favourite quotes:
“We didn’t evolve to be constantly content. Contented Australophithecus Afarensis got eaten before passing on their genes. ”
“You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born, and incredibly lucky to be brought up by a nice family that helped you get educated and encouraged you to go to Uni. Or if you were born into a horrible family, that’s unlucky and you have my sympathy… but you were still lucky: lucky that you happened to be made of the sort of DNA that made the sort of brain which – when placed in a horrible childhood environment – would make decisions that meant you ended up, eventually, graduating Uni.”
“There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise.”
“A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.”
“Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankind’s incremental acquisition of understanding through observation. Science is awesome. ”
“Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it. “
“Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.”
“I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful.”
Thank you, Tim Minchin!
Wheel of Time…. I did something I almost never do – I took a reading shortcut by reading the summaries of the 14 main books of the Wheel of Time series here.
I had started to read the actual books around 2003 or so and managed to finish a few (possibly 1 to 6) until I decided that none of the characters were interesting enough for me to plough through pages and pages of padding.
Many fans insist that the books get better and better after each re-reading because of masterful foreshadowing that may even span 13 books.
I was not able to appreciate this meticulous planning of plot hints and reveals because my mind went numb from being drowned in detailed descriptions of tiles in houses and colours of flowers. Maybe these descriptions are useful for some readers to achieve better immersion in a fantastic world, for me they just detract from recreating the world and the story in my mind. If anything, the books reminded me more of a very detailed movie script.
To end on an uplifting note, here’s to Nynaeve’s hairdo:
Actually I’ve already read the Brenner books years ago. But they are so agreeable that they warranted a re-reading session.