Saturday, November 7, 2015

The 306 Greatest Books - #132 To Kill a Mockingbird

The next up on my reading of the 305 greatest books is To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee. This book can be found on the Sybervision, Observer, BBC, and My Personal Book Lists.



Typically, when I am reading one of the books on this list, I am usually thinking of what I am going to say as a review, at least during the last quarter of the book. However, for To Kill a Mockingbird, I had to wait a couple of days until after I finished the book. I had burned through it so quickly, and I'm still having a hard time putting together by thoughts. The book follows the life of a young girl, Scout Finch, living during the depression in a small town in Alabama. As is true with most children, she is inquisitive and playful and the book follows her through her games and exploration of the world around her. She has a mysterious neighbor, who the children are bent on tormenting, even though they have never seen him. An interesting story point that does come to fruition by the end of the story. The main point of the book however is regarded as background material throughout the first portion of the book. This story element, like many in the book, slowly reveals itself through the natural course of storytelling. Scout's father, Atticus, is a lawyer and is charged with defending an African American man accused of raping another man's daughter. How the story manifests itself through the eyes of Scout is truly remarkable. Several times throughout the book I felt myself well up at the sheer impact of the story. I'm not sure if it is because I am father of a young girl and I can place myself in Atticus's shoes at times, or not. But this is truly an emotional novel about race relations during the Great Depression, and how far we had to go at the time. The writing couldn't have been easier to follow, and the descriptions were truly outstanding. Harper Lee's descriptions would often flow through the story, not being placed at any particular point, but would appear as natural eddies in the narrative.This resulted in me flying through the novel, reading half of it in one day.  This novel has easily ascended to become one of my favorite books of all time, well within my Top 5 favorites.

Friday, November 6, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 10 Update

10 months in. Only 2 to go.

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1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5
Month 6 - 177.5
Month 7 - 179.4
Month 8 - 178.3
Month 9 - 177.2
Month 10 - 174.9

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.
Month 6 - Finished Don Quixote. 4 books to go.
Month 8 - Finished The Grapes of Wrath. 3 books to go.
Month 9 - Finished Moll Flanders. 2 books to go.
Month 10 - Finished To Kill a Mockingbird. 1 to go.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 to go.
Month 6 - 18 done. 32 to go.
Month 7 - 28 done. 22 to go.
Month 8 - 31 done. 19 to go.
Month 9 - 35 done. 15 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.
Month 6 - 2 more projects done. Redid bricks in the backyard and added landscape lighting. 5 to go.
Month 7 - 1 more project done. Replace back sliding door. 4 to go.
Month 8 - 1 more project done. Added baseboards to bedroom. 3 to go.
Month 9 - In the middle of a major home renovation which will take care of at least 2 items on the list.
Month 10 - Still on major home renovation.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.
Month 7 - Added the upper skirt attach strips.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.
Month 6 - I have about 30 comics left to get before I have completed my collection.
Month 7 - Winding down. I have ~15 left to go on the main collection.
Month 8 - Finished Box #5.
Month 9 - Finished Box #7. 5 comics left to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.
Month 7 - Have been prepping to get this finished.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

We continue to spend almost all of our "free" time on the kitchen renovation. I also spent a good chunk of time resubmitting a manuscript and subsequently getting it accepted for publication. The kitchen renovation still on track to have the majority of it done by Thanksgiving.