The Books that Wrote Me Blog 2016

I originally wrote the first seven of these 2016 blog posts directly on the Blogger site.

January 1, 2016: The Best Things I Read in 2015[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 800 words • Topics: a few of the best non-books I read in 2015 • the best books I read in 2015


January 8, 2016: Read It, January 2016: Progress Report 1[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 1,000 words • Topics: planning my reading time • Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D. T. Max • connecting through reading • China Mieville • essays and stories in the queue


January 30, 2016: Read It and Watched It, January 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 1,000 words • Topics: I’ve been sick • S. by Doug Dorst and J. J. Abrams • Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D. T. Max, concluded • thoughts about television • three recent adaptations: The Magicians, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and Childhood’s End • the one book I completed in January


March 13, 2016: Read It and Watched It, February and Part of March 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 3,400 words • Topics: things haven’t gone according to plan • The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman • The Magicians, the Syfy TV series • The Greek Myths by Robert Graves • The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland • The Sagas of Icelanders by Robert Kellogg • Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda • The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth • Childhood’s End, the Syfy TV miniseries • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979 film) • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982 film) • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984 film) • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986 film) • books completed in February and early March


April 1, 2016: Read It and Watched It, Late March 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 900 words • Topics: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989 film) • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991 film) • My Struggle: Book 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard


April 1, 2016: Read It, March 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 800 words • Topics: personal news • books completed in the last week of March


April 23, 2016: Read It, Late April 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 1,600 words • Topics: house hunting • work news • The Last Dark (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, book 4) by Stephen R. Donaldson • books completed in April 2016


At this point in 2016, as part of an effort to reclaim all my blog “source code” so that I wouldn’t lose anything if my blog vanished, I extracted the HTML from the blog and translated it into Markdown with pandoc. From that point on, I wrote all my posts in Markdown format on my old computer, then used pandoc to turn them into HTML, which I then copied and pasted into the Blogger editor. In 2022, I began a project to edit all the posts, create new index pages with summaries and word cloud images, re-generate everything from Markdown source with GNU Make, and start hosting the blog on my own site. When that process is complete, I will delete the Blogger blog.

Before this “great migration” I relied very heavily on a GUI text editor I’ve loved for decades, BBEdit. It’s still my favorite GUI text editor. When I have to use Windows, the closest equivalent I’ve found is Notepad++, a great open-source project.

I’ve migrated away from using either Mac or Windows as part of my writing process. Instead, I’m doing everything on two Intel NUC PCs running Ubuntu Desktop. The tool I “live in” when I’m using one of those computers is Visual Studio Code, a wonderfully configurable editor with terminal sessions built right in. I use that environment to do my editing, handle version control, drive the build process. The build process runs on a third Intel NUC computer, running Ubuntu Server, executing Makefiles to build source code that lives on a Synology NAS, creating temporary build products, and pushing those build products to my web host with rsync.

I want to give a special shout-out to John MacFarlane, creator of pandoc. It truly is the Swiss Army knife of text-processing software and it has made it so much easier for me to get my writing done. You can find the software here.

GNU Make has also been indispensable, although I’ve tried to dispense with it. It’s the thing that works when nothing else will, although it has a frustratingly outdated model of how files, and lists, actually work; you’ve got to adapt to it, rather than the other way around.

You could say that Markdown is the format that is just easy enough to use and just good enough to do what I need, although I constantly wish it could do a few more things, while pandoc is the tool that I love, and GNU Make is the tool that I love to hate.


May 5, 2016: Read It, Early May 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 2,800 words • Topics: The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen • The Magicians season 1 (Syfy TV series adapted from the trilogy by Lev Grossman) • Childhood’s End (Syfy TV miniseries adapted from the novel by Arthur C. Clarke) • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams • The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth, translated by Maria Tatar • Light by M. John Harrison


May 15 and 18, 2016: Read It, Mid-May 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 5,100 words • Topics: working with decades of archived writing • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen (continued) • Light by M. John Harrison (continued) • Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (new translation by Bill Johnston, in Audible audiobook form) • The Story of Earth and Sky by Carleton Washburne, Heluiz Washburne, and Frederick Reed


May 28, 2016: Read It, Late May 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 3,200 words • Topics: shopping for books • Attempting Normal by Marc Maron • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2016 • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (new translation by Bill Johnston, in Audible audiobook form) continued • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff


June 13, 2016: Read It, Early June 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 3,800 words • Topics: couch-surfing • the book project • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (continued) • Eifelheim by Michael Flynn • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell • Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling


July 6, 2016: Read It, Late June 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 2,000 words • Topics: Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (continued) • Eifelheim, the novella • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip D. Dick • Viriconium by M. John Harrison • Secret of the Marauder Satellite by Ted White


July 18, 2016: Read It, Mid-July 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 1,200 words • Topics: The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross • Eifelheim, the novella by Michael Flynn


August 6, 2016: Read It, Early August 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 4,200 words • Topics: The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (audiobooks) • Authority by Jeff Vandermeer • The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker • The Dark Knight film trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises directed by Christopher Nolan) • the Star Trek Fan Collective DVD collections • Saturday Night Live seasons 1 and 3 DVD releases


September 26, 2016: Read It, Late September 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 4,000 words • Topics: packing and sorting books • Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer • The Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison • The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe comprising On Blue’s Waters, In Green’s Jungles, and Return to the Whorl


September 26, 2016: Two Interesting Games: Little Inferno and Human Resource Machine[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 2,400 words • Topics: Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation video game) • Human Resource Machine (Tomorrow Corporation video game)


October 14, 2016: Read It, Mid-October 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 3,000 words • Topics: packing books • Return to the Whorl by Gene Wolfe • The Solar Cycle in retrospect


November 22, 2016: Read It, Late November 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 5,600 words • Topics: in the news • packing, organizing, and measuring the books • fixing the computer • Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds • Exodus from the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe • Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis • Dickens audiobooks


December 7, 2016: Read It, Early December 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 4,400 words • Topics: our search for a home • towards a library collection development policy • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens • Last Call by Tim Powers • Arrival (2016 film) • That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis (continued)


December 20, 2016: The Best Things I Read and a Few Things I Watched in 2016[PDF] Word Cloud

Approximately 2,900 words • Topics: an offer on a house • further comments on Arrival • the best things I read in 2016 • 2016 in review

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This work by Paul R. Potts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The CSS framework is stylize.css, Copyright © 2014 by Jack Crawford.