.. and I Have a Problem

Happy New Year Everyone!  Hope you had a safe return from all your festivities last night and if you are lucky, you are not a Big 10 fan as we took a slaughtering today.  I have not made a decision about the fate of this blog yet, but for now, everything as usual and with that… the first entry of the 2011.

“Hello, my name is Brian and I have a problem.”  There are those things that kind of bother you and eventually you find time to address them and get them resolved.  Sometimes those things are like icebergs and as long as you accept the part you can see, you don’t get a feeling for how big the issue is under the waterline.  Of course there are issue that are right in your face each and every day until it starts to fill you with disappointment and regret.  In the latter case, I think it is jut better to accept it, come to terms with it, and recommit yourself to lifting that weight off your shoulder.  This is where I am at with my problem so her goes….

“Hello, my name is Brian and I have a reading problem.”  There, I’ve admitted it.  For clarity sake, it isn’t really a reading problem, but rather a reading BACKLOG problem.  I actually enjoy reading books a lot, but they do take a time commitment of sorts.  I am always finding new titles to read and my hobbies tend to have a prolific amount of written word on them.  My Amazon Wish List always has a number of books on them and I find myself in bookstores from time to time perusing the latest offerings (which generally leads to purchases as well).  As a result, there is a steady flow in, which is great, but that means there needs to be steady flow of information from the book to the brain or you start falling behind…. waaaay behind in my case.  Every day, I walk into my den and look at my bookshelf and sigh.  That is about to end because the new year has brought a new commitment to get through THIS:

hit the jump to see my 2011 goal:

This looks pretty daunting, but the good news is they are all books I want to read and hope to get some personal value out of.  As you might be able to tell, my reading interests are a tad diverse and typically involve some educational or artistic purpose.  What is definitely missing are general fiction books.  This doesn’t mean I do not enjoy a good Clancy or Coonts book, but I leverage audio books for that type of novel.  This has saved me a tremendous amount of time since I have a 1 hour commute to work every weekday (30min each way) which was previously being taken up by absolute drivel on the radio.  One of the best things I ever did was make sure there were MP3 players in all my vehicles.  With that out of the way, I can focus my reading time on educational topics.  So here is my current reading backlog:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright – 50 Key Buildings by America’s Greatest Architect – Philip Wilkinson: Both Linda and I enjoy the works of Mr. Wright and have traveled to see a number of them in person.
  • Spirit of the Wolf – Shaun Ellis, Monty Sloan :  A truly majestic animal
  • The Guitar Book – The ultimate Guide to Playing Like the Greats – Amber: My guitar playing has suffered from lack of playing.  It is time to build those calluses up again.
  • Sketching Your Favorite Subjects in Pen & Ink – Nice: I have always loved drawing and this book was picked up specifically to learn how to draw birds and other animals
  • A society of Wolves – Rick McIntyre: Wolves are truly a social animal with a well defined family structure that many humans would benefit from adopting
  • The Wolf Ghost Hunter – Firefly:  This book has some fantastic pictures in it and looking forward to seeing what insights this book may provide
  • Home Book of Picture Framing 2nd Ed.  Oberrecht:  Linda bought me a matte cutting tool last year and this book is going to help compliment that activity especially with all the photography we do
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums:  Yes, I enjoy drumming (in addition to guitar) and have always wanted to get better at it and even considering formal lessons this year
  • Life – Extraordinary animals, extreme behaviour – Holmes and Gunton:  If you are a nature photographer and have not seen this set of DVDs you are missing something special.
  • The Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life – Barrington Barber:  Again, improving my drawing skills.  I liked the fact this had a number of topic related to spatial relationships and depth of field
  • The Complete Book of Drawing Techniques – Peter Stanter:  More of a base skill primer – will probably go through this multiple times trying to get something new out of it each time.
  • The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers – Scott Kelby: Kelby rocks when it comes to Photography and Photoshop.  Expect this to be a fantastic resource for our post processing photography work.
  • Complete Basements – Stanley:  Time to get our basement done!
  • Drawing Problems and Solutions – Trudy Friend:  I really like how this is laid out.  Essentially it provides an example which highlights a specific drawing issue and then provides advice on how to resolve them.  A quick read through identified a number of issues I have in my own work.
  • The Black Swan – Nassim, Nicholas, Taleb:  This has nothing to do with the latest movie, but rather math, statistics and numerical analysis.  To be honest, I started this book earlier in the year but was not in the right frame of mind at the time and it quickly overwhelmed me.
  • Life – Keith Richards:  This should be quick read.  I am an avid Stones fan and this book was an obvious pick
  • Of Wolves and Men – Lopez:  The wolf has always been seen as an adversary to man breed out of complete ignorance on our part.
  • Peeps – A Candy Coated Tale – Masyga, Ohlin:  Friends of mine picked this up for me knowing I am a lover of all things Peeps.  What, you don’t actually believe these tales are fictional do you?
  • Climate of Extremes – Michaels and Balling Jr.:  My apologies to my brother on this one.  He gave me this book sometime ago knowing my stated opinion of man caused GLOBULL warming.  I really want to take every every argument in this book and wanted to be in position to read it cover to cover without a lot of time in between.
  • Within the Frame – The Journey of the Photographic Vision – Duchemin:  Always looking to improve my outlook on photography and this book comes highly regarded in the industry
  • The Video Poker Edge – Boyd: Hoping to validate my own strategies that have been serving me well over the years.
  • Layers – The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature – Kloskowski:  Time to step up my game with Photoshop.  This is clearly one of the areas I will get the biggest benefit
  • The Wolf – David Mech:  Hands down the leading expert when it comes to the wolf and the individual I draw my own opinions and positions from regarding the various wolf controversies like reintroduction and population control.
  • Decisive Moments – Scott Linstead:  Linda got this for me this Christmas (even had the author sign it).  This individual has some fantastic shots of wildlife captured at unique moments in time.
  • Seal Team One – Dick Couch:  Always enjoy his books on what it takes to be in special forces and already have a few of his books summarized on this blog
  • Outliers – The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell:  Actually almost done with this.  I think Blink and Tipping Point were much better and a number of his topics were already covered in SuperFreakenomics
  • American Casinos Guide – 2011 Edition – Bourie:  Always like to try out the local gambling options whenever we are on vacation.
  • One Bullet Away – Nathaniel Fick:  Another military book that looks pretty interesting
  • The Finishing School – Dick Couch:  A follow on to the other books I have read from him
  • The Warrior Elite – Dick Couch:  I enjoy understanding what makes an individual face his fears and be effective under high amounts of pressure and unknown
  • Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott:  Just started this book.  A interesting read from the perspective of a writer. It really applies to life in general, but does touch on little on my enjoyment in blogging.
  • Rare – Joel Sartore:  Another great wildlife photobook.  Not only provides inspiration what I want to achieve with my photography, but gives an excellent read on some of the wildlife that is facing extinction.
  • Eat This, Not That! 2011 – David Zinkcenko:  This book is going to drive my wife crazy.  Now that I have fought my way back down to my new goal weight, I want to be smarter about my choices.

Pretty diverse eh?  Interesting enough, I find you can tell a lot about someone by their bookshelves (I am scared to think of what your opinions of me might be now that you have seen a glimpse of mine).  Note, this is not in any reading order and hopefully not the only books I’ll get to this year (or acquire!!!), but gives me a solid commitment base.  Not all of these lend themselves to summaries, but a large number of them could show up here as Book Recollection posts.  Here’s to you having a great year and wish me luck on my first resolution of the year.

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