Every year, I like to compile a playlist featuring music that has served as the soundtrack for the past year. They aren't all necessarily songs that were released in the previous year, but are generally songs I've first been introduced to in the past year. 2012 started off slow; I don't think I got to ten tracks until the Fall, but it built quickly from there to the point that I had to pare it down from nearly 30 tracks to it's current set of 15 songs.
If you would like to listen to the Team Soell 2012 Retrospective on Rdio, you can listen below. If you'd like to take it with you "to go," you can download it in MP3 format.
What about you? What are you best tracks of the year?
Here we are. 52 weeks after I set my goal of reading 52 books in 2012, and I made it! This past month was a bit of a challenge, as I had six books to read, but I made it a little easier on myself by only reading books that were 150 pages or less. With that as my criteria, I actually charged my way through the last six books in only two weeks. So if you're looking for some good, short reads to help you get to your goal, or just get you back into the habit of reading, these are some really good choices.
When I first started getting back into reading eight years ago or so, I specifically wanted to read a lot of the books that most people read in grade school that I either hadn't gotten to, or had completely forgotten about. The Old Man and the Sea is definitely one of those quintessential books that most people read at some point before graduating high school, and at only 96 pages you can even get through it in one sitting. On the surface, it's the story of an elderly Cuban fisherman catching an enormous marlin, but the themes of the book go much deeper. Beautiful book, if you haven't read it yet, but it high on your list.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway -
This was recommended by my best-friend-in-law Tasci, and I'm really glad she suggested it. I have a rule when rating books, that I won't give out a 5-star rating unless I've read a book at least twice; I'm breaking my rule on this one, because I loved it so much. Each chapter in this book is a fictionalized examination of a universe in which time, or the way we are affected by time, is somewhat different than we know it. In one world, time is circuitous, so that all of life's events repeat over and over. In another, time moves more slowly as your elevation increases. But while it sounds like a scientific thought exercize, it's really more of a philosophical investigation. At 144 pages, it's really the perfect book to spend a rainy, thoughtful weekend with.
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman -
I'm sure I've read this at least twice before, but all I really remembered was that it focused on a man who killed an Arab on the beach, and was standing trail for his crimes. I don't think I've been in a place before where I could really appreciate the story for the themes the author was trying to explore until now, so I'm glad I gave it another read. Only 123 pages long, it's not a huge commitment, and it's really not as heavy as the philosophers among us would have us believe. Or at least it doesn't have to be. At the very least, it can just be read as an interesting story of a troubled man's life, and it's perfectly enjoyable at that level. If you haven't read this classic -- or at least haven't in the past five or ten years -- maybe it's time to give it another try.
The Stranger by Albert Camus -
I found this book listed on the Lawrence Public Library's blog post featuring 50 good books, 150 pages or less. It didn't have great reviews, but the story sounded interesting, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. It's not the best mystery I've ever read, but it was a short 132 pages and I was able to knock it out in just more than a day. It's nothing memorable, but it was an enjoyable whodunit style novel.
The Lemur by Benjamin Black -
The classic story of time travel, Morlocks and Eloi. I was shocked at how quickly Wells jumped right into the story, without nearly the amount of setup that went into the movie version. While the result is a compact 104-page read, it was surprisingly difficult to get through. Something about the writing style of these older books makes it a little more sluggish to get through. Not to say it isn't well written or enjoyable, but just noticably more concentration was required to get through it. If you're into science fiction at all, though, you owe it to yourself to read this classic from one of the fathers of the genre.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells -
For my last book, I decided to read this collection of short stories from a collective of Columbus-based authors. Some were very good, some were mercifully short, but overall it was a very easy 112 page read. I don't completely understand how the seven stories were supposed to be connected thematically, but that may be nitpicking. At the crazy-low price of $4, I will definitely check out some of the other collections from the Columbus Creative Cooperative.
Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected by Various, Columbus Creative Cooperative -
That about does it! I'm planning on a wrap-up article early next month, featuring my top 10 books that I read in 2012, along with some details about my reading challenge for 2013, so be sure to check back.
How did you do on your reading challenge? Any goals you're setting for yourself in 2013?