Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reading List

At the beginning of this year I had set three reading goals for myself:
  • Read a book a week
  • Read the primary Jane Austen novels
  • Read more than one Charles Dickens novel
I guess two out of three ain't bad.


  • The Cross Centered Life — C.J. Mahaney
  • Pagan Christianity? — Frank Viola and George Barna
  • Tale of Two Cities — Charles Dickens
  • The Pursuit of Holiness — Jerry Bridges
  • The Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor — Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor


  • The Practice of Godliness — Jerry Bridges
  • The Princess Bride — William Goldman
  • The Love Dare — Stephen & Alex Kendrick
  • The Four Loves — C. S. Lewis
  • Letters to an American Lady — C. S. Lewis
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin — Harriet Beecher Stowe


  • The Torch of the Testimony — John W. Kennedy
  • Out of the Silent Planet — C. S. Lewis
  • Pride & Prejudice — Jane Austen
  • The Notebook — Nicholas Sparks
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church — Mark Dever
  • Dad's Pregnant Too — Harlan Cohen


  • Chi Running — Danny Dreyer
  • The Case For Christ — Lee Strobel
  • Mere Christianity — C. S. Lewis
  • Test–Driven Development By Example — Kent Beck


  • Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul — John Eldredge
  • Emma — Jane Austen
  • Lifetime Guarantee — Bill Gillham
  • Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
  • Julie — Catherine Marshall
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World — Joanna Weaver


  • The Names of God — Lester Sumrall
  • God Can Do It Without Me — Johannes Facius
  • Perelandra — C. S. Lewis


  • That Hideous Strength — C. S. Lewis
  • The Case For Faith — Lee Strobel
  • Release the Power of Prayer — George Müller
  • Houses That Change the World — Wolfgang Simson
  • Letters to the Thirsty — Edward Miller


  • Mormonism 101 — Bill McKeever & Eric Johnson
  • A Cry From the Streets — Jeanette Lukasse
  • Filled With The Spirit: Then What? — R. Mabel Francis


  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — Susanna Clarke
  • To Train Up a Child — Michael & Debi Pearl
  • Sense & Sensibility — Jane Austen
  • Persuasion — Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey — Jane Austen


  • The Vaccine Book — Robert W. Sears
  • Be Comforted — Warren Wiersbe
  • Mansfield Park — Jane Austen
  • Left To Tell — Immaculée Ilibagiza
  • Spiritual Leadership — J. Oswald Sanders


  • Standing in the Gap — Johannes Facius
  • God's Best Secrets — Andrew Murray
  • Grace Walk — Steve McVey
  • His Victorious Indwelling — ed. Nick Harrison
  • My Utmost for His Highest — Oswald Chambers

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Reading List

In conjunction with my 2007 reading list, here is my reading list for 2008. Note the months in which I did not finish any books. What a shame!

  • The Abolition of Man - C.S. Lewis
  • Profit at Any Cost? - Jerry Fleming
  • Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and the Revolution It Created - Jeffrey Zygmont
  • Programming Sudoku - Wei-Meng Lee
  • Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
  • Sacred Marriage - Gary Thomas
  • Animal Farm - George Orwell
  • The Weight of Glory - C.S. Lewis
  • The Pragmatic Programmer - Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
  • So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore? - Wayne Jacobsen,
    Dave Coleman
  • Do Hard Things - Alex & Brett Harris
  • Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
  • Be Free - Warren Wiersbe
  • God's Smuggler - Brother Andrew, John & Elizabeth Sherrill
  • Be Rich - Warren Wiersbe
  • Scrum and XP From the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg
  • Be Confident - Warren Wiersbe
  • Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability - Steve Krug
  • The Journals of Jim Elliot - Elisabeth Elliot
  • Derek Prince: A Biography - Stephen Mansfield

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2007 Reading List

I was thinking about back-dating this post to place it within the proper time context. However, doing so would have upset my numbering and my 100th post would no longer have been the 100th post. Of course, this point may be moot after I pull over some posts from old blog accounts.

Anyway, I alluded to keeping reading lists in a recent post. I present my reading list for 2007. 28 total. I was on a good roll up through April, but then something like planning for a wedding crept in there. Go figure right?

  • Death of a Guru - Rabi R. Maharaj
  • Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  • Sitting at the Feet of Jesus - Johannes Facius
  • The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman
  • Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper
  • Does Your Tongue Need Healing? - Derek Prince
  • Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
  • Mere Christianity - C. S. Lewis
  • The Giver - Lois Lowry
  • Be Right - Warren Wiersbe
  • Marriage Under Fire - James Dobson
  • God Can Do It Without Me - Johannes Facius
  • The Bridge - Jeri Massi
  • Believing God - Beth Moore
  • Crown and Jewel - Jeri Massi
  • In the Beginning Was the Command Line - Neal Stephenson
  • The Normal Christian Life - Watchman Nee
  • Lessons I Learned in the Dark - Jennifer Rothschild
  • The Great Divorce - C. S. Lewis
  • The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame - Victor Hugo
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold - C. S. Lewis
  • A Grief Observed - C. S. Lewis

BBC Book List

Among the memes going around Facebook, there is one that actually interests me. It is an all time reading list. I'm posting it here, because I have Facebook set up to automatically pull my blog posts. I've just copied the list and marked the ones I have read with strike-through.

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  34. Emma - Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

21 total, though by the end of this year, I hope to have read all of Jane Austen's novels and perhaps Oliver Twist and Moby Dick. Lofty goals to be sure.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Keeping Reading Lists

For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed reading. When I would finish one book, I would pick up another. I also consider myself to be fairly particular about organization. Which is why I was very surprised that I never thought to keep a list of things that I had read until I saw my brother-in-law's reading list a couple of years ago. I have now kept a reading list for two years.

It's interesting to look back over them. For example, in 2007, judging from the first half of the year, I was on track to read almost 50 books—but then my reading dropped. Something about a wedding that I was in ;-) The same thing happened last year. At the beginning of the year, I read at least 3 books a month and around April the reading dropped again. That was about the time I started regularly blogging.

This year the same beginning trend is occurring. There have been 5 full weeks and I have read 5 books. I'm on track to keep it going for at least the next 2 weeks. I make no predictions for the rest of the year however. I'll just see what life brings as the year goes on.

Edit: Added link to 2007 reading list (forward reference)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Changing Gears

It has been fun trying to keep a somewhat regular posting schedule. The past 8 months have challenged me to actually post when the thought occurred to me "that could be a blog post." I have enjoyed the writing exercise, the lone soapbox, and sharing happenings in my family (albeit small at the moment).

Lately, I have been tending towards things having to do with Amy and myself and away from politics and technology. As such, I think it a better use of our time if we had a joint blog. So we have one set up over here. I'll still keep this one up. I also may occasionally post something here that doesn't quite fit in with the joint blog, but I am ending a regular, predictable posting schedule with this post.

Feliz Navidad and Hasta luego.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 12 - Blue Heron

Like the Barnacle and Canadian geese, the Blue Heron is not a duck. Unlike the geese, however, it is not even similar in features—it stands upright in the water using long, thin legs rather than floating and it hunts for fish instead of digging for plants.

I am still including it in this series because it is one of my favorite residents of the Duke Gardens. To my knowledge, there is only one Blue Heron that visits the Duke Gardens and it seems to make its home in other areas as well. There were times when I would not see it (I say it, because I didn't know whether it was a male or female) for a few days at a time. It has a distinctive, yet eerie call that would always make me reach for my camera.

It took some time for me to get a good picture, because I would usually get too close and it would take to flight. Eventually, either it got used to my presence or I figured out the right distance to not invade. So, here are some pictures.

One of the first blurry attempts

Across the pond

A common resting spot

Fishing in the shallows

A little closer

Have to see the bridge

Stretched out

Major zoom

Bridge again

Focus on the heron

Different pond

Fishing at the terrace pond

So concludes the Duke "Ducks" series.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 11 - Canadian Goose

Today I am again bringing some pictures of non-ducks. Some of the most obnoxious waterfowl residents of the Duke Gardens are the flocks of Canadian Geese that come through during their biannual migrations. Thankfully they are only temporary residents as they are noisy, messy, and pushy. I liken them somewhat to stereotypical school bullies. If somebody happens to be handing out food, they manage to crowd out the regular residents (you know, the ones that are more permanent due to wing clipping) complete with chasing and biting other birds that get in the way.

Despite what may seem to be bitterness on my part, these birds make great subjects. Here are some pictures.

A very common expression that seems to imply "are you giving out food?"

This one looks to be tagged

A closeup of the tag

Monday, December 08, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 10 - Barnacle Goose

Well, today's entry is not quite a duck, but it's close enough. The barnacle goose is a bit smaller than its Canadian relative. The two that live (permanently—wings clipped) at the Duke Gardens seem to be much less aggressive also. They have a distinct call that carries pretty well, especially in the quiet of most mornings. Here are some pictures from a few different trips through the gardens.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 9 - Other Ducks

In reviewing my photos, it seems as if my interest waned in having multiple photo shoots of each species of duck that lives in the Duke Gardens. Thus, today I present a variety of ducks. This will be the last set of duck photos, though certainly not the last of the non-duck waterfowl photos.

While walking into the office one day, I came upon this male Philippine Duck that seemed to be begging for me to take his picture.

Not far away was the female with an equally fortunate pose.

Earlier this year, Amy and I happened upon the two of them taking an afternoon rest.

I believe that this is a Chestnut Teal, though I'm not sure. It is one of the smaller ducks and tends to get pushed out of the way when people are throwing bread.

This is a Rosy-billed Pochard—one of the more strangely adorned ducks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Duke Ducks: Part 8 - Northern Pintail

Here are some pictures of the pair of Northern Pintails that live at the Duke Gardens.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peruvian Food

One part of traveling is sightseeing, but another part is actually experiencing the culture. One of the best ways to experience the culture is to eat the food. While in Perú, I was determined to, as much as possible, eat only Peruvian food. We did pretty good until Cusco, where we ate the Peruvian interpretation of pizza (same idea, different ingredients), but we tried to avoid "typical American" food (whatever that is). In Lima, we fell completely off the bandwagon and went to KFC. We did see a McDonald's and a Starbucks, but we didn't go in.

Here are a few pictures of the various dishes that we ate.

Real Inca Kola

Huane (wahn - ay) — popular in the jungle

Papa a la Huancaina in a restaurant

Picarones (peek - ah - row - nays)


Trucha (trout)

Papa a la Huancaina (homemade recipe), Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken), and cebada (a sweet drink made from barley — but not fermented)

This post brings the Peru trip series to an end. There are links on the side bar if you would like to see more pictures. I still need to figure out how to get the video off of the camera. Once I do that, I'll start uploading some to Youtube and maybe posting them. Until then, Chao!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Peru Trip Timeline: Part 7 - Lima

When we finally got to Lima after waiting in Cusco for an extra 7 hours, we were greeted by our hostess, Gladys, and her daughter, Miriam. Gladys is the grandmother of one of Amy's former students whose family we have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few months. Our new arrival time put us in Lima right in the middle of rush hour. What is normally a 30 minute drive took us over an hour.

After we got to their home, we went out for dinner at KFC. I knew that McDonald's has a huge international market, but I did not expect KFC. The spices are the same, but you can tell that they use different chickens there, though it was just as good. It was late when we got back and we were tired from the long day, but then we found out that we were going to a show.

We went to see a show called a peña (pain-ya) that showcased indigenous Peruvian dance, music, and costumes. Between choreographed dances, they opened the floor to the audience. It was a lot of fun though we were very tired and I nodded off to sleep during the taxi ride home.

The next day, we went to a museum that housed some weapons from around the world and some pre-Columbian artifacts (though there has been some question recently as to the authenticity of the collection). After walking through the museum we headed towards the Plaza de Armas (of Lima). Traffic was pretty bad around the Plaza due to a major event that weekend so we stopped at the Plaza de San Martin and then walked to the Plaza de Armas. I've waited to post the entire timeline before doing a count, but we visited 6 different Plazas de Armas—Trujillo, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo, San Blas, and Lima. While in the plaza, we caught a bus tour of the city that eventually took us up to the summit of San Cristobal. The drive was around some precarious turns, but the view was well worth it.

When we got back to the house, we had a late lunch and then took a siesta nap (I like the siesta). We went out for a late dinner and then back home.

The next day, our last full day in Peru, we stayed at the house until after lunch. Amy learned how to cook some Peruvian recipes and I attempted to learn how to spin a top from an 8-year-old. After lunch, we went out with Miriam and her two sons, Jason and John-Pierre, to see some more of Lima. We went to a park and took out a couple of paddle boats. After that park, we went to another park that was full of water fountains with different designs and lights. We then went for another late dinner. We went back to the house to get packed up and into bed for the early morning flight back to the U.S.

All in all, the visit to Lima was good. It was a blessing to be able to stay with natives. We could not have asked for a more generous and gracious family to spend our time with.

The next morning, we were up at 3 so we could get to the airport by 4 for our flight at 6. We had just enough time in the duty-free area to get some Peruvian coffee beans before getting on the flight to Miami. There was plenty of time in Miami to get through Customs and security and then get some lunch. We arrived in Raleigh at the new Terminal 2, despite departing from Terminal C. There was some standard opening day glitches with the jet bridge and baggage carousel, but we soon were greeted by my parents who had come to pick us up.

We had a lot of fun. It was an enlightening trip for me—seeing another country should be an enlightening experience. Despite the two weeks, Amy and I both determined that it wasn't long enough to truly get to know it. I'm glad that I got to visit, but I would definitely like to get to know Peru better.

Disclaimer: While in Peru, Amy and I managed to take around 2250 photos, much less than our preparations, but still over 6GB worth. The pictures that we post online are, understandably, a small subset. The ones about which we blog are an even smaller subset. If you want to see more pictures, there are a couple of links on the side-bar. I will be uploading over the span of a few days and blogging could take a couple of weeks.