About Video Creation

I did it!  I finally did it.  Last night I watched a video from Peter Likes Books.  In the video, Peter convinced me to just jump in.  The video is shaky and you can see me glancing at my notes.  It is also heavily edited which I know will come across as you watch it.  I have a tripod and a good DLSR that does video, but I didn’t use it.  On the next video, I will try to use that setup, especially if I will just be standing there talking to the camera.

For this video, I used an iPhone 7 Plus.  It’s shaky because I’m holding it myself the whole time.  While I do have a Kindle Oasis unboxing out there on youtube, it is not on my Jason Reads channel, which I did research to figure out how to start today.  Recording the video only took about 5 minutes.  I did write up some notes before I started.  This may have backfired as I kept looking down at them.  It probably took me about 30 minutes to edit the video.

If you have tips for me to implement for my next video please leave them in the comments below.  I will for sure be using a tripod if the next video permits.  That should help a lot.  If you liked the video please subscribe and give it a thumbs up!

Here is Peter’s video which convinced me to just do it!  Thanks, Peter!  You’ve got a new subscriber!

Rating Books on Goodreads

Rating Books on Goodreads
Rating Books on Goodreads

Cecilia Lyra published an interesting article on Book Riot yesterday.  Many of you may have read it since it is making the rounds in book circles.  The article, The Perilous Process of Rating Books on Goodreads, talks about the difficulties of rating books that you don’t finish.  Are you allowed?  What does the rest of the Goodreads community have to say about this?  She doesn’t rate all the books that she reads.

I mark the books that I did not enjoy as Read without rating them

I take issue with this.  This is the exact reason that goodreads exist, to rate books.  If you don’t like it and you belong to the community you should rate it.  But what about books that you really didn’t like.  I mean so much that you didn’t even finish it.  You didn’t read the whole thing so, should you rate it?

A book is meant to be judged in its entirety. It isn’t fair to read part of it and give it one star (or five). An argument can be easily made that it is a disservice to the Goodreads community to have overall ratings be compromised by readers who only partially read a given book. What if the book has a very satisfying ending?

So says “Charlie” a member of Cecilia’s book club when posed the question above.  I can see where Charlie is coming from, but I would argue that if the book is so bad in the beginning that you just can’t bring yourself to finish it, then that is deserving of a rating.  If I already know that this book has put a bad taste in my mouth after only say 50 pages, then why should I have to suffer through the rest.  It’s going to put me off reading for a while.  I’ll be afraid to pick up another bomb like that book.

We already know we didn’t like it: after all, we did give up on it. Besides, Goodreads may be an online community, but it provides its users with customized recommendations. And when we give a book a one-star rating, we are sending the Goodreads algorithm a clear message: this book was awful. Brutal, but also useful.

I agree with “Jenny” who says the above, she is also in Cecilia’s book club.  Plus as Cecilia mentions in the full posting, then I won’t get other books like this recommended to me.

Abandoned Books
Abandoned Books

I don’t give up on many books, but it does happen.  My solution for this is to create a custom bookshelf called “abandoned”.  This is my compromise.  I get to rank a book I could not finish, but I will let you know that I didn’t complete the book by putting it on this shelf.  This shelf is the worst of the worst.  Marked read, given 1 star and put on the abandon self.  Done and done.

Do you rate the books you don’t finish?  Let me know below in the comments.

War and Peace | App Recommendation

Serial Reader App
Serial Reader App

I’ve started to use this app called serial reader to help me tackle the very large War and Peace.  So far it is helping a lot.  It has broken up the tome into 235 segments.  Each segment is about 10 to 15 minutes in reading time.  If I can stick with it, I will be done with the book in less than a year at this rate.  I’m currently around 62 segments read.  That means that I am about 27% complete with the tome.

This new way of attacking the book seems to be working for me and I’m looking forward to checking it off my list and moving onto the next large tome.

Will Read for Food

In and Out Reading Program
In and Out Reading Program

Reading programs are fun for everyone.  And even though mom and dad are vegetarians we still love that the kiddos are reading on their winter break, so we are just fine with getting them some free burgers to enjoy.  And even vegetarians can enjoy their french fries!

This is one more reason I love our local libraries.  It is also very frustrating to see how little they are utilized.  There are many, many reasons to go to the library, and yes free stuff is one of those reasons.  During the summer there is a reading program that the kids get gifts.  Don’t have kids?  That’s fine there are adult reading programs too.  I won a grill this summer doing a summer reading program.  On a previous summer, I won two free bags of Trader Joe’s groceries.

We usually go to the library every weekend.  Sometimes a bit less when we are really busy or the kids have gotten some books from relatives (Always a good gift).  Emily who is 4 enjoys reading anything that is related to what she is watching on tv.  Samantha who is 9 likes to read the Who is…  and What is… non-fiction books from her school library.

I look forward to each summer because that is when I get the majority of my reading done.  I look for short books that I have an interest in.  There are a lot!  Using this method I’m able to read a lot and get lots of entries into the sweepstakes that the libraries usually do for the adult reading programs.

More on the RV Obsession


A strange thing happened yesterday when I was updating my book list using Goodreads.  All the books I had read since February were not listed.  I was missing a bunch.  Among them some of the key reasons I may be obsessed with RVing right now…Travels with Charley.  We listened to this on a recent trip up the coast.  For those of you not familiar it’s a non-fiction work where Steinbeck travels across the US in a ….wait for it….RV!  He called his RV Rocinante after the horse in Don Quixote.

Rocinante Inside
Rocinante Inside

We also visited his museum in Salinas.  On that trip, we also stopped at an Autocamp, where you can stay in an airstream overnight.  That was a blast, but I didn’t care for the shower.


So again, more reviews yet to come, but I thought I would mention this little thing in a follow-up post.  Happy Thanksgiving all!

Catching Up

Library of Souls
Library of Souls

I’ve fallen very far behind on my posting to this blog.  I added six books to my reading list just now, which covers the last 5 months.  They are:

Many of the books listed above I read because I was at least slightly interested and I was participating in the adult summer reading program at my local library.  The last book on this list is the exception.  I read that just because I loved the first two books.  It took me a while to get to this last book because there are so many other books I also want to read.  I’m happy to have finally read it and I will update you all with a review soon I hope.

Now that it is Thanksgiving break I finally have some time to sit down and do some work in my office that’s not related to my day job.  I got some other things done as well.  I scan all the girl’s artwork that they give me.  I know we can’t keep it all, but I can scan it and store it on the Network Attached Storage (NAS) device we have.  I also have all our movies and tv shows stored on it.  I scan everything in using my trusty Canon scanner.  Thankfully, they keep their driver page updated, even for those of us that adopted macOS High Sierra early.

I’ve also been watching some more TV recently as well.  I started by diving into Star Trek DS9.  It is the only series that I haven’t watched all the way through.  I’m making my way through that on Netflix.  In addition, I’ve also gotten addicted to Stranger Things.  I’m early in the second season so no spoilers, please.  When I’m not watching those I’ve been making time to learn about class b RVs on youtube and got addicted to the We Are The Russos.

I’m not a camper, so I have not idea why I’m so into the idea of these RV things.  No idea where it all came from, but I’ve always been into the tiny homes stuff.  I think it is amazing the way that people find a way to make it with so little.  I have so much and the idea of paring down has always appealed to me.  When I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I really did get rid of a lot, but it really wasn’t enough.  We have a two-thousand square foot home and it is full!

Speaking of youtube. I think it would be a good idea to try that here.  I’m not one to sit down and record a video, but I think it would help drive traffic to the site and I know lots of times I want to watch a video of something instead of reading a bunch of text.  Sounds strange on a book blog site, doesn’t it?  I think some more about that one.  Lots of things to consider.

Lots of other things are also going on.  Work has gotten a lot busier and I started taking my weight loss a lot more seriously.  I watched Vegucated on Netflix and a few other vegetarian and vegan documentaries as well as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2.  All these films together pushed me over the edge to go vegan.  I’m what you would call a lazy vegan.  I find my self-making exceptions to the dairy rule.  For example, I can not give up pizza so my give and take on that is ordering only vegetarian pizza.  It’s not vegan, but at least it is vegetarian.  I haven’t had meat in about four months.

I have been also going to the gym on average 5-6 days a week.  Pretty much every day.  I got a new Apple Watch and I’ve been trying to close all the rings every day.  Most days I make it and with giving up meat, it has been pretty easy to lose a lot of weight.  I’m down about 18 pounds from September.  I use my Aria, a Fitbit scale, to track my weight every day.  They have the 2nd version of it available now.  I was thinking of getting it because mine doesn’t always sync right.  I’ve had problems with it since the beginning.

I think that is pretty good for now.  Hopefully, more coming very soon.

Reading as a Punishment

Reading by Quinn Dombrowski

On February 8th the New York Times published Teenagers Who Vandalized Historic Black Schoolhouse Are Ordered to Read Books.  The article describes a crime, where 4 young boys, vandalized a historic black schoolhouse.  The judge of the case handed down a strange ruling.  The boys had to read.  For someone like me, this would not have been a punishment, but I also didn’t go around vandalizing anything.

USA Today article on the schoolhouse.

Pictures and more from Patch.com

Now, I don’t know if this will work.  If those kids see this as a punishment then maybe not, but if they take it as a learning opportunity then maybe so.  I’m not sure how enlightened kids that would do this kind of thing are, there is also their age to consider.

I did think that the list of books they were ordered to read was actually pretty well thought out.  It wasn’t just, we are going to give you a bunch of books to read as a pure punishment.  They thought about the books hoping to give the kids a little background and maybe teach them an understanding that they didn’t have and they weren’t learning from their parents or school.

For those of you interested (like me) here is the list:

The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Native Son,” Richard Wright
Exodus,” Leon Uris
Mila 18,” Leon Uris
Trinity,” Leon Uris
My Name Is Asher Lev,” Chaim Potok
The Chosen,” Chaim Potok
The Sun Also Rises,” Ernest Hemingway
Night,” Elie Wiesel
The Crucible,” Arthur Miller
The Kite Runner,” Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns,” Khaled Hosseini
Things Fall Apart,” Chinua Achebe
The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood
To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot
Caleb’s Crossing,” Geraldine Brooks
Tortilla Curtain,” T.C. Boyle
The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison
A Hope in the Unseen,” Ron Suskind
Down These Mean Streets,” Piri Thomas
Black Boy,” Richard Wright
The Beautiful Struggle,” Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Banality of Evil,” Hannah Arendt
The Underground Railroad,” Colson Whitehead
Reading Lolita in Tehran,” Azar Nafisi
The Rape of Nanking,” Iris Chang
Infidel,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Orphan Master’s Son,” Adam Johnson
The Help,” Kathryn Stockett
Cry the Beloved Country,” Alan Paton
Too Late the Phalarope,” Alan Paton
A Dry White Season,” André Brink
Ghost Soldiers,” Hampton Sides

How to Read More

Reading by Vladimir Pustovit

Lots of people have new year’s resolutions to read more each year.  While I didn’t make my goal of 100 books in 2016, I still think 66 is not too bad.  If you think that is a lot keep reading and I’ll tell you how I did it.

This is how I read 66 books last year with two kids to watch and taking 3 online courses, not to mention a regular job every day that regularly required more than 40 hours a week.  The biggest secret to my success is probably audio books.  I listened to 3.7 days of audio last year.  14% of all books I read (consumed) were audio.  Listening to books is easy to do.  Sometimes I can do it at work on a break or when I’m doing something boring and reparative.  A long commute is a godsend to consuming lots of books.  I also listen in the gym and when I go on short walking breaks during the day.  Another big part of listening to books is not to buy them, at least not physically.  I download all the books I read from Overdrive, a company that sells audio downloads to public libraries so the patrons can download and listens to books free.  That’s right, free.  Download to your smartphone and listen as much as you want for free.

Reading Kindle at Old Street Tube
Reading Kindle at Old Street Tube by Annie Mole

Buy a Kindle.  It will pay for itself in no time!  I have the new oasis.  Whenever I’m heading out somewhere that I will have to wait or think I may get bored, I grab my Kindle.  I read every night in my daughter’s room.  She likes it if I lay on her floor while she falls asleep, so I need a quiet activity to keep myself awake.  I read.  Usually for a good 20 minutes before she nods off.

Lastly, use your local libraries.  That’s right plural.  You probably have a bunch within about 15 miles from where you live.  Use all of them.  Librarians are there to help and they do a great job!  You can usually find what you want, but sometimes you have to get in sent from another branch, its worth the hold fee, some don’t even have a hold fee!  Try to plan a weekly trip to the library to keep some books in stock and ready to read.  Better yet visit a used book store and buy some books to have ready for to read, that way you don’t have to worry about returning them before the borrowing period is over.

Good luck and let me know how you are doing.

Meet the 4 year-old that has read more books than you

This little girls is now reading college level texts and her mother reached out to the library of congress to help her find new books.  When they heard about her they asked her to come spend the day.  What a nice story.  Read the whole ting from the Washington Post.

2016 Wrap-Up

Books of 2016 Infographic
Books of 2016 Infographic

Time for my yearly post about all the books I read in 2016.  I did not meet my goal of reading 100 books last year.  I didn’t even come close.  I only read 66 as you can see in the above image.  Work got busy and I also enrolled and completed two certificate classes in data science from University California, Irvine.

What you won’t see in the infographic below is that I borrowed 43 books from my local library.  If I had bought them on Amazon, I would have paid $561.30.  That savings is worth your free library card, and a bunch of hold fees!

My local libraries saved me $561.30 in 2016!