Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

My reading style

June 18, 2012

I thought I’d take some time and tell you about my ‘reading style’. Generally I like to read the following genres: fantasy, science-fiction, fiction, literature, non-fiction, horror, thriller, other (not necessarily in that order, though the first three are my favourites). The genre that I have the most books of, is fantasy. I have quite a lot fiction books too. I have some science-fiction books (sci-fi as I call it), some literary books, a few non-fiction books, a few more thrillers and a few horror books.

The past while the way I read books is generally that I read one that is one genre, then read a book of another genre, and so on. What I mostly read is fiction, with some sci-fi or fantasy in between. Because fantasy books are often part of a series, I don’t read them as often anymore either (also felt less like it). I don’t want to read too many series at once, because that gets confusing. So I’m in ‘the middle’ of a few series, but don’t want to start any new ones yet until I’ve read more of other ones. I haven’t read that much of my non-fiction books yet (I only have a few, though), nor of my literature books (that might change soon though). I rarely read any thrillers and horror anymore, it just doesn’t pull me as much (and I don’t have that many books of it). What also counts is that most of the thrillers I have are translated into Dutch and I rarely read any Dutch books anymore. In fact it has been a while since I’ve read a Dutch book. That might sound strange for a Dutch person, but I prefer to read books in English if they are originally English. An other thing that is somewhat important, is that some books I have are quite heavy or an omnibus or combined books (thus making them extra big or heavy), this is not handy for when I travel so I tend to read lighter paperbacks.

When I was a child, I used to go to the library, first with my family, eventually on my own. We even had to go to two different libraries to have enough books for me to read! I’ve read quite a lot of the children’s books they had at those libraries. I also read information books as I call them, about lots of different subjects. These days I don’t go to the library anymore (they haven’t got that many English books, and I’ve read quite a few books at the library), these days I prefer to buy the books I find interesting and keep them. Very rarely I don’t like the book I bought, most of the time I like it a lot. I don’t read a lot of information books anymore. There is of course the books for my study (chemistry, physics, maths books), and other than that I do have a general knowledge of most topic (at least those that interest me), specifically because I read a lot in the past. But these days it’s hard to find a book that’s exactly on my level, because I know so much it’s difficult to find one that I can understand easily (shouldn’t be too difficult) and that contains new information (it shouldn’t be too easy). Also it costs energy to learn new things, and I’m usually too tired for that, my study is enough.

Hopefully in a while I will (have) read more of the genres that I don’t read much of these days, because I do love to read! (except maybe thrillers, really not that into them any more, strange isn’t it). In a next post I will tell you about some of my favourite books and authors!

Book sites

June 13, 2012

It was not until a while ago, that I decided to really do something with book sites. Let me explain. These sites (links below) allow you to input your books, rate them and (in some cases) come up with recommendations of other books they think you’d like to read. I keep a book database on the computer, have been doing that for longer than I’ve been a member of these sites, and that will still be my primary database.

The problem with these sites (yes I start with the one bad thing XD) is that while they have a lot of books, I have some books from Dutch authors and they are not on these international sites. While this is not a big deal for me, my primary database will remain on the computer. I also have some books translated into Dutch but originally from English authors (and French, Swedish, German, etc.) and do not always recognise the English title. Sometimes it’s literally translated and thus easy to find, other times it is completely different and it would require me opening the book to find out. A few of those books are still in plastic though (I know! terrible XD), and until I read them I think it’s easier to keep them closed and wrapped in the plastic. These days if a book is from an English (or American) author, I definately buy the book in English. I’ve hardly read any Dutch books the past few years.

Now for all the positives of these book sites (I’ll talk about each individual site below), it’s quite easy to search for a book and put it in your local library (or shelf as some sites call it). It’s easy to give them tags, so you can sort them ie. based on genre (that’s what I did). It’s lovely to see all the covers next to each other (well, you may have to press ‘next’ depending on your amount of books etc.). You can have friends and see what your friends read and what books they have. Putting all my books into these sites (and it’s actually handy that some of them allow you to import from another one) was actually a lot of fun and made me want to read more books! I have quite a few books, you see, that I haven’t read yet (and also some that I’d like to reread etc.). The amount of books I have with each site, is different because some sites don’t have the exact edition I have, this is most notably with omnibus or combined books. So instead I sometimes filled them in seperately. There are probably a few books I missed, too, on some sites. I did check after I did the import but I probably missed some things.

The individual sites, broken down and my opinion about them:

GoodReads
GoodReads I found a bit less handy to use at first, but it’s growing on me. Most people use this site (and LibraryThing, more below) instead of the other ones. Your reading progress is tracked and you can, I think, enter challenges, such as read x amount of books per year. GoodReads seems to have a relatively big database of books, with lots of editions and covers. It seems to have a good recommendations system. You can rate books, write reviews and fill in when you finished reading a book. You can set how many pages you’ve read of a book, with a neat little bar (at least, I’ve seen this on other people’s profiles. I haven’t tried to do this myself), a feature the other sites don’t have to my knowledge. You can export a list of your books to be imported at other sites. The site allows you to view books in a database like manner (including sorting options) as well as viewing them with their covers.

Shelfari
I find Shelfari the handiest to use (though GoodReads is growing on me rapidly), it’s very easy to add books, tag books, rate books etc. Shelfari are owned by Amazon these days so you can import your purchases from there straight away if you wish this. I still have an old account there, my Amazon account and legacy Shelfari account are not linked. You can rate books, write reviews and you can fill in the date when you finished reading a book (or what you are currently reading) and your reading progress is tracked. They are still working on the recommendations so I haven’t seen them much yet. Maybe if you have an Amazon account you do see recommendations, I do see recommendations on Amazon when I’m logged in there. You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file. The site doesn’t allow you to view the books in a more database manner like GoodReads does, but it does give you a shelf with your (beautiful) book covers. Most of the time there is a cover from the edition I have. You can also upload a picture/photo of the cover you have.

BookLikes
BookLikes is, I believe, originally from Poland and its team is not as big as the other sites’ teams. This shows in the sense that the site has a lot of duplicate books (and sometimes duplicate authors too). Gladly you can report any wrong information in an easy manner. Still, it might annoy some people. I have to admire their book database considering their team seems to be the smallest. They have most of my books, the ones they don’t have are combined books and omnibus books, sometimes. This is not too much of a deal as I can often add the books individually so it doesn’t bother me too much (it can be handy in fact). The site displays your books in a shelf like manner, with covers. You can unfortunately not choose between different covers so you’re stuck with the one that they chose or is the most popular (I have no idea how the cover is chosen). You can rate your books, but unlike the other sites you cannot say when you finished reading something, so your reading progress is not tracked (you can say which book(s) you are currently reading). You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file, which makes it easier to start your database. Their logo is a cute owl, which doesn’t add anything maybe, but I think it’s very nice. The site also shows recommendations. This site has the smallest community of the ones I’ve looked into. Still, since I’m such a bookworm and all, it can’t hurt to have more options to make friends and find new books.

LibraryThing
LibraryThing is used by a lot of people, its downside is that if you want to enter more than 200 books, you have to pay a one-time fee. While it’s not that much or anything, to me LibraryThing doesn’t offer enough extras compared to the free sites, that I’d want to pay this fee. If I didn’t have my own book database and lived in the US, perhaps I’d think about it. LibraryThing allows you to buy a scanner, and then scan the barcode of your books to be entered on the site. This is an easy way to add your books, but since I don’t live in the US buying such a scanner is a lot more of a hassle (or so I think, I haven’t looked into it to be honest! I’m happy with my database and the free sites). I think the site has the biggest book database out of all of them, and your books can be neatly sorted in a database like manner or with covers. I can’t say much about recommendations because I’ve only entered a few books on the site.

There is also Anobii, I have an account there but I don’t use it at the moment. I just noticed they have an app that also allows for barcode scanning, I don’t have a smartphone though. I can’t say that much about this site as I haven’t looked at it since I signed up for it, two years ago or something? It displays most text in Dutch for me at the moment and when I try to change language to English (as I prefer that) nothing happens, maybe you need to be logged in for that to work. So I can’t really comment much on this site as I haven’t really looked into it.

Anyway, those are some thoughts on these book sites (I’m sure there are others), all in all I think it’s a great idea and I love using them (I use Goodreads, Shelfari and BookLikes on a regular basis at the moment).

Summarising post of the past few months

June 11, 2012

Wow, and again I wait a few months until I post here again! It’s terrible of me. Not that there are a lot of people who read this, to my knowledge (and pretty much all of those learn how I’m doing, elsewhere). So. I’m working on my master thesis and recently it has become clear that we’ll aim for the graduation of May/June 2013. We have also agreed on the work I will do and won’t do. It’s going relatively well I would say. There are still ups and downs, sometimes I run into problems, sometimes they’re easy to fix. I guess it’s all part of research. I’m currently working on the binary system, that is to say, a system with 2/3rds big spheres and 1/3rd tetramers (four spheres attached to each other). Here’s an image of a random, initial configuration.

Binary system initial random configuration

However it turned out that particles get stuck because the volume shrinks too rapidly compared to the particle movements and rotations. The single hard spheres did not get stuck, but these tetramers have a more awkward shape. So there were two options now, and I’m exploring both. First is to let the volume change less rapidly. This does mean that in order to get the same results, I will need to simulate longer. The second option is to let the particles start in the structure that we’re interested in (for the binary system that is the MgCu2 structure) and then see if/when it melts. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment. I will also need to recode the single hard spheres and the sole tetramer system to start in certain structures (fcc). Below an image of what the MgCu2 structure looks like.

A snapshot of the MgCu2 structure

I have more images but I don’t want to crowd this post with too many of them, so more of that later (if I remember XD). My project is going well I would say, so that’s nice.

Other than university, what am I up to? Well, I watch some tv now and then and I play a game now and then. I can’t do either of these things too often. I also read books, read quite a few of those since I last posted here. I should write some reviews or something!

I’ve played a little bit of Mass Effect 3 since I last posted here in February, I’ve played some Defender’s Quest and some Magical Diary. So not a lot really compared to the time frame, but that’s okay. Those last two I’ve only played in the past few weeks (Magical Diary has only been out for a bit and I didn’t know Defender’s Quest much before then) since I bought them, but Mass Effect 3 I’ve had since around launch day. All three of them, so far, are great games and I thoroughly enjoy my time with them.

Book wise, I have signed up for GoodReads, Shelfari and BookLikes. Maybe some day later I’ll post links to my profile(s).

Well, that’s enough of a summarising post I’d say. It’s probably best to talk about specific things in specific posts, I think, otherwise things get a bit cluttered.

My blog!

October 3, 2011

Wow, didn’t think I had made that many blog posts, I thought I’d made just a few. I recently remembered I had this place and figured it was worth another look. I guess I felt like writing, as well. I’ve started on my master research and am stressed from time to time. I guess this leads me into wanting to write more, because it can help make me feel better. Looking back, rereading some of my old posts, made me think it’s a shame I don’t write more. Maybe I should write more. It’d be good for improving skill and practising.

So, I’ll tell you about uni now. For just over four weeks I’ve begun on my master research. At the end of it I will have to write a master thesis. I also have to give three presentations, one near the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end of the project. At the end (hopefully) I’ll have my diploma! (which is what I’m mostly doing it for).

I work at home monday-thursday in the mornings, for about four hours. On friday I go to the university. There is a work meeting I have to attend in the morning. I spend the rest of the morning working there. In the afternoon there is a colloqium I sometimes have to go to – depending on the subject of the lecture. So far I haven’t been to one yet, the subjects didn’t seem relevant to my own subject (more on that in a bit) and to be honest I have been too tired also. I’m only going to uni one day a week but after friday I feel pretty tired. Stress doesn’t help of course. In the weekend I have off and I use the weekend to recover from friday.

I do programming and perform Monte Carlo simulations. Currently of hard spheres, which at the moment I’m extending to be two spheres attached to each other. Later on I will have to make a tetrahedron unit. The spheres represent colloidal particles. A colloid is a particle of certain (small) dimensions, but not as small as nanoparticles. This is how I was taught it, looking it up on wikipedia yields something slightly different for some reasons (I have a book that says otherwise :P). With the tetrahedric unit I hope to find the MgCu2 (I think?) crystal phase.

Especially the programming part is (so far at least, but I don’t expect it to change anytime soon) something I don’t enjoy. It gives me a lot of stress and frustration (when things don’t work out). When things do work out, there is something akin to euphoria (though not always as strong). Apparently it’s part of doing research, these ups and downs. Unfortunately this is not easy for me to deal with, especially the ‘downs’, the frustrations (obviously). I kinda wish I’d known more beforehand, though not sure what I would’ve done with the information. At least though I’d have known and been more prepared for it.

I get stressed frequently, especially when things aren’t working the way I want them to. Sometimes even in the weekends I feel stressed, while I should be relaxed instead. In the afternoons during the week (when I work at home), I  can be distracted and while I’m distracted I don’t feel much stress. When the distraction is over though, I usually get stressed again. I’m not sure how to improve this, how to be less stressed. Gladly though I can talk about it, which helps a bit. I’m also sure I’ll be less stressed when my boyfriend is here.

On a whole other note: I used to write here about video games but for the past while I don’t play many video games anymore. I do read about them but I don’t play them that much anymore. They just cost too much energy, especially now that I’ve begun with my research. I find it a real shame, I still have loads of possibly awesome games to play but I’m afraid I’ll not have the energy to really play a lot of games. I also have to admit that I get frustrated, perhaps more easily these days (though I’m not sure) and thus I can’t play games that are in any way difficult. Or rather, I can try but will end up not finishing the game. I have a lot of unfinished games really, though if you look on the internet I’m not the only one. (oh, BTW I did finish Dragon Age: Origins (awesome game) and Mass Effect 2 as well (great game also).

Instead, I read a lot. Reading doesn’t cost as much energy and I do love to read. I have a lot of books and can read quite fast.

Anyway, it’d be nice to post here more often, let’s see how it goes!

I finished the Last Remnant & read some more books

December 8, 2009

I typed a post but for some reason it was gone when I tried to add tags :(. Not sure if I want to write it again so I’ll just give a shorter summary. A bit tired at the moment you see.

I’ve finished The Last Remnant. Last time I wrote about it, I was already pretty close to finishing the game. It’s nice to have finished it, I can’t say anything about the ending though in case of spoilers (although I haven’t actually told anyone about this website yet or linked to it anywhere – yet. Content is key.).

I’ve also read a few more books – pretty good ones usually :). I’m reading more (romance) novels the past year or so (or half year?) than before. I guess I never really came across any good ones before (there are only specific ones I wish to read, really. Certain things I don’t want to read about. Quite frankly I do think in general books are better in their original language, as well, compared to the translation. Anyway). I used to read a lot of fantasy books (the past five-ten years), still do from time to time (still a lot to read). I’m also into sci-fi more the past year (or year and a half, maybe). I suppose me watching a sci-fi television series helps there, it made me realise sci-fi could be a fun genre to read. I also have some famous literature but I haven’t read most of them yet. Anyway, especially in regards to the romance novels (which I’ve read more of), it feels good to broaden my horizon in that sense. I really like watching (romantic) comedies (films), but some time ago it occured to me I’d not actually come across many good romantic books or novels. I’ve liked reading fantasy books for a long time. I read a lot of books at the library when I was a kid, most of those would be called novels I guess. Most weren’t about love but about things in life, school, family. When I got older most of the books I read were fantasy books, I kinda lost track of that part of me that likes to read novels, stories, romance, deep life things, family stuff. It feels good to be in touch with that part as well. I watch romantic comedies so I had it through there but it feels good to read it in books as well. I love to read and this only adds to it.

To be honest I’ve been reading more the past while than the while before that. I don’t know when exactly though (I know, it seems like a silly sentence). But I’m kinda glad to be reading more, it’s very nice to read a good story, with plot twists. A good story can be moving, surprising and can also make you think sometimes.