My Books page has been redesigned. Now, most of the books (or ways to browse the books) are hidden behind their own links (or "sub-pages"). This makes the page look a little small, but of course, all the real content is still there. I realize this might make browsing the books a little more cumbersome, but the page is not done yet; I just wanted to push the current (working) iteration out the door, giving myself more incentive to work on the new features, faster!
- Search bar with accompanying drop-down menu to specify where to search (title, author, category, etc.)
- A separate advanced search page (my hope is to make this a very sleek direct interface with the database itself)
- Lists of various custom "book shelves" (for lack of a better word)
My web site has definitely taken a back seat in my life lately, with school work and family life taking up the majority of my waking hours, although I never forget about it. I want to keep updating it and working on it for as long as I'm capable, and I'm kind of proud that I've had it running since 2003, more or less in its current state (modulo some culling of pages and rewrites of the back end). It's amazing to think that next year it'll be 20 years old!
I added a new section to the Books page, Universes and Series, where I split all the series into those that are associated with a universe, and those that aren't. I tried my best to do this correctly, using The Internet Speculative Fiction Database and various wikis for reference. Hopefully this makes everything a little more neat and structured. I also hid the list of authors, publishers, and books behind their own links, since the Books page itself became extremely long now that all the books are viewable.
I have made further changes to the Books page, most notably that all books are now viewable. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time this past year putting my entire library of books into the database (well, mostly all of my books), and I thought that it should be visible for all. When viewing multiple books, there's now an indication of whether or not I've read that particular book at the bottom of each book item. (See, for instance, the Space opera category.)
I've also added the name of the cover artist for a particular book, where I could find it. I did this mostly for the sake of the science fiction and fantasy books; they often have fantastic cover art, and I want to credit the artists!
I've read the first three books in the Dune series: Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune. Three books in 2021. Perhaps I'll finish the three last books during 2022, heh!
Life is going well for me, although it's hectic. I've only got a year and a half left of university. I'm still very motivated, and next semester I have three (count them, three) math courses: Algebra, Geometry, and Analytical Functions. I'm very much looking forward to those!
My family is doing well, and my son is a year and a half old now. He doesn't yet speak, but he knows a few words and he uses hand gestures a lot to communicate. It's wonderful to witness his progress!
It's amazing to me that this is the only news post in all of 2021, and right at the tail end of the year, at that! Oy vey...
Behold! The new Books page in its full glory! What's new:
- When viewing multiple books, you get a sleek overview of the title, front cover (if any) and the series the book is in (if any). For a demonstration of this, see e.g. the Fantasy category or the Space Odyssey series.
- When viewing a single book, you no longer get a big, ugly table; you get a slightly-less-ugly list (of sorts) with the information about a book sorted more neatly. I also decided to remove the links to various book stores from the ISBN field. For a demonstration of this, see 12 Rules for Life (my latest read).
Being a full-time father and a full-time student, I'm quickly learning to use my spare time efficiently.
There was a serious dearth of updates on my web site from 2014 to 2018, and during that time I did read a lot of books, but I mostly didn't bother to write up a synopsis or a review. I added those books to the database in addition to keeping track of them, so here, organized according to theme, are lists of books I've read from 2014 to 2018, with links:
With that backlog of stuff no longer hanging over me, onward!
I made a bunch of (mostly trivial) quality-of-life improvements to the design of my web site, mostly for visitors on mobile phones.
I also went through every single page, making them conform to the latest specifications of HTML and CSS (which mostly involved finding alternatives to obsolete elements, and fixing small syntax errors). Therefore, the Colophon page no longer lies when it claims that my web site conforms to these standards.
During this sort of janitorial work, I've discovered how much of the content on my site is old! I want to work on having more up-to-date content on my web site (i.e. content that more faithfully reflects my current interests and obsessions), and I don't want to cull too much old stuff, either, which means I have to expand.
I spent some time doing janitorial work on the Links page, mostly culling links, but also adding some. I culled...
- from Games section: 3D Logic, Gridlock, Shyguy's Cave of Death, and TrackMania Nations
- entire Gaming encyclopedias section
- from People section: Jean-François Im, Jeff Dee
- from Science section: Ebon Musings
- entire Collection sites section (which only consisted of Galbadia Hotel)
- from deviantART section: PolishPanties
- entire Four-days-a-week schedule web comic section (which only consisted of Drawing Board)
- from Haphazard web comic secion: Miscellanea and Nearing Zero
- from Frozen web comic secion: Concerned and Decorum
In addition, I renamed the link to Massimo Pigliucci's web site Rationally Speaking Podcast, and moved it to the Podcasts section, and renamed the Books section the Literature section, into which I put The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (which I use when researching books for my Books page) and The Pulp Magazines Project (which I mainly use for reading old science fiction).
I have a huge backlog of books to review and add to the database, but I can at least mention the latest book I read, Ralph 124C 41+. (More coming very soon!)
My son was born exactly six weeks ago, on the 27th of July, six days after the last update, on the 21st of July, and I've been pretty busy since then. He's pure joy, he doesn't cry a lot, and he only wakes us up once or twice each night, which I'm told is pretty rare. I count myself lucky on that score!
Jovana is doing ok, but she's a bit tired, being the one who has to feed him. I try my best to help her, and it seems we have fallen into a routine now. (The first week was chaos, but not in a bad way!)
If you frequent my web site, you may notice that I've re-styled it a bit. It's not a lot, but it's a little bit more stream-lined now, I think. And a little more mobile- and tablet-friendly.
With an update schedule of twice per year (i.e. inbetween semesters), I can only improve!
This semester has been somewhat tumultuous for me — as it has been for all of us, with Covid-19 raging — but at least I've gotten the hang of various digital meeting solutions! And for the last few months Norway has been partly opening up again, so things are slowly going back to normal here.
A few things have been happening in my life. My fiancé Jovana is pregnant! This actually happened almost nine months ago; the due date is 31st of July! (In other words, very soon.) I'm very happy, and a little nervous about it, but for the most part I think we're ready for it. I want to mention this here on my personal web site, but I don't want to post a lot of pictures of The Little One here, and this is something Jovana and I have talked about and are in agreement on. This also means that we won't be posting pictures and videos on Instagram, Facebook, and the like. We want this to be something he (it's a boy, by the way) should be able to decide for himself once he's old enough.
I also got a summer job at my university, which has just ended and lasted four weeks, and was tons of fun! It's an intensive course in mathematics and physics which lasts six weeks (four weeks of mathematics and two weeks of physics) for people who want to enter an engineering course at the university, but don't have high school-equivalent passing grades. Two other students and I were hired to teach these courses. I taught most of the mathematics part, and nothing of the physics part (due to Jovana's due date). It has been a wonderful experience for me, and I've learned a lot from it (from using Beamer to produce LaTeX slides, to different methods of teaching different people, to how to actually use time effectively in front of a podium).
I've also started writing a book! I don't want to say too much about it, not even what it's about, not yet. ;-)
My life is massively busy these days, but that doesn't mean I can't update my site once in a while.
Firstly, last semester (fall 2019) I had only two courses, physics (in which I got a D, sadly) and mathematics (in which I got a B, happily).
Secondly, this semester I have three courses: Linear Algebra (mathematics), Relativity & Astrophysics, and Experiments in Physics Education. Everything is in English, which I'm perfectly happy with.
Thirdly, I didn't get cracking on working on the Books page, but oh well.
Really, this update is a way for me to kick-start myself into working more on the site, and not to let too much time pass between each update. Carry on.