I picked this book up for free for Kindle at Standard Books (highly recommended project!). It’s the first of a trilogy set on the American Great Plains around the turn of the 19th Century.
Like their book on Mexico, DK Eyewitness Alaska is a super-handy, concise, structured way to quickly get a sense of Alaska.
I love these series of books by DK Publishing. They go under the brand of Eyewitness Travel and have been around for quite a while. But recently, they’ve been revamped and upgraded.
Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorite writers, even if I still have to read her works with a bit of assistance from SparkNotes.
I picked up this collection* to re-read Wise Blood and to read the Violent Bear It Away for the first time.
*it’s at most any library, since the print version holds its value quite well – likely due to college literature classes
The formula is cotton balls + petroleum jelly + oak sticks.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, I attended my first WordCamp in Atlanta. I learned a lot about building websites and such, but what stuck out to me was Matt Mullenweg‘s talk about the future of WordPress, blogs, websites, etc.
If you have repeated flat tires on your bike, you need high quality rim tape.
There has been a lot of digital ink spilled over why discourse and *waves arm at world* has been so…weird.
One issue I’ve had with a lot of that spilled ink it that it has been too America focused when countries around the world – large and small – from Brazil to Chile to India to France to the UK to The Philippines have been going through similar dynamics.
Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid by Jonathan Haidt focuses on America, but covers widely-covered villain (social media) in a way that is just as applicable to The Philippines as it is to America.
The Body is possibly Bill Bryson’s longest and most interesting reference book yet.
It’s in the same vein as A Short History of Nearly Everything and Home, but obviously immediately relevant to day to day life.
I had high expectations, and was not disappointed.
Here’s all the trips that I took in 2021.
Thanks to all the people behind the COVID vaccines and vaccination program, we were able to out and travel quite a bit in 2021 (though we avoided airports since the kid’s vaccine didn’t roll out until November).
Ever since 2007, I’ve kept track of every book I’ve read. Ideally, I’ve also written a short lessons learned or review of each – though I have hundreds of draft reviews that I need to just hit publish on. Here’s the books I’ve read this past year.
I generally stop reading a book after 100 pages if it’s not any good. So everything that I finished is generally worth reading in some way. I plan to do full reviews of all the books. If I’ve written one, there will be a link.
This post covers books read in 2021. You can also read from –
Atlanta’s newly renovated Central Library is incredible & worth regular visits.
Crazy River is one of the best travel books about Africa that I’ve ever read. It’s up there with Blood River and Dark Star Safari. And like both of those books, Richard Grant excels in going beyond the “I went from A to B to C” to using the journey to meet a cast of characters that provides real insight into the region.
He deliberately picks one of the most challenging routes possible – one of the few officially unmapped areas of the world left – and writes an engaging and entertaining travelogue.
The Psychology of Money is a book about, well, the psychology behind money and personal finance. I picked it up after having read several essays by the author at Collaborative Fund – like this one. He’s an excellent writer and I thought I’d give it a shot.
This photo is from the Chattahoochee River on the new overlook along the Cochran Shoals Trail. I liked it because of the distance you can see the I-285 bridge crossing the river.
I stumbled on the loveliest pond during a day hike in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. I was hiking through the Sope Creek Unit, and came up on Sibley Pond.
If you are a baseball fan, you know that the pace of play has been a problem for a while. The MLB is well aware of the issue, and plenty of people have figured out the average duration of a regular season games.
But postseason games are especially bad. TV networks want to cash in on big audiences (more ads); there’s more pressure on every pitch (more resting / timeouts for pitchers); and fixed lineups for managers (more substitutes & relief pitchers).
But. They are boring. That’s both a feature and a bug. It’s a feature because investing capital should be a boring, long-term exercise. It’s a bug because everyone wants novelty and excitement.
And in a world of speculation FOMO on stocks, crypto, real estate, etc – it can be hard to just keep doing the boring thing.
The ironic piece of index fund / ETF FOMO is that if you own an index fund…you own all the individual stocks inside the index fund.
And yes, the point of an index fund is to own all the stocks. That’s probably obvious if you own one. It’s why you likely bought it. But it’s also easy to forget that you own all these individual stocks when random person on TV or Twitter is chatting up their Tesla stock purchase or talking about the next big thing*.
*And sometimes, it’s not obvious. For example, it’s easy to forget that America’s largest real estate investment firms…are all publicly traded and included in a Total Market Index Fund.
So here’s how to find out how much of each stock you own in your index fund.
Cowrock Mountain is one of the most accessible, and best views on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Unlike Blood Mountain, which has somewhat better views with a *much* harder hike, Cowrock Mountain is a short, fairly easy hike up from a little used trailhead along the Richard Russell Scenic Highway.
Lake Seminole is one of Georgia’s largest (and shallowest) lakes. It’s in the far southwest corner of the state. This photo is from Seminole State Park looking West over an inlet.
Slowly but systematically, Atlanta is becoming a better place to bike for transportation.
Earlier this summer, we visited Seminole State Park in the very Southwest corner of Georgia. It’s a small, but lovely State Park. Even though it doesn’t have a lot of acreage, much of it preserves an rare stand of native Longleaf Pine Forest. This photo is what a natural stand looks like – wide, open, no mid-story, but a diverse understory.
Kings of The Yukon is a travel book that doubles as an environmental history book. I read it mainly for my interest in travel books covering remote, wilderness areas, but was surprised by the depth of writing on salmon fisheries, indigenous cultures, and how much even the most remote parts of the world are changing in the 21st Century.
This is a photo of a lone dogwood flower that I took while hiking along Dockery Lake in North Georgia.
In my neighborhood, dogwoods are super-common as a landscaping / ornamental tree. That’s great – they are native, beautiful, and perfect for yards. But I also forget that they are super-common out in the wild & forests of Georgia. It’s always cool to see one out on a hike.
Company of One is a unique business book. It’s about the what, why, and how of running a business for your sake rather than for growth’s sake. It’s about making a profit now rather than growing and making a profit later. It follows the similar vein of Anything You Want by Derek Sivers and Small Giants by Bo Burlingham and Enough by John Bogle.
America’s Great National Forests, Wildernesses & Grasslands is one of my favorite reference / “coffee table” books. The official description is –
For more than a century, America’s national forests have proved an environmental gift and cultural treasure, our spectacular backyard. Under the management of the U.S. Forest Service, this system of public lands encompasses 193 million acres of mountains, prairies, rivers, and canyons—much of it undiscovered, but accessible for hiking, kayaking, fishing, and winter sports. Officially published with the U.S. Forest Service, this book features the thirty most notable national forests—while also celebrating more than one hundred different national forests in forty-four states—from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the Olympics of Washington. Unlike the national parks, Americans can use these lands for all manner of recreation, truly earning these tremendous resources the moniker of “America’s backyard.” This book is a treasure for all readers who use and cherish these lands.
In other words, it’s a giant, beautiful nature photography book that focuses on America’s National Forests rather than the more famous National Parks.
The Book of Nature Poetry by National Geographic is one of those amazing books published for children…but is a hidden gem for *anyone* who finds a given topic (in this case, poetry) daunting and hard to approach.
Of the trilogy, it’s the book that revolves around the themes of race relations, lynching, and the day to day experience of living in a world where white supremacy and racism dictate everyone’s life. Here’s a reviewer quote from the back cover.
This fascinating map (source) was making the Internet rounds last week showing how much countries around the world have developed since 1990. While the map does have some biases and the groupings + colors are a bit misleading, it does paint a broad strokes picture of how much the world has improved within my living memory.
Kings Creek Falls is a beautiful set of waterfalls near Burrell’s Ford along the Chattooga River.
This photo is of a kudzu forest(?) overwhelming a property in Atlanta. It’s the Vine That Ate The South. It’s maddening, but also beautiful in its own way.
This photo is of DeSoto Falls in North Georgia. It’s a really incredible view and very accessible near US Highway 129.
Fall in Grant Park Atlanta, GA is always amazing. This photo is looking from the Milledge Triangle towards Constitution Spring area.
This is a photo of the sunset over Grant Park at Zoo Atlanta.
I’ve always been a fan of exotic fruits. I’m the one likely to track down and buy an imported jackfruit or a half-decent mango when I see them in stock at Kroger.
This photo is from the Lake Conasauga Swim Beach in the mountains of North Georgia. It is the highest elevation lake in Georgia, so the water is *cold*. Also, it’s not really a beach per se, as a swimming area. The area gets deep quickly at the dock. But it’s lovely on a summer day.
This is a photo of my first blackberry cobbler that I made with blackberries grown in my own backyard. A few notes –
This photo is of the Tallulah River headwaters in North Carolina’s Southern Nantahala Wilderness. It’s really cool to see rivers at this stage. It doesn’t take it long to make its way to the Tallulah Gorge and onward to meet the Chattooga to form the Savannah River.
This photo is of Bearpen Ridge in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness near the Tallulah River in mid-October. The sky and forest contrast was unbelievable in person. It’s everything that is amazing about the Southern Appalachians.
The Swann Preserve is a lovely little nature preserve on the southside of Atlanta. It protects a small forest of mature trees along with a portion of the headwaters of the South River.
There is a PATH Foundation trail through the preserve with a bridge over the South River.
Atlanta is actually the headwaters for several rivers, even though it’s not in the mountains. This section of the South River is still fairly clear and not as polluted, unlike the section through Constitution Lakes.
This photo is from January near Burgess Mountain in the Oconee National Forest. I love how there is a pine stand right along the road with lots of overgrowth, but with a little walking it transforms into an open Oak Hickory forest. It’s lovely at all times of year, but is especially open in the winter.
This photo is a bend in the Little River as it makes its way through the Oconee National Forest on its way to the Oconee River at Lake Sinclair.
I took this photo in February 2021 along the Southside BeltLine near DH Stanton Park in Peoplestown.
In about a year, the sides of the picture will be full of apartments. Hopefully in 2 years, this section will be under construction.
There’s a lovely Magnolia tree in Grant Park that has the largest, most fragrant blooms I’ve ever seen or smelled.
In March, I went on my first solo backpacking trip. It was only a single overnight. The weather forecast was all over the place, so I settled on the Cheaha Wilderness in Alabama, ironically the day after a huge system of storms came through. I’ve hiked the Cheaha Wilderness before, so I was fairly familiar with the area.