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2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

I just came in under the wire for my 2022 Goodreads reading challenge (I literally read the last page of the last book 2 hours before midnight). If you happened to read my 2021 reading challenge recap I read 16 books that year. You will notice the list below only has 12 books. Why so few? Two of the books on the list combined for a total of almost 2,000 pages. I knew, by reading those books, it was going to affect my total for the year. Therefore I decided to be a little more reasonable with my goal.

Here is my 2022 Goodreads reading challenge list (** indicates a book I’ve read before):

  • Traitor by Clare Farrell
  • Kubrick’s Game** by Derek Taylor Kent
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
  • Cinder** by Marissa Meyer
  • Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
  • Scarlet** by Marissa Meyer
  • The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz
  • Cress** by Marissa Meyer
  • Empire Strikes Back From A Certain Point of View by various authors

Biggs 2022 New Years Intentions

It’s that time again, time to make my 2022 New Years intentions. I made some progress in all of the areas in which I declared intentions in 2021. I will get into more details in each of their respective sections below. 2021 was not as challenging of a year as 2020 but it had its moments. This damn Covid virus continues to wreak havoc physically, mentally and emotionally. It has the country, and possibly the world, divided. Some are scared, some refuse to be afraid, and some just don’t know what to believe anymore. The media is at fault.

2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge

I belong to something of an online book club called Goodreads for about 8 years. It’s now owned by Amazon but the essence of Goodreads hasn’t gone away. Every year the websites offers members to commit to a yearly reading challenge. My 2021 reading challenge was to read 15 books. Here are the books I completed.

2021 Reading Challenge - Harry Dresden

Cloak of Deception by James Luceno
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
Changes by Jim Butcher
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Fire & Sword by Dylan Doose
Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston
Thirst by Claire Farrell
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Taunt by Claire Farrell
Tempt by Claire Farrell
Cold Days by Jim Butcher
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson
Taken by Claire Farrell
Taste by Claire Farrell

Sweet Sixteen

If you’re keeping track at home, that list contains 16 books. I finished my reading challenge, exceeded it by one, and all before December 31st. Also, if you have a keen eye, I’m sure you noticed several books by Jim Butcher and Claire Farrell. The books by Jim Butcher shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m still working my way through The Dresden Files; but who is Claire Farrell.

My wife and I each have a Kindle and they connect to the same Kindle library. My wife added several books by Claire Farrell, and six of those books are the Ava Delaney series. Thirst, Taunt, Tempt, Taken, Taste and Traitor make up the series. As you can probably guess, I’m currently reading the last book, Traitor. Ava Delaney is a hybrid; she’s part human, part vampire. If you’re interested in a slightly different perspective on vampire lore, put aside what you know and check out these books. They are decent fantasy.

I read two books I’ve been wanting to read for a while: Redshirts and the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker. I always enjoy reading the books that accompany the films because they help provide more details and answer some questions. If you are a Star Trek fan then I would encourage reading Redshirts. I was pretty lazy this year and did not review all of these books, but I did write one for this book. If you’re trying to decide, I encourage you to check out my review.

That’s all for now. I will discuss my 2022 reading challenge plans in another post.


diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 
– Dr. Seuss

Biggs 2021 New Years Intentions

I’m a week late with this post but, as I said in my review, 2020 sucked so better late than never! As a result of the unusual circumstances and the shutdowns, the increased stress interfered a bit with my 2020 goals. While I know that merely changing years won’t eliminate the virus or the stress it causes, I’m hopeful that this year won’t be as awful as last year. We are ahead of the virus and there are at least two vaccines that are FDA approved (as of the time of this writing). I’m looking forward to getting back out to the zoo and the ballpark. Therefore the first of my 2021 New Years intentions is to remain hopeful and optimistic about this year.

Biggs Labs – Smart Home/Professional Development

2021 New Years Projects IntentionsThis suffered the most from my mental state as a result of the shutdowns. I did not make a lot of progress on many of my technical goals. I didn’t touch the Smart Things and Raspberry Pi integration. Honestly, I don’t know if I will get to it this year or not. I have a higher priority to update the Gift List web application I wrote. While I didn’t make a lot of coding progress on the gift list revamp, I have spent a bit of time designing the changes and making a list of updates and new features. I hope to begin this development immediately.

This blog site will also get some love this year. Apparently I have to find a new theme. I have been using Suffusion for several years, however I recently found out WordPress is no longer approving the theme. Their reason is “it doesn’t meet requirements”; I’m very disappointed in WordPress. So I will be hunting for a new theme. If any of you are WordPress admins, shoot me your theme suggestions.

Finally, I need to find something new to learn. Some kind of coding language or library. I’m stuck in a rut and feeling bored with programming so I need something to restore my enthusiasm.

2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2021 New Years Reading Challenge Intentions I’m setting my reading challenge goal to 15 with the hope that I will exceed it. Last year I was 40% away from finishing my 15th book so with a little more diligence I think I can easily meet the goal, and surpass it. The Dresden Files will, again, be the books that help me reach my goal. I’ve started book 11 so it’s possible I may catch up this year (there are now 18 books).

I’m thinking about reading The Inheritance Series again; I’m a big fan of Paolini’s work and I’m excited to read about Eragon again. I will cover the books I read for the 2020 Reaching Challenge in a separate post.

2021 New Years Health Goals

My health goals are going to look a little different this year. The effects of the stress and anxiety of 2020 still linger and, while I don’t expect things to magically improve in 2021, I can control how it affects me, mentally.

Physical Fitness Goals

2021 New Years fitness goalsIn 2020 I was supposed to complete a 15K at the Flying Pig. Obviously that was cancelled but that didn’t stop me from setting some new goals. I tried to run as often as possible to keep in good health. The doctors were telling me that one of the best methods for staying healthy amid the virus was to keep exercising. I improved my daily running distance to 5+ miles a day. On my push days I am exceeding 8 miles but I have not reached 9 miles yet (a 15K is approximately 9.3 miles).

I don’t know what I will do this year in regards to the Flying Pig. Currently their website states you can sign up for a virtual run with the option to change to in-person if health officials allow large gatherings. My original plan was to run the half this year, but that was assuming I would have run a 15k in 2020. As of this writing my thoughts are that if I go virtual I will stick with the 15k plan; I would rather run the half marathon in person since that is my apex running goal.

Mental Health (aka Get Organized)

Everyone’s mental health suffered from 2020. Anyone that denies it is lying to themselves. It will be a few months before we start to see improvements in the current pandemic but we can begin to heal our mental health. The methods for doing this will be different for every person. Personally I am going to do it by getting organized. There have been studies that show getting organized has been known to improve sleep and reduce stress and anxiety.

When I was in college I was a bit of a clean freak; it seems now I’ve become to lazy to be that person but I can change that. I can let my OCD take over again and clean more often. There are places around the house that can use the “get organized” treatment. However, getting organized isn’t just a physical activity. I use my iPad to take a lot of notes (because my memory is garbage); those notes need to be re-organized for brevity and searchability. This will help me be better organized at work.

Finally I need to ignore or remove the toxicity and vitriolic abuse of social media. Everyone treats Facebook and Twitter like its their pulpit for political and controversial influence. The truth you’re not changing anybody’s mind because everyone is braver behind a keyboard. I’m tired of going to these places and getting angry because people spew nonsense so I will be frequenting Twitter less and blocking/hiding/muting posts/people on Facebook that say things with the clear intent of inciting violence or hate.

Again, this post grows most verbose so time to end it here.



I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


2019 Reading Challenge – Redemption!

My 2019 Reading Challenge was 15 books. The past couple of years I struggled to meet a 15 book reading challenge. My theory that I will be reading the Harry Dresden books this year will help. It was an absolute success! In fact I came within 30% of 16 books. I’m still setting my goal to 15 books again this year since I might choose a couple of longer books to read.

While I wasn’t a slacker on reading books this year, I was terrible about writing reviews. In fact of the 15 books I read, I only wrote reviews for a couple of them. I’ll try to be a little more diligent about writing reviews for new books I read. Granted there may be a few books I will re-read this year and I rarely write a review about books I’ve already read.

My 2019 Reading Challenge Book List

Below is my list of books I read for the Reading Challenge. You can click on those that are links to read the review of the book. If I did not write a review and/or you have a question about a book or want to talk about a book on this list, please leave a comment. Also, below the list, is my 2019 pick for the Best Read.

  • The Straggler’s Mask” by Juho Pohjalainen
  • “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim
  • “Summer Knight” by Jim Butcher
  • Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan” by Claudia Gray
  • Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View” by Ben Acker
  • “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo
  • Before the Storm” by Christie Golden
  • “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein
  • “Crooked Kingdom” by Leigh Bardugo
  • “Death Masks” by Jim Butcher
  • “Star Wars: Last Shot” by Daniel Jose Older
  • “Extinct” by R.R. Haywood
  • “Blood Rites” by Jim Butcher
  • “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” by Jason Fry
  • “Night Train to Rigel” by Timothy Zahn

My Pick for the 2019 Best Read

I didn’t know which book I want to pick for 2019. I really enjoyed nearly all of these books (“The Straggler’s Mask” being the lowest one on the list). The book I re-read this year was “The Hobbit”, which I haven’t read since high school. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows series is really great and, allegedly, she has confirmed there will be a third book. Anyone that works in the IT field either as a developer, operations, or project management, “The Phoenix Project” is a must-read. The final book of RR Haywood’s Extracted Trilogy was very satisfying and I’m loving Harry Dresden.

So where does that leave us? I really wish I had read “Before the Storm” before the Battle for Azeroth expansion launched. “Night Train to Rigel” is the first book in Timothy Zahn’s Quadrail series so I’m still getting into that. I know it comes off as favoritism to pick a Star Wars book considering how much of a Star Wars fan I am. Despite all that, I think I have to go with “Leia, Princess of Alderaan” as the 2019 Best Read. We already know how much of an amazing character Leia is, and this book fuels that idea.

I also picked this book because it is now 3 years since we lost Carrie Fisher, and The Rise of Skywalker closes a chapter on Leia’s story. Therefore this choice also pays homage to one of the most extraordinary characters of the Star Wars Universe.

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss


Biggs 2020 New Years Intentions

We are not only starting a new year in 2020, we are starting a new decade. Nobody really makes decade resolutions and I’m certainly not going to make decade intentions. I’ll be turning 40 in this decade, which is hard to imagine and, be that as it may, I’m not intimidated. This isn’t a post about turning 40 (perhaps I will write one when we get closer to March). I am going to make the usual 2020 New Years Intentions; hopefully I will have better luck in a couple of the categories.

Biggs Labs – Smart Home/Professional Development

I didn’t make any progress on the Smart Home front. I did a little bit of research since Samsung kind of hamstrung me with the changes to the app. Hopefully I can still do what I hope to be able to do using Home Kit and Raspberry Pi. However that isn’t going to be my highest priority project.

I was supposed to revamp one of my project web sites in 2019, including the gift list. However I had a really busy summer at work and writing extra curricular code was not appealing. Therefore I have quite a list of updates I want to do to make this site a little more useful to other family members. In fact some of the development research I will do may also be applicable to things I’ll be doing at work.

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge

I did well for my reading challenge in 2019. In fact I almost read more than I intended. In 2020 I think I’m still going to play it safe and set my reading challenge total to 15 again. I do have several more Dresden books to read which, again, should help my total. Unfortunately I read all my newer Star Wars books this year. I have a few older Star Wars books (now considered “Legends”) which I might dig into and some re-reading of some great books.

I’ll get into more details about my reading ambitions in another post. Keep an eye out because after I finish a book, sometimes I take the time to write up a review.

2020 New Years Health Goals

Year after year, this category continues to be where I am most successful. My goal was to complete a 10K in 2019 and that is exactly what I did. In fact, I ran the whole thing, thus resulting in a new personal best. In 2020 I feel running another 10K is the obvious decision, however I do need to challenge myself. Therefore I am going to try to complete a 10K and 5K back-to-back (at the Flying Pig). Essentially I will run a 15K, which is approximately 9.3 miles.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. I did not reduce my social media interaction as much as I said I would. Only recently did I step away from Twitter but I’m still getting on Facebook a little too obsessively. However I am taking extra steps to reduce the negativity on Facebook by leaving groups and muting or hiding posts that I find offensive and blasphemous. So far it’s working as I’ve felt less angry after scrolling through Facebook.

I might return to Twitter, but I think I am going to wait a few weeks. I don’t want to miss more of Mark Hamill’s brilliance. Regardless, I hope to make 2020 a little more positive especially since I am turning 40. Also, it’s probably time to overcome my subtle sociopathy.

What are your 2020 New Years resolutions?

Happy New Year!


I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!


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