Noisy Deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”– D. Adams
@Fedi

About a year ago I deleted my social media accounts. I thought I had done it long ago. But, no, it’s been a year!

So, what have I learned?

  • The only thing that worked for me to stay away from social media was: total disconnection. Delete them. For real. After I deleted my accounts I thought many times about re-creating them but I also remembered how annoying it was. And how distracted I used to get. So, it was important in the first week to remember WHY I deleted them in the first place.
  • I didn’t need to do this all by myself, relying on my willpower alone (I tried, never worked). I used technology to fight technology. For the first few months, I used the app Freedom on all my devices to create a barrier. And it worked. The secret for me was being able to stay away from social media long enough to get my brain back to a “baseline” with no constant dopamine-induced activities. I started to feel my brain working differently 1-2 months in.
  • I started going out for long walks. Looking back now, it was not an easy time: the COVID-19 pandemic, dead of winter in my region, short days, and freezing temperatures. But it was the only thing I could do to fill in the void. I had to be outside. I learned that snow pants are awesome and that it’s okay to walk around with a headlamp (there are no lights on the pathway by the river, where I used to walk).
  • After deleting social media I still had the urge to scroll something. Anything. I would scroll through my email inbox. But it was finite so sometimes I would open a news portal and just scroll. I was not interested in anything that was there, but I needed to SCROLL. This behavior lasted for some weeks. Then I realized how pointless it was.
  • Sometimes I feel like I want to scroll something, even today. I still use RSS feeds so that became my “scrolling” thing. I paired down my feeds with only a small number of blogs I regularly read. So it’s a manageable list now, I scroll but it’s not an endless pit of junk anymore
  • I now feel repulsed by any website that is too “social-media-like”. Or that has too many ads. I avoid them all.
  • If I have a question about something I’ll go to Wikipedia first to find the answer. I feel like I’m 13 years old again going to the library and opening up an Encyclopedia to search for an answer.
  • I read better. I can read a book non-stop for an hour now. But that happened only recently. It took me months to be able to just sit down and read for more than half an hour without fidgeting or grabbing my phone.
  • I learned that it is important to embrace boredom. The best way to train it for me is to go out for walks, with nothing in my ears. No music. No podcasts. Just my breathing and surrounding sounds.
  • I decreased my podcast consumption. A lot!
  • I learned that I don’t enjoy audiobooks that much. I hear that one of the advantages of audiobooks is that you can read while doing something else. I tend to prefer to do one thing at a time. I can occasionally listen to podcasts while doing the dishes or cleaning the house, for example, but not books, especially if I’m enjoying it. When I’m reading something I need to pay attention and focus and reflect. Audiobooks don’t go at my mind’s speed, I guess.

Some people do a regular “digital detox” for a short or long period of time and then get back to whatever they were avoiding without letting it turn into a compulsive behavior again. Trying to use social media in moderation never worked for me. This technology evolves every day with new ways to hook us up and maybe I don’t have the energy to fight it all the time.

I’m happier now 😎. I love the Internet, but only some (quieter) corners of it.

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #internet #noisymusings

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Every start of the year I like to think about my reading goals: Will I challenge myself to read more? Do I want to dive into a new series? Do I want to finish a series I’ve already started? What are the books I already own that I look forward to reading?

Last year (2021) I read 45 books surpassing my goal of 42 books, which was way better than expected. I had a busy year that mixed working from home challenges (in a small 1 bedroom apartment), new responsibilities at work, buying, renovating, and moving to a house, and the overall anxiety-inducing COVID-19 pandemic.

I feel 2022 will be better overall. I feel calmer and I think I built some resilience to deal with anxiety-induced situations. I don’t care about social media and endless feeds anymore and that frees up some time. So, for this year I will challenge myself to read a book per week, on average:

📚 Reading Challenge 2022: Read 52 books

These are the reads I’m looking forward to:

Series:

  • The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher (#7 to #17)
  • The Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey (#5 to #9)
  • Shadows of the Apt Series by Adrian Tchaikovsky (#6 to #10)
  • All Souls Series by Deborah Harkness (#1 to #3)

1. Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5) by James S.A. Corey

2. The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

3. Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke

4. Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day

5. Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1) by Tade Thompson

6. Nightfall (Blood Magic #1) by L.H. Cosway

7. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls #1) by Deborah Harkness

8. The Book of Life (All Souls #3) by Deborah Harkness

9. Shadow of Night (All Souls #2) by Deborah Harkness

10. The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1) by G.A. Aiken

11. The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars) by Gail Carriger, G.L. Carriger

12. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

13. The Humans by Matt Haig

14. A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers

15. The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O'Meara

16. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

17. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

18. The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) by John Scalzi

19. The Last Emperox (The Interdependency #3) by John Scalzi

20. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

21. Fire Logic (Elemental Logic #1) by Laurie J. Marks

This is not an exhaustive list, just a handy list I can go to when I’m not sure what I want to read next. I will also be reading the books chosen by my local Book Club.

🎉 Happy new year!

#Books #Booklist #ReaderGoals

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Record of Blood (Ravenwood Mysteries #3) by Sabrina Flynn, 522p: This one gets into Ravenwood and Atticus Riot's past with flashbacks and we find out more about the death of Zephaniah  Ravenwood. The background is a mystery revolving around a series of slave girls murders, sex trafficking, and the underground of 1900's San Francisco. The best about this series is the characters.

  2. Wild Seed (Patternmaster #1) by Octavia E. Butler, 306p: A hard read, not because of the writing style, but the theme and the underlying metaphors: slavery, discrimination, power abuse. It's weird and disturbing, there weren't any lovable characters for me. I wasn't sure if it was sci-fi, magical realism, or something in between. I was hoping the main character, Anyanwu, to have more active powers. She was powerful but at the same time powerless to deal with Doro's influence. It was a disturbing read at many moments for me, not really my cup of tea. The writing is excellent, tho.

  3. Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher, 464p: I had lots of fun, Harry Dresden faces impossible situations and deals with vampires and succubus. There is a family reunion, and dogs and weird things happening to Dresden's powers. I want to continue reading to see what happens.

  4. Effortless: Make It Easy to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown, 256p (AUDIO): This one was a good read for the end of the year. It's a very light read putting together various ideas to make our lives effortless. My main takeaway was asking myself: “How am I making this harder than it needs to be?” or “How this could be easier?”. It was a nice reminder that it's possible to turn around our mindset and see the bright side of everything.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I love the first day when snow falls and covers everything in white. It happened today here, which is surprisingly late for my region. I often witness first snow at late October or early November.

It was a lovely day with temperature at around -5C and I finally went for a walk with my partner to explore the trails near our new house.

Having access to trails at walking distance was one of the reasons we moved to this house. I’m glad I finally had time to just walk and enjoy the weather.

#winter #snow #outdoors #journal

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt #5) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 692p: I thought the first half of it dragged on a little. I wasn't too interested in what was going on with the Refek agents and their mobilization to have the Scorpions attack Khanaphes. The interactions between Thalric and Che are what interested me the most. Thoto was so annoying. I almost wish he was killed at some point. The mystery of the Masters in Khanaphes kept me engaged with the story, but in the end, I didn't get Ethmet, the First Minister. Was he really in touch with the Masters at all? He seemed just like a puppet, repeating old sayings. And why the Masters were dormant? And why after they woke up, found Che, let her go, and then went back to sleep? What was their goal? It seems like this mystery is the backdrop of what this series is really about.

  2. From the Ashes (Ravenwood Mysteries #1) by Sabrina Flynn, 233p: I was longing to read a good detective's story and this was perfect. It has that Sherlock Holmes feel but in San Francisco in the 1900s and with an ex-gambler-turned detective (Atticus) and a strong and fearless female character (Bel) who defies everything about society's norm. And it was very cool to know the author was inspired by real people and news published back then. It's a great mystery with amazing descriptions about life in San Francisco in the early 20th century.

  3. A Bitter Draught (Ravenwood Mysteries #2) by Sabrina Flynn, 376p: More mysterious deaths and this one starts with Bel investigating a strange case of an apparent suicide. Atticus is also investigating a series of murders and then the plot becomes more complicated and the two investigations intertwine. Atticus and Bel form a great duo, it was a delight seeing them join forces to solve the mystery. I will read the next in the series.

  4. I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel, 160p: I liked the first few chapters but then at some point, it felt too focused on the joys of storing and organizing physical books rather than reading itself. It had some fun moments but I wanted it to end soon because, yeah, I’d rather be reading something else.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, 272p (AUDIO): A good advice I got from this book is to use the third person voice to address my thoughts: “Hey, do you think worrying like that is useful at all? It’s better to focus on the here and now.”

  2. Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt #4) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 459p: It’s war. The Wasp Empire advances, some win some lose. This book is full of action, dramatic battles and has the best romantic duo fight ever.

  3. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry, 416p (AUDIO): Excellent audiobook! Stephen Fry did a great job putting all those myths together and his storytelling is great. It was a delight to listen to it.

  4. Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells, 168p: this series is so cozy to my brain. I enjoy following this artificial construct thought process. And this one has a murder mystery. How not to love?

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have an account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet, 441p: A kind of “enemies-to-lovers” romance where the heroine isn’t helpless (for the most part). The magic doesn’t follow too many rules or limitations making the heroine unbelievable powerful. I had fun!

  2. Death Masks (The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher, 432p: I think this one was more self-contained with fewer plot lines going on at the same time (as usually was the case with previous books). I love this series and will keep on reading.

  3. Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles #1) by Kate Elliott, 528p: The idea/premise seemed good (Female Alexander the Great in Space!) but I think the execution lacked focus. There were 2 major points of view: Sun was third person and Persephone was first person. Each chapter had a different POV and sometimes I had a hard time discerning which character was talking. Although Sun was the main character, Persephone (in the first-person narrative) was way more interesting. The book felt a bit longer than it should be and the amount of world-building info dump bothered me at times. I was not excited to continue reading the series.

  4. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, 400p: As always, full of interesting insights. We are doomed!

  5. The Complete Maus (Maus #1-2) by Art Spiegelman, 296p: I wanted to read a Graphic Novel and my partner told me about this one. It’s really good! But it’s sad. I caught myself in tears in many moments while I was reading. It’s not an easy topic (Nazism and the story of a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz concentration camp). Extremely touching. We cant’ forget this horror as to not repeat it again, ever.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I love to track my reading. I used to have a simple list on Excel, but when I heard about Goodreads back in January 2012 I moved all my tracking to it. That was exactly the same time I started e-reading on my first Kindle, so I found a cool community online of fellow readers. It was great back then! Book nerds talking about books, online book clubs, and reading challenges. I can say Goodreads helped me build up my reading habit. But then… Goodreads was acquired by Amazon in 2013. I was already using Amazon’s Kindle so that that didn’t bother me at the time. I was living in Brazil and Amazon was the only place I could have access to e-books in English (cheaper than buying imported books in English).

After using Kindle e-readers and Goodreads for 9 years, I decided to move away from Amazon’s e-book empire. I upgraded to a Kobo device and started searching for other book tracking sites out there. I took a look into:

  1. Libib

  2. The Storygraph

  3. Library Thing

I excluded sites that were too social-media-oriented. I wasn’t looking for the social media aspect, I just wanted to track my books, set up reading challenges, have a nice interface, and stats. Also, a way to import all my data from Goodreads. I chose The Storygraph!

Why I chose The Storygraph:

  • It imports the Goodreads data pretty well. I had to do a few tweaks because some editions were different from the ones I had in Goodreads. That wasn’t the case with the other sites I tried, in which the data was not imported correctly and I would need to spend time figuring out what went wrong and fixing it myself.
  • The Storygraph was created by Nadia Odunayo and her team who made the decision to not make it a social media site. There are no notifications, no “like” buttons, no discussions. You can follow other readers if you want to (like me), but nobody knows who follows who, no followers counts, so no social competitive streaks.
  • No ads. It’s simple and clean (just like Write.as 💚).
  • It brings in-depth stats about the books with nice graphs: per genre, length, dates, mood, pace, and more).
  • Up-next feature: you can add 5 books from your “to-read” pile to show up first. I like to have handy a small list of books I want to read next so I can decide quicker, so I loved this feature!
  • Customizable challenges: you can create your own reading challenges.
  • It’s free to use. But you can support the creators and get extra book recommendations features.
  • All data can be exported.

Statistical Data

The Review process has some different characteristics. You can leave a written review and stars as you’d normally do in Goodreads for example, but you can also add statistical data to a book, with things like:

  • Mood: adventurous? funny? mysterious? lighthearted? tense? emotional? reflective? etc.
  • Pace: Fast, Medium, Slow
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix, Plot-driven, Character-driven.
  • Strong character development? Yes, No, It's complicated, N/A.
  • Loveable characters? Yes, No, It's complicated.
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes, No, It's complicated, N/A.
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes, No, It's complicated, N/A.
  • Content warnings: you can add warnings if there are graphic, moderate, or minor levels of certain content (like sexual content, death, violence, gore, etc).
  • Rating: the usual 5-star ratings, allowing for half-star and quarter-star ratings.

So for all the books in its database, you can see these statistical data. I particularly like the information about “Pace” and “Mood” which have been helping me choose my next book to read.

You can also perform searches using all those data points.

I’ve been enjoying it because there are no distractions, the focus is on the books. There is an app for mobile which I use daily to track my reading progress.

I’m still thinking about what to do with my Goodreads account. I haven’t decided yet. There are a couple of groups I check out from time to time in Goodreads. And Goodreads is still the biggest book database out there. The Storygraph sometimes doesn’t have accurate information on a series of books and I read that its team is working constantly to update the database.

Should I delete Goodreads? Or leave it as a backup?

One thing is for sure, I’ll stop tracking my reading on Goodreads.

#reading #trackers #TheStorygraph #Goodreads #books

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have an account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

On the left: new Kobo – On the right: Old Kindle

My Old Kindles

After using Kindle e-readers and Goodreads for 9+ years, I decided to move away from Amazon’s e-book empire. I’ve had 2 Kindles in my life: the 6” 4th Generation (2012) and the 6” Kindle Paperwhite 1 – 5th Generation (2013). At the time I got my first Kindle, back in Brazil, there weren’t too many options available. I wanted to read books in English and Amazon was the only service I could access back then. Amazon was convenient.

At some point along the way, I heard about Rakuten Kobo, a Canadian e-reader/e-books focused company (now also owned by a Japanese group). There was also Barnes and Noble with their Nooks and even a Brazilian publisher with their locally produced e-readers. But the access to the huge Amazon’s e-books catalog was unrivaled back then. My Kindle Paperwhite worked fine throughout all those years. Sometimes it froze, true, but nothing that a soft (and long) reset couldn’t solve. I tend to use my devices (be it e-readers or mobile phones) up until they become useless due to lack of support or just stop working. There are some exceptions in which I just want a better device.

My first 2 Kindles (Left: 4th Generation 2012 | Right: Paperwhite 1 – 5th Generation 2013)

Over the years I grew leerier and leerier of Amazon’s power and influence. Not to mention the accounts of their underpaid and over-exploited employees. Since my Kindle was almost 10 years old and it started to lag more than usual, I finally made the jump out of Amazon’s grasp.

Read more...

For some reason, August was a hard month for reading. I try to find time for reading in the morning, before work, or after work. Sometimes I can read a little during my lunch break. But on some days I was too exhausted to read before bed. Or I was too distracted. It was hard to read this month! I started an audiobook (Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry), and even that was hard for me to focus on (it is a long audiobook about Greek mythology, so I’ll take my time).

Also, I’ve decided to leave Amazon’s e-book empire and did some research on other e-reading devices/systems. I chose to get a Kobo e-reader and I’m loving it so far. It integrates seamlessly with the Ottawa Public Library system, so cool! And since I’m abandoning Amazon, Goodreads will probably be the next one to go… More on that in a future post…🧐

The two books I read this month were part of my local Book Club discussions. Two opposites, I loved one and the other one was “bleh…”, but I’m glad I experienced it. I almost finished Book #5 of The Dresden files, so that will go on the next month’s list.

  1. Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt #3) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 429p: This series keeps getting better. It was nice to follow the characters to different places. We get to know Solarno (in Spiderlands), Jerez (a black market city, with a mysterious lake), and Szar (a Bee-Kinden city). I loved the  Pilots of the Exalsee, a type of aviators club/group with their own code of honor and obviously against The Empire. The plot revolves around the search for the Shadow Box and who gets it. Now that I know who got it, I gotta keep on reading the series to find out what the box actually does! (hint: obviously some evil things)

  2. The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford, 368p: This is a complicated book. I know some people who loved it, some people who didn’t. I can see why it is loved because of the historical references and it has become a classic. It's an alternate history with vampires (written in the '80s), and maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was a little more knowledgeable about the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. To be honest, I lost interest in the characters at about 60%. There were random scenes happening here and there that seemed to be out of place to me. It was hard to follow the passage of time in this book. The writing is very polished, and the author leaves a lot of action and descriptions to the reader's imagination. using metaphors. Even actions are only hinted at, so it's a book that you gotta work it in your brain to get it, I guess.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have an account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

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