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Last year - with the pressures of university and jobs, both of which are well documented - the amount of time I dedicated to hobbies/past-times was greatly diminished. I estimate that for about 6 months I didn't read a single fiction book. For three months I did not play any video games. Since I have been engaged in both of those leisure activities since I was about two years old, this is a pretty good indicator of how stress and work/study focused I got. So - since there's no way I can keep up with my completion list for video games I decided to merge it into a general "look, here's various forms of media that I have looked at/played!". Hence the post.

Video Games

Plantera – This is a game about planting things…then clicking to collect things so that you get coins…so that you can plant more things. Essentially it’s a lot of planting and clicking. It’s one of those games that entertains me briefly but after about twenty minutes I get distracted by something else and forget that I was ever playing it. So kind of like most of the mobile games that are out.

A Wizard’s Lizard – I played this briefly last year (the year before? Who knows) and I died. A lot. So then I forgot it existed. Then I kind of got used to Rogue/Rogue-like games and realised that I was meant to die a lot at the beginning and that initially, the point was to get a bit further each time as I built up the reserves that meant I started each game stronger. So inevitably with Rogue-like games, I got very into this game. I even contributed to the very meagre Wiki for this game, that is how into it I got. It’s a game about a lizard pet of a wizard who chases after Death to try and save his wizard master. Along the way, you beat up lots of monsters. And die. A lot. It’s brilliant.

Far Cry: Primal – It’s not quite as good as dinosaurs (I'm still trying to work out whether I'm going to drop money on Ark: Evolved for that) but it is a game where you play first-person as a caveman and get to chase down woolly mammoths with a spear that you made yourself. You also can tame wolves and panthers and friggin’ jaguars and send them after your rival tribes. And there are sabretooth tigers. They generally try to eat you. As do many creatures (and other cavemen) in this game. The whole point is to find other members of your tribe, build up your community, complete quests and then beat the hell out of the rival cannibal caveman tribe. It is as entertaining as it sounds. You can also control an owl and send it after cavemen to gouge their faces. If that last point doesn't sell the game to someone then I don't know what would.


Darkly Dreaming Dexter – I watched season one of Dexter and then…just never carried on. So the complaints about the book Dexter being very different to TV Dexter didn’t seem that big of a deal to me. I like the fact that Dexter is very sociopathic in this book and the way he refers to himself and the world around him works quite well with the character that’s being portrayed.

The Surgeon – I have read most of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series but every few years I start from the beginning and read up to her most recent books. I forgot that one of the main characters (Dr Moira Isles) didn’t even appear in the first book so that was a bit strange. It’s not bad – but it’s far from Gerritsen’s best work and you can definitely see her writing improve throughout the series.

The Apprentice – I have not read Gerritsen’s two most recent books but I think this book is my favourite from the series (although The Killing Place comes quite close) – and Dr Isles puts in an appearance in this book. Rizzoli is a much better-rounded character and some of the other characters get a bit more bulk to them. The real stand-out for this book are the antagonists and Rizzoli's response to them, and theirs to her.

The Sinner – This book got a little confusing in the middle for me and even thought I could follow the various threads that all came together by the end it didn’t really fit together as well as I would have liked. This is the first book focusing on Isles rather than Rizzoli and that is a nice change of pace.

Body Double – I genuinely don’t remember reading this book. I’m not sure how considering the central storyline focuses ontwo incestuous murderers who hunt down pregnant women and cut their babies out of them to sell. It’s not the sort of thing you tend to forget and yet somehow I managed it. A lot happens in this book, borderline too much – rather like The Sinner – but it’s tied together much better than the previous book in the series.


Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well – I’m not too bad at receiving feedback in terms of my reaction (due to processing speed and difficulties processing emotions I tend to just stare blankly at the person providing the feedback) but I’m never too sure what to do with it once I’ve got it. I like books like this because they help me learn a lot about human behaviour and social responses. I will probably need to revisit this book a few times as I have to integrate things like the advice in this book into my social scripts in a very structured way, but I don’t mind. I found it quite fascinating.

Friend Like Henry – As far as parent biographies of autistic kids go this book is alright. There are a few sections where you go “Eh…” because there’s something a bit off written but generally, it’s alright. It’s a decent enough walkthrough of how a dog (Henry) had a huge impact on one autistic boy’s life and focuses mostly on the bond between them.

Autism: Simple and Inexpensive Natural Autism Therapies – It’s not a bad book in the sense that it doesn’t advocate for anything dangerous but it’s kind of pointless. There are longer, better-informed books which actually live up to their titles. If the author of this book thinks animal therapy (and particularly horse riding) is an inexpensive activity then clearly they live in a very different world to me.

Applied Behavior Analysis and Tips for Parents of Autistic Children – I am pretty sure this is a bad copy and paste from Wikipedia job. Put very simply – it was awful. Poor grammar, crap spelling, and terrible content.

How Not to Write a Novel – Whilst this was fairly entertaining, I’m still undecided about how useful it was. This book is filled with common novel writing mistakes with examples alongside most if not all of the mistakes. Each chapter tends to have a single “story” that the examples are drawn from so the characters are consistent for that chapter and it is very entertaining to read. Unfortunately many of the examples are so hyperbolic that you wish there had been some contrasts with more subtle examples of the mistakes as that tends to be where most people have difficulties.

Essential Listening Skills for Busy School Staff – I never knew what to do when students came up to me with problems – again social difficulties often plague my working environments – so I kind of wish I’d read this when I was still working at the school, but it’s useful regardless. It’s very short and is pretty much a quick and basic guide so people who are more adept at social interactions probably wouldn’t find the information as useful.

The Power of Habit - Anything vaguely related to human psychology and why we do what we do is quite fascinating for me. Lots of examples of how habit informs basically everything from day-to-day individual person examples all the way up to situations like how P&G successfully marketed Febreze. I thought it was very interesting.

Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist – Political correctness is perhaps not one of the top priorities in this book but it’s pretty damn straight-forward and honest about the mess that is the mental health system. The author does not shy away from writing about mistakes he made during his career, the failings with current approaches to mental health, and he certainly does not sugar coat the violence and suicide. Sometimes the difficulties that the patients and the practitioners within the mental health services face are watered down so it was good to read a very blunt account.

Games played in 2017: 3
Fiction books read in 2017: 5
Non-fiction books read in 2017: 8
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