• [Fifty Books Finished in June]

    I finished my 50th book of the year, Moonraker (Ian Fleming), at the beginning of June, part of my Read 50 books in 2005 goal on 43 Things. I never had any doubts that I would be able to do 50 in a year, since I’m a big reader, using spare time in queues or on buses to read. Just in case you’re bored, here’s my list of 50:

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  • [Fifty Fabulous Book Binges]

    I’ve seen many people profess a goal this year to read at least 50 books. Given that I read incessantly, I don’t think I should have any trouble reading 50 books in 2005. Even discounting juvenile literature, which tends to be shorter and easier to digest, I still believe I’ll be able to make 50 books in the first six months.
    “How do I do it?”, you ask. I usually read an hour or so before going to sleep. Combining this with a high reading speed, you can knock through books at a good clip. I also like to read in the bathtub. I often take a book with me there and read for an hour, at least once a week. Finally, I have many books in electronic form, courtesy of Project Gutenberg and Baen’s WebScriptions project. This means I can carry many books easily with me on my handheld to read on planes, trains, and buses, and while waiting in line.
    Oh yes, I also listen to unabridged audio books. I belong to Audible and I download two unabridged books a month to listen to on my iPod. I find it very soothing to have someone read me to sleep (remember that from when you were very young?). I set the iPod to “sleep” in 30 minutes and pick up in an audio book at the point I last remember hearing. This is usually a very slow way to get through a book as I often fall asleep within five or ten minutes of starting.
    I plough through more of an audiobook while working on my 10 000 steps goal. I do 4- and 6-kilometre walks along the Brighton seaside. To do the 6-kilometre walk and return home gives me about 8500 steps and takes just over an hour. Many unabridged audio books I choose will fit into 8-12 hours. If I’m walking every day, like I should, in theory I can listen to one audiobook in under two weeks.
    Step up to the plate. See if you can make 50 books this year or match my list.

  • [Time Travel Title]

    I’ve been participating in a discussion of The Time Traveler’s Wife at Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms community. If you have read the book, you know that Henry always travels through time naked involuntarily. That reminded me of a time travelling story I read in the 1980s where the protaganist travelled naked on purpose. He explained a naked man was less startling in any time than a person in clothes wildly out of sync with the time in which the traveller finds himself. Imagine, for example, how remarkable it would be to find a traveller on the road in front of your house fully clothed in full Elizabethan regalia or some whacky futuristic clothing. While naked people are unusual on the road, at least they’re not anachronistic.

    In addition to time travelling, I believe the story may have involved some kind of barrier which trapped time travellers and broke their machines, if they used a mechanical method of time travelling. The protagonist hit this barrier and ended up in a society heavily controlled with an active police presence. When he interacted with the locals, they thought he might might have been “Slandutch” or “Slandeutsch” because he spoke still in complete sentences with a traditional English word order and verb conjugation. For example, where he would say, “Are you Slandutch?”, the temporal natives said things like “Be you Slandutch?”. The local police eventually caught up with the protagnist and he’s jailed with a variety of other humans and aliens who have also been time travelling.

    I’m guessing this story was written between 1950 and 1970, although I read it in the early 1980s. What is the name of this story and who wrote it?

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