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Franklin Hu

2015 in Review

I started 2015 by actually writing down goals for the first time, and in retrospect feel like I did more than I otherwise would have had I not made them. The move to London sponged up a lot of free time in the latter half of the year, so here’s to hoping 2016 is a bit more productive.

  • ✅Start blogging: I set up this blog earlier this month and hastily wrote a post, so we’ll call this one good
  • 😕Read 12 classics: Originally, I made this goal because I felt grossly underread in a pretty broad swath of English classics; I ended the year with 5 out of 12, so the remaining ones will roll into next year’s list
  • 😕Finish Duolingo Danish course: Got about 10 lessons further, but am not anywhere close to being finished
  • ❌Take an acting or tap dancing class
  • ❌Read 12 technical papers: I completely lost track of what papers I read so have no idea if I was close
  • ❌Learn Rust

Books

My amount of structured reading time fell off pretty dramatically as part of the move since I no longer have a commute via public transit, so the list here happened mostly before August.

Favorites

  • At Large and At Small and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
  • The Martian, Andy Weir
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Everything else

  • Tales of Adventure and Medical Life, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  • Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassant
  • The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn, Arkady Strugatsky
  • Men at Arms, Terry Pratchett
  • Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield
  • Guards! Guards, Terry Pratchett
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  • Gulp, Mary Roach
  • The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Siddartha, Hermann Hesse
  • The Hippopotamus, Stephen Fry
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

Podcasts

Though I haven’t been reading as much lately, I have been listening to podcasts regularly. Sinica, 99% Invisible, and This American Life are by far my favorites, and I’ve linked some notable episodes below.

Sinica

I stumbled upon Sinica while trying to find things that would help me not forget (or improve) my Mandarin, and it’s been interesting to hear about a variety of cultural and political viewpoints about Beijing and China from foreigners who live there.

99% Invisible

I’ve enjoyed every episode of this podcast; they’re digestable and not super long (~20 minutes). Roman Mars also did a great TED talk about flags.

Travel

I didn’t take many contiguous blocks of vacation, but did manage to see some new places:

  • Quebec City
  • Montreal
  • London
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Newcastle

Liking it so far but really struggling to pronounce the author's Dutch name...

A post shared by Franklin Hu (@thisisfranklin) on

Miscellanea

Goals for 2016

  • Read 25 books, including the remaining 7 classics from 2015 (Lolita, Pride and Prejudice, Candide, Crime and Punishment, Macbeth, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Slaughterhouse Five)
  • Finish the Duolingo Danish course
  • Blog at least once a month
  • Speak at another conference
  • Relearn to do headstands unassisted
  • Work on some side projects with the 100:10:1 method