My 2012 Reading And Viewing (And Event-Going) In Review

Working hard at Media140 - April, 2012
Working hard at Media140 – April, 2012

Currently on a break – back on Thursday. Here’s something I blogged before I left.

Penn Jillette used to do this all the time when he kept a blog, and I used to find it interesting. I don’t know if you’ll find my reading and viewing (and conference-attending) habits interesting, but I’ve kept a quasi-regular log in the back of my diaries throughout the decades and this year is no exception. This is the first time I’ve typed one out, however.

I haven’t included books or films or documentaries that I’ve re-read – everything listed here are “new” to me, even though some items might be quite old. While I’ll revisit films and books all the time (the piles of much-loved books next to my bathtub, on my bedside table, in the back of the car, for example), I’ve kept them off just to be accurate.

Feature Films Seen In The Cinema (in no particular order)

  • Looper
  • The Avengers (once in Australia, once in Berlin with Eugenie Scott!)
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Skyfall (twice)
  • The Hunger Games
  • Paris-Manhattan
  • The Secret World of Arrietty
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Live Arena Tour
  • Argo
  • Seven Psychopaths
  • Coriolanus
  • Chronicle
  • Gone
  • The Bourne Legacy

Very soon? The Hobbit, on IMAX, most likely, and Hitchcock. Do note that some films USA viewers may have enjoyed might not have been released here (and may never be – still waiting for Cloud Atlas and I don’t think Raiders of the Lost Ark on IMAX was ever released here).

You may notice that new films like Prometheus, John Carter, etc, aren’t listed – if the “word of mouth” was so bad for a movie, I just didn’t bother seeing it. For example, I liked the novel Life of Pi and I don’t want to ruin it by seeing what I hear is a confusing movie. I might catch them on television one day in the future, but that’s it.


Documentaries (In no particular order)

  • Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present
  • We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For
  • Wikileaks: War, Lies and Videotape
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • Grizzly Man
  • George Harrison: Living In The Material World
  • Woody Allen: A Documentary
  • God Bless Ozzy Osbourne
  • Louis Theroux: Killadelphia
  • Louis Theroux: Return to the Most Hated Family
  • This American Life Live
  • When Louis Theroux Met: Jimmy Saville
  • Crack House USA
  • Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender
  • Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story (I’m a big Queen fan, so I’ve seen two this year)
  • Andrew Jenks: Room 335
  • Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
  • Conviction: The True Story of Clarence Elkins
  • Crossfire Hurricane


Conferences And Events

  • Australian Science Communicators Conference 2012, Sydney (Bridge8 gave me a social media award!)
  • Perth Writers’ Festival (I got to see Alom Shaha on stage!)
  • Global Atheist Convention 2012 (MC with Lawrence Leung)
  • Media140 Digital Futures (Blogger)
  • World Skeptics Congress, Berlin (Presenter)
  • Assorted local events like ChemFest and AstroFest science outreach days and the SciTech Comedy Debate – Survival of Stupidity – is evolution getting it wrong?
  • A few Perth Skeptic events like Tim Minchin Vs WASO; Fiona Scott-Norman’s “The Needle and the Damage Done“; Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt’s Our Expanding Universe
  • ScienceRewired (Blogger, Podcaster and Presenter – busy time!)
  • TEDxPerth (Podcaster)
  • SciTech’s Profs and Pints during winter – I presented at the one called “On What Makes A Dangerous Idea”
  • Open House Perth (Volunteer – I’m in the front row, third from the right!)

There’s also things like plays, music (Arcadia, Meow Meow, Death Cab for Cutie, Into The Woods) but many of these were also tied into other events like the Perth Festival. I was less active with events this year due to study, other commitments and what’s turned out to be a dragging-on injury that has kept me putting my health first. But to be working and presenting at over a handful is new for me, so I consider it a win overall!


Books (no particular order – and I’m certain I’ve missed some – textbooks for study, for example)

  • The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters – Mark Henderson
  • Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients – Ben Goldacre
  • The Sex Myth: Why Everything We’re Told is Wrong – Brooke Magnanti
  • Stasiland: Oh Wasn’t it so Terrible – True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall – Anna Funder
  • It’s Not About The Sex (My Ass!) – Joanne Hanks (With Steve Cuno)
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir – Jenny Lawson
  • The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett
  • Lost At Sea – Jon Ronson
  • The Taliban Shuffle – Kim Barker
  • Just a Girl – Jane Caro
  • The Book Of Rachael – Leslie Cannold
  • You’ll be Sorry When I’m Dead – Marieke Hardy
  • Bird Cloud – Annie Proulx
  • The Price of Life: A True Story of Kidnap and Ransom – Nigel Brennan
  • Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious – Chris Stedman
  • Utopian Man – Lisa Lang
  • The Year Of The Flood – Margaret Attwood
  • Narcissism – Anne Manne
  • Cold Light – Frank Moorehouse
  • Galore – Michael Crummey
  • The Girl From Bagdad – Michelle Nouri
  • Essential Feminist Reader – Estelle B. Freedman
  • The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection – Clifford Pickover
  • The Magic Of Reality – Richard Dawkins
  • Feminism – Margaret Walters
  • The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body – Frances Ashcroft
  • Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots – Deborah Feldman
  • Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • Joseph Anton – Salman Rushdie
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic – David Quammen
  • The Routledge Companion to Feminism and Postfeminism – Edited by Sarah Gamble
  • Women of the Revolution: Forty Years of Feminism – Kira Cochrane
  • Every Day Is An Atheist’s Holiday – Penn Jillette
  • Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan

As you may notice… I don’t read certain cheap popular erotica that everyone was buying in 2012. Not interested. I do have a copy of Marc Abrahams’ This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens and other WTF Research, which I think is more of an enjoyable mind-f. Many of these books were read after listening or meeting the authors during the Perth Writers’ Festival.


Books I Wrote in 2012

The Scope of Skepticism: Interviews, Essays and Observations From The Token Skeptic Podcast

Ended up reading it so often during editing over 2011/12 I can practically recite it… I’m going to aim for writing one every two years, but the subjects may vary.


See you in 2013!

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