My New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2007 to everyone living east of UTC -3, and a great New Year’s Eve to everyone living in or west of UTC -3.

Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to read 100 books, which I’ve fulfilled exactly 53% of. In a vain attempt to force myself to make good on my promises for 2007, here they are. Although I surreptitiously update my posts whenever I detect a typo, or a line break that was supposed to be a paragraph break, or an egregious numerical error, this will stay as it is.

Literary: I resolve to read 100 books for real in the new year, and, if possible, 147, to make up for my laziness in 2006. As usual, math books don’t count, and neither do books from other disciplines that are best classified as textbooks. However, math-themed books that aren’t textbook and have content significantly diverging from pure math, like Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, do count. I also resolve to finish editing my book and start sending it to publishers by February at latest.

Mathematics: I resolve to learn the basics of algebraic number theory, at the level of Neukirch or Cassels and Fröhlich. The gold standard is knowing the exact statement and significance of Langlands’ modularity and preferably also functoriality conjectures, as well as understanding elliptic curves and modular forms well enough to know the basic idea of Wiles’ proof of the Taniyama-Shimura theorem.

Blogosphere: I resolve to involve myself in more mainstream discourse. There’s something hypocritical about complaining about political ineffectiveness and then segregating myself among other liberal blogs and arguing with radical leftists. So I resolve to be involved in comment threads on moderate and conservative blogs more, and to restrict my blog consumption to at most two-thirds liberal. Nothing against Jessica and Lindsay, but their readers aren’t the people I’m trying to persuade. I also resolve not to let my blogroll reach gender parity, and to link to nonwhite bloggers more; I should consistently have a female majority, at least 20-25% nonwhites, and at least 20-25% moderates and conservatives on my blogroll.

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7 Responses to My New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Bruce says:

    Happy New Year and please take this comment as your permanent “key to the city” and standing invitation to Crablaw Maryland Weekly, which is undoubtedly to your right but to the left of the U.S. as a whole, particularly left on non-economic social issues.

    BTW, if your book is on a non-mathematics topic, please count a mention and review at my site. If it’s math, I simply lack the background (took a linear algebra course at Princeton 16 years ago, found it even harder than the Japanese I was slogging through at the time.)

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It’s a novel about religious totalitarianism that has characters that are surprisingly similar to real-life politicians even though I created them independently.

  3. Zoey L. says:

    Well, I don’t know your level of reading, but two good short books are Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. They each are about a hundred pages. The latter is the only Christian themed book I could ever stand and the former is just a good book that you’ve probably already read before. Do you have to read a hundred and forty-seven books you haven’t already? Or can they be just books? Or could they be just stories? I’m sure you could find stories on the internet (probably not what you’re looking for, but hey, a story is a story).

    Your book sounds interesting. It’d be interesting to read something like that. From the little description in the above comment, is it anything like Orwellian(sp?) writing? that’s all I can think of for now.

  4. Alon Levy says:

    I’ve read Animal Farm, but I’ll check out The Screwtape Letters.

    I don’t generally read books more than once. Sometimes I read a book twice, but only if it’s really funny and really easy to read. I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy twice, I think, but Crime and Punishment only once.

    I don’t count stories, but I do count compilations of short stores. Off the top of my head, I can recall two of the 53 that weren’t books, but rather collections of short stories. However, I do count things I read on the net, if they’re books; one of the 53 is The Conservative Nanny State, which I read online here.

    My book is somewhat Orwellian. The main difference is that instead of describing the dystopia, I describe the political processes that created it. But I’m probably going to post a short story later this week/month that takes place 17 years after the Revolution and that is a little more Orwellian.

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