nathan lyle

Learning

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."

~ Carl Sagan

Books

My main bookshelf (of two) in the living room... most other rooms also have some shelves

Learning might be the most creative thing of all. Or at least, it allows creativity to do so much more. I've loved books as long as I can remember. The first adult book I remember reading was Carl Sagan's Contact when I was in fifth grade. (My dad never got the book back, I still have it.) Following the story of the main character from her childhood to her universe shattering journey, very much instilled in me a love of science.

While I haven't quite figured out the best way to complete it, I've begun in recent years to work toward a degree in physics—ultimately wanting to be involved in theoretical physics. I've been reading books about time, chaos theory, black holes, gravity, etc. for almost as long as I can remember and would love to take a crack at contributing (despite the late start and thin chance of opportunity.)

So far I've put three years in, taking a class or two at a time per semester. But after working out the timeline and cost, it become apparent that I needed to save up and do it in a more concentrated push. That plus Covid put me on the road toward growing my business for now, though I haven't written off my college return yet.

I believe I've learned almost as much from science fiction as I have from the non-fiction I've read... I spent a couple of decades addicted to a monthly magazine called Analog, which my dad had subscribed to. It was a series of short stories by various authors, with some longer stories broken across editions. I enjoyed the exploration of ideas, that while based in fiction, most often attempted to rationalize using science the various amazing technlogies and ideas. If we don't begin with imagination, nothing would ever get invented!

When my dad died, I inherited most of his book collection (and the shelves shown in the picture above.) I'd already built up a sizable collection myself, and I spent about two years trying to slim it all down, as I've not yet lived in a house that I could take a room and dedicate to being a library. (Plus, moving is rough when a majority of your belongings are heavy.) It was actually really hard for me to do... I won't lie... there were some tears. I ended up selling some to a bookstore for credit but donated about 20 grocery bags full to the Marquette library.

I'm currently down to one main larger shelf area in the living room with an additional smaller one on another wall, a small shelf in the dining room, standard Walmart type sized shelves in both my office and bedroom, and of course the window ledge in the bathroom works as a great shelf too. (My youngest son's room has a few shelves, though his share space between books and all kinds of miscellaneous things.)

I've been working on listing all my books in the app Handy Library (available for Android, not sure if there's an iPhone version) so I can more easily remember whether I already have something, when I'm at the bookstore. I've currently got 352 of them in there. And the paid version of the app lets you import/export library data as well. Most newer books you can just scan the code and get the information automatically entered (but I have a lot of older books so it's slow going.) While I don't have it done yet, you can download what I've got so far if you're curious: HandyLibrary.csv — I'll update it as I finish the data entry. (I'm always open for trades if you find something you want and have anything to offer, either for keeps for to borrow.)

Learning Through The Ear Holes

During the end of my second marriage, I discovered podcasts, which made the eight hour drive between Toledo and the U.P. much easier to handle, as I drove it every two weeks for a while. I've also sometimes subscribed to Audible, though I found I wasn't consuming those fast enough to make the subscription worth it.

If you don't yet have a podcast app on your phone, and you've got an Android, I recommend Podcast Addict. The specific podcasts I subscribe to changes over time, but some of my ongoing favorites are: