Showing posts from June, 2008

Friday Finds for 6/27

This is another cool meme! Friday Finds encourages everyone to post about a new (to them at least) book/author. I am going to post about a couple philosophy books. I love reading philosophy, especially what i call "applied philosophy" and here are two books that are at the top of my wishlist. The first is The Undercover Philosopher by Michael Phillips . Besides having an incredible title I wish I had thought of, it has a great Dick Tracy-type comic cover. From the Powell's site " In this gripping and controversial book, Michael Phillips outlines all the reasons we don't know what we think we do, and the devastating consequences this can have. From false memories to fraudulent experts, Phillips treads in the footsteps of Descartes to reveal why we must be more careful in what we believe and how we think. Spanning psychology, philosophy, science, and sociology, this unique exploration of why we get things wrong, and how to guard against it, is an essential

BTT for 6/26

I like today's question! What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote? I think a person is a "reader" if they read for pleasure, besides any reading for work, school, or life goals. If you do read in your spare time but it is just self help and books in your field then I really wouldn't count you. I also kind of have a bias against those who may read in their time but only to impress others; reading Oprah's latest recommendation just to be able to say you have is kind of borderline to me. I also feel there is a volume threshold. I would say 4-6 books a year is the minimum that makes you a reader. Here's another few signs: you'd list "reading" as a hobby on a personals ad you'd rather read a book on a long fli

Deep Economy

I've got literally 11 books from the library right now. I have 1 more to get through by next Monday and 3 more by the 3rd of July. Might not make those but we'll see. I finished Deep Economy by Bill McKibben . The basic idea is that unlimited economic growth is impossible to sustain, running the environment into the ground as well as ruining American's lives. Our extreme individualism and "every man for himself" attitiudes have eroded our communities, literally and figuratively. He gives a lot of examples on how to rebuild communities from places that have done it. Sure, some are in Portland, OR or the author's state of Vermont but others are throughout the US and the world. One statistic that stuck out to me is that people have 10 TIMES more conversations at the farmer's market than the grocery store! 10 TIMES! But I completely believe it. Just from the fact that many of the prices aren't marked require you to talk to the sellers. You ask a

George Carlin

I've mentioned I had a pretty liberal upbringing. My parents didn't really restrict much of what we saw, watched, or read, and didn't mind their own language too much either, though i can't remember too many Fucks being said around. Some of my earlier memories of my dad are of watching tv, like Saturday Night Live or comedy HBO specials. I remember seeing George Carlin on HBO with him when i was maybe 8. My dad laughed hysterically throughout. Even though I personally didn't get all the jokes, I knew this guy had to be good to get my dad going like that. I may or may not have heard this then but it is one i love. I hope the sun embraces you Mr. Carlin.

My year, half finished for WG 9

Weirdly enough, I had been writing this post over the last 2 days to put up at the beginning of July. Now that it is a Weekly Geek Topic, I'll go ahead and post it now. Being halfway finished, or halfway begun, with the year, I felt it was a good time to give an update on challenges, totals, and my life in general. Totals first. I have finished 57 books, 20 of which were non-fiction and 43 total were from the library. Challenges now. For the Russian Reading Challenge I've got 3/7 done. For the Young Adult Challenge I am done with 7/12. Woo Hoo! For the TBR challenge I've finished 6/12. For the Science Book Challenge I am finished with 2/3. For the What's in a Name challenge I am super sucking. I've just got 1/6 finished. really got to work on that one. I completed the Once Upon a Time 2 challenge in time. For the 10 out of 1001 Challenge I haven't read any of the books. For the 1% Well Read Challenge I've read 1 book out of 10. For the life sect

First ARC Review

So as you can tell by my sidebar, i have my books catalogued on LibraryThing. I've only been in the Early Reviewer group for about 4 months but in May i scored an ARC for On a Day Like This by Peter Stamm. This one is going to come out in July. I feel like I need to do a great job on the review since I got it free. It is the story of a Swiss man, Andreas, teaching German in a Paris school. He seems to be in his late 40's, is unmarried, and has an orderly, if pretty boring, life. He sleeps with a couple of women regularly, not in a relationship sense. He's drifting through everything without really feeling anything. Then he goes to the doctor for a cough, which leads to an x-ray, which leads to a biopsy. He freaks at the idea of knowing the outcome. At that point, Andreas basically jettisons his life. He seems, even early in the novel, to be fixated on a woman he knew when he was young, who he only kissed once and who ended up marrying a friend of his. So he retu

Once Upon a Time 2 Wrap Up

So I finished up the OUaT2 first challenge to read 5 books. However, my original list was Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Eldest by Christopher Paolini (crossing with my YA challenge) The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (non-fic) and I only read the Pullman book. Ah well. I completed The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly Fire Study by Maria Snyder Prince Caspian by CS Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis Seven is a pretty decent total I feel. I would have finished the Narnia series but there seems to have been a run on The Silver Chair so i just had to request it from the library. I mean, I've checked for it every time I've gone to the library since late April. What gives?

BTT for 6/19

I haven't done this in a while but here's a question I am going to attempt to answer. Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not? This one is difficult. Character definitely is a big part of why I like any book. I couldn't finish Trainspotting because I just didn't give a damn what happened to anybody in the book anymore. Stephen King has a great way with character and dialogue; even if the story sucks sometimes you keep reading because of the characters. Imagery is important; imagery is why I like reading Gaiman, although he is

Fahrenheit 451

Sometimes I really want to smack myself. In the head, relatively hard, to leave bruises. Usually it happens when I either realize something that I should have figured out long before or when I read something and I am upset about what I've been missing. That happened last night when I finished Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury . How could I get through 20 years of serious reading life and not have read this? How did I manage to go through the last few years without such a relevant, modern book in my mental arsenal? I want to grab everyone I know and make them read it. I don't want to rehash the plot as I think most people know the gist of it but what got me isn't the fact that it was about censorship, it is really about people participating in their own slavery. The long speeches by Montag's boss and his friend Faber really crystalize how a people could be led to become robots. How Bradbury predicted the mass media culture and faux-news environment in 1953 is beyond m

Yummy Dinner

Hummus and pita sandwiches...mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Fun, with Usable Tips!

Sometimes I read something and think, "I could have written that". Occasionally, like when i made the mistake of reading The DaVinci Code I even think "hell, I could have written a better book that that trash". Today I read something that i could have written, but not nearly as well. Hilariously funny, How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith is, well, about surviving a horror movie. Lots of funny tidbits, including how to tell what type of horror movie you may be in, various killers and how to counter them, and all the rules for horror in general. Here's one from the section on "What to do if your corn has children in it" Fire up the crop duster: Drop Pot Brownies! It doesn't matter what kind of demon they have protecting them, nothing has more power over a child than the smell of fresh-baked brownies--especially when you've been existing on nothing but raw corn for months. Drop a few pot-laced batches over the focal poi


A book I sorely needed after finishing God's Brothel , Irreligion by John Allen Paulos is completely summed up by it's subtitle: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up. Very concise and coherent. It is a little book that discusses some of the proofs that philosophers use to prove God exists. He goes through the ones that are easy to disprove but hard to counter, like the argument from miracles or faith or the gambling arguement. He also shows how some proofs, like bible codes and probabilities, fall apart when looked at mathematically. The maths aren't hard to follow, though I did loose the flow a bit when he started talking about sets. It has been like 13 years since I had any formal math classes (I had to take calculus my freshman year of college) and other than that one part I was able to follow just fine. I give this one a 5. On the movie front, R and I (and several others) saw The Hulk Friday night. Was it a miracle of

thanks R!

sometimes R really comes through for me. he sent me this wonderful, funny link about an ID/evolution debate Wednesday but i didn't read it until this morning. Very Helpful after yesterday's downer of a book.

More Proof Religion Sucks

I am going to go on a bit of a rant here. An atheist rant. So if you're going to be offended you may want to just keep on surfing. I finished God's Brothel by Andrea Moore-Emmett today. It is the collected stories of several women who escaped from polygamist cults. Rape, child abuse, neglect, jealousy, anger, fear. Awful awful stuff. Some of the women move from regular Mormonism over into the fundamentalist side; others are born into it and survive the awful childhood situations. I literally can't imagine going through half what these women did. Honestly, it makes me feel pretty pathetic for my own depression, but that is a different thing. The book is a 5 and I wish it had a bit more about what people are doing, such as prosecutions, etc, to give it a bit of a happy ending. Here's the rant bit. Religions suck because they are all based on what i call the "magic book" theory. Here's your magic book, written long ago (or not so long ago in t

Another 7

I guess I am having a pretty good reading month! Today I finished The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly and I give it a 7. A book that i can count for both the YA challenge and Once Upon a Time 2. Yay! I loved it. Really really loved it. The story is pretty fairy tale basic: a boy looses his mother, gets a step-mother and half brother he resents. The boy reads a lot, living in his own head and one night follows the sound of his mother's voice into a different world. The Crooked Man, or Trickster, is the bad guy trying to make our hero betray another person. The boy has adventures, earns enemies and friends, and finally meets the king whom he hopes will return the boy to his own world. But the story shines because it really is turning all the other fairy tales on their heads. Little Red Riding Hood becomes a story about bestiality; Sleeping Beauty is really a vampire and Hansel and Gretel are truly fucked up. The boy's story also is not typical: he's living in

Fire Study

Today at work i finished the third book in Maria Snyder's fantasy series, Fire Study .I actually liked this one less than the previous two. While neither of the previous books were particularly reflective, I do feel they were a little slower paced. Fire Study seems to have to be in constant motion, jumping from battle to ambush to conflict to betrayal as fast as possible. We jump right in with just a few mentions of previous events, which is kinda nice for those of us who've read the previous ones but I really wouldn't recommend anyone start with this one. I mean, some events happen so quickly that I actually lost track of various characters and had to skip back a few pages to figure out what was going on. The story itself isn't bad, we just aren't given any breathing room to digest before the next event happens. i give this one a 4/7.

A Couple Reviews

Not too much going on. Have been hanging out with R, cooking, watching movies, sleeping, watching basketball, etc. Finished up two books in the last few days. I finally finally finally finished Rebel Angels by LIbba Bray on audiobook. I say all the finallys because I've had it from the library for about 3 months. I just kept renewing it. I would say I didn't like this one as much as the first. There were several things that threw me off in it, things i feel an editor should have caught. Just glitches in the time line, people that pop up without explanation, etc. While the first book was about as long it didn't feel anywhere near as long. But with this one i had to keep dragging myself back to it. I just never felt like listening to it. The basic plot is that Gemma and her friends must find the Temple in the Realms and bind the magic that Gemma set free in the first novel. Love and family intrigue complicate things, as do the Christmas holidays the girls must sp


Last week's Geek topic is alternative forms of storytelling. At first I wasn't sure I would write about this topic, which is why I am posting this late. I mean, anyone who glances at my blog can tell 2 things: I read a lot of non-fiction and I watch a lot of movies. I pretty much have some strong preferences when it comes to stuff to do besides fiction reading. Then after letting this topic percolate in my head a few days I came back and reread it. The line that caught my eye this time was "some might share family bedtime stories " and a light popped on in my head. I could tell a story about my dad telling a story. We went camping several times when i was a kid. I had just 2 brothers back then but camping is a pretty cheap vacation. 10 bucks a day for the site, plus food, plus a little gas to get there (this was the 80's after all) and you just let the kids run about and swim. At night we would roast hot dogs, eat s'mores, catch bugs, look at stars, and