Books

The Alloy of Law doesn’t compare to the Mistborn trilogy – it just isn’t as good. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was ghostwritten, although Sanderson claims it as his own. The protagonist wasn’t the strongest character, not even the second strongest. I was disappointed, but mostly because I had my hopes set high.

I really liked David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle until the last hundred pages. I was delighted with it! I cherished each moment while I was reading it. The ending was a huge disappointment.

Unfamiliar locales and situations plus a variety of complex and flawed personalities make Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder an absorbing book that was a joy to read.

Patchett’s The Magician’s Assistant was too dreamy for me; the way that Sabine, Parsifal, and Phan seemed to be so content and without conflict was unrealistic. I liked the Nebraska characters better because their lives seemed more true.

My favorite part of Patchett’s The Patron Saint of Liars was the masterful handling of changing the point of view from Rose to Son to Cecelia. I enjoyed reading it, but was disappointed in the lack of an ending.

I enjoyed reading Patchett’s Run. Great writing, and flawed but likeable characters.

Never Be Lied To Again (by David Lieberman) has nice short chunks of information, making it very readable. There is lots of good information, but I’d need to have a better memory to use it properly. Also, in most instances, the examples were so far from the realm of my life that they were useless. What I found most useful were the reminders of ways to appear genuine – things that don’t come naturally to me such as an open posture and looking people in the eye; I need to remember these things even though for me it isn’t about deception.

Slow and serene, this book requires patience. I happened to read Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter while in bed with a headcold, so I was able to stick with it, and perhaps my slightly fuzzy brain was required.  There are several lovely moments and thoughtful ideas, but I am not as keen about farming as the protagonist is, nor do I prefer the non-chronological manner that Hannah’s story was dispensed.

When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde is interesting in the turnabout of roles with an older and younger brother, but due to the subject matter it would have been more timely to read it ten years ago.

I liked the history-memory-reading aspects of Michael Siemsen’s The Dig, but the present-day storyline was pretty dull.

 

Movies

Amelie is a quirky French film with subtitles and nudity. It was somewhat amusing, but I don’t actually recommend it.

 

Drive has Ryan Gosling, and that’s pretty much the only good thing about it. Really violent and rather pointless.

 

Blog posts you should read:

Choosing the right habits isn’t exactly as the title describes, but I appreciate the reminder to not be judgmental about the choices that others make, because we don’t really know their circumstances or what they need to keep their head above water.

It’s pretty fashionable to mock people who have a $4 daily coffeeshop habit, but what Ann says is true — for some people, the daily $4 may be staving off a much bigger problem! On the other hand, we have a bad habit of misidentifying luxuries as “needs.” Maybe the question to ask is, exactly how does this thing I say I need fill a hole?
“I really need my daily latte” might mean, “I am addicted to caffeine and a latte is a tasty way to get my fix.” It might mean, “I have established a ritual of stopping at the coffee shop each day, and doing the same thing every day makes me feel peaceful while changing my routine makes me feel upset.” It might mean, as Ann suggested, “I need to encounter other people so I don’t feel so lonely, and the latte gives me an excuse and a motivation to go do it.” It might mean, “I can afford so few luxuries, and the latte is a petty luxury that makes me feel less poor

Hyperbole’s Depression Part 2

…you can’t combat nothing.

What seems to help in the midst of pain

it’s hard to hurt.  and it’s hard to be around other people who are hurting.

i have a theory that we often have an unconscious hope that if we could  say the right words in the exact right way, it would radically help another person. most people aren’t one sentence away from feeling better when they are in pain.  presence seems to matter more than words.

 

In my ears

The Boardwalk Empire soundtrack (favourites are After You Get What You Want and all the songs by Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks)
Skeetz Tolbert and His Gentlemen of Swing
Raymond Scott
Gang of Rhythm by Walk Off the Earth
Drive by Incubus
Churchill’s Change
The Speakeasies’ Swing Band
Clap Your Hands on the Afterbeat
Beauty and a Beat by Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox

 

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