whoever hasn't read these by now just won't read them, but initally i refused until a girlfriend convinced me. you can't read them for the reasons youwhoever hasn't read these by now just won't read them, but initally i refused until a girlfriend convinced me. you can't read them for the reasons you normally read, or at least i can't. it's best to approach them with childhood nostalgia, as a book you loved when you were a kid and are rereading, even though you didn't.
they're charming and sweet sometimes, and comparatively dark at others, but the charm is why to read them. the plots are well constructed, so that experienced readers don't just see everything coming as you might think.
people spoil the endings for each other, but the endings aren't really the point. i think any story that's ruined by knowing the ending is a bad story (looking at you m. night shyamalan). at least there's always more twists than in the last chapter.
the bad part about these books is watching harry time after time refuse to tell people about a dangerous secret, but she gets better later on for coming up with reasons he can't. ...more
i just reread this over the weekend. in some ways the movie is as good as the book, and some of the structure and reshuffling of who says what actualli just reread this over the weekend. in some ways the movie is as good as the book, and some of the structure and reshuffling of who says what actually works better in the movie.
the reasons to read the book are for the style of the prose, which is a bit more abstract than you'd expect, and that a book can be much more graphic and disturbing than a film can manage, even today. the book isn't concerned with keeping its characters sexy, which in a way is sortof the whole point. you can't actually hit rock bottom and still look like brad pitt looks.
since the book is so short, there's not much they couldn't fit into the movie, but there are noticeably more details about project mayhem and the whole soapmaking process at the house. it's interesting to read about the space monkeys cultivating this beautiful garden for their soap ingredients so mindlessly and efficiently that it's almost brutal.
from the new introduction, chuck palahniuk reveals that he thinks of the book as a love story, and as a retelling of the great gatsby. these facts alone make it worth giving it another look. ...more
"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might,"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might, he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."
i hated this book for the first few hundred pages, and by the final page i was in love with it.
it's very british and dry and snarky. it's a book about britain in the 1800s, but magic has been rediscovered. it's a very satirical story about britain that only a brit would come up with.
there are lots of great moments describing the awful red tape and misunderstanding and pr issues that end up surrounding everything in the real world, even magic.
there are also lots of long footnotes on the fictional arguments between scholars of magic on points of the book as they come up. you can see how this would require a very particular type of reader to enjoy.
like most scifi and fantasy novels that are actually good, it's really not about what it claims to be about at all, but about interesting characters each with a tragic flaw.
mr norrell is also the classic bore, and even when he does talk about the magic he can do, he manages to dissapoint everyone. now that i look at the book again, the first couple hundred pages are all about mr norrell, which explains why i was so bored.
jonathan strange ends up reminding me a lot of myself. he's cocky and idealistic easily distracted, and far too easily wrapped up in things that he decides are important for his own good. he easily becomes careless and he neglects his relationships. he still always means well though, and the two characters end up playing well off one another.
this is a book to read for the sake of reading it. people called it austen meets tolkien and that's pretty accurate. it's not going to teach or convince the reader of much. there are large plot elements, but at times they almost seem purposely anticlimactic. i'd call it light reading if it weren't 900 pages long. ...more
as a story, i consider this a 2 star book. but for its author and philosophy and circumstance, i think it's more interesting.
when i picked this up inas a story, i consider this a 2 star book. but for its author and philosophy and circumstance, i think it's more interesting.
when i picked this up in the bargain bin, i could tell from the giant portrait on the back of the book that it was written by a douche who wanted to share with me his advice on how to get laid. the book had more positive reviews that i'd have expected though, so i was intrigued.
all that actually matters about the story is that don juan is a famous libertine and seducer, and eventually he meets a woman who turns his life upside down and teaches him how to love. it really might as well have been written as a screenplay for antonio bandares.
the part about the book that is surprising is the philosophy of the don juan character. don juan's (and the reader assumes abrams') idea of why to be a ladies man and ultimately why to be a devoted husband are surprising, and have much more of a spiritual bent than i expected.
when i was mostly done reading the book, there was a mention of how don juan had read some secret book from the east, which basically taught him to have sex all night without ejaculating.
that's when i realized this wasn't the first book i'd read by doug abrams. he also cowrote the multiorgasmic man, another book which which had a surprising focus on the connection between sex and spirituality. it's essentially a book on taoist sexual techniques and philosophy, thinly disguised as a sex manual.
the theme of both books is that sex isn't great for the reason guys think it's great. abrams ultimately says that sex with one woman you love is a way to experience the beauty of all women, and can end up being much more pleasurable than having meaningless sex with a lot of women.
the thing that makes don juan interesting is not whether or not that's true (it is, i think), but that the book is obviously a way for abrams to clarify his own thinking to himself, and most importantly, to explain it to his wife.
his dedication to her at the end of the book makes it clear that the challenges of don juan and his love interest have been the same challenges abrams and his wife have faced: earning the trust of a woman who knows your sordid sexual past, making peace with settling down, finding the beauty and the sexuality of lifelong monogamy.
as somebody who solves all his problems by writing and/or talking, i can appreciate a book that serves to untangle a writer's thoughts. especially when i've wrestled with the same issues.
i picked this up on a whim the other night, and had finished it before i went to bed. it's a very light read, but filled with some interesting insighti picked this up on a whim the other night, and had finished it before i went to bed. it's a very light read, but filled with some interesting insights.
"people often come to me asking for medication. they are tired of their sad mood fatigue, and loss of interest in things that previously gave them pleasure... Here is what i tell them: the good news is that we have effective treatments for the symptoms of depression: the bad news is that medication will not make you happy. happiness is not simply the absence of despair. it is an affirmative state in which our lives have both meaning and pleasure."
the concept of the book is that a psychiatrist with a pretty tragic life of his own is giving his insights as to what patterns he's observed in his patients and himself. wishing he'd realized these things earlier in life, he decided to make a list of the top 30 things he things people need to realize about life and themselves.
i actually found some of the most interesting parts of the book to be about how to raise children and how it is to become elderly, and why relationships (especially marriage) dissolve.
the stuff that applied to me the most were small tips on day to day life, such as:
* we are what we do * only bad things happen quickly * there is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results. * notice what you forget * plan, don't wish
he supports each little chapter title with an anecdote. some of these are clearly cathartic exercises for himself, and i had a hard time figuring out what to pull out and apply to my own life. but like i said, he's had a crazy life and that's interesting to read about in its own right.
the other interesting aspect of the book is he mentions from time to time the type of things he has found useful to ask people as their therapist.
* what's next? * how's that working? * what are you saving yourself for? * what is the biggest chance you have ever taken? * what are you looking forward to? * how will this decision make you feel about yourself?
i found this interesting since so much of the trouble with trying to help someone change their life is the risk of them becoming defensive. these questions seemed useful for introspective purposes as well.
this is an amazingly good book, and it's a shame it's not getting more attention.
based on the title, it's easy to mistake this for a self-help book. ithis is an amazingly good book, and it's a shame it's not getting more attention.
based on the title, it's easy to mistake this for a self-help book. it's something much more interesting, which is a blend of pop-science book and memoir.
the author describes lab experiments, summarizes research, guides the reader through parts of the brain, which chemicals they make when and why, and how all these things can help to stack up and create the ephemeral feeling of satisfaction in a person. this is pretty standard stuff for a book on neuroscience.
the really great aspect of the book, though, is that berns goes out into the world on adventures. he talks to people in cuba about their life under a communist regime. he visits iceland, supposedly the country with the most satisfied people in the world, and accidentally finds out how their mythology may be connected to his research.
he spends an evening cooking and talking with a famous argentinian chef, interviews people who run 100m-mile ultramarathons, and visits an SM club.
at the end of the book, berns brings his knowledge home, and tries to get more satisfaction out of his marriage. i found this part in particular really personal and honest, and it's a great illustration of how he's looking for connctions everywhere in the world around him. if it's a self-help book for anyone, it's the author, which i always find makes the most interesting books.
he's very skilled at weaving the real-life anecdotes into the relevant science material, and he's obviously got a flair for prose. these elements on top of the interesting content make for a really well-paced book that it's sad to see end. i'll be rereading this one frequently. ...more
"let me begin with a confession: i'm lying. not to you or to the world, but to my striking blond editor at spin; she thinks i'm driving straight from"let me begin with a confession: i'm lying. not to you or to the world, but to my striking blond editor at spin; she thinks i'm driving straight from new york to west warwick, rhode island to "investigate" the great white club tragedy. i am actually driving tho ithaca, new york, with a woman, solely because this woman asked me to take her there and i immediately said yes. traveling to ithaca might seem harmless, but it's actually a metaphor. in fact, there may be a day in the near future when yo find yourself in a conversation about this book, and someone will ask you what the story is really about, beyond the rudimentary narrative of a cross-country death trip based on a magazine article. and it's very likely you will say, " well, the larger thesis is what underdeveloped, but there is this point early in the story where he takes a woman to ithaca for no apparent reason, and it initially seems innocuous, but - as you keep reading - you sort of see how this behavior is a self-perpetuating problem that keeps reappearing over and over again." in all probability, you will also complain about the author's reliance on self-indulgent, postmodern self-awareness, which will prompt the person you're conversing with to criticize the influence of dave eggers on the memoir-writing genre. then your cell phone will ring, and you will agree to meet someone for brunch. but ANYWAY, the woman i am taking to ithaca is named Diane. she works with me at Spin, although not directly. as o right now, i am in love with her, and that love is the biggest problem in my life. it's the only problem in my life, really. and by this time tomorrow, i will have given diane an ultimatum about our future together, which is ironic because i will do this in response to an ultimatum given to me by a different woman who lives in minnesota (a woman who has yet to be introduced into the story). so-ultimately-that will be the crux of this book: i will be driving across the country with two ultimatums hanging in the balance, delivered to (and from) two different women who have never met each other. and the larger irony will be that neither of these women will be the central female character in the story; that will actually be a third woman, but she will never tangibly appear anywhere in this entire book."
"in my opinion, we must legalize gay marriage, gay males are the only men in america who still want to be married."
"don't ever cheat on someone. i'm serious. it's not worth it. and i'm not saying this because cheating is morally wrong, because some people have a very specific version of morality that doesn't necessarily classify actions as right or wrong. the reason you should never cheat on someone is because you won't enjoy it. no matter which person you're with, you'll always be thinking of the other one. you will never be in the romantic present tense; your mind will solely exist in the past and the future. let's say you sleep with your mistress on friday and your wife on saturday: to an epicurean, this is the dream lifestyle. this is sexual utopia. but it never works out that way. when you're having sex with your mistress on friday, you will find yourself thinking about your wife. you will be thinking about how this act would destroy her, and how humiliated she would feel if she knew the truth. but then on saturday, when you're back in the arms of your trusting wife, your mind will immediately drift toward decadence, at the height of your physical passion, you will think back to how exciting things were 24 hours ago, when you were with a new strange body, except that it wasn't exciting to be with someone else; it 's only exciting in your memory (at the time, it just made you wracked with guild). so no you're having sex with someone who loves you, but your mind isn't even in the same room. and suddenly it's sunday; you have now had sex with two people on two consecutive nights, and you didn't appreciate either episode. algebraically, a + b = c and a + c = b. the only thing infidelity does is remind you of the people you're not having sex with, which is something you can just as easily think about when you're completely alone.
sometimes i read books to see life from a completely different perspective from my own, but this is one of those indulgent books that was written by someone just like me for people just like me. he's self-centered, relentlessly suspicious of his own motives, and unhealthily introspective. the hypothetical conversation between himself and the three women halfway through the book or so is amazing.
i read this book either the day before or the day after high fidelity, and it also was a very addictive one-night read. i'd been intending to pick up a klosterman book for multiple years, and this is the first one i finally ended up reading first.
i do a lot of underlining and dog-earing in my books, which is one of the reasons i can never read library books. when i'm finished with a book, you can tell how much i liked it by how many of the pages are dog-eared or marked. this book was mercilessly attacked. there are great little pithy quotes throughout....more
"sex is about the only grown-up thing i know how to do; it's weird, then, that it's the only thing that can make me feel like a ten-year-old"
"so maybe"sex is about the only grown-up thing i know how to do; it's weird, then, that it's the only thing that can make me feel like a ten-year-old"
"so maybe what i said before, about how listening to too many records messes your life up... maybe there's something in it after all. david owen, he's married right? he's taken care of all that, and now he's a big-shot diplomat. the guy who came into the shop with the suit and the car keys, he's married too, and now he's, i don't know a businessman. me, i'm unmarried - at the moment as unmarried as it's possible to be - and i'm the owner of a failing record shop. it seems to me that if you place music (and books, probably, and films, and plays, and anything that makes you feel) at the center of your being, then you can't afford to sort out your love life, start to think of it as the finished product. you've got to pick at it, keep it alive and in turmoil, you've got to pick at it and unravel it until it all comes apart and you're compelled to start all over again. maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content; we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heals happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship. maybe al green is directly responsible for more than i ever ralized. see, records have helped me fall in love, no question. i hear something new, with a chord change that melts my guts, and before i know it i'm looking for someone, and before i know it i've found her. i fell in love with rosie the simultaneous orgasm woman after i'd fallen in love with a cowboy junkies song: i played it and played it and played it, and it made me dreamy, and i needed someone to dream about, and i found her, and...well, there was trouble."
over christmas break i became mildly obsessed with the idea of music as the nexus of everything important. i read a bunch of books about music, watched cameron crowe movies, played guitar, sang in the shower; it was super self-indulgent and i loved every second of it.
i read this between midnight and sunrise. i kept intending to stop so as not to waste all the goodness in one night, but i couldn't let it go. i liked it so much that i actually rented the movie again later that same day, which i realize is slightly ridiculous.
sometimes a really good movie adaptation makes the book seem unnecessary, and i think this is one of those for a lot of people. i've always loved the movie, but the book has the added bonus of british charm, and more dialog and flashbacks.
despite the fact that the book is light and fun, i think it does tackle some real issues, and honestly at that. it will ring true to the guys of the personality that it's written about, and to the women who have to put up with them. ...more
"standing outside the skyway lounge, i found myself frawn to the bay of blacked-out windows. my heart was banging against my ribs in speed-metal time."standing outside the skyway lounge, i found myself frawn to the bay of blacked-out windows. my heart was banging against my ribs in speed-metal time. i wanted to be in there, part of that spangled corps of women who knew better but walked in anyway. it didn't matter to me that i was somebody's quasi-stepmother, or even somebody's fucking copy typist. i wanted to take shelter in the dank, yeasty darkness, safe from the glare of snow and medium-bright typing paper and the file folders that slashed up the fleshy parts of my palms. i wanted to march into that topless dive and expose myself to the shadowy goons, winterized in parkas and boogeyman balaclavas. and so, i respirated purposefully several times, and walked in like a first-class dumbass."
chuck klosterman has recently hooked me on memoirs, which i never really read before, aside from an ex-girlfriend sticking a particularly good david sedaris page in front of my nose from time to time. i went to the store to pick up Fargo Rock City, but they didn't have it, so i grabbed this instead.
first off, it's not as funny as you think it will be, or at least not as funny as juno. but it is more interesting than i expected.
she's got a really candid way of discussing her thought process, which is the whole reason to read the book. she comes across some really ideas about the value of women, as perceived by themselves and as perceived by others. she alternately feels empowered and totally taken advantage of by her role as a sex worker, and as a guy i found it interesting to read her complaints about how women who would normally be considered super hot would have to pander to gross dudes to fulfill their lapdance quota.
i'm also really interested by her relationship with johnny. he seems to be the kind of laid back boyfriend that every man is convinced they can be, but isn't. by her account, he's totally selfconfident, nurturing, supportive, and never jealous, threatened, or judgmental. but then again the fact that she's now married to him might color those descriptions in a way that they wouldn't be if they'd been written about an ex.
this is an interesting book, a one-day read, but nothing amazing. it is pretty cool that the whole thing happened in a year, and i like the attitude of self-improvement that the whole story is framed in. i also really like that she saves her backstory for the end of the story, instead of starting with it. it reinforces one of the themes of the book, which is that you can never tell who a person really is or where they come from, just by looking at what they are currently doing. ...more