I should have been reading Infinite Jest. Instead I indulged in some totally enjoyable fluff. I found the characters simultaneously more likeable andI should have been reading Infinite Jest. Instead I indulged in some totally enjoyable fluff. I found the characters simultaneously more likeable and more cliched than in the TV show - but also felt like they were written as and for teenagers, rather than for adults playing teenagers on a TV show for adults. You can ask Shane - I kept reading parts aloud to him and saying "This isn't good writing, but this is ABSOLUTELY how I thought and felt when I was 16."...more
An enjoyable, engaging read that reminded me a lot of Microserfs.
This is actually somewhat problematic for me because Microserfs is among my favoriteAn enjoyable, engaging read that reminded me a lot of Microserfs.
This is actually somewhat problematic for me because Microserfs is among my favorite books, making me susceptible to over-appreciating the workplace novel and also unable to appropriately compare other workplace novels. Aspects of Then We Came to the End were well done: the first person plural narration, the sense of futile frenetic energy in a workplace trying to justify its existence, the disconnect between real life and worklife. At the same time, Ferris's intended satire of workplace characters and tropes often falls flat, feeling more clichéd than clever.
Regardless, I enjoyed Then We Came to the End, and am looking forward to my book club's discussion of it next week....more
Honestly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book - Emily's pick for our book club for June 2011.
I'm not normally drawn to this genre, but fouHonestly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book - Emily's pick for our book club for June 2011.
I'm not normally drawn to this genre, but found myself really pulled in to the story of older sister Beatrice making sense of the disappearance and murder of her younger sister at the hands of - who exactly? The older (cheating) lover? The obsessed fellow student? The eager-to-diagnose psychiatrist? The friend's abusive boyfriend? The overly confident and proud scientist running a clinical trial? Or was it just suicide, as everyone else believed?
I found several of the narrative devices particularly well done - and really felt thrown for a loop when my conclusions and assumptions were totally inverted. A compelling, fast, enjoyable read, though perhaps somewhat under-researched on the medical front.
As a side note, this was also the first book I read on Shane's Kindle, which he's had since September. While the progress bar at the bottom stressed me out - Not. Reading. Fast. Enough! - I found it to be an overall pleasant reading experience. I especially liked the slim size of the Kindle, making it perfect for slipping in and out of my bag when I could sneak in a few pages of reading....more
Scribbling the Cat isn't really her memoir, though it does tell the story of her experiences befriending and traveling with a solider who fought in the war - and subsequent conflicts - that she experienced as a child. As she travels with him, his story of fear, loss, violence, and regret story unfolds.
I read the entirety of Scribbling the Cat while stuck at the Detroit airport awaiting a much-delayed flight to New York. This is not light airport reading. It is, however, a compelling and moving read, and tells a story that those of us in the safe middle America rarely encounter. I can't say that I loved it, but I am glad that I read it....more
Tim Ferriss is a madman, but the way he approaches refining his body and his life totally makes sense to me.
This book presents a series of self-experiTim Ferriss is a madman, but the way he approaches refining his body and his life totally makes sense to me.
This book presents a series of self-experiments based in bodybuilding lore, nutrition research, hard science, and recommendations from homeless people, sex-positive advocates, and David Blaine. Tim Ferriss (and his merry band of subjects) test everything from standing on one foot to exhaustion to garlic supplements to extreme carb binges in the pursuit of the minimum effective dose of effort.
I found The Four Hour Body to be an interesting and informative read. You can read it straight through - as I did - or pick and choose the parts that are of interest to you. I'm not interested in gaining 34 pounds of pure muscle or learning to hold my breath for several minutes or master my baseball swing, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading about them.
One of the things I appreciated about the way Ferriss presents these experiments - and an aspect that I suspect might be missed if you dip in and out - is that his recommendations are explicitly based on what has worked for him and his testers. Not everything will work for everyone. Not everyone has the same goals.
In an appendix chapter, he emphasizes that he got started experimenting on himself because he was skeptical about an acne treatment and wanted to know if it was the pills, the cream, the pills and the cream, or just time that caused improvements in his acne. These experiments aren't totally scientific, but they're based on isolating variables - the cream, the pills - and observing results. This methodology is highly transferable to any aspect of self-improvement.
Am I going to become superhuman as a result of reading this book? No. But I did learn a lot, and am trying my own experiments with his experiments. Fingers crossed for good results!
Reading note: while The Four Hour Body was easy to read on the Kindle - for size, if nothing else - both Shane and I think it would be easier to use in hard copy....more
Thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful and only occasionally salacious history of political sex scandals dating all the way back to Ben Franklin, Thomas JThoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful and only occasionally salacious history of political sex scandals dating all the way back to Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolley Madison. Flynt and Eisenbach make two convincing arguments about our obsession with our leaders' private lives. First, as a nation that elects its leaders (rather than inheriting them), we judge each man and woman on the basis of what we know, and one's moral character often heavily weights that decision. To follow that argument to its conclusion, we reach the second point: that our judgmental Puritanical natures lead us to conflate one's private life and public comportment, making it difficult to believe that a man who has oral sex with an intern can also be a strong leader - which THEN leads to public outcry over scandals that grossly inflate the actual issue to the point of distraction from, oh, the business of governance.
On the way to making this point, however, you learn about Buchanan and Lincoln's relationship(s) with men, the affairs of BOTH JFK and Jackie O, and Dolley Madison's prominent bosom, among other interesting tidbits. On the whole, a great summer read, striking just the right balance between expose and argument....more