Archive

Archive for October, 2009

I Found My Strength

October 30th, 2009

I’m good at reading.

On to #48.


Book Thoughts

Book #46 – Bounce

October 22nd, 2009

Early early this morning I completed Indignation. It was so-so. Today I start Bounce, by Keith McFarland. I expect it to be so-so as well, but I’m going to start reading it anyway.

Book Thoughts

To Paris, France and Updates On 5 Books

October 19th, 2009

So I had a plan. And the best laid plans… well you know. This was the entry I prepared en route to Paris last week.

I finished Gilead in good time. During this time while not reading, I thought of Hemingway. A biography of him and the complete collection of his short stories are next on the list and tonight, high above the Atlantic, I begin the first of the two.

Both books are 500+ pgs so in the space of the next 14 days I have over a thousand pages to read, which is something that I have yet to do in so little time. Of course, I’m not bound to the 14 days, but with it being so late in the year I feel like I don’t have much breathing room as I did earlier in the year.

I’m excited for Paris and wasn’t planning on going until the last moment. I went from a job interview straight to the airport and when I return I’ll only have 24 hours before I get back on a plane bound for San Francisco where I will again attend meetings and answer questions. And then I’ll have some decisions to make and I’m grateful for them.

A highlight of the trip will undoubtedly be the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore where I hope to pick up a used copy of Death In The Afternoon or Ulysses, the latter I’ll probably never read but even for the non-religious an unread Old Testament bought In Jerusalem is better to have than an unread Bible from America. And Ulysses, an American novel of Parisian origin, was published by the then-owner of Shakespeare & Co.

There will be a view of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel so I imagine I will enjoy that for several seconds before I set off and look at books both new and used from the oldest bookstore I will have ever entered and in which Hemingway perused regularly. A Movable Feast is very geographically detailed so walking the steps of Hemingway, if I’m inclined to, will be an easy task.

I never made it to the bookstore. The problem was that the more I read about Hemingway, the less I liked him. I read almost 200 pages of his biography and decided I had had enough. The curtain had been pulled back and there was no mysticism anymore. And I no longer had an interest in continuing on.
So I left that book unread, as well as the book of short stories that I will also skip for now and jumped from Gilead straight to Accidental Billionaires. This was a surprisingly enjoyable book and I recommend it to any geek or enthusiast of “TheFacebook”. I finished that in a couple days then picked up my first Philip Roth book, Indignation. I’ll finish that book by Wednesday and then I’ll be a full 3 weeks ahead again with 7 books to go.

So, no. We didn’t see the bookstore but we saw a lot of the Eiffel Tower, The Seine, Notre Dame, Louvre, and all kinds of other fun stuff.

I had low expectation of France and I shouldn’t have. The people there are nice the food is great, and getting around is easy. It was an amazing 3 day trip with Sen, and 2 of our 4 kids.


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Gilead & The Turn of The Page

October 11th, 2009

I finished last night’s book in that single sitting, something I attribute to the setting. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about reading A Movable Feast and how much pleasure it gave me. I sat in the front room and for five hours lived in Paris and experienced what Hemingway was experiencing. Not to mention F. Scott Fitzgerald. I may be in Paris, for real, a week from today. We’ll see.

Part of the fun was that I was reading an actual book, with pages and a cover and everything. I wasn’t reading the Kindle. There is a stark difference, maybe not too stark as I didn’t fully recognize it before (although I’ve spoken of “the feeling” before), but when you are reading a bound book you always have a sense of physical depth. You know without even looking how far you are into the book. You know how much you have left to read, and you know in rough approximation what should be happening so that the book ends nice and tidy. Of course, this was a memoir so the ending wasn’t one of resolution. But that is something, one of many things, that you miss when you read from the Kindle.

I love the turning of the page, the imperceptible thinning of the book you hold on the right side and growth of the book on the left. You turn the page and the thickness in your hands doesn’t seem to change, though you know it has. The weight of the book shifts a hundredth of an ounce at a time until you’ve moved the entire book without a thought of it.

I woke up this morning with nothing but my Kindle and nothing to read. When I don’t have something to read I get anxious, and I had no desire to read from my Kindle. So I went down to my library and tried to see something that I may have overlooked and had put aside for a different time. Not all books are meant for all times.

I came across a book that I’ve had for a few years but have never opened. It even had a book plate in it with my name in what appears to be my sister’s handwriting. I don’t recall when I received the book, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It was awarded the Pulitzer in 2004 so I received it around that time and in hardcover. It’s a first edition but I don’t know if that means anything since I imagine after the award several thousand more were sent to press.

I’m well into the book now, reading it in bits and pieces throughout today as I go about being a Dad, and I’ve meant to email my sister to thank her for the book (as upon further thought I only have one sister that gives books such as this).

While I feel I can write reasonably well I’m not a prolific emailer. In fact, I loathe email, the informal nature and the instant regret I feel when sending something that wasn’t properly thought out. And of course you can’t be too formal in an email, it throws the conversational nature of the medium off-kilter. So without being able to be formal, and a distaste for correspondence that is loose-tongued, I’m stuck, and emails seem to fly around with me tagging along as a CC participant and while I rarely jump in, I do enjoy reading them. So Sis, thanks for the book, and for your ability to write great emails that everyone enjoys.

Now begins Gilead, book #43.


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The Lampe Gras and Other Reading Accesories

October 10th, 2009

Discovered these lamps today, The Lampe Gras. I love a good lamp, something nice and high that comes up behind me while I’m sitting in a nice recliner. I suppose it’s my reclusive version of being in the spotlight. According to the product details page, these lamps were a favorite of Matisse and Picasso, and for $600.00+ it can be a favorite of yours, too.

Lamps, bookcases, reading journals, bookmarks, I love them all. Reading accessories for me are like shoes for…for…Miranda Hobbes (oh boy I had dig down deep for that reference)

Bookcases. The avid reader of course is often somewhat utilitarian with their bookcase choices, as I was when I acquired the three I own now. They aren’t special, from the generally unoriginal IKEA ilk. A recent post over at Creative Cloud had me reeling with literary inadequacy and left me hopelessly embarrassed by my paltry attempt earlier this year to build my library.

The Chair

The Staircase

Check these magnificent creations, some prototypes and others existing.

Also, don’t forget to check out the web’s most comprehensive reference site on bookmarks.


Book Thoughts

Resolute With Book #42 – A Movable Feast

October 9th, 2009

Roger Ebert from The Chicago Sun-Times:

I wrote in my journal: “I have not spoken to anyone since Monday. The radio is playing ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clerk. I’ve been reading some Shaw — Man and Superman. I’m wearing jeans, my cable knit sweater and my Keds. I’ve made coffee and am waiting for it to cool. Let it be recorded that at this moment I am happy.”

Bibliophiles everywhere nod there heads in understanding.

A recent Merlin Mann post got my attention. The Paris Review website has some great interviews on pdf that can be downloaded. For me, I downloaded Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Kerouac. The Hemingway interview was great, Kerouac was a fool, and I’ll get to Steinbeck tomorrow. All these pdf’s go directly to my Kindle and are really enjoyable to read. Particularly the Hemingway interview, some really great nuggets in there.

I’ve been struggling with reading lately and today I realized that it isn’t reading per se, but the reading choices I have made recently have been impulsive and not without inevitable long-term passion that so many of my books this year have given me.

I read the Hemingway interview and was instantly inspired. I know what I want from my readings. So I went to Borders today to really pick a winner.

So I ended up with a Hemingway memoir, A Movable Feast. And since I finished NurtureShock earlier today, the feast starts tonight. And despite all my resolution doomsday talk, I’m right on track to finish just fine.


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The Kindle 3 – By Design Prodigy, 5 years old.

October 9th, 2009

Click Image For Full-Size Rendering

Book Thoughts

Reading Problems

October 7th, 2009

Is this the end of my resolution? I’m reading 6 books right now and I’m not even remotely close to finishing any of them. Nor am I interested in doing so. I have the attention span of a 5 y/o and it’s not swell.

None of these books have captured my attention which I’m beginning to think is not the books’ fault. Just a quick note saying this could be it. :(


Book Thoughts

Marsipity – Halloween’s “Polar Express”

October 6th, 2009


Just finished reading “Marsipity”, I needed a diversion after all the heavy duty “adult” books I’ve been barreling through. I got an advanced copy and was pleasantly surprised with not only the story, but also the incredibly detailed and vivid illustrations. Marsipity should be on the bookshelves by next Halloween (2010), and I could easily see this as becoming Halloween’s own “The Polar Express”.

As quoted from the book’s website, “Marsipity is a book about friendship, imagination, and magic that young readers will read over and over again. Beautifully illustrated and lovingly told, it is sure to become a Halloween favorite.”

The Marsipity Website

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