jedusor: (read says dr seuss)
Mostly posting this because there are a lot of classics I haven't read. Maybe you guys can get all torchy and pitchforky at me and get me to read some of them.

Meme )
jedusor: (read says dr seuss)
"I expect you just thought it. You're always thinking things." He felt rather superior because he himself didn't ever think at all.

--from "Mary Poppins Comes Back"
jedusor: (looking at the stars)
I read "At Swim, Two Boys" for the first time when I was seventeen, because Kit told me to. I absolutely loved it--I actually typed out one scene that was more than two thousand words long because I wanted to be able to come back and reread it after I returned the library book. I still have that file on my computer. This past Christmas, Kit and I agreed to buy used copies for each other (I think the one I got her was a dollar and eight cents on Amazon) and I just finished rereading it.

The plot is great, and the development and the overarching themes and all that, but what I truly love about this book is the writing style. It seems dense at first, but then it draws me in and makes me forget that it should be hard to read, because it flows so beautifully. While I was reading it, I had to keep a notebook nearby because I kept finding bits I wanted to write down and think about later. It's really amazing, how engaging it is. I read an interview with the author, Jamie O'Neill, in which he says he never read as a child, not even his schoolbooks, didn't finish a single book until he was seventeen. He spent all his time swimming off the coast of Ireland, where he grew up. I guess that's as strong an argument as any for "write what you know."

This isn't a review or a recommendation. I do recommend it, definitely, but I'm not sure I'd be able to convey my love for this book if I tried. This is just a brain-dump of the quotes I scribbled down while I was reading, along with some informal and generally incoherent notes about them. It's mainly for my own benefit, both to organize my thoughts this time around and for the benefit of my future self, since reading this book at 20 was very different from reading it at 17 and I'm sure my perspective will be different again next time. None of this will make a whole lot of sense unless you've read the book. (Which means Kit is basically the only person on my flist who cares, but I suspect she's going to play in this entry like a sandbox, so I'm posting it anyway.)

Warning: long, spoilery, and textually NSFW.

'My aunt once told me that nothing is gained by clinging to life save more life to cling to. The world I find is embarked on a grand adventure. I find I choose to play.' )
jedusor: (Default)
List ten books you own[1], that you haven't given the attention they deserve[2]. Mark with an asterisk those you haven't even begun reading.

[1] It's okay if a housemate (or equivalent) owns them, as long as you consider them part of a permanent joint collection.
[2] Specifically excluded are your "OMG I've only re-read this sixteen times when it deserves to be re-read ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES!!!!11" books.

My list is as follows:

1. Common Sense, by Thomas Paine
2. The Second Book of Go, by Richard Bozulich
3. Crasswords, edited by Francis Heaney
4. Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers, by J.K. Rowling, translated by Jean-François Ménard (French translation of the first Harry Potter book)
*5. ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石, by J.K. Rowling, translated by Matsuoka Yuko (Japanese translation of the first Harry Potter book)
6. Le petit prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
*7. The Color Atlas of Human Anatomy, edited by Vanio Vannini and Giulano Pogliani, translated by Richard Jolly
8. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
9. The Bullwhip Book, by Andrew Conway
*10. The Age of Reason, by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Eric Sutton
jedusor: (puzzle police)
An NPL friend and former Hunt teammate of mine, Eric Berlin, is hosting a week-long "puzzle party" on various blogs to promote his new children's book, The Potato Chip Puzzles. You can win a copy of the book or the grand prize, which the website says is "every single one of G.P. Putnam's Sons Spring 2009 children's and YA books, plus advance reading copies of numerous Fall 2009 books."

I just did today's puzzle, the first of the week, and it's definitely easy enough that those of you I've scared away from puzzling with cryptic crosswords and Mystery Hunt links should click through and give it a shot. You never know, you could win a shit-ton of kid lit!

More details about the puzzle contest can be found here, along with links to the blogs that will be posting the rest of the puzzles over the upcoming week. Check it out.
jedusor: (capslock harry)
Okay, gotta do my part to spread the news about this. Amazon has removed sales rankings from a bunch of GLBT books, citing their "adult" nature. It sounds like they've deranked a few hardcore heterosexual erotica books too, but most of the straight sex has been left alone. Some details here. Neil Gaiman weighed in over on his Twitter, and a bunch of other folks are pissed off too.

I'm writing an e-mail to Amazon letting them know that I'm not cool with this. I encourage you to do the same, and spread the word about what's going on.
jedusor: (looking at the stars)
"Consistency in the midst of the search is no great virtue."

--Howard Becker, Tricks of the Trade: How to Think About Your Research While You're Doing It
jedusor: (Default)
I've been called a crazy irrational tree-hugger without any respect for facts, and I've been called a cold scientific-minded student who can't accept anything without published evidence. Some people tease me about being vegan and enjoying pagan gatherings; others hear a description of the Whole Earth Festival and express astonishment that I would be caught dead at such a wifty event.

I've been aware of this odd discrepancy for some time, but it's been particularly noticeable recently because of the ramifications of certain people perceiving me as one way or the other. I've been learning about self-presentation and judgment of others in social psychology, and that's definitely helped me understand what's going on here. People behave differently in different situations. In a classroom situation, or with people who are more analytical in general, I'm going to try to be as rational and objective as I can, and I'm going to question people's assumptions. If I'm at the Gaia Goddess Gathering in the middle of the woods, I'm not going to argue cartography with the chick in the tie-dye scarf who's drawing energy and passion from the south. Scientific research isn't about wifty stuff, and hippie culture isn't about empirical testing. And people who see me in one of those situations are not likely to see me in the other.

The most interesting thing about this for me is that they're not making a mistake by seeing me one way or the other. The way I present myself has everything to do with others' impressions of me as a person. The problem only arises when someone refuses to acknowledge evidence that other aspects of me exist (as has definitely happened from both sides of this particular dichotomy). That's the fundamental attribution error, and it's a pain in the ass.

I desperately want to reread The Phantom Tollbooth now.
jedusor: (orli says read)
Experimental Methods midterm: 100%, bitches. Mmmmmhm.

Off to the cafeteria now. Winter and Jason and I are using one meal swipe each when it opens and staying inside until it closes at eight. We're going to take over one of the tables next to the electrical outlets and do all our homework for 9.5 hours. I'm unreasonably excited about this.

Oh, and it sounds like I'm going to be able to join Dr. Laird's lab. He gave me his book and told me to find a topic that interests me so he can team me up with someone to do a project, which sounds kind of like I get to pick what I want to study, which YAY.
jedusor: (orli says read)
I met my roommate's dad last night. At one point, he made a comment about the books on my shelf being an interesting collection. I only let myself bring one box of books, so I had to cut it down to the absolute essentials--a combination of can't-live-without favorites and books I've been meaning to read. Here are the ones that made the cut:

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
the Douay-Rheims edition of the Bible
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
a copy of the Koran
Mind Fuck by Manna Francis
a Japanese copy of the first Harry Potter book
a French copy of the first Harry Potter book
a French-English dictionary
a book of French poetry
The Little Prince in French
The Little Prince in English
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
The Bromeliad Trilogy by Terry Pratchett
Strata by Terry Pratchett
Angry Candy by Harlan Ellison
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
The Dialogues of Plato
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Bullwhip Book by Andrew Conway
Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Yeah, I can see why a Long Island businessman might find this shelf unusual.
jedusor: (write and i understand)
Holy shit.

*"book" being here defined as "50,000-word**, 71-page first draft of a story that may or may not ever become something publishable."

**Yes, it's exactly 50,000 words. What can I say? I love drabbles.
jedusor: (i do believe in fairies)
So, J.K. Rowling has outed Dumbledore. One of the most believable yet least-written pairings in HP fandom has now been officially declared canon.

There are two things I love about this: first, the news itself, and second, the fact that [livejournal.com profile] kat_nano saw fit to call me at 6:45 in the morning yesterday to share it with me. I have awesome friends.

Now I'm tempted to start a petition to Rowling for a D/G prequel. Who's with me?
jedusor: (orli says read)
These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. Bold what you have read, italicize those you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list.

Books )
jedusor: (orli says read)
At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill

"And if it is love, it is a curiously inefficient force, urge and halt, the both at the same time. I want, but nothing I can propose would satisfy this wanting. I can't say what it is I want, not anything much, not even to fuck him particularly, if at all. Simply I want. Earnestly, most hurriedly, wretchedly want."

This book came highly recommended, but I almost gave up a few chapters in. It's packed with century-old Irish slang and political references to a historical period I'm not familiar with. About 160 pages in, though, it got a lot more interesting, and it got hard to put down near the end.

The Angel's Command by Brian Jacques

I used to love the Redwall books when I was little, and with good reason. The first five books or so of the series were great. After that, it started feeling like all the stories had been done before. Brian Jacques' problem is that he doesn't know when to stop. I really enjoyed "Castaways of the Flying Dutchman," but this sequel was much less believable and felt like a Redwall book redone with human characters.

Grampa Jack by Rocky L. Doubenmier

This book was written by Grandma's hairdresser, so I didn't have high expectations, but really... if a manuscript makes it to a library bookshelf, wouldn't you expect things like the difference between "foul" and "fowl" to have been ironed out somewhere along the way? The story wasn't terrible, but the horrific punctuation, spelling, and grammar made it impossible to enjoy, and the main character being kind of an asshole didn't help.

Absence Unexpected by William Robinson

This book is that juggling mystery I was planning for NaNoWriMo, only written remarkably badly. I'm still going to do something juggling-related, but I can't do a murder mystery now. If I was going to plagiarize, I'd pick a decent writer to steal from.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

"I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He's a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar crystal and saccharine, when he isn't making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs."

I'm not sure how I managed to get through seventeen years on the planet without reading this, but I did. I finally picked it up because there was a book discussion about it at the library. I didn't make it to the discussion, unfortunately, but I did read the book. It was fascinating to think about the political and cultural motivations behind the book, and how its meaning has changed and yet remained static over the last fifty years.

The English Patient by Michal Ondaatje

"She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he had understood her better, when she was the product of her parents... Years before, he had tried to imagine her as an adult but had invented someone with qualities moulded out of her community. Not this wonderful stranger he could love more deeply because she was made up of nothing he had provided."

Normally, I love books that skip around the story, giving you bits and pieces until finally it all comes together. But this one took that idea a little too far, I think. It was hard to get into it because of all the tense changes and random snippets and characters arbitrarily speaking with or without quotation marks. I did love Kip's story, though. I got the movie on Netflix in the hopes that the story would work better on film, but it was a bit of a disappointment- too much focus on the Almásy/Katharine relationship, which I didn't really care about, and not nearly enough on Kip and Hana.


Also, speaking of books, holy shit am I excited about this. I will post a more detailed why-you-should-read-this-book entry at some point.

Madeleine

Sep. 8th, 2007 12:28 am
jedusor: (looking at the stars)
Josh and Megan's baby was born on August 31st. They named her Madeleine, after Madeleine L'Engle.

If I am ever in the position of having a novel rejected by a publisher, I know I'll find consolation in the fact that A Wrinkle In Time was rejected by twenty-six of them.

I should reread it.
jedusor: (capslock harry)
Happy birthday, Harry. I'm glad the book was released a week after my seventeenth birthday instead of a week before; I finally caught up to you in age, right at the very end.

I suppose it's really over now, isn't it?
jedusor: (orli says read)
I've been rereading the Harry Potter series, and I'll probably be done with it within another week or so. My little brother just read Ender's Game for the first time, and was impressed enough by it that I'm itching to read it again (I haven't read it since I was about ten). I need to finish Breakfast of Champions and Dr. Seuss Goes to War, which I abandoned a few weeks ago in favor of homework. I'd like to reread Good Omens and Catch-22 too, and I've never read 1984 or The Color Purple or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Catcher in the Rye. Those are next in line for me.

What should I read after that?

I'm not looking for a list of good books; I'm looking for that one book that you couldn't put down even after you finished it because your mind was frantically clinging to the ideas in it. Fight Club did that for me. So did The God Eaters and A Prayer for Owen Meany and, when I was younger, Jacob Have I Loved.

What's a book that did that for you?
jedusor: (children)
I had very little time to pack food this morning, and ended up grabbing whatever was closest on my way out the door, which happened to be an avocado, a container of leftover potatoes, and two energy bars. [livejournal.com profile] juvernaz, it kinda reminds me of Rachel's lemonade/Wheat Thins/pickles/spoon lunch, which is still making me giggle every time I think of it. I didn't remember silverware, though (even though, unlike her, I had something that required it). Anyway, the potatoes had been baked in oil, and there was some garlic-and-herb-infused oil left in the Tupperware when I'd finished eating. I mentioned to Mark that I wished I had some bread to mop it up with... and he pulled half a loaf of bread out of his backpack and handed it to me.

God, I love my friends.

In other news, I am officially caught up on my flist. I'd been running about 10 pages behind since the week of the quadruple mocha. Now I will know things such as Kurt Vonnegut's death and the Virginia Tech shootings just after they happen, and not fail to hear about them until fifteen hours later. Which is more sad, that I rely on my flist for news or that I check my flist often enough that fifteen hours is a long stretch of time?

I'm still reading "Dr. Seuss Goes to War," and I started Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions" this morning. I'm about halfway through it now, even with multiple distractions, like classes. I didn't expect it to be such an easy read. Richard's annotations aren't adding to my enjoyment of it, though. I should've gotten a copy from the library instead of borrowing it from him, especially as I haven't spoken to him in over a month and returning it is going to be awkward.

Bill's mom is here. I'm not going to have much of a chance to hang out with her, aside from tomorrow evening; I have a big history project due tomorrow, so I'll be finishing that tonight, and I'm working all weekend.

No news from colleges yet. *sigh*

EDIT: Oh yeah, and guess what Clay managed to do with the Wiimote? Break the hundred-year-old living room window, that's what. My brother, people. Give him a hand.
jedusor: (sad world)
We're up to the 1940s in my history class, and thinking about the subject of the Holocaust inspired me to get to the library yesterday and take out Anne Frank's diary, which I've somehow never read. I'm about two-thirds through it now, and it's creepy how much Anne's personality reminds me of my own. I wish I'd read this a long time ago. The parts about the holidays are especially poignant- they celebrated Christmas, while they were in hiding for being Jewish.

While I was at the library, I also located a copy of "Dr. Seuss Goes to War," a collection of political cartoons drawn by Theodor Geisel during WWII. Some of them are good, but the ones depicting Japanese people are scary. People keep saying that it's okay because everyone hated Japanese people back then, but it's not. I don't put up with people who hate Muslims because of 9/11; this is the same thing. And he was so adamant about equality between blacks and whites, too. It's like Japanese people weren't even people to him.

Mom is talking about a trip to St. Louis in May, after finals are over. I'd definitely like to go see the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center there.

HELP

Sep. 14th, 2006 01:24 pm
jedusor: (please?)
If anyone can figure out a way to search Google for (or simply produce the title of) a well-known or influential book that is not Catcher in the Rye or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and was published on July 16th of any year, I will love you forever. The sooner the better.

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