Yesterday Patrick and I stayed downtown to continue making Carmageddon such a huge success, and also because that is generally what we do every weekend. We visited The Last Bookstore where I picked up some awesome $1 finds, like the Roald Dahl pictured here,

hardcover copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim sans dust jacket (that’s how I prefer them)

A Clockwork Orange (that should be a fun read).

hardcover copy of Pattern Recognition which completes my Bigend Trilogy set.

I decided to start with the Dahl today because I have still never read anything by Roald Dahl so I should probably start now.

Also, Robopocalypse was good, despite my skepticism about the choice of title and author’s portrait on the back cover.

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I finished Bossypants today. As you can tell its an incredibly quick read, or maybe I just love Tina Fey so much that I couldn’t read slower. I’m actually a very slow reader so it probably is a quick read for most of the population over 9 years old.

Unlike Simon Pegg’s memoir, Fey’s spanned a lot more of her life beyond childhood. Though both had some “nerdy” drama/theater experience in their childhoods and early teens but mostly the story telling was pretty different. I did have the same thoughts while reading both books though, how do they remember all this stuff? Or rather, how do they remember all these stories from childhood that had a point or purpose? My stories are usually amusing only to me. I guess it’s good that I am not trying to write a book. But not so good for you, the reader of this blog. Suckaaah!

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BLOG

Finished another book today, Philip K. Dick’s “Ubik” and I really liked it. I should probably read more books by… him.

Speaking of books, I was halfway through A New Earth when I lost it so I guess I have to get it from the library to finish the last half and that will be the 20th book. Patrick has brought it to my attention that the last two times I was on a plane, I lost a book. At least this one didn’t cost $50 to replace.

Also, I bought the ebook of Bossypants (by Tina Fey of course) so that will hopefully be book #21. So close now, you guys!

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In the immortal words of The Waitresses, “Now the calendar is just one page and, of course, I am excited.” I thought I’d take this time now to review what I’ve accomplished so far toward the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

Resolutions Progress Report

365 Project: I will post one thing a day to this Tumblr from my life for a whole year.

24 Books New Years Resolution: I will read 24 books before the end of the year. Graphic novels and comics will not count as books but audiobooks will.

January
1. Zero History – William Gibson
2. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

February
3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris
4. Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby

March
5. The Commitment – Dan Savage
5-1/2. Scenes From an Impending Marriage – Adrian Tomine
6. Born Standing Up – Steve Martin
7. Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen

April
8. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach

May
9. Spook: - Mary Roach

June
10. Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
11. I’m A Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away - Bill Bryson

July
12. Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson
13. The Umbrella Man and Other Stories - Roald Dahl

August
14. Nerd Do Well - Simon Pegg
15. Immovable Feast: A Paris Christmas - John Baxter

September
16. The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution And The Battle Over American History - Jill Lepore
17. Stranger Than Fiction - Chuck Palahniuk

October
18. Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman
19. Ubik - Phillip K. Dick

November
20. Bossypants - Tina Fey
21. A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle

December
22. Wicked - in process
23. Woman Warrior - in process (audio)
24. World War Z - To Be Read


My 12 Items Resolution: I will only allow myself to buy one item per month that contributes to my wardrobe. This includes purses and shoes but excludes socks and underwear.

1. Gary Graham Dress
2. Matt & Nat Hobo
3. AllSaints Pious Tee Dress
4. straw hat
5. Theory Maxi Dress
6. Nike Basic Black Racerback Tank
7. AllSaints Cerulean Cardigan
8. White Sweatshirt with Buttons from Forever 21
9. Mustard colored knit cardigan from Anthropologie
10. Bespoke Scarf
11. Nau Out-Skirt
12. Mary Meyer Maxi Dress

and the resolution breaker:
13. Grey John Varvatos for Converse slip-on Chuck Taylors

As you can see I am a little behind on my 24 Books resolution, gone a little over my 12 Items resolution and I think I might actually be missing a day from this blog if my math is right, though I have no idea where that could have gone.

I’m quite satisfied with how this project turned out, so much so that I may continue to make new years resolutions just to see what I can do. I never would have read even 10 books this year if I hadn’t given myself the goal. I probably would have bought a lot more clothes, shoes, bags, and scarves this year if I didn’t have to think each purchase through carefully. I would have spent much more money and saved a lot less as well.

And if I didn’t look for things in my life every day to post to this blog I wouldn’t have memories like this, this, this, or this to look back on.

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Yessss… finished The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History today. I learned a little about the American Revolution and more about the beginnings of America. I learned that the true meaning of the Tea Party is just to stop taxing the citizens of the country. Which, I admit, is not what I thought the movement stood for and on one hand I think it would be nice to not pay so many taxes (and we do, there are a lot) but I more strongly believe in the public goods and services that those taxes are supposed to pay for (though I’m sure there’s probably a lot that I would not want my tax money to support). I learned there are a lot of people who are more radical (and racist) who are the ones that I’ve seen and have used to base my opinions about the Tea Party.

I learned that just like the Tea Party affiliation and the Bible, people twist and turn the American Revolution and their interpretation of what our founding fathers meant to support their own arguments. It’s hard to know what exactly our founding fathers would want for America now because 1. They’re dead so we can’t ask them and 2. This America (and the world) is so different from theirs that maybe they would have written a totally different Constitution or more specific one.

So there, I learned, I expanded my mind. Now to find some good old science fiction.

Blog

A 24 Books update.

So far this month I’ve started three books:
Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”
Jill Lepore’s “The Whites of Their Eyes” about the American Revolution and the new Tea Party movement
And I just started Chuck Palaniuk’s “Stranger Than Fiction” because I couldn’t really get into either of the above books!

I last read “Immovable Feast” by John Baxter which I just found and borrowed from the stacks at the library. After finishing it I promptly lost it in a Virgin America cargo hold. Now I owe the library money, and you never want to owe the LAPL. Just kidding, I’m sure they’ll be dears about it.

Anyway, back to Stranger Than Fiction, let me tell you something, the book is nothing like the movie. If you’ve ever read the book and seen the movie then you can imagine my surprise whenI read the first chapter. It was like finding Cap n Crunch with Crunchberries in your box of Honey Bunches of Oats (the honey roasted kind), not what you were expecting but still good in its way. (I used to love eating Cap n Crunch when I was a kid but I stopped because I realized I wasn’t a masochist. Why would they make a children’s cereal so painful?!)

Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this one and then go back to reading about history, politics, and personal growth and awareness. Palahniuk always seems like an easy read, well, “easy” if you’re okay with loneliness, desperation, greed, coercion and the occasional murder. I am.

Meanwhile, I’ve been buying used books like there’s no tomorrow. I have a large stack of reading material to last me into the new year, which is still over three months away. I’ve been trying to find a “previously owned” copy of World War Z that I can buy or borrow, know of one?

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Okay I know I’m not even done with my current book and still need to finish another I started, I know I wasn’t even supposed to be looking for another book, but with a title and cover like “Robopocalypse” how could I not take this home?!

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Just finished David Sedaris’ “When you Are Engulfed in Flames” and tonight I am starting Nick Hornby’s “Juliet, Naked” for my 24 Books resolution.

Amusingly that book took the longest to finish of the three books I’ve read so far, but was probably the easiest read. My first Sedaris, it was pretty fun.

On the other hand, I didn’t think much of Hornby’s “Long Way Down” but I’ve pretty much loved all the movies adapted from Hornby books. Let’s see how this one goes.

february 17,2011

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Blog

I finished reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”. Overall I feel about 50/50, I can see how it can be enlightening but I also felt that the content was hard for me to “buy” in the sense that I am skeptical of the theories, or teachings, if you will, of Tolle. A majority of the book felt like I was reading in circles, he kept re-emphasizing concerts I felt he had already covered pretty thoroughly so it just felt like filler and unorganized thought. I feel that his path to awakening is really something that we can accomplish while maintaining some aspects of our current society, and perhaps that is what his intentions are.

Maybe his vision, well not HIS vision but what he calls A New Earth is in fact nothing like the world we live in now and when everyone on the planet is awoken we wont have things like Major League Baseball and the NYSE. I think I would really need to speak with the author to understand further because I have a feeling the takeaway that I got from reading the book may not have been exactly what he was trying to put forth.

I dislike parts of the book which assume the reader is dense and simply would never be able to understand things like the wildness of nature, which the author calls “chaos” to the eyes of modern people. Apparently we can neither understand the diversity of people and thought processes that may be different from ours. I know that there are some people in the world who may be like this but not everyone. In fact its just insulting to assume that the majority of people are too dense (or perhaps busy) to have considered these simple concepts. These parts of the book are distracting to me because they just feel like the author is talking down to everyone. Of course, I may be too caught up in my own ego (and I mean “ego” the way he uses it in the book and not necessarily the way most people think of the go, which is actually a little related) to acknowledge that my thoughts are not representative of most people.

Of all the thoughts and ideas presented relating to becoming conscious, I can only believe about a third. For example, Tolle’s concept of a pain-body that lives inside all of us driving us to crave emotional distress makes some sense. It feeds on negative thought like anger, jealousy, self-loathing because that is how it satisfies itself. This pain-body sometimes causes us to unconsciously create drama in our lives and the lives of the people whose relationships we hold dearest. And I can say that I definitely feel that I have a pain-body that I’ve been using to tame for a lot of my life. I don’t believe, however, that this same pain body is what causes us to pay money to watch action movies. That’s just for fun. I DO believe that this same pain-body is what makes reality television so addictive, which was not really something he spoke about but I think reality T.V. was not the majority of programming that it was when he wrote this book.

His idea of conscious living seems like something that we should definitely strive for, not just for improvement in personal quality of life but also to heighten the overall consciousness of the planet through human kind. Humans have the ability to turn that consciousness off and in doing do, we are able to function in ways that other species can not, but we do lose touch with energy that comes so easily to animals and nature.

I still only vaguely grasp his concept of not living in the future and living in the now. I just can’t imagine functioning well without giving thought to the future and about how decisions and actions made now will affect the future. Like I said before, perhaps I do not fully understand and would need to have a face to face conversation to really get what the book is saying about this one piece. In the end I thought there were a lot of insightful teachings and I will definitely keep some of them in mind as I continue to live my life but I didn’t feel that it was completely life changing. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be, I guess I changed my life a little if I will move forward with some of these ideas.

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I just finished Stranger Than Fiction and it has nothing to do with the movie that came out in 2006 with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal. They are not related in any way aside from sharing the same title so… thanks chums for letting me think that for the past 5 years.

And I guess I kind of knew that going into it, since I read the first chapter and it was not what I had thought it would be. I guess I thought a related story was still coming up. Perhaps the love story would come along later. It wasn’t until I finished the last story that I thought, “What?! I need to Google this.”

I had had the book around my apartment for about two years now since Anja gave me a stack of books to take home from SF. I had never read it because I saw the movie, and even then I thought to myself, “What a weird story for Chuck Palahniuk to write. Maybe he is showing off how diverse a writer he can be.” 

Like I said in a previous post I was looking for a copy of World War Z that I could have or borrow so I turned to Swap.com to see if I had any luck there. Of course the kind of people who HAVE World War Z are not usually the kind of people who WANT books like Angela’s Ashes (which I bought once but never read because… why would I want to get that depressed?) or The Commitment by Dan Savage, which are the books I HAVE but no longer WANT. So I would have to dig into the unread collection of Palahniuk books that I HAVE.

Stranger Than Fiction is one of the titles that people wanted to trade for but the copy I have is actually one that was printed by the publisher to send to bookstore buyers to see if they wanted to order copies. I don’t think anyone had ever read it either. I figured it was special in some way so I should at least read it before I send it away to someone. I read the first story and it was completely different than I was expecting, not from Palahniuk but different from the movie, the was very Palahniuk from the beginning. I decided to read the whole book now before I traded it for World War Z. So I read it in 4 days.

That makes 16 full books. I still have about three books that were started and have not yet been finished. Running behind but that’s only because I’ve tried to choose challenging books. I’m trying to read books that don’t really have subjects I am all that interested in but I feel like I should read to “expand my mind”. It’s like work and thus it is taking forever.

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