Tag - books

Literary Pursuits, again

(turns on light, dusts off WordPress)

You still here? Wow…thanks for hanging!

I love my library. I haven’t read this much in ages. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I started going there. I let the reading slip over the holidays, but now I’m back in full force.

I dragged myself through The Darwin Conspiracy. It bored the living hell out of me, but I finished in December. A month later, I can barely remember the plot, it was that memorable.

I also finished Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and while it had interesting anecdotes on how people make snap decisions in milliseconds, it never told you how to harness that ability, or how to practice it. It merely was a bunch of case studies. And a lot of repetition. Ever watch “Police Squad” on TV? At the end of each episode, Drebin would remark that the perp was on his/her way to “county jail, along with (here he’d list every perp from the prior episodes).” Blink reminded me of that, because of the constant referring back to previous chapters’ examples.

Then, in a continuing quest to screw with my brain (like listening to NPR on the way to work and conservative talk on the way home) I checked out both Sham : How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless and 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman.

SHAM was a great read — it talked about the backgrounds of the self-help gurus, and why the industry relies on people NOT being helped. It did much to cement my distrust of Dr. Phil, John Gray, and Dr. Laura. And Suze Orman, which is why I returned her book without reading it.

Now I’m reading Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I’ve been trying to check the book out of the library since summer, and I just this week found it on the shelf. I’m finding out that I much prefer non-fiction to fiction.

And in more literary news, I’m happy to announce that thanks to Ani, I’ve accepted an editor position at All Things Girl magazine. My section is the “Mind and Body” section. The first issue I worked on is being released tomorrow. Naturally, I hate what I wrote. But practice makes perfect, and I’m thrilled to be doing something creative. I can warm up my writing chops, AND correct other people’s spelling, which is just hot.

Speaking of hot, Robert Scorpio is back on General Hospital, a soap I haven’t watched in over 15 years. He’s older and grayer but is just as sexy as he was when I was 12. I’m DVRing the episodes.

Time to wash off the face mask. Good to be back to blogging.

Literary aspirations

Chick’s comment made me realize that I’ve been regularly reading books again since May! And I didn’t even really mean to. I guess that’s the secret to sticking with something good…not resolving to do it.

As you may or may not know, I enjoy various Disney products, characters and resorts. (understatement of the year.) I really enjoyed “Disney War.” The book looked at The Walt Disney Company under Michael Eisner’s leadership. I think the book was just a skosh biased against Eisner. For example, the success of the Disney Cruise Line – upon which I read this book – wasn’t even mentioned. But boy howdy does Eisner bring it all on himself.

Part megalomaniac, part ruthless corporate assassin, Eisner turned Disney into a chipper/shredder of talented executives. The list of projects Disney turned down for various reasons (Survivor? Lord of the Rings? Pixar?) is almost as long as the list of crazy ideas acted upon during Eisner’s reign (EuroDisney, Go.com, the “TV is Good” campaign for ABC).

It was a long but juicy read. I’d recommend it if you’re a Disney fan or have the honor and privilege of working for a big corporation.

A book that I finished but didn’t really live up to my expectations was “The Beauty Myth.” I shut the book often thinking, “Okay, enough!” but kept reading anyway. Don’t get me wrong, many of the points are valid, but the book’s voice sounded like that of an angry 19-year-old Womens’ Studies major. Plus, on page 245 (yes, I actually wrote this down) the author refers to Oprah Winfrey as a talk show hostess. Hostess! It struck me odd that a book that rails against the diminutization of women would use the feminine version of any word.

Let’s not forget the abandoned books:
“Kiss the Girls:” Ugh. Totally creeped me out…especially during the times that BvP wasn’t home. Halfway through, I skipped to the end to see who lived and turned the book back in. I have no strength for suspense novels.

“100 People who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37) :” I heard the author speak on one of the radio talk shows I listen to and thought it sounded interesting. Basically, anybody that the author disagrees with in any instance is screwing up America. Since I don’t like the book, I guess I’m #101.

“The Sociopath Next Door:” I’d have learned just as much by knocking on my neighbor’s door. Ha! I kid! There were no real case studies…just made up stories loosely based on sociopaths the authors may have encountered. She also lets some of her personal anti-war and anti-military views poke through the prose, which disturbed the flow. Basically, I was bored.

And while I wrote all of this, I successfully put off writing my NaNoWriMo word quota for tonight. I have to get some more plot elements in place in my head before I can continue past the whopping 1000 or so words I have in place.

A trip to the library

library statuesIt was warm at lunch, and I didn’t really feel like staying in. What to do? How about a field trip to the brand new Cherry Hill Library!

(My stars, the wonders I could do if unleashed on their website…)

I don’t remember the old Cherry Hill Library. I used to frequent the Voorhees branch of the Camden County library – now called the M. Allan Vogelson branch. (Judge Vogelson officially divorced my parents. Some names stick with you) . The “Vogelson” was a spiffy place to be in the mid 70s. Thirty years later, it looks the same. Ratty orange carpet, dinged up shelves. You expect to turn the corner and see the Bradys in the children’s section and the Sweathogs trying to find porn on the Pentium IIs.

But this new library (price: $21 million)…I could move in. There’s a scuplture on the lawn outside called “Sunday morning.” It’s composed of two figures, male and female, sprawled on the grass reading the Sunday newspaper. The New York Times, mind you. Not the paper that’s actually published in Cherry Hill!!!!

Right next to the latest releases section, there is a fireplace and leather chairs. The whole place is a wifi hotspot. The reference room is dotted with flat-screen monitors and has private rooms with doors for study groups. In the A/V section, there is a table full of gorgeous Macs running the lastest OS for your movie and music sampling pleasure. (Hm…what’s the difference between borrowing a CD from the library and copying it and downloading tracks from the internet?)

Children’s section? Whatever! It’s the entire third floor. The kiddies have their own fireplace, and miniaturized versions of the adults’ leather chairs. Only in cloth.

living room or library?Oh, did I mention the COFFEE SHOP? With pastries and sandwiches? And the outdoor patio?

But I neglected the best part….there are self-checkout stations! All I had to do was:

  1. Touch “Start” and scan the barcode on my brand new library card
  2. Put my book on a magnetic pad. The pad reads a sensor in the book and displays the title on the screen. This works with a stack of more than one book.
  3. Touch”Okay” when I see the books’ names.
  4. Touch “Receipt” to print out a receipt with the due dates. Voila!

(toys around with the idea of becoming a librarian so I can go work there…kinda like moving in…I can be organized…I can be a hot librarian…)

I checked out I am Charlotte Simmons. It’s due a week from today. It’s huge.

In other news, I’m still fighting my cough and feeling beat.

And I now have an RSS 2.0 feed for those of you who wish to read me w/o the hassle of visiting my site. Still working on the Disney trip Top Seven in between Nyquil doses.

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