Saturday, May 01, 2010

Book list 2010 ... month four

April found me over a month "ahead" at the start and having started a couple books in March that carried over. The library queue is winding down at this point so I will need to go over the lists to get it built back up soon. However, there is something sort of mental about finishing book four for the month, feeling behind, and realizing it is the 8th. A book every other day for a pace is ridiculous.

The Book of Totally Useless Information by Don Voorhees
How can a book like this be useless? This is the sort of reading that enables me to do so well at Trivial Pursuit and freak people out with all the weird crap I know. Useless? I think not.

Twilight Tours: An Illustrated Guide to the Real Forks by George Beahm (Author), Mike Gurling (Photographer)
Since the kids and I were going to do this it felt prudent to read this. Forks and La Push are where the books are set but not where the movies have been filmed, so this is needed before going to understand what Meyer used as opposed to the film directors.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell
I know Gladwell has his critics, but his ability to convey a lot of complicated information, keep it in context, and yet not dumb it down makes me really enjoy reading his work. He is like Carl Sagan or James Burke, and that is really good company.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Given that this monthly reading journal is in part inspired from having read a collection of Hornby's own monthly reading journals, it was almost essential that a Hornby book would be included. Fortunately, he had a new novel for me to read. As I read this and got ready to write this my realizations about how much I seem to be trying to write like I am the American Nick Hornby became even more stark. It is not a bad writer to emulate, but as I am writing a soccer book, a novel, and this reading log the biggest influence on all of that is Hornby's writing. I have decided to simply accept that is the way it is.

Ball Four: The Final Pitch by Jim Bouton
I saw Bouton recognized in 2009 as one of the surviving members of the Seattle Pilots at a Safeco Field ceremony (where he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch) and realized I had never read this book. How is it that I had never read this book? It took many months to get this from the library and I am relieved to have now finally read it. This is an important sports book for so many already documented in other media reason that I will simply say that it does in fact live up to its reputation. Now, to head to the old stadium site and take pictures.

Time Blender by Michael Dorn
Yes, a book by Worf. Found it for a buck at a used book store when I was picking up a couple paperbacks for my Spring Training weekend. Would have bought it anyway on principle when I saw it. Didn't get much of a chance to read it during the trip and got back to it and finished it after library books were prioritized.

Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
There is a good difficult and a bad difficult. I've dealt with both. This is the book that looks at the question many men ask, "Is it worth it to date the hot but crazy chick?" from the female perspective. Also, Wurtzel and I are peers ... having been born the same month and raised in the same era I know exactly the culture she is describing for having gone through things at the same time without having to look through a filter. No, this book is not perfect and some of it is a bit much. But, yes we do live in a world that has generally been afraid of strong women, so her points are valid.

Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inaz┼Ź Nitobe.
A look into the origins and meanings of Samurai culture. A must read after seeing Ghost Dog again ... even though this isn't the book he was reading in Ghost Dog. This is a book written to introduce and compare the culture of Japan with the West in order to explain to the world that there was a valuable culture in Japan. The author wanted to show the world Japan had a culture that was valid and important.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
After recently finally succumbing to the charms of Zombieland & Shaun Of The Dead I could not resist this book almost entirely because of the title. Yes, I have somehow recently become a connoisseur of zombie culture ... this from a guy who as a general rule does not care much for the horror genre. I actually think this will make a better movie than novel since so much of it feels like a giant sight gag waiting to happen.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
I had meant to merely motivate a group of young people to work hard by discussing the ten thousand hour rule, in order to let them know that there is always room for improvement no matter how small and incremental. Some kids get cocky because you can get good at something fairly quickly. A hand raised. "Is that by Malcom Gladwell?" The girl asks. "Yes," I reply. "He's one of my favorite writers. Have you read his book Blink? It's about snap judgements." I had read an excerpt. I think I grunted something like, "huh" to her and then told her to get started running her laps with the rest of the class. I felt completely intellectually inadequate and no longer quite as well read. For the record, it was a third grade class and third graders are generally 8 years old and most turn 9 during the school year. Needless to say I had NO CHOICE but to read this book in its entirety now, along with the other couple Gladwell books that are on other monthly reading lists. On principle.

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
I cannot remember who recommended Walker Percy to me, but there his name was on one of my reading lists. So, I got this one at the same time as the Worf book for the same price and trip. Then, it was weeks later before I got to it. Thank you to whoever it was or however it was that I ended up scribbling Walker Percy onto my reading lists ...

April total = 11 / YTD = 48 (goal 100)