Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers

As much wanderlust as I have, I'm still fairly sure I wouldn't take it the level of Will and Hand. One week, several countries, $32,000 to get rid of. I really like Eggers style and his crazy sentence structures; he doesn't remind me of anyone I've ever read before. On top of that, this book could not have been more different than What is the What. I like the unpredictability. Angela was right; this book is a good read, especially if you happen to be icebound on CBU's campus for a weekend.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A note on my progress...

So if you read my first post about how I normally read about 50 books a year and have been following my progress at all, you may have noticed that I seem to be outpacing that figure based on my first month. Here's a few possible reasons why:

1. I'm excited about doing this, so I've been reading a bit more than usual so that I could be all creative/productive.
2. I have a lot more free time than normal this semester. I'm no longer in charge of as many extracurricular activities, and my class load is significantly less than previous years, resulting in me having more time to be all creative/productive.
3. Since my classes don't have as much reading this semester, I don't know what to do with myself so I find extra reading to do because I am a big geek and chose to masquerade it as being all creative/productive.

Your pick.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels

What kind of self-respecting history major has not read The Communist Manifesto? The answer: me, for a very long time. I almost got through it last semester for my Russian Revolution class, but I stopped halfway through. (Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking.) When it got assigned again this semester, I figured it was time to bow to the curriculum, suck it up, and read it. Turns out, if you read it when you're not in a primary-document haze, it is surprisingly easier to read. Good to have read for historical context,but not so into the historical determinism. The picture is of a poster that has "Welcome to the Party" on top. You really have to see it to get the full effect.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about this book. I really liked it at the beginning, given that I generally like anything that makes me question the way I see the world. However, the danger the authors seemed to gloss over is that in exploring the hidden side of things, they still don't give equal weight to all of the possible arguments. I am not fully convinced by some of their rationales, but I did find the chapter about school teachers and sumo wrestlers interesting. If nothing else, at least I can have an informed opinion about it now.

I'm grateful to Greg for giving this book to me after he was finished with it for his Compleat Engineer class.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

I'll admit that I didn't chose to read this book for the best reasons. I found it on Ryan's bookshelf and decided to read it because I had seen it on several of my friends' shelves. The copy also had a header that declared it a literary classic, which is usually a major selling point for me. By the time I realized I really wasn't enjoying the reading experience, I was halfway through the book and figured I might as well finish. I did find Siddhartha's understanding that knowledge and learning are not the way to enlightenment thought-provoking. Overall though, I'd rather read about Hindu gods and mythology than an imagined journey to Nirvana. I attempted to use a makeshift bokeh filter to simulate coming to enlightenment.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What is the What by Dave Eggers

Valentino Achak Deng has led a tortuous life. He has seen his friends murdered, children eaten by lions, and walked hundreds of miles from one refugee camp to another. Valentino has changed his location, his opinions on faith, and his name. Eggers does a fantastic job in this epic novel based on Deng's autobiographical account of his life and allows the reader to catch a glimpse into the life of a Lost Boy. It leaves you wondering what exactly is the what.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Globalization: A Very Brief Introduction by Manfred B. Steger

Ahhh, globalization, the buzzword of the decade. The book was a good overview of the basic history, ideas, and ideologies of the topic, including an interesting discussion about bin Laden. Dr. Leib gave us four days to read it; good thing it was only 130 pages. The photo is a picture of Delta's route map for the Americas combined with a mosaic filter. Globalization is a divisive issue that is not nearly as cut and dry as is often portrayed. It is the source of several problems, even as it makes the world a smaller place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This book is about the way one decision can have far reaching and lasting consequences. I really liked the way Edwards was able to tell two parallel stories and show the consequences of Dr. Henry's decision to abandon his daughter with Down's Syndrome. The picture is of algae at a tidal pool at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, CA.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I am aware that Screwtape says that the devil is NOT a little man sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear, but eh. Lewis definitely hit a few sensitive areas with this one, especially when he wrote, "The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring two-pence what other people say about it, is by that very fact forearmed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books."

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

The book is composed of several short stories that turn holidays on their heads. My personal favorite was about the author's time spent performing that special punishment reserved for bad adults, working as an elf in Macy's Santaland.

The Concept

The concept is simple; the execution is drastically more difficult. I will take a picture related to every book I read this year. The picture can be literal or abstract or a mix of the two. Some will work. Some will be a stretch. Some won't make any sense to anyone but me. Regardless, it should be interesting. I average reading about 50 books a year between assigned and pleasurable reading so I should have a lot to work with.