lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
August 27, list of the top 100 unread books on Librarything. Bold books you've finished, *asterisk if you've read it more than once, italic if you started but haven't read it, underline if you mean to get to it, and cross out if you hated it.

(In summary I've read 43, and only started and didn't finish 7. One of which is THE COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE. I mean, come on!)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell *
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment *
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Catch-22 *
Wuthering Heights
The Brothers Karamazov
The Silmarillion
War and Peace
Ulysses
The Odyssey
Don Quixote

Read more... )

madness

Nov. 10th, 2008 02:21 pm
lauralh: (wraith)
I read Marya Hornbacher's first book, Wasted and enjoyed it a great deal, even though I don't "get" eating disorders at all. Her latest Madness is about being bipolar, something I can relate a little more to. Unfortunately, while her writing is as intense, vivid, and descriptive as ever, the narrative flow lacks cohesion. I know this can be a problem with memoirs, but her first book was very concise and specific leading up to a breaking point where things started to change, if not immediately improved. She makes a decision to live. There is no such similar point in this book, it's just a series of anecdotes about being manic or depressed. And not your garden-variety mania or depression, these are months-long episodes that more often than not lead to her being hospitalized. Each one separately is powerful and heartbreaking and painful - she really draws a reader in - but as a whole I felt it missed the mark. I just felt empty after reading it.
lauralh: (rain)
The fog this morning made me want to stand still and let the droplets infuse my clothing. Although that sounds and feels rather unpleasant, because the external cold penetrates your clothing more readily that way, it's so beautiful I welcome it. The diffuse lighting gentle against the autumnal foliage, from Seattle to Issaquah, so very lovely. The soundtrack randomly plays Amp and the Helio Sequence, just in case I didn't get the message. Melancholy bliss. Sublime. Everything is starting to die in the most aesthetically pleasing way.

I am actually on the last tenth of Infinite Jest and honestly I'm a little sad that it's ending. I hate to say that I haven't been so empathetic with characters since beginning The Wheel of Time but that's the only thing I can think of. I am often sympathetic with characters in books - this is why I read books instead of having friends when I was young - but this empathizing thing is fairly fresh. Part of it is probably because my own writings feature young men seemingly dead to the world. So I get where DFW is coming from by making the main character one of these. It's partly a great book and partly a letter from the author. It's a punch in the gut to have my innermost secrets pulled out that way, like having a conversation with a new best friend till 4am. I feel a little troubled that I waited to read this after Mr. Wallace's heartbreaking suicide, but on the other hand would I really feel so close to him if I didn't know how crushingly depressed he was? Or would I have been able to guess it?
lauralh: (Default)
so i think i dinged my car, it has been pulling to the left rather spectacularly. oh well i shouldn't be driving anyway with the price of gas. I like the bus in some respects but I do get a little carsick if people don't let me open a window, and I don't know how to get them to do that.

this is obviously why I've been reading more again. I'm also going to rip The Kid Stays In the Picture as there are no fucking tracks on any of the six CDs.

reg's car is also a little wacked but he got a new battery today for the low low price of $100 with tax and warranty. hope that works, we're supposed to go see the tulips sunday.

I baked him a german chocolate cake forgetting he hates coconut. oh well the rest is still tastah.
lauralh: (pimpy)
* Greek Paganism: I'm in the middle of Courtesans and Fishcakes, which is a little too esoteric to get interested in, but it got me to start The Homeric Gods, which is a lot more accessible. Although a bit difficult to grasp, the author basically is successful in explaining the way that the Greeks saw religion, not as some weird otherworldly spiritual experience, but as the spirit of nature. Thus, well, the paganism we're all sort of familiar with is based on the Greeks.

The explanation starts with the Illiad, in which heros perform mighty feats, but NOT impossible ones, with the help of gods and goddesses. That is to say, there are no "miracles" in the judeo-christian sense, just people whose natural abilities are somewhat enhanced by their deities. The Greek religion therefore was utterly rational in that sense. I mean, it's silly to us today to think that figuring out a problem was due to Athena or whatever, but it still works beautifully as a metaphor.

* Common Knowledge: Mr. XKCD posted the blue eye logic puzzle yesterday, and while he also provides the solution*, he doesn't really explain the reasoning that well. Which is fine, you know, but I kept tripping over the logic in my head. I even got [livejournal.com profile] candid to try to explain it to me, and he pointed me to the Wikipedia article on Common Knowledge (as a game theory term). I'll refrain from any other discussion till I get to the comments, but I think I got it now. I even emailed it to my ex Nick to see what he could make of it, since before Joel he was probably the smartest person I knew.

* Wall of Sound: There's a festival in Virginia with a bunch of loud bands of that genre. (Although it says only "indie/shoegaze/New wave".) I am wondering if there is a market for that kind of thing here. I mean we have Kinski, right? I'd love to have something like that locally, and reading about dB fest's origins makes me really wonder.

edit: oh the solution is here.
lauralh: (the cheat is not dead)
One book that changed your life:

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan. Before that Usenet didn't matter.

One book you have read more than once:

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Well, almost everything by Terry Pratchett. They lull me.

One book that you would want on a desert island:

Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick, so I wouldn't be sure if I was REALLY on a deserted island or not.

One book that made you laugh:

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. The first time I was choking on laughter.

One book that made you cry:

Uhhhh books don't make me cry. Movies don't make me cry either. However Last Call by Tim Powers got my heartrate up better than marathon running.

One book you wish had been written:

Another Dirk Gently one.

One book you wish had never been written:

The Edge of Reason, the BJ sequel.

One book you are currently reading:

A Great and Noble Scheme about the expulsion of the Acadians.

One book you have been meaning to read:

The Road to Eleusis by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck.
lauralh: (wacked out burns)
reading: I started on the first volume of the collected letters of Hunter S. Thompson. He's bugfuck even before the drugs, nomsayin? Oh, also, most of the stuff in Fear and Loathing was actually made up. Horrors upon horrors. I am also reading Henry Miller's Black Spring and by reading I mean skimming and jumping around on the page. I think I'm not going to try reading any more of his books, because I like reading and want to continue to like it. This is also why I refuse to read Joyce.

body: My calves no longer feel like twenty million bacteria with hammers are working on them. Maybe only one million. So I'm going to have to continue with the exercise, I suspect. Especially I feel amazingly fat today. Probably cos we ordered Pagliacchi last night. I prefer Stacia's but they are batshit nuts with their 3 hour wait. I mean, excuse me, how is this possible? Really, what? How on earth can it possibly take 90 minutes to make and deliver a pizza? Can you please hire more fucking cooks or ovens? Jesus.

etc: This morning there were about 30 people waiting for the bus, and this was at 8:30 in Ballard where there was sunshine and little ice. Three of them came in a row, two Express and one Local. I hightailed it to the last one. Apparently it like snowed or some shit last night. Other than that no issues, downtown was dry by the time I got there and walked to 5th from 1st.
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
When the last non-fiction book you read is Lost in the Cosmos, and then you start The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, things get a little EUREKA around your brain. The former is all about why people of all species have concept of self vs. other, and can't seem to integrate themselves into the cosmos, and are basically just screwed up. Not that it really answers these questions. Whereas the latter is all about how people used to hallucinate gods telling them what to do, and those parts of the brain still exist but don't do much in normal sane people. Of course it seems to be more of a working hypothesis, just like the aquatic ape theory, but it's a lot of fun so far.
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
I've been reading The Lucifer Principle. It goes fast unless you look up each footnote. Or, I guess, if you've never read any Dawkins or Ridley. Anyway I'm finding the history bits a lot more interesting than the biology/meme bits. Bloom sure hates communists and Islamic fundamentalists. But then, who doesn't, right? Basically the idea is that while genes form organisms, memes form Superorganisms. These can be religions, political philosophies, countries - I guess you could call it "culture." And every single one of these, as they are made up of humans, will contain seeds of barbarism, or what he calls "the lucifer principle." So, there's no utopia, except for the leaders of the superorganism. FYI.
lauralh: (the cheat is not dead)
Readers who bought A Million Little Pieces from Random House get refunded.

NPR's Frey Fraud story

Smoking Gun's investigation: none of the crimes referred to in the book actually happened.

And he plagiarised a bunch of it.

From that last link:

...I suspect you are [allergic to the truth]. That's why you love this fake, Frey: because Frey's version of the drug world is false in every way. But it's a nice rightwing lie, so you're happy. He assures you that indeed, drugs equals addiction equals rehab or death. Which is utter, absolute nonsense.

Here's a stat to prove it: last year Italian pollution officials checked levels of chemical in the Po River, which drains most of Northern Italy. They discovered there was so much cocaine residue in the water that the residents of the area had to be using coke at more than ten times the rate cops had estimated. It meant that every young adult in the place was coked, every weekend. Two relevant facts: Northern Italy is virtually crime-free. The only crimes around are imports (Albanians, mostly), and they're not the coked-up partygoers whose piss was getting the river so high. (Lots of talkative, gung-ho fishies in the Po, I bet.)

Second key fact: coke is actually one of the more dangerous drugs, almost as bad as alcohol.

Combine these facts and stats and you see that (A) There are far more drug users than we admit out there; (B) They're doing fine, holding jobs, raising kids, snorting on the weekends and trooping back to work like the rest of us. They just have a better time on the weekends than you booze-suckers.
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
so ok. Friday night was calm, as Reg was still a bit sick, we just stayed out and watched Sin City extras. [livejournal.com profile] asabass came by, as did [livejournal.com profile] das_prompt. Went to bed around 2am, and met [livejournal.com profile] skipbreakfast for breakfast. And then I started running around because I had PLANS. none of these plans went through, alas. I looked at Goodwill, a new consigment shop on 24th, Buffalo Exchange and Red Light, but there was no white dress to be had. Red Light at least had a couple, but they didn't fit. Misery misery. I wanted a big dress so I could hide a garter+flask under it. I got the garter, got the flask, but no big white dress. I have a big black dress but the zipper stuck trying to get it on, and I had to cut it to get it off again. Sigh.

Fortunately, I picked up boots that fit at Goodwill, and just wore my LBD with them. And we got dressed and went to Paul's and so on and so forth. I mean, I don't remember any significant events, except spilling my Shirley Temple all over the bar at some point, so that's really all that needs to be said about that.

Sunday I surfed web like there was no tomorrow, then re-read some Pratchett and Middlesex and took some Xanax. Monday was much the same except nothing but Pagliacci's and breakfast sausage entered my belly. Oh, and we watched the Deadwood where Alma is preggers. Also finished Season 2 of Coupling.

2005:books

Dec. 30th, 2005 03:15 pm
lauralh: (the cheat is not dead)
every (new) book I've read, total 67 Read more... )
lauralh: (Default)
screaming orgasm + delivered burgers== happy

I re-read Less Than Zero, which everyone should do once every five years. I mean, I love the book, with a kind of heartful wistfulness and melancholy sublime sigh, but I don't know why. From the first couple of pages I'm drawn in and can't break away. His other books make me yawn halfway through. I guess because this narrator has a soul, however deeply buried. The prose is stark and practically style-less, kinda like James Frey, but it's actually describing stuff that's supposed to be glamorous (L.A. in the 80s). It does the same thing here as it does there, and you feel sorry for these kids who started sex and drugs so young that they keep going just to try to feel.
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
with the ones I've read in bold:

1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick

5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert
7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov
8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland
11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham

edited when I read Microserfs

omg what?

Sep. 27th, 2005 01:31 pm
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
Glancing at the Banned Books list, Reg and I have become confused.

[livejournal.com profile] velvet: I mean, i can understand The New Joy of Gay Sex
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: but To Kill a Mockingbird?
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: this is my question:
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: yeah.
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: THE HELL?
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: or
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: heh, american psycho.,
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: why the fuck is judy blume all over the place?
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: do people just not want their children reading?
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: b/c she talks about sex and masturbation and periods
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: UNNATURAL
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: now this
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: they don't even say it in that book more than twice
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: Wtf.
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: HAHAHAHAHA
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: it was written in the FIFTIES
[livejournal.com profile] herbaliser: you may as well ban The Mouse and the Motorcycle
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: little black sambo? WTF?@!?!?!
[livejournal.com profile] velvet: btw, the mouse and the motorcycle rulz.
lauralh: (cynical or sarcastic)
• The Friendster is a lot prettier and faster than it used to be. I dropped it after getting together with Reg, but I got back on last winter to laugh at people and connect with people from college whom I email at least once a week anyway. Anyway one of them had a birthday recently so I went back on the site and yeah. Added a bunch of people.

• The Puyallup Fair made me want to listen to Meatloaf. I guess it was all the teenagers. Jim Steinman is my favorite Jew. edit: Ok ok, Favorite Jew in Entertainment.

• I told Reg to get tickets for Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman readings, and he did. TONIGHT! Terry Pratchett's my favorite living author so this is GLEE-INDUCING.

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