Friday, January 28, 2011

40 for 40 List of Recommendations

I asked for more recommendations and received lots and lots! The best part about this embracing of my 40th year is that I am learning about my friends even more and learning from them. I'm also learning and exploring new ideas that I previously wouldn't have considered!

Here is the list so far..
From Melissa
1. Tale of Two Cities
2. The Brothers Karamazov

From Neil:
1.Any of the travel writings of Tim Cahill, but at least "Pecked to Death by Ducks." (... "Jaguars Ripped My Flesh" is also pretty good)
2. All of Malcolm Gladwell's books. They are each stand-alone, so no reading order. I think "Tipping Point" is my favorite, but there are interesting ideas in all of them.
3. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville in your list. Written in 1832, he discusses and anticipates problems we are still having today:
4. Anything by Hunter S. Thompson, but of course "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," at least.
5. All of Ray Kurzweil's books. I read them in order, which is interesting to check a futurist's predictions when years have gone by. A lot of it is dense science-y stuff but it can be whimsical as
6. Everybody knows Richard Bach for "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," "Illusions," and "The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" - but he also wrote the most amazing first-person aviation stories. His series starts with "Stranger to the Ground" and "Biplane" and they are both terrific. Of course, that is me as a pilot talking, but if you have an interest in aviation outside of airline travel then Bach is the man.
7. Biographies by David McCullough. "Truman" and "John Adams," for sure, but don't miss: "Mornings on Horseback, The Story of an Extraordinary Family. a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt."
8. For a little spooky and twisted, you can't beat Neil Gaiman. All his books are stand-alone, no series so you can start anywhere. My favorite is "American Gods" (Warning! Creepy!) I wish he would write a sequel, but he just doesn't do that... "Stardust" was good and eventually was turned into a movie. Same with "Coraline."

From Whitney:
The Marines of August
Survival of the Sickest
The Day the Universe Changed
Vaccinated-The biography of the guy that developed nearly all the vaccines Whitney currently works on.

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens"
"The Great Game"

From Charles:
Murakami "A Wild Sheep Chase"
Michael Chabon "The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay"
David Mitchell "Cloud Atlas"

From Marti:
Ann Fairbairn "Five Smooth Stones"

From Irene:
Aristophanes: The Frogs, The Clouds
Jerome Weidman "My Father Sits in the Dark"
Grace Paley "Wants"
Lu Xun "Diary of a Madman"
Jhumpa Lahiri "A Temporary Matter"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kindle e-books

Any of my five readers know how to get library books on the Kindle? I'm tempted to hit the library on my way home from work and ask but I"m not sure anyone there would know.

Also what are your favorite books that are free and available for the kindle?

Monday, January 24, 2011

40 for 40 Book Three

Of Love and Other Demons: Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Recommended by Laura.
Will be picking up at the library tomorrow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

40 for 40 Book Two

Sarah recommended the following book as one of her favorites. She warned me it's not a happy book. Looking forward to the read...

"They Came Like Swallows" William Maxwell


This was a quick but tough read.
It is about a family dealing with the 1918 Flu Epidemic and the birth of a child and the loss of a parent. There is a formality to the writing and thoughts of the characters that truly reflects the formality and seriousness of the time period.
The children do reflect real children in their thoughts and jealousies. The younger is definitely attached to his childhood (even though he is 8 he comes across as a much younger child) while the older (a 13 year old) is much more serious and comes across as much more adult. I make these comparisons in relation to the typical children of today.
I didn't question the parents decisions, I didn't question the somewhat odd connection of the German manservant to the children and the desire to "go home." YET upon finishing the book the gravity of the decisions and the desire to go home hit me. I am aware of the consequences and the upcoming issues in Germany that the characters are not.
The ending was odd. The loss of the one parent led to the dissolution of the family. A sense of not being able to go on.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

40 for 40 Book One

This is my first book in the 40 for 40 plan.
My friend Gretchen Kubacky strongly recommended it as I enter my 40s.

Listening to Prozac
It is available at the library for me to pick up today.

REVIEW-Updated 1/28/11
This was a great book and almost one of the books I would recommend that people trying to find balance and space in their working and family life read.
A few takeaways from the book that I wouldn't have expected from the title and overview:
1. People who seem to have it together in most aspects of their life have one area in which they are falling apart. Once that area spills over into other areas things quickly deteriorate.
2. There is a feeling by many (the author included) that Prozac makes them the best version of their self and when they are no longer on it they lose their self.
3. Many people on low to moderate doses of Prozac and other ssri's feel like they are "cheating" to get ahead at work or in life.

Some of the more interesting learning's from the book:
1. I find it very interesting that the author was finding this to be a drug that defined a disease rather than a disease finding a solution within a drug.
2. The broad use of the drug started to make psychiatrists start to diagnose patients with a very low spectrum version of a disease because they felt they would respond to the drug.
3. As a result of the positive response by patients to Prozac many felt that their were broader spectrums of depression, anxiety, and OCD which allowed those people to reach out for mental health assistance.

Overall it was a great read and it was a great read for the first book of my 40th year.

The Hunger Games Book Two: Catching Fire

I have now finished book two of the Hunger Games. It is young adult fiction so I can't expect the universe but I can expect coherent thought.
The book starts well leading into some tension with the Capitol and with Katniss and her two potential male partners. The tension is then switched without explanation to a new bad guy Thread but quickly fall to the background.
Katniss and family start observing issues and there is talk of a rebellion. Nothing is developed for the reader in that respect.
Then the games again.
The book ends abruptly and could easily have been part of book one.

Now the wait for the final book.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post Apocolyptic Book Club

A friend of mine is part of a book club called the Post-Apocalyptic book club. I love that they are actually reading books that involve the supposed apocalypse and the world that follows. There are some very interesting reviews for books that I admit I have not read but am glad to get a review of them.
Here is the link to the series...Post-Apocalyptic Book Club

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Library Fines

Egad! $5.25 in fines for two books. One book I never finished reading and another that came in while on vacation and I didn't pick up in time!
We have two books due tomorrow that I will be dropping off after work.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

40 for Turning 40

I will be celebrating my 40th birthday in April. I'm trying to approach it with grace and excitement rather than age and dread.
I will be doing several events in 2011 to commemorate my 40th.

In the Library world I would like to read 40 books that I can get out of the library and that I have never read in 2011 and possibly by my 40th.

Here is where I've marked up my books read and ones that I haven't on the BBC List. The Modern Library List is another source for me.
Can you help me by making suggestions of books I should read?

I will review and thank each of you that give me a recommendation.

Here is to a great 2011 and turning 40