6.21.2006

so pretty liz!


Tomorrow night, Spoons and I will take off from Pittsburgh for a weekend at my dad's wife Eileen's family reunion. It's an every-three-years thing (triennial?) so this picture of my so-pretty sister is from three years ago. See you again soon, Atlantic Ocean!


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6.20.2006

books to read on the beach

Some friends at the lab were talking about book recommendations today, and here are mine!

I love all Neal Stephenson's books -- they are clever, funny, and have awesome characters and interesting research behind them. Sometimes the endings are weird, but I've enjoyed them. I think the best three are these:

"Snow Crash" (take place in the future)
"Cryptonomicon" (an interesting blend of past and present)
"Diamond Age" (an interesting blend of past and future)

Snow Crash is cyber-punkish. Cryptonomicon has some present-day computer hackers, but also WW2 elements (Pacific theater, mostly, so it's not all about Nazis), and Diamond Age is my most favorite -- it has some Eastern vs. Western philosophy and discussion of how people learn and teach that I think about a lot.

I also recommended:

The "His Dark Materials" (Philip Pullman) series is excellent and quick reading for the summer. It's theoretically for teenagers, but I think that's because the protagonists are teens and there's no explicit sex. (sorry!) Everyone I know who's read these has loved them.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" (Mark Haddon) -- worth reading for scientists and those who love them. This book is written by a guy who worked with Autistic kids, and it's written from the point-of-view of a teenage boy with Asberger Syndrome (a milder form of Autism). I think of myself as pretty far from Asberger's (a lot of symptoms have to do with disliking social situations, people, or talking, and I certainly have no problems there ;) ) but there were many parts of the narrative that were eerily close to home for me. The book isn't perfect, but I found it unique and it's a fast read.

"The Last Samurai" (Helen Dewitt) One of my favorite books in the past few years. This is a modern book, set in present day UK, and I really enjoyed the writing. It's not completely linear and her style is unusual. If you flip through it in the library/bookstore, you'll see what I mean. I think the less you know going in, the more enjoyable it will be, but if you must have a plot summary, look on amazon.

Non-fiction:

"Watching the English" (Kate Fox) This book was recommended by a British friend at the lab. It's written for a primarily British audience about the intricacies and explanations of English culture, from an anthropological perspective. The author is funny and casual in her writing, so this is a very easy-to-read, light book, but I still think (and talk) about it a lot -- watching Americans and people in general, not just when dealing with the English. :)

"Among the Thugs" (Bill Buford) I saw Ira Glass (of the NPR radio show "This American Life") give a talk about storytelling in Pittsburgh recently, and one of the questions afterwards from the audience was about recommended reading. This was the book that he recommended. It's a story of a journalist in the UK in the late 80's who tried somewhat successfully to integrate himself with the guys causing all the football violence at the time. Then, he starts looking at mobs in general, and what people get out of being involved in a crowd, so it's about more than just soccer fans. It's another pretty fast paperback to whip through on the plane or something.

And!

Last but not least, the intrepid Tom 7 has written some short books as part of the National Novel Writing Month, which is stupidly in November. (I think it should be in the summer.)

He would say: "Creation over Consumption!" -- spend some of your summertime writing, in addition to reading. Or creating an album in a day and submitting it to his Album-A-Day site.

Or, um, you could read his books (consumption over creation? just this once.) for free on the internet (they are good!) or buy a printed copy online. (I have some -- they come out looking great!)

If you are reading this, I bet you have good book recommendations, too. You can leave them in the comments, or drop me an email...


(from Tom the Dancing Bug, July 12, 2001)


Comments:
Hey there!

I came here via your last.fm page;
If you haven't already, you might check out Jonathan Safran Foer -- I think I liked his first book a little bit better, but his second was also good (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

I'd also recommend Nicole Krauss's "The History of Love." It was a delight to read and I liked the protagonists.
 
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6.19.2006

watch out for Drew

I do have Puerto Rico pictures and stories, but, while you're waiting, enjoy this list. Found on the sidewalk in Ann Arbor, MI.


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6.06.2006

hot!

 

Here's the T-shirt that I didn't buy for you all. (It says "Puerto Rico" underneath the "Caliente.")

So, I made it back to Pittsburgh this morning. I have a bunch of Rainforest/San Juan/Arecibo pictures to post, so I'll try and get around to them soon. Posted by Picasa


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