All posts tagged reading

  • What I know now // 030

    LOL to casually trying to pretend this is a monthly installment after 8 months. But on the other side of nearly two months of relaxing, reflecting, and slugging around I finally feel a little in the mood for writing again. I won’t try to fill in the whole 8 months, but I thought I’d talk about some of the things I’ve read in the past two months.

    Something that I’ve noticed is that I have a definitely lack of fiction books getting read and coming in. When I look at my “to read” list, it’s just a long list of non-fiction books about serious topics. If you have any great fiction books I should read, please let me know!

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  • Performance of Self (is hard)

    I have been listening to an audiobook called in The World Beyond Your Head and Chapter 9, The Presentation of Self, has really been sticking with me and I thought I’d share.

    In the past, there were more trades people and a person would received his identity through his vocation. He was successful and viewed as successful by the amount of experience he had. He were respected as his professional and comforted by this identity.

    Today, we have come to emphasize the individual and we are in charge of our success by “discovering ourselves.” A man is now responsible for his destiny…and any failure to measure up is also his fault. He is constantly trying to “become himself”…and the constant performance is tiring. This is the cost of being able to reinvent yourself all the time instead of having a trade you are valued for. We go through all this social sorting throughout life—classes, school, jobs, internships…—which also reinforces a social stigma of self-inflicted failure. We have created so many opportunities to be ranked and compare ourselves against one another. We have this an unrealistic ideal of how to be in the world and it’s depressing. Literally. The book connects this cultural movement with an upswing in depression.

    I thought this was interesting because it has coincided with another podcast I’ve listened to discussing depression & suicide. One thing they’ve found is that people with harder lives don’t necessary commit suicide at a high rate, like one might guess. Twice as many white people than black people and a surprisingly high number rich people commit suicide in the US. In fact, regions with a higher quality of life have a higher rates of suicide. They gave an example of poorer groups of people plagued with disease, hardship, and high infant minorities with virtually no suicide rates. While not qualified, one of the researchers personally guessed that if you feel unhappy and there doesn’t seem to be an external cause like a job, family, or health, you might consider it an internal defect, thinking something wrong with you.

    Something we all know from greeting cards & Disney movies manifests itself in the real life: You can be materially successful and miserable, or have simple means but be content every day.

    — —

    If you’re interested in the book, I don’t necessarily recommend it. It’s kind of dense and philosophical—but maybe that’s up your alley.

    If you’re looking for ways to be happier, I would check out the short podcasts The Science of Happiness podcast where they ask folks to try happiness projects and then discuss the psychology behind it. 

  • My favorite books of last year

    I don’t watch TV and only watch movies in airplanes and as a social activity. I’ve heard there are some really great TV series out, and enjoy the movies I do get to see, I just never seem to find the time.

    When I walk into the door of my apartment, the first thing I do is switch my headset to my bluetooth speaker to continue the podcast or audiobook I’m listening to. I move around the house listening to stories, from when I wake up to when I go to bed. While I should learn to appreciate the silence because I know the benefits of boredom, the idea of not listening and learning something gives me serious FOMO.

    So bear in mind that’s hard for me to widdle down a list of books to recommend because I’m often like “but that book taught me to look at X thing in Y way!”

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  • Take a look, it’s in a book

    In the beautiful wisdom of of the Reading Rainbow theme song, I’d like to invite you all to take a look, because it’s in a book. A reading rainbow.

    Something magical happened that will change my life for the better ever after.

    I learned that I can borrow audiobooks from the San Francisco library from an app on my phone. Everyone: This is revolutionary for an audiobook fiend like myself. Like a junky, I have spent nearly a year trying to get by on my one measly Audible audiobook a month subscription plan (that I used my adult money to finally subscribe too) and filled in the rest of my days with podcasts (not the worst, but just sayin’). When I discovered that I could borrow audiobooks from the library digitally, I was beside myself with joy. I’ve told nearly everyone I’ve met about it even though they don’t really care. I can get nearly all the books I want directly into my hearing holes! ::TEARS::. (I have already read 10 books since January 1).

    The very first book I checked out? Between the World and Me—they had it! It’s been on my to-read list for over a year now and I was so excited. This is a beautiful, beautiful book that should be on everyone’s to-read. It reads like poetry and I’m so glad I got to hear his story. If you only read one book this year (why would you do that though?), this might be it.

    When I finished, it happened to be February 1st and my app was recommending a bunch of other similar books…oh wait, it was Black History Month. As a terrible human who doesn’t do nearly enough to help others on this unforgiving planet, I thought maybe one small way I could understand someone else’s life was to read books by black authors this month (although it took a little longer to finish them). I realized that I have been reading so many non-fiction science/psychology books lately and haven’t really dove into stories in a while.

    Every bookworm will tell you, books are window into another life. It’s one of the few ways to immerse yourself in another’s experiences and feelings. It’s really incredible how powerful books can be. I haven’t read a huge diversity of authors besides White Dudes so I thought this was the perfect nudge in that direction. I have this belief that if you read and feel for another person’s experience it just has to change how you act in the world. I wonder what kind of story needs to be told in order to change someone’s mind. Statistics are great and help us make hard decisions. But the humanities keep us human.

    Here are the books I read:

    ReadingRainbow

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  • 5: books James Victore recommends

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    Pretty diverse set, no? I want to give couple of them try. But he’s right about me not wanting to read Ralph’s again. I really agree that it’s our immersion in the world that helps make us diverse and strong designers.

    James Victore, for those of you new to the scene, is a graphic designer I admire. I’ve written about him a couple of times.

  • What I know now // 21

    Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.09.10 PMThe Best Book Covers of 2014

    In the midst of the turmoil that is grad life, I still will share the things I’m learning with you.

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  • What I know now // 017

    It’s been a long time, but to be fair, I wasn’t on my computer as much in Switzerland and thus wasn’t reading as many articles. While I was putting these together I was remembering how wonderful each was. I hope you check some of them out, they’re a real treat.

    And I want to see this movie:

    I AM ELEVEN – Official trailer 2014 from I Am Eleven on Vimeo.

    whatiknownowbanner-01

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  • 10: Most influential books

    I saw someone complete this challenge on Facebook and as an English-major-for-life I was super intrigued. This is not your run-of-the-mill spam chain. This is book business!

    I started at the bottom and then I decided to list them all before I kept writing about them and now, looking over this list, it looks a little…artificial. So I want to explain my decisions and why maybe these big-name books opened the door to so many other books.

    While I was making this list I tried not to just think about “favorite books” (though of course there’s overlap) but really address the question: influential. What books changed me? Changed the way I looked at the world? At myself? Which set off a chain of reactions? Influenced my interests? In order to think about these questions, many of the books ended up being ones that I read when I was younger so that I could actually reflect on the how they changed me.

    Plus, I guess, I do read a lot of canonical works.

    I usually also forgo ranking system on Laziness Principles, but I’m actually going to try to rank them! I would love to hear your most influential books too.

    Bear with me guys, my most influential books:

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  • What I know now // 014

  • What I’m reading over winter break…

    winterbreak2013

    So. Excited.

    1. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
      (non-fiction, neuroscience)
    2. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
      (non-fiction, social science)
    3. How to Do Things with Language by JL Austin
      (non-fiction, language philosophy)
    4. Things That Make Us Smart: Defending human attributes in the age of machines by Donald Norman
      (non-fiction, design)
    5. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
      (fiction, Russian classic)
    6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
      (new fiction, distopia?)