Tag Archives: book

the nose of a dog

“A dog can detect a teaspoon sugar diluted in a million gallons of water: two Olympic-sized pools full.”

Currently reading Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. A bit tortuous when the family pup is half a world away, but nonetheless enlightening about dogs and their awe-inspiring talents.

Photo via Jdenredden

autumn and early winter reading

A year of reading, with 27 books enjoyed in 2011. Here are lists of what I read from January – May and from June – September. And now, the last batch of the year: the books I read in October, November, and December.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout. A portrait of a woman in a small coastal town in New England told through a series of shorts stories from her perspective and through the voices of those in her community.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte. This classic never gets old.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. A biographer records the never-before-told personal history of a famous author at the edge of her life.

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. A look at the history of Manhattan Island in the hands of its first occupants: the Dutch in New Amsterdam.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. A humorous tale of the consequences when one couple decides to forgo Christmas for one year.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A story of a family who moves to a mysterious house on the coast of Spain. The children discover the dark secrets of its past inhabitants.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The first book of The Hunger Games trilogy tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, living a totalitarian society in which two children from each of the 12 districts are sent annually to compete in a game for their lives.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The horror of the first book is on repeat when a second game is announced to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the games. Katniss finds herself back in the arena competing for her life.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The final installment in which the capital government becomes the final opponent. I listened to trilogy as audio books and was immediately swept up in the action and lives of the characters. It was a perfect way to enjoy the dark, winter months.

I already have a small collection of books for the next month or two, but would love some recommendations. Which books did you enjoy lately?

Photo by azrasta

action

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

Jane Eyre, chapter xii

summer reading

 

A slower pace at work and a long holiday in Turkey allowed for more reading than the first part of the year. Here, a recap of the books I read this summer:

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. A work of historical fiction about the Dutch East Indies Company’s outpost in Japan through the eyes of the young clerk Jacob de Zoet.

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. Described as a ‘biography-in-collage’, this work looks at the lives of scientists Marie and Pierre Curie as they fall in love and discover new elements of the periodic table together.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The crazy world in which the bombardier Yossarian tries to survive when the number of missions he has to make before he can complete his service keeps being raised and the ominous rule of Catch 22 hangs above.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The story of fireman Guy Montag who lives in a dystopic world in which books are burned and independent thoughts questioned.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. A portrait of an African-American girl raised in the South and her childhood moments of triumph and tragedy.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. A view on 1870s upper class New Yorkers in which recently engaged Newland Archer faces off with the demands of society as his relationship with the scandalized cousin of his fiancée deepens.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. A collection of short stories portraying the reporters, editors, and related characters of an English-language newspaper based in Rome.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Catherine Morland visits Bath and then the mysterious abbey and learns how tricky it is to navigate through 18th-century society.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. A novel written through an exchange of letters between novelist Juliet Ashton and members of a unique society on Guernsey Island. They share their experiences during the German Occupation of World War II and friendships form through the post.

Also two audio books!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. The story of an unforgettable protagonist, Oskar Blum, a young boy who lives in post-9/11 New York. He heads out into the city on a quest to understand his father’s death at the World Trade Center as the tale interweaves with his family’s past.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. The autobiography of comedian and producer Tina Fey, describing the forays of her youth and the experiences that led to her career success.

Traumgedanken (thoughts on dreams)

A beautiful project by German designer Maria Fischer captures the mystery and intangibility of our dreams and their fleeting connections. Weaving thread throughout the pages, she links the words of literary, philosophical, psychological, and scientific texts on dream theory.

Her book Traumgedanken (Thoughts on Dreams) ” is designed as a model of a dream about dreaming. Analogue to a dream, where pieces of reality are assembled to build a story, it brings different text excerpts together. They are connected by threads which tie in with certain key words. The threads visualise the confusion and fragileness of dreams.”

A wonderful description of the project is here, via TOM.

Amsterdam: The Essence by David Beckett

In Amsterdam: The Essence, 25 Amsterdammers share their stories of life in the Dutch capital, shaping a tale of the city itself. Written by David Beckett, I spotted this book on a shelf recently, but really starting exploring it through the stories captured on film.


Laser 3.14, street artist, “The essence of Amsterdam is its freedom and openness. You don’t find that anywhere else.”


Henk Schiffmaker, tattoo artist, “When I walk the streets, this city communicates with me.”

Weekend Links #19

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Browsing through the book Wild Animals (Wilde Dieren) by Dutch illustrator Rop van Mierlo (image and video below, via anothersomething)
2. Discovering The Makers, a photo project by Jennifer Causey with beautiful stories about people in Brooklyn who make things happen (Morris Kitchen pictured above, via frolic)
3. Browsing the Monkey See list of the all the films based on books coming out in 2011
4. Revisiting an old NYTimes article Why We Read
5. Although well into the year of the rabbit, enjoying this cute animation
6. Scouting out cinema notes at Smart Project Space
7. Walking through a sunny city and playing taste tester to Chef Marcus

a girl who reads

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

Read the full text here, attributed to Rosemary Urquico (image via).

Contraband by Taryn Simon

Over the course of five days, Taryn Simon took 1,075 photographs of items seized by customs at Kennedy International Airport. Some items don’t come as a surprise (drugs, weapons, counterfeit Louis Vuitton), but others are just plain odd – and fascinating (cow dung toothpaste, insect larvae, a pitcher of salami). Her work will be published this fall in a book titled Contraband.

Light Boxes

Browsing the shelves of the bookstore this weekend, my eyes landed on Light Boxes by Shane Jones. A small book and the only copy in sight, I nearly missed it. Once I had seen the cover design, I was sold. Isn’t it intriguing? Just like the description:

February is persecuting the townspeople. It has been winter for more than three hundred days. All forms of flight are banned and children have started to disappear, taken from their beds in the middle of the night. The town’s priests hang ominous sheets of parchment on the trees, signed ‘February’. And somewhere on the outskirts of the town lives February himself, with the girl who smells of honey and smoke…

Fascinating. And my post-purchase research tells me that Spike Jonze is making an adaptation.

A Bit of Reading

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that I like reading. I usually keep track of the books I read by season, but I haven’t seem to posted a reading list since August last year. It was a busy fall/winter/spring and here are some of my favorites.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. A present from my older sister that was inspirational and caused me to do a lot of reflecting. Highly recommended.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A mystery thriller that sucked me in from the first pages. A gift from a great friend and perfect for the wintertime.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A historical mystery that scours the streets of post-war Barcelona. Absolutely beautiful.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I think this is a youth novel, but no matter. A story that immerses you in a one-of-a-kind adventure with four extraordinary kids.

Franny and Zooey inspired collection

The style of the Glass family, New York circa 1955. Also easy to mistake as the pieces from the set design of The Royal Tenenbaums. (via constantwanderlust: thethinkingtank)

Jules Verne Cover Designs

Fantastic book cover designs by Jim Tierney (via faceoutbooks).

The Moment Devoted to Pastries

“…he set down a plate of sugar-covered crescents, the cornes de gazelle. No one was the least bit hungry anymore, but that is precisely what is so good about the moment devoted to pastries: they can only be appreciated to the full extent of their subtlety when they are not eaten to assuage our hunger, when the orgy of their sugary sweetness is not destined to fill some primary need but to coat our palate with all the benevolence of the world.”

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Transporting Love

Today is Valentine’s Day and I find myself reading Alain de Botton‘s book Essays in Love. By chance, instead of being on one of the less love-y chapters, such as ‘Romantic Fatalism’, ‘Intermittances of the Heart’, or ‘Romantic Terrorism’, this morning I was at the chapter ‘Speaking Love’ where de Botton analyzes the difficulty his experience of first trying to articulate sentiments of love for his girlfriend Chloe.

There seemed to be no way to transport love in the word L-O-V-E without at the same time throwing the most banal associations into the basket. The word was too rich in foreign history: everything from the Troubadours to Casablanca had cashed in on the letters. Was it not my duty to be the author of my own feelings? Would I not have to fashion a declaration with a uniqueness to match Chloe’s? I felt disconcertingly aware of the mundanity of our situation: a man and a women, lovers, celebrating a birthday in a Chinese restaurant, one night in the Western world, somewhere toward the end of the twentieth century. No, my meaning could never make the journey in L-O-V-E. It would have to seek alternative transportation.

Pig 05049

Last November at TEDxAmsterdam, Christien Meindertsma presented the research of her book Pig05049 which tracked all the products that were made from one pig. Her inspiration was that, although the 12.2 million pigs in the Netherlands they’re never seen anywhere. This is also true for many of the products, which don’t appear to have anything to do with meat. From the different parts of the pig – skin, bones, meat, internal organs, blood, fat, and miscellaneous – a diverse range of goods are created, from beer to bullets and chewing gum to copper.

A Little Thought

Book cover designs by Dutch illustrator Dick Bruna. (via but does it float)

We Feel Fine: The Book

snowy

Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, the creators of We Feel Fine, have announced the completion of the book We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion heading to stores on December 1. The book chronicles the mission of the project: to aggregate the range of emotions expressed in blogs online and collectively present them for exploration.

The 288-page book contains photographs from over 1,000 individual bloggers, statistics from over 13 million individual feelings, hundreds of infographics, dozens of back stories and in-depth profiles, and countless insights into the ups and downs of everyday life.

The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

The Angst of Creative Dreams

creative angst

“It’s time to accept that there’s never going to be a perfect sea of endless days when i can write. I will always have other stuff to do. So if that’s the case, then i may as well just get on with it. I don’t want to be one of those people who talks about the book and never actually writes it. It’s time to face up to what’s really going on here – blatant fear of failure. Why do our creative dreams cause us so much angst? – and just start somewhere. Even if i do feel like my days are already full-to-bursting, I can still eek out some time. No more talk; it’s time to put my pen where my mouth is.”

(via inkonmyfingers)

Despite the fact that I actually write a lot — for work, research projects, on my blog, World Pulse, and a dozen other places — sometimes it never feels like it amounts to anything substantial. I have never published a book, although printing my MA thesis did feel like quite the accomplishment. All the research I do for clients is ‘protected’ under NDAs, never to see the light beyond internal boardrooms. Yet, as much as I relate to this observation, I can’t help but think perhaps we’re too hard on ourselves.

A recent article in Seed Magazine describes The Writing Revolution in which we all are now authors. Although their definition of an ‘author’ (someone who has written anything, whether a blog post or Tweet, that has been read by more than 100 people) needs some reworking, the point is that technological changes have enabled us to move from Consumers to Creators. The Seed article is reminiscent of the article We Are All Writers Now. With so many writers and authors running around these days, it’s hard for those of us who consider it our profession to not feel a rising possibility of failure. The quote is spot on with its conclusion. What other solution is there than confronting the creative angst and just getting on with writing?

An Original of the Clumsy Copy

dreamspots

The horrible ‘here’, the dark dungeon, in which a relentlessly howling heart is encarcerated, this ‘here’ holds and constricts me. But what gleams shine through at night, and what—. It exists, my dream world, it must exist, since, surely there must be an original of the clumsy copy. Dreamy, round, and blue, it turns slowly toward me. It is as if you are lying supine, with eyes closed, on an overcast day, and suddenly the gloom stirs under your eyelids, and slowly becomes first a langorous smile, then a warm feeling of contentment, and you know that the sun has come out from behind the clouds. With just such a feeling my world begins: the misty air gradually clears, and it is suffused with such radiant, tremulous kindness, and my soul expanses so freely in its native realm. —But then what, then what?

Invitation to a Beheading, Vladimir Nabokov