Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Read, Writing, and 'Rithmetic

Since I moved down to Ontario, I've had ample time to get my read on. And read, I have been! I'm already on my 5th book since July. I can't remember a time where I read 5 books in a single year. I love to read but it takes me so long to get through a book. I'm ashamed to even try to calculate how long it took me to read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (probably 9 months or so). Starting a book is a big commitment because you need to set aside time for it most days of the week. Normally I don't feel like reading after a day at work or whatever else I have going on. Since I have next to nothing going on right now, I'm trying to plow through books.

Here's what I've been reading lately:

1. I finished The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas shortly after I moved back. The tagline of the book explains the story best: "At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own." The story details how the lives of the BBQ-goers all were affected by the slap. Every character is so different from the last and yet, Tsiolkas manages to grasp the inner psyche of every person perfectly. Great book, I highly recommend this one!

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I like to read classic books as often as I can, because they're classics for a reason and are referred to often in conversations and in different media. I thought this book was interesting but it wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. I feel like it should be renamed How to Be a Charming Salesman. It focuses mostly on business rapports, which doesn't interest me very much. Overall, this book was worthwhile to read, despite much of it being common sense. I know to ask people questions about themselves, I know to try and compliment people, I know I shouldn't brag about myself, I know I should avoid arguing with people just so I can be right. If you are looking for a way to learn how to make good first impressions on people, by all means, read this book. And also, read How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman. I read it when I was 12 or 13 and I absorbed that book like a sponge. It's quite similar to HTWF&IP but focuses a lot on trying to figure out a person's personality quickly and using it to your advantage.

3. Towelhead by Alicia Erian. A friend lent this to me, oh, maybe a year ago, thinking I'd like it. It's about a young middle-eastern girl who moves to Texas to live with her dad and while there, is sexually exploited by her neighbour and one of her classmates. Meanwhile, her strict father imposes all sorts of rules on her and physically abuses her. While I do tend to be interested in reading about the corruption of young people, I thought this book was terrible. The voice of the narrator was silly, annoying, and unrealistic. I was glad this was a quick read because if I had to read another chapter, I probably would have built a fireplace in my apartment so I could throw this book into it.

4. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I heard the movie was terrible but being intrigued by the story (which as it turns out, is a memoir and all true) and knowing books are almost always better than the movie, I picked it up to read. If you're not familiar with the story, a recently-divorced woman leaves America for a year and travels to Italy to eat, India to pray, and Indonesia to love. I read it fairly quickly. While I enjoyed the book quite a bit, again, the narrator's voice was kind of annoying. Suffice it to say, I don't think Ms Gilbert and I would be friends if I knew her "in real life." I found her kind of tedious and neurotic, but the book contains a lot of facts about the places she visits and I enjoyed that aspect of it. The section of the book which takes place in Bali was probably my favourite as the information she provided about the culture in Bali was interesting.

5. Today I picked up 2 books from the library though I think I'm only going to end up reading one. It's called His Needs, Her Needs (Building an Affair-Proof Marriage) by Willard F. Harley, Jr. I like books about relationships and since Anthony and I have been having a lot of conversations about our needs and such lately, I thought this would be a timely read.

6. The next book I plan to read is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I actually went to the library today in search of it. My dad, seeing my search on the library's online catalogue, said something like, "Why do you want to read that garbage?!" I take it he is not a subscriber to the Ayn Rand fan club. As I mentioned at the beginning of the entry, I read The Fountainhead awhile ago and I loved it. It took me such a long time to read and while I read it, I just wanted to be done. However, I remember as soon as I closed the book after reading the last sentence, I wished it had been longer. Since then I've been planning to read Atlas Shrugged but I haven't gotten around to it.

Well, I'm off to Michigan for the weekend so you probably won't hear from me again until early next week.

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