January 5, 2016
So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport
Interesting argument that following your passion as a means to find meaningful work is less smart than getting really good at something and building from that. Short and full of padding, but the nugget of gold contained within is pure.
Kettlebell Simple and Sinister – Pavel Tstatsouline
Brutally simple Russian kettlebell protocol from the guy that brought kettlebells to the West. Effective.
The Man In The High Castle – Philip K Dick
Read this maybe 20 years ago and didn’t think much of it. It read a lot better this time, now I have more knowledge of history, the I Ching, and Japanese culture, and PKD’s general philosophy on reality. Set in a world where Germany and Japan won WW2 and have partitioned an occupied America. (Was this the first major alternate history novel? Essentially creating a genre?) A very weird choice to turn into a TV show.
Enchanted Night – Stephen Millhauser
Delightful novella from a Pulitzer prize winning modern fabulist. Dreamy romantic fantasy drenched literature. One unusual, or perhaps usual, night in a small town.
So You Don’t Get Lost In The Neighbourhood – Patrick Modiano
Novella musing on memory, identity and reality from the recent Nobel prize winner. Pretty weird, the narrative sort of dissipates as it goes, as the narrative turns out to not be the point.
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
Novel. Great evocation of 18th century Iceland as we follow the last woman to be executed in Iceland, a mix of intense reconstruction from documentation and narrative extrapolation.
Book Launch – Chandler Bolt
Useful book about launching books.
A Night of Serious Drinking – Rene Daumal
Curious, inventive, and very fun. A short metaphysical/esoteric novel from the 1930s, in a satirical and pataphysical tradition, steeped in Gurdjieff’s perspective. Blindingly funny in places, with more philosophical subtlety present than at first glance. While I would still recommend Mt Analogue by Daumal over this, I think I am more likely to reread this one.