So I really wanted this blog to be a chronicle of the things i consume offline—books, movies, whatever—but it’s time I lowered the bar for what counts as consumed. I rarely finish books; if I had to guess, I would say that I probably don’t finish nine out of ten that I start. I guess there comes a point when my curiousity about something new outweighs the diminishing returns of finishing the book at hand. So be it—here’s to coming clean with my page counts.
“The guido ethos is showy, it bumps shoulders and yells. It is a hey-baby culture, in which the men are macho and the women wear spandex. When cruising in cars — a popular pastime — guidos like loud dance music and loud-looking girls. When they walk, they thrust their shoulders back and take over sidewalks.”
From a 2003 Washington Post feature—yes, feature—on New Jersey guidos.
I just finished All the Sad Young Literary Men, and I have to say that enjoyed it quite a bit. It turns out that over-educated literary types fret about girls as much as the rest of us—more, probably, and with added tangential references to revolutionary literature. As a bonus, the book gives a wonderful tour of the insecurity that hides under even the most pretentious of people—the author certainly being one of them. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book, whether you are trying to ‘figure it out’ or, maybe even more so, if you already feel like you’ve done so.
I do hope I read more fiction! In the meantime, I ordered the decidedly non-fictional book, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000.
I just read these two books, and they were great. It’s pretty hard to go wrong when the author is a staff writer for the New Yorker—from start to finish, they were both refreshingly honest, insightful, and generally a pleasure to read. These would make for great beach reading.
“The animal kingdom’s decline came in the form of a three-page paper that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Its lead author, Carl Woese, had spent the previous few years trying to find a way to figure out the relationship of all living things, including microbes.”
“Woese also gave scientists a way to gauge the genetic diversity of life, and as the new tree shows, the animal kingdom doesn’t make up much of it. In the early depictions of the tree of life, it took up a huge portion of its branches at its top — the crown of evolution. On the new tree, the animal kingdom (marked Metazoa) has been reduced to a small tuft of branches. The EMBL tree only shows a small sampling of life’s full diversity, and it’s certain that when scientists finally assemble the full tree of life, the animal kingdom will suffer even more humiliation.”
Interesting article—got me to preorder the author’s book, Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life.