Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Recent Reads

1. The Broker, by John Grisham, (audiobook). More nerve ticking brain candies. I've been riding some rough waters at work lately and the book and movie list would show my desperate need for sugar. About this book, Grisham is a skillful writer, but he needs better content than cooking up these Tom and Jerry tour books sitting at his kitchen table in Mississippi. On the other hand, this is easy money for an established writer. In an interview posted on YouTube, after writing An Innocent Man, he said that he was to go back to writing fictions, because it's easier, and it sells.

2. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. I heard the abridged audio version of this book before, and it's so much more fun to read the actual book, especially after I forced the bookclub to read another Gladwell book, Blink, with me. I found this clip on YouTube of Gladwell's speech at TED Conference in 2004. (By the way, if you haven't heard about TED, hurry up and visit their website, join the email updates and watch a few video clips. You won't regret.) Gladwell's image is almost comical, with the big hair, extra large forehead, two sizes too big clothes, but look at the expressive hands, this man is intelligent with an I. After watching this clip a few times, I had Gladwell's voice reading to me when I read the books this time around. Some interesting facts, Gladwell has a degree in history, and was a journalist before writing the two books, logging in a good number of years at The New Yorker and The Washington Post.

3. The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine. The title of the book should be "The Typical Female Brain", and apply to yourself only if you consider yourself an average typical female. The subject matter is interesting and I'm glad the research is done to identify the development and characteristics of female brain from the regular male's. However as the owner of one of those female brains I can't stop getting emotional when our ovaries are lumped together as one big union, just like how a female brain supposed to respond.

4. Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman. My follow up reading of Goleman's Social Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and control one's own feelings and how it's expressed. Social Intelligence is similar ability but applies to others, to understand other people's feelings and address it appropriately. These are great books to learn the basics of the how's and why's of EQ and SQ. However the books include a large portion of Dilbert-like application of the Q's in American business world, may help sell a few million copies of the books, but degrades the research.

5. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. Story about a young girl in the south ran away from her father's home in search of the mystery of her mother. Similar to Nora Nora and Sweetwater Creek.

6. Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger (audiobook). Entirely gratifying to see there is such a nasty boss out there. Things could be much worse, you know. Where is my designer purse?

7. To Infinity and Beyond, the Story of Pixar Animation Studios, by Karen Paik, forward by Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs and John Lassetter. Beautiful over sized book full of drafts and pictures from Pixar movies. I'm 10 years behind in understanding this great little company. When Henry was conceived Bill bought Pixar stock to celebrate. Two years ago I was sad to see the company was sold to Disney as I'm much less inclined to be associated today's Disney than a geeky local studio. Steve Jobs' contribution in this world is not creating a popular product, nor his showmanship, nor supporting Pixar when it was losing its footing, but his vision of computing and the drive to implement it.

8. The Hundred-Year Lie: How Food and Medicine Are Destroying Your Health, by Randall Fitzgerald. This world is absolutely completely contaminated by chemicals down to every molecule, and it's all one big plot by the US government and drug companies. What's your role in this?

9. The Master Butchers Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich (audiobook). There are butchers, someone sings, there was a dog that stole organs. Some books I just can't focus on, so when it was due I gladly returned it.

10. Howards End, by E. M. Forster (audiobook). I'm on CD # 5 of 11. It's a lengthy, well written book, but for some reason it's not penetrating my brains. I'm hearing lots of words, dialogues, descriptions of what people are doing, but can't get a grip on the story line or characters. Took me nearly two CDs to figure out Howards End is a place, not a dying person. It's a bookclub pick for August, so I will plow on till it's done.

11. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling (audiobook). Book six of the Potter series. Listening to this book in the car with Henry while we commute to various summer camps (this week it's in Santa Cruz, an hour a day on the road). Since Henry already knows every word in all the books, it's easy to catch up if my mind skips a beat and miss a few chapters here and there. The movie is coming out in November.

12. Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson. Bryson's account of his "goodbye Europe" trip before moving back to US. Great review of Europe geography, and stirs my travel bug again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Secret Life of Bees will be in theaters October 17th!