Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Geography of Love

by Glenda Burgess

A memoir that goes into my "couldn't put it down" collection of favorite books.

Bronzed and athletic in pressed khakis and a white shirt unbuttoned at the neck, Ken waved over a cab. Brazilian conga music spilled out of the open windows as the Land Rover pulled over to the curb. Ken lifted our bags into the taxi and we tumbled in, reaching for sunglasses against the noontime glare.
"Good-bye Rio." I smiled back through the palm avenues of the Intercontinental Hotel as the taxi pulled away from the curb.
"Where to now?" I asked. I really didn't know. This was the kind of mystery I loved best.
"Argentina." Ken smiled, in his dark shades every inch the movie star.
"What's in Argentina?"
"The tango."

Excerpt from Geography of Love

Glenda was in her 30's, still single, and even though she had her share of boyfriends, no one ever equated to the love of her life -- until she met Ken. He was higher up in the company she worked for and they ran into each other on a number of occasions. Soon they began developing a loving relationship, often flying to exotic destinations and enjoying each other's company. Fast forward, and their adventurous love affair leads to marriage complete with two children. Glenda is the happiest she's ever been, and they are still completely in love.

Their life together is forever changed when Ken's x-ray reveals a suspicious spot on his lung. A moving and heartbreaking true story, Geography of Love is beautifully written and reflects the tumultuous times that many can relate to. I highly recommend this book as my favorite book of the year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two interesting books

I like to read books that illuminate new facts about the mind and human personality. I recently read two such books, one of which I talked about briefly on our technology blog, Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters by Bill Tancer. If you have an interest in online data and what it reflects about people, you should read this book. Tancer produces lots of insight on human behavior, just from what we click on and search for the most.

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling is another good one. Gosling explores the different items you keep around you and what they say about your personality. He identifies five main personality types (you can take an assessment of these types at this site). I actually scored very high on all of the types--I'm not sure what that says about me! The book talks about different site studies of personal spaces, as well as analyses of handshakes, music, and other pop culture likes and dislikes. A chapter on stereotypes was fascinating, particularly because Gosling singles out a "librarian type." He says there's a reason librarians gravitate to our jobs, and chatty people probably don't do so well in libraries! I don't know how I feel about that, being chatty and extraverted myself.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Audiobook - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

A fellow audiobook listener recommended this one to me, saying that Stephen Fry's narration was simply excellent. I have to agree. For those of you haven't read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it is a classic in the science fiction genre, and a must-read. Funny and quirky, Stephen Fry's interpretation of the main characters is spot-on and thoroughly enjoyable.

Arthur Dent's house is about to be demolished to make way for a new highway, and although he is completely overwrought, little does he know that the Earth is about to be destroyed as well. Luckily (though unknown to Dent), his friend Ford Prefect just happens to be an alien with a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a comprehensive text containing all the pertinent facts that one would need to traverse the Universe - including benefits of bringing a towel. Seconds before Earth is obliterated, Ford whisks Dent off on a frightening, unreal, hilarious, and amazing adventure through the universe. They hook up with old pal and President of the Galazy, Zaphod Beeblebrox on his stolen spaceship to find the planet, Magrathea, one of the wealthiest planets in the universe.

Tao of Photography

I tend to read an unseemly number of photography how-to books. They're a little like cookbooks in that they often focus on equipment you'll never own and ingredients (scenery or food) you'll never have access to. That's what made this book so refreshing. For a how-to book, it's remarkably cavalier about disregarding technical finesse. Proper exposure, the famous "rule of thirds," key lights, main lights etc. etc. ad nauseam, get tossed out the window in favor of going for what simply works for a shot. Many of photography's most celebrated pictures have come from the simple but elegant hand-held Leica, a fact that's telling about the art of photography. This book recommends cutting through the noise and simply experimenting.

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Dune, by Frank Herbert

Yeah, I know it's a classic. But I had never read it, partly because I was intimidated by its massive size. So instead of reading it, I listened to the library's CD copy. It was far and away the highest quality audiobook I've ever heard; it's clear the book has a dedicated fan base to warrant such care four decades after its initial release.
As for the story, it's easy to see how it's managed to stick around. Such a lovingly wrought setting is a rare thing, and for a science fiction writer to display such word-craft is still a surprise. If, like me, you'd been putting it off, rest assured that the book is well worth the investment of time.

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