Saturday, July 17, 2010
Some Reading This Week
Yes, that is Blair Underwood on the cover of that novel. And visitors here know I love me some Blair Underwood! I noticed he was on a talk show recently so I set up to watch it, and he was promoting a couple of things, including this novel. From Cape Town With Love is a detective novel with an actor turned sleuth and it is the third in a series. They are written by a husband and wife which also got me interested. I love crime novels and potboilers and when I saw this at the library the other day- right after I saw it promoted on a morning talk show-zowie! I really liked it. First it is fascinating on a publishing angle...yes, the husband and wife authors...and it is also set up with multi-media. The novel has produced a hook up with a "Vook" which is video movie excerpts from the novel...yep...starring Blair Underwood. Possibly with a feature length movie to follow. As soon as I began the novel I was totally surprised to see a "suggested mp3 playlist". How cool is that? With all kinds of music from Dr. Dre, to Nine Inch Nails, to Rolling Stones, The O'Jays, to Alicia Keys to Marvin Gaye. Wonderful idea! What a hoot. but listen...I still want to know...is it a good book? Yes it is. Action, sex, good and evil, exotic locations, death, love betrayal and action and adventure. Oh did I mention the sex. And what sex it is. Holy cow! I just really enjoyed this novel and can't wait to read the previous novels and get me some more private eye action.
When I had the book at the loan desk...the librarian checking out my books saw this one...and said "Oooh, is that Blair Underwood...ummmm, I must get this..."
Oh...and here is the trailer for the "Vook"...
Why We Make Mistakes was a really great read. I thought it was a lot of fun while at the same time, it made me amazed we haven't all killed each other by now out of sheer accident! I highly recommend this book.
"We misremember our high school grades. We give our friends gift cards they'll never use. We think we'd be happier if we lived in California (we wouldn't) and we think we should stick with our first answer on tests (we shouldn't). Why do we make mistakes? And could we do a little better?
We human beings have design flaws. Our eyes play tricks on us, our stories change in the retelling, and most of us are fairly sure we're way above average. In Why We Make Mistakes, journalist Joseph T. Hallinan sets out to explore the captivating science of human error—how we think, see, remember and forget, and how this sets us up for wholly irresistible mistakes.
In his quest to understand our imperfections, Hallinan delves into psychology, neuroscience and economics, with forays into aviation, consumer behavior, geography, football, stock-picking, and more. He discovers that some of the same qualities that make us efficient also make us error-prone. We learn to move rapidly through the world, quickly recognizing patterns—but overlooking details. Which is why 13-year-old boys discover errors that NASA scientists miss—and why you can't find the beer in your refrigerator.
Why We Make Mistakes is enlivened by real-life stories—of weathermen whose predictions are uncannily accurate and a witness who sent an innocent man to jail—and offers valuable advice, such as how to remember where you've hidden something important. You'll learn why multi-tasking is a bad idea, why men make errors women don't, and why most people think San Diego is west of Reno (it's not)." From author's website...
I am doing a group read with one of my bookclubs of Richard III. I've read it several times before, and seen several live performances of it, plus several movie versions. Actually, I ve even done a group read of it before...in an online bookclub. I also own the dvd of Al Pacino's Looking For Richard (a great documentary btw). The wonderful thing about reading Shakespeare in a group is learning new things about the verses and always seeing something new. Shakespeare always feels infinite. Harold Bloom says that the judge in the novel Blood Meridian is like Iago, but I think the judge is also like Richard III. Richard is cruel, sick, sadomasochistic and worse, attractive , funny and smarter than everyone...and Shakespeare never moralizes over evil here in this play, but inspires us to purge such sick humans from our lives and society.
A classic book on fairy tales and how important they are for children. The author makes a distinction between fairy-tales and myths. myths moralize where fairy tales allow children to problem solve on their own. A fantastic book for caregivers who believe children shouldn't read fantasy or fairy tales when in fact they offer a venue for building skills for the rest of their lives.
"Past generations of of children who loved and felt the importance of fairytales were subjected to the scorn of pedants....Today many of our children are far more grievously bereaved-because they are deprived of the chance to know fairy stories at all. Most children now meet fairy tales only in prettified and simplified versions which subdue their meaning and rob them of all deeper significance-versions such as those on films and TV shows, where fairy tales are turned into empty-minded entertainment.
Through most of man's history, a child's intellectual life, apart from immediate experiences within the family, depended on mythical and religious stories and on fairy tales. this traditional literature fed the child's imagination and stimulated his fantasizing. Simultaneously, since these stories answered the child's most important questions, they were a major agent of his socialization. Myths and closely related religious legends offered material from which children formed their concepts of the world's origin and purpose, and of the social ideals a child could pattern himself after. These were the images of the unconquered hero Achilles and wily Odysseus, of hercules, whose life history showed that it is not beneath the dignity of the strongest man to clean the filtiest stable; of St. martin, who cut his coat in half to clothe a poor beggar. It is not just since Freud that the myth of Oedipus has become the image by which we understand the ever new but age0old problems posed to us by our complex and ambivalent feelings about our parents. Freud referred to this ancient story to make us aware of the inescapable cauldron of emotions which every child, in his own way, has to manage at a certain age.
In the Hindu civilization, the story of Rama and Sita (part of the Ramayana), which tells of their peacable courage and their passionate devotion to each other, is the prototype of love and marriage relationships. the culture, moreover, enjoins everyone to try to relive this myth in his or her own life, every Hindu bride is called Sita, and as part of her wedding ceremony she acts out certain episodes of the myth.
In fairy tale, internal processes are externalized and become comprehensible as represented by the figures of the story and its events. This is the reason why in traditional hindu medicine a fairy tale form to his particular problem was offered to a psychically disoriented person, for his meditation. It was expected that through contemplating the story the disturbed person would be led to visualize both the nature of the impasse in living from which he suffered, and the possibility of its resolution. From what a particular tale implied about man's despair, hopes, and methods of overcoming tribulations, the patient could discover not only a way out of his distress but also a way to find himself, as the hero of the story did.
But the paramount importance of fairy tales for the growing individual resides in something other than teachings about correct ways of behaving in this world-such wisdom is plentifully supplied in religion, myths, and fables. Fairy stories do not pretend to describe the world as it is, nor do they advise what one ought to do. if they did, the Hindu patient would be induced to follow a pattern of behaviour-which is not just bad therapy, but the opposite of therapy. The fairy tale is therapeutic because the patient finds his own solutions, through contemplating what the story seems to imply about him and his inner conflicts at this moment in his life. The content of the chosen tale usually has nothing to do with the patients external life, but has much to do with his inner problems, which seem incomprehensible and hence unsolvable. The fairy tale clearly does not refer to the outer world, although it may begin realistically enough and have everyday features woven into it. the unrealistic nature of these tales (which narrow-minded rationalists object to) is an important device, because it makes obvious that the fairy tales' concern is not useful information about the external world, but the inner processes taking place in the individual."