Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The TrialThe Trial by Franz Kafka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reminds me of The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol, but I liked that one better. While I appreciate the message about how insidious bureaucracy is, and there was something interesting about the dream-like quality of this novel where nothing exactly makes sense and things happen as if the protagonist conjures up the next act. Still, it simultaneously felt meandering, dull, and absurd.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Total weirdness. Made very little sense in the beginning. The issue of the daemons was pretty straightforward, but "dust" still basically makes very little sense. Eventually, the other characters explained to Lyra (and to me) what was going on but I wasn't that impressed by then.

I like that this takes place in an alternate universe that acknowledges the possible existence of ours. The story seems like it would be especially fun if you first read it as a child. I also like that this is the anti-Narnia series (though I did love Narnia).

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and PurposeDelivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hsieh sounds like a lot of fun. I appreciate that he considered his career in terms of greater life satisfaction, and did some reading on the topic. I appreciate that he also applied these principals to his employees and clients. He's done a great service to business in this country, and I hope the trends he's created continue to grow.

The book could definitely have used a ghostwriter though. Some parts just seemed extraneous or annoying... the sections on raves or his apartment, for example.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

The White Album by Joan Didion

The White AlbumThe White Album by Joan Didion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely all over the place. Some infinitely more interesting than others. Strange to read one essay about Black Panther arrests without any meaningful context, and then read about water treatment in California.

I especially liked Didion's essays, "The Women's Movement," "Georgia O'Keeffe," "In Bed," and "On the Morning After the Sixties."

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of ChampionsBreakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the beginning so much but it fizzled out a little. There were amazing sentences and thoughts throughout. A mentally ill author (a fictional interior voice which I’m sure resembles Vonnegut but is not quite him- and oh hey was this also Kilgore or no?) writes about the breakdown of his mentally ill character, Dwayne.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this as part of the GW alumni book club. It’s good advice, basically: write down everything you have to do and how you are going to do it. My inbox is at zero this morning and I have multiple project lists now. Let’s see how I feel about it in 6 months as Allen recommends.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The PowerThe Power by Naomi Alderman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I liked about it: 1) the point Alderman is making with the story power, which is that power itself might be the problem not the gender of those with power, 2) how unique the story was.

What I didn't love: 1) how violent the story was, 2) how it got kind of confusing towards the end regarding the potential apocalyptic plans.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Lighten Up by Peter Walsh

Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with LessLighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less by Peter Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a combination of home organizing advice and financial advice which I love. I did Konmari in 2015 and it led me to organize my financial situation (and to Dave Ramsey books to do so). So I've thought for a while that these two issues are definitely tied together. Peter Walsh is very experienced in helping clients organize their lives and you can tell from the insights he provides in this book.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and LeadershipA Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that every American should read in order to consider the difference between the American values we should all honor, and partisan politics. Comey makes a clear case that integrity and honesty should be our most dearly held values and I agree with that because the inverse-corruption and dishonesty- are effective tools of oppression.

This is not a Republican book or a Democratic book. This is an interesting look at how challenging it is to separate oneself from the quagmire of American partisan politics, and how important that separation can be, especially in law enforcement.

Most of all, this book is very well-written, very entertaining, and very educational.

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