Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell


Posted from Lafayette, California at 4:40 pm, August 4th, 2005

I’ve been keeping this journal for just over three years now. Cra-zy. What started as an attempt to avoid having to write lots of email while I was traveling in Alaska has now turned into just a general attempt at avoiding having to write email.

In a completely unrelated note, a while back Lynn decided to post some of her favorite and most recently read books online, in the hopes that other people would do the same, and the result was a pretty nice reading list. Not sure if it will work here, but I’ll give it a shot. To post your own recently-read/favorites list, click on the comments link at the top of this entry, then click on the “Reply to this message” link to enter a comment.

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Just finished this one, recommended by Nish. A great story about a man who dies and his experiences upon arriving in heaven. The author also wrote Tuesdays With Morrie, and while that wasn’t a bad book I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much.
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. A great story about an architect who takes on the world. Guaranteed to make you feel at least a little bit cocky, so keep reminding yourself of all the stupid things you’ve done in life while reading it.
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. An even better story than The Fountainhead, with the exception of the hundred page rant by John Galt near the end. Guaranteed to make you feel even cockier than The Fountainhead.
  • Into Thin Air Into the Wild (sorry, goofed up the title) by John Krakauer. A great (true) story about a guy who says the hell with society and takes off to live life like some of us would like to do, but few of us have the nerve to do.
  • Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. Based on Mowat’s experience as a field biologist in Canada studying wolves, a hilarious take on beauracracy that also includes recipes for preparing cream-of-mouse.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The closest Hemingway ever got to writing a story that doesn’t depress the hell out of you, and one of my all time favorites. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the book, it’s about this old man, and the sea.
  • Contact by Carl Sagan. I just started this one, but thus far I’m liking it even more than the movie (which I enjoyed). Also, Ellie is a hottie.
  • Shogun by James Clavell. The Asia Saga (starting with Shogun, and spanning four hundred years of East-Asian history) is a great read. Clavell writes stories filled with mystery, adventure, romance and intrigue, but adds enough historical context to remove that “kind of trashy” feeling you might get from similar books.

That’s my contribution. Anyone else want to add to the list?

5 responses to “Readin’”

  1. yer singin my song, holliday.

    feeding a yen, calvin trillin. this is a fantastic book, ostensibly about food. calvin trillin is a cool, cool guy.

    consilience, e.o. wilson. wilson is a rather famous scientist, a biologist at harvard. consilience refers to the unity of knowledge, meaning that all fields, from the divisions in the scientific world, to the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts, are all related and have the same basis. clearly, he approaches things from the scientific direction, but wilson appears to be a renaissance man. my only objection is that he does not understand postmodernism, but he is too old to, i think.

    the piano teacher, elfriede jelinek, translated. this is the best dirty book i’ve read in a while. won the nobel prize.

    a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, dave eggers. dave eggers is the best writer of our generation.

    holy fire, bruce sterling. a science fiction book set in a future where human life is artificially extended well past a hundred years, and the society this creates. bruce sterling is good.

    i tried to choose different kinds of books. this was carefully done by looking across the room at the bookshelf.

    1. i was hoping for a massive list of book suggestions from people, but i suppose quality will make up for quanity. and by quality, i mean gallaway’s suggestions. and by gallaway’s suggestions, i mean total awesomeness.

      i’ve heard good things about bruce sterling, and will have to make him my next read, even though i’m so hugely impressed by carl sagan’s contact that i suddenly want to read everything he’s ever written.

      1. geez, i have a full list of titles i’ve read over the past couple months and here you go mouthin off about lack of books to read. start with everything is illuminated. then try the handmaids tale. chase that one down with a little dharma bums–which i think’ll be to your liking–and call me in the morning.

        1. i wondered when you were gonna come out of the woodwork. seeing that your recently read list includes brave new world, 1984 and the sun also rises i figured that the white chocolate reading list might be a bit too depressing for my tastes. add some ratings to that list, something like “not utterly depressing” through “suicide-inducing”, and then we’ll be gettin’ somewhere.

          i’ll add dharma bums and friends to my reading list, but there are limits to how much doom and despair i can handle – anyone in it so much as reaches for a bottle of pills and that’s it for me.

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