Friday, March 31, 2006

Lit news:

Soon Britain's high school geography classes will be required to read a book by former Monty Python comedian Michael Palin titled, "Himalaya." The book is Palin's 1800 mile, six-month trek through India, Pakistan and China. The book was chosen to boost interest in geography!

Palin is known for the phrase, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" tv show.

Cuba restored Hemingway's boat that was used to write the "The Old Man and the Sea" for which he won the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

And James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" has been spoofed into James Pinocchio's "A Million Little Lies" which hit bookstores yesterday. I haven't read either but I can understand why Oprah was upset at being misled. Has anyone read Frey's lies?

Imagined London: A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen

Publisher Comments:

Quindlen has been to London countless times since, in the pages of books. From Dickensian London, rich with narrow alleyways and jocular street vendors, to the London of Conan Doyle and Margery Allingham, with its salt-of-the-earth police officers and crowded train stations. She visited Victoria Station, Hyde Park, Soho, and Kensington in her imagination long before ever setting foot in the city. By the time Quindlen actually visited London in 1995, it was less like an introduction and more like a homecoming. Here, she thought, is where Evelyn Waugh's bright young things danced until dawn. Here is where foolish Lydia Bennett eloped with the dastardly Wickham. Here is where Oliver Twist sought his fortune, and where Adam Dalgliesh has his private flat. New York, Paris, and Dublin are vividly portrayed in fiction, but London has always been the star, both because of the primacy of English literature and the specificity of the city's descriptions. In Imagined London, Quindlen walks through the city, moving within blocks from the great books of the 18th century to the detective stories of the 20th to the new modernist tradition of the 21st. Her book is about traveling and reading in a city in fact and a city in fiction and where and how the two cities intersect.

I took this book with me to London since I thought it would be an interesting read while there. I quickly learned that I have not read nearly enough British literature to know what and who Quindlen is talking about and therefore didn't really care about her "imagined London." I also found her sentence structure to be difficult to read at times and this book, which is fairly short-160 pages, took me three weeks to read. If you have read a lot of British lit---AHEM LINDSEY!!--then this is a book for you! I must say that there were bits and pieces of historical information strewn through that kept me interested for nanoseconds.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Daily reading summary:

First off the important news for friends that I found while reading an older copy of Entertainment Weekly that I swear Kermit subscribes to!!:

Meghan: YES YOU WERE RIGHT! That movie is called "Just One of the Guys" and stars Joyce Hyser from 1985 which for the rest of you is a movie extremely similar to Amanda Bynes' "She's the Man" that I have yet to see. Can't Hollywood think creatively anymore?

Lindsey Lou: This is for you! (it rhymed!) I read that Anne Hathaway from the "Princess Diaries" will play Jane Austen in Miramax's new film "Becoming Jane." I knew you'd like that! And I bet we won't have to see her you know whats!

Forrest!!!: Octavia Butler has a book out called "Wild Seed" The magazine summarizes it as "a pair of immortals clash in this hypnotic tale of slavery, sexism, and power. This groundbreaking 1980 novel--and genre classic-- cemented the status of a science-fiction great who sadly passed away last month." I found it interesting she was listed in Entertainment Weekly! She was a wonderful woman!! I know, I had lunch with her once!

I found some great books today but I think I will wait to post them for another day!!!

I am off to finish Quindlen, start a new book, and keep reading up on statistics!! YEAH!

Not My Generation! (thank God!!)

Generation S.L.U.T.: A Brutal Feel-Up Session with Today's Sex-Crazed Adolescent Populace by Marty Beckerman

Publisher Comments:

It's Friday night. Do you know where your clothes are? A mesmerizing blend of journalism and fiction that recalls the wild styles of Hunter Thompson, Bret Easton Ellis, and Douglas Copeland, Generation S.L.U.T. is a no-holds-barred look at the sexual lives of teens today — who's doing it and why. Reported from the battle zone by a nineteen-year-old who is there, living in the thick of this promiscuous world, and writing about it, experiencing it. No compromises, comparisons, or sweeping statements here, just a revelatory and brutally honest depiction of the current generation's relationship to sex.

ME: As a statistician I found his data very interesting and wondered whether it was credible. This book made me happy I don't have kids and I was surprized by his findings and the amount of casual interviews within the book. I suppose I should be overjoyed that I am not a member of Generation S.L.U.T. and that I don't carry myself in a fashion that would suggest anything near that.

Quick read, especially if you're just interested in the statistics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Deceiving the Deceivers by S.J. Hamrick

From Publishers Weekly
In a groundbreaking analysis of one of the most famous Cold War espionage cases, Hamrick, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer, asserts that British intelligence had identified Donald Maclean as a Soviet agent earlier than the accepted date of spring 1951. He goes on to explain his doubts about both Kim Philby's prowess as spy and the veracity of Philby's book, My Silent War. Writing with a highly specialized knowledge of the intelligence institutions and their history, Hamrick painstakingly identifies anomalies in the NSA's Venona archive of decoded Soviet intelligence and examines complementary London and Moscow sources. Convinced that London still has much to hide about its past, Hamrick maintains that MI5 not only knew far earlier than 1952 about Maclean but argues forcefully that during 1949–1950 it ran a disinformation initiative in which Philby was used as an unwitting foil to hoodwink Moscow about Anglo-American military capability. His subversive recasting of the Philby-Maclean-Burgess case will fascinate and challenge all those interested in Cold War history.

I found bits and pieces of this book interesting but not all of the book. I actually did not finish it but read 2/3s of it. (I did feel guilty about not finishing it.) First off, I had never heard of the Venona archive which would be interesting to ANYONE LIKING ESPIONAGE! But Hamrick really doesn't like Philby and I began to get tired of hearing how pathetic Hamrick believes Philby's espionage techniques to be. I enjoyed hearing small bits of personal information about Maclean, Burgess and Philby which made their espionage seem more interesting. I learned that Philby never forgave Burgess for leaving with Maclean that night and that all three died very lonesome, alcohol infused, and underappreciated within the U.S.S.R. Great if you know some of the original Cambridge Spies story but I feel disjointed if you're new to the subject. Try reading Philby's autobiography first to cop a feel---"My Silent War."

Stitch-n-Bitch Crochet?

So my boyfriend for some strange reason gets the magazine "Entertainment Weekly." Why is this strange? Well, first off let me tell you what he is currently reading: "A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs" by Theodore Draperzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

OH! Sorry I fell asleep just typing that! Kermit does not watch movies, or tv, and could care less about how angry Pink! is but for some reason he gets this magazine.

So I read it.

I learned a bunch of useless filler information but did come across a book called "Stitch-n-Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker" by Debbie Stoller. I do not understand the link between crocheting and hooking and perhaps I never will! So I turned to Amazon to tell me more:

"For every one knitter in the world there are three crocheters—which translates into millions of hip, crafty, 18- to 35-year-olds ready to be happy hookers with Stitch ’n Bitch attitude, sexiness, ingenuity, and cool. Then come 40 fabulous, funky projects—the kind that make Stitch ’n Bitch rule—for crocheters: Pom Pom Capelet, Retro Clutch Purse, Anarchy Irony Hat, Ms. Pac Man Change Purses, Doris Daymat, Va-Va-Va Voom Bikini, Animal I-Pod Cozies, Kid’s Sock Monkey Poncho."

I still am lost...

Daily reading summary:

The 10 Rules of Job Hunting---article on MSN.
Descriptive Statistics
Idaho State Job listings for Boise
"Lost" recap (11pgs long!) from Television Without Pity

"Commanding Data: Will a raft of federal, state, and local requirements ever lead to a single information-security standard?" by John Edwards in CFO magazine March 06

I have read some on a "Snakes on a Plane" movie logo which I'm not quite sure about. I guess I'll have to google it!

I read about the horrific!!!!! Britney Spears sculpture!! TERRIBLE!! What has art come to?!

I read an interesting review of the documentary "The Beauty Academy of Kabul"---look it up! It looks great!!

Lastly, I read a short book review of "If You Could See Me Now" by Michael Mewshaw. Its a memoir about a baby that he and his girlfriend in 1964 put up for adoption and how three decades later a woman who may be his daughter shows up and reopens all the 1964 wounds. What sounds interesting is that the biological mother, now a prominent Republican, is less eager to visit her past but Mewshaw supposedly gives us, the reader, just enough information to figure out Nancy Drew style who this mother is! I am definitely reading it!

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald

Holy Cow is Macdonald’s often hilarious chronicle of her adventures in a land of chaos and contradiction, of encounters with Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Sufis, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians and a kaleidoscope of yogis, swamis and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, it is a journey that only a woman on a mission to save her soul, her love life — and her sanity — can survive.

I liked this book, I liked that I was reading it on a plane to London about to start a new adventure with my friend Lindsey but I didn't like how many times she switched her religious practices, and felt that she was more confused than anything else! From someone who has lived abroad believe me, she is hilarious!!

Publisher Comments:

In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India—and for love — she screamed, “Never!” and gave the country, and him, the finger.

But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of Sarah’s life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. For Sarah this seems like the ultimate sacrifice for love, and it almost kills her, literally. Just settled, she falls dangerously ill with double pneumonia, an experience that compels her to face some serious questions about her own fragile mortality and inner spiritual void. “I must find peace in the only place possible in India,” she concludes. “Within.” Thus begins her journey of discovery through India in search of the meaning of life and death.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is a great short book! Can be easily read within a day! Its the story of Santiago, a shepherd, looking to follow his dream of seeing the world and one day he is encouraged to follow not only his dreams but his heart. The story of Santiago and the various people he comes across encourage us to also follow our dreams, our instinct, and ultimately what our heart desires.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Risk: The Game of Global Domination

These are very specific rules! I have read them at least twice and still don't understand!

its only a test...!