Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: library

Recent Reads

I’ve been plowing through books on my iPad these past months.  It’s nice to be back to reading more regularly after not for so long.  And I’m getting used to reading on an e-reader.  BUT, my love of physical books is not diminished.  If I had a bigger house and more room for more bookcases, I’d be buying more books.

Recently, a friend posted this on his Facebook feed:tsundoku

That is me to a “T.”  I love just having books upon books around me.  I’ve got at least 4 books on my nightstand, a bookshelf in my bedroom, an even bigger one in the living room, and I’d have another one if I could!

But back to the books I’ve been reading.  Here are some that I’ve read all the way through (meaning they were enjoyable.  I also have a slew of books that I started and couldn’t get into for whatever reason):

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

mo meta blues

This was a lot of fun to read.  Questlove is a philosophizing music nerd.  He even says he probably would have been diagnosed with autism if he were a child in today’s age.  The book is a mix of stream of consciousness, allusions and references to music from all kinds of genres, socio-political commentary, and just plain autobiography about this musical genius/ giant.  I get these fixations of finding a person/ group/ concept and doing a lot of background research to understand him/her/them/it better.  So The Roots have been on my recent fix, mostly from seeing them on the Jimmy Fallon show (see previous post), listening to Questlove on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and subsequently watching their music videos on YouTube.  They’re an interesting bunch.  This is a book I want to buy for my bookshelf.

Just finished How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway.

howtobeanamericanhousewife_

I came across this on my Overdrive app for one of the public libraries that I belong to, and though I was worried about the starting point of it being about a Japanese woman married to a US serviceman post WWII (a bit cliche, in my opinion), I thought I’d give it a try.  And it was surprisingly good.  There was the usual heartache-y storyline that comes with the whole culture clash thing and the struggles and sacrifice that an Asian warbride experiences.  But instead of focusing on the love story, it focused on her, her daughter, and her relationship with her brother and family back in Japan.  The white husband was barely present.  I get tired of that overplayed story of the Asian woman/ white man relationship which provides escape for the Asian woman from a repressive and oppressive Asian culture.  So this had more depth of story and character development.  Not worth buying, but it was a good read.

A friend of mine bought me this book in preparation for a trip we’re taking to Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason

jar city

This was a mystery/ suspense story (nothing too intense for me; I’m a wimp when it comes to books, movies, and TV shows).  Also a good read.  Interesting story line, not very predictable, set in a country I don’t know.  This was actually in book form, so that was a good break from the usual e-reader format.  I’m curious to know what else this author has up his sleeves.

Also read Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

last-night-in-montreal_custom-de6516950fab317e2ef64547bcb0f3b4886945fb-s6-c85

I really don’t remember how I came across this, maybe from a book review online.  But it was a happy accident.  This was a really beautifully written book about a girl and a boy.  Basically a love story but told in such a lyrical way, nonlinear, through memories of different characters.  All to describe the life of the main character Lilia.  It’s too hard to explain the book’s storyline because it really is simply a love story.  But tie in a father and mother with unique stories, lots of road tripping across the U.S., Montreal, a detective with his own quest.  And I was drawn in.

Books have always been my escape from reality, not that reality was bad or anything, but a way to jump into another world as an intensely connected spectator.  I love deep and complex characters.  I love beautifully crafted language.  And with this world of online borrowing, I can just start a book, see if I like it and then move on if I’m not hooked right away.

Here are some books I started and just couldn’t get into:

  • Too Big To Fail (about the stock market crash in 2008)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (not sure, it started off OK but I just couldn’t get through it)
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad (another that started off well and then got tedious)
  • Bel Canto (ditto)
  • Please Look After Mom (a translation from a Korean author – I wanted to like it, but maybe I’ll need to try again)

What suggestions do you have out there?

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Another City, Another Library

I'm back in one of my favorite places, a public library. Berkeley Public Library to be exact. It's a nice open library. And, of course, they have free wi-fi!

I love the democratic nature of libraries. Everyone is welcome. No one is turned away. And all kinds of people are here for all reasons:

  • looking for jobs online
  • using the free internet
  • waiting between appointments (like me)
  • hanging out
  • tutoring or getting tutored
  • looking for or at books

Anyone can “belong” and anyone can access the free resources. How amazing is that? And everyone comes here– young and old, rich and poor, English proficient and not. It doesn't matter who you are, what your background is, you can come in and not feel out of place.

Despite the fact that physical books are seemingly growing extinct, I hope that public libraries will continue to exist.

That's my ode to libraries.

My parasite cleanse is plodding along. And I must say it's been difficult to adhere to. There isn't a manual that goes with this cleanse, just very vague instructions such as “take capsule three times a day, before meals. Avoid sugars and starches. Eat raw vegetables and fruits.” And with me and my love of food and the fact that the only way I know how to socialize with people is through food, I have had to choose between stopping my social life and eating what I love OR be loosey-goosey with the cleanse. And with my low willpower when it comes to food, I've chosen the latter course of action.

Because of this approach, I have not really felt any difference in my mind, body, or spirit. Well, check that, I have noticed that my eating habits are much more present at the front of my mind. I didn't realize how much I like to have a sweet ending to my meals– a cookie, ice cream, a baked good. I've been somewhat successful at curbing that tendency.

Also, I didn't realize how much of my meals consist of starch of some sort– rice and noodles mainly. It's been virtually impossible to cut that out of my diet, so I just haven't. I've merely cut back.

My general attitude toward this cleanse is that I'm aiming to eat a little healthier, be more conscious about what I ingest, and also continue to enjoy eating and live my life. This is probably not helping the goals of the parasite cleanse, especially since I haven't noticed any changes in my body or bodily functions.

Well, life is too short, I say. And I'm not going to give up my social life.

And here's a sample of some of what I've been eating while still on my cleanse:

Fresh corn, kale salad with sundry veggies, sourdough bread, asparagus

Not too shabby.

 

#13: I Love Books!

I’m a bookaholic.  I’ve at least gotten to a place where I am able to curb my addiction.  (I think the first step was really admitting to myself that I was/ am a bookaholic.  I was even buying books and not reading them.  I just liked the summaries or the “idea” of the books…  That was a bad time.)

This is just ONE of my bookshelves.  I have another that’s much smaller.  I don’t know why I love books so much.  And I love my hard copies.  I’ve been starting to read more on my iPad, but it’s just not the same.  I like to flip through books.  To see the cover.  To go through tables of contents.  To see what page I’m on and feel the progression of going through the book as the thickest part moves from right to left.  But I admit it makes life hard when I have to move.  And really, it does take up a lot of space.  But a bookshelf full of books is such a beautiful thing.

So the next best thing besides having all my own books (which is really by FAR the best thing) is going to the library.

I got all these from the library.  I love that they have no limit on how many books you can borrow.  I’m starting to plan my travels.  I’m trying to find a balance between planning ahead and also keeping my options open.  I don’t want to overplan.  And I don’t want to approach this like a traditional sightseeing vacation.  I really want to find places where I can stay, learn, meet people, and absorb my surroundings.  And it’s kind of hard to do that using travel guides.

But I’ve been perusing these books as a way to get an idea of what’s in each of these countries.  Just as an orientation of sorts.  And when it comes to deciding, I’ll let the spirit move me.

Megan Barber Ceremonies

officiant for weddings to memorials, and everything in between

Carioca Cook

Sharing the love of food

Munchkin Guru

newborn wisdom

Paradise Lot

Two plant geeks, one-tenth of an acre and the making of an edible garden oasis in the city

Appetite for Instruction

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

My Favourite Pastime

Food, Travel and Eating Out

Foodie Judie

Hot off the press to fresh out of the oven... ! The meandering thoughts of my food-obsessed alter ego, and my daily persona.

A Fast Paced Life

Running Commentary of a Dilettante's Life

Edible Startups

Bites of innovation in the food world