It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

funnystoryMental-health memoirs are my guilty-pleasure reading for 5 reasons:

Reason 1: They’re relatable. It’s comforting if you have a mental illness (or even if you just get moody sometimes) to know that someone else has had the same experiences.

Reason 2: They provide insights into how to deal with mental illness. You get to follow the protagonist as they grapple with their issues and see where they went wrong and what helped them get better.

Reason 3: They have the most interesting, unique, and mysterious side characters (I will never forget the chicken lady from Girl, Interrupted… *shudder*).

Reason 4: By their very nature they require the writer to dig deep, be honest, and hold nothing back, and consequently by the end you feel like you know the protagonist almost as well as you know yourself.

Reason 5: Schadenfreude – the pleasure of knowing that someone else has it worse than you. Continue reading

Weekly Update #3

Again, not much done this week because of wedding planning and job stress. ^^;

However, I got through 3 chapters of A History of Western Philosophy:

  1. The Rise of Science
  2. Francis Bacon
  3. Hobbes’s Leviathan

(and a little bit into Descartes but I’ll leave that for next time…)

“The Rise of Science” summarizes the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. It talks about how Protestantism led the way for the rise of science because it broke up of the Roman Church into national churches, which weakened the Church so it was less able to suppress science. Continue reading

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

allthebirds

Rating: ☆☆

January 2016

 

I’ve been following Charlie Jane Anders’ career for a couple of years now, and so I was super excited when I heard that she released a science fiction/fantasy novel. She was a writer and editor at i09, a science, science fiction, and pop culture news blog. Charlie Jane Anders is also the host of Writers with Drinks, a cross-genre reading series which you should definitely go to at least once if you like science fiction or literature and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before All the Birds she published two short stories for Tor, a coming-of-age novel about a choir boy, and a humorous guide to casual crossdressing for men and transwomen (The Lazy Crossdresser).

Since i09 and Writers with Drinks are both crossgenre mashups, it’s not surprising that All the Birds in the Sky follows suit, sitting directly on the line between science fiction and fantasy and refusing to be pushed to either side. The structure of the story weaves the two threads of magic and technology together as well as is probably possible (the plot does have a couple of holes, I’ll get into those later). It’s about a girl named Patricia who’s a witch and a boy named Laurence who is a computer wizard. The story starts with the main characters in middle school, skips a few years, and then picks up their story again when they are young adults living and working in San Francisco. Continue reading

Weekly Update

Another week, another, uh… 25 pages.

Oy this book goes slow!

I’ve been reading A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, slowly, a couple of pages every morning. It’s kind of relaxing but I wish I could read faster and I don’t know how much of it will stick. I’m taking notes and I’m planning to go back through them and type them up at the end (and probably post them here as a kind of very informal, personal Cliff’s Notes).

Anyway, I got 25 pages into the Modern Philosophy section, though the chapters on “The Italian Renaissance”, “Machiavelli”, “Erasmus and More” (Thomas More), and “The Reformation and Counter-Reformation”. In these chapters, Russell points that the corruption of the Church in Renaissance Italy and the strife over religion during the Reformation pushed people towards secular modes of thought. Continue reading

But Why is the Blog Dead?

It’s not dead, it just looks that way… 

I realize I haven’t posted in a while, and this is for two reasons:

  1. Life Stuff – I’m engaged! And we bought a house! Unpacking boxes + decorating has taken a significant chunk out of my reading time. Also Fanime happened and my parents came to visit and…
  2. I’ve been reading one very long somewhat dry book that I started the summer of 2013 and have been reading off and on. It’s A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

I really love Bertrand Russell’s writing style. He never shies away from making a statement and he peppers his history with bits of dry snark (not so much that it distracts from the subject matter… maybe every 25, 50, 100 pages). Continue reading