What I Read in February

A little late posting this but I’ve been busy, the weather has been shitty, and my mood matches the weather. But here are the books I read in February:

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens. I had really high hopes for this one. It had a good rating from GoodReads and the premise was interesting. A student doing a paper interviews a terminally ill convicted murderer. The writing was a bit lacking for me and despite an entertaining start, it collapsed soon after. Meh.

Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. This one feels pretty dated and although a precursor to other books in this genre, I just wasn’t feeling it.

The Pillars of Hercules, by Paul Theroux. I’m good with Theroux’s travel writing for about 300 pages and then I want it to end.

Keith Richards: The Biography, by Victor Bockris. Probably the best read of February for me. I’ve read Richards autobiography but it’s nice having the light pointed from a different direction.

Goodbye Things, The New Japanese Minimalism, by Fumio Sasaki. A friend recommended this to me when they recommended Marie Kondo. Poorly written (or poorly translated at least), and completely nonsensical. It’s weird for an author to hate consumerism and then herald Steve Jobs in the next sentence. (He was referring to Jobs’ hardware designs, but, COME ON!) The only thing I got from this book is that minimalists are the vegans of materialism.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’m an introvert so I really don’t care about “winning” friends nor influencing people. But, this is the granddaddy of self help books. So I thought I would give it a spin. And the only thing I learned from this is that self help books have always been filled with nonsensical dribble. Carnegie’s basic principle is, just be agreeable and people will like you. Hard pass.

The Hunger, by Alma Katsu. Because the Donner Party wasn’t fucked up enough, let’s add some supernatural element to it. Ok, it worked for me!

Pancakes in Paris, by Craig Carlson. True story of an American who opens up an American breakfast diner in Paris. Quick and entertaining. Made me crave for pancakes at 11pm. That’s not good.

Elevation by Stephen King. A novella! Unfortunately, it was one of the worst stories I’ve read by King. But the amazing thing to me is even when King is far from his best, he’s always entertaining at the very least.

The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris, by Alicia Drake I’m not into fashion and had to skim some sections but the actual biographical part on Yves Saint Laurent was very well done.

And did you read anything good last month? Post your recommendations in the comments.

So I Tried an Impossible Burger

I haven’t eaten a mammal since last August. So Mrs. C and I thought we would try an impossible burger. There’s a Wahlburger’s fairly close to my house so we went there. The verdict… It tastes pretty good. A someone who has eaten a lot of steak and burgers in their lifetime, it’s nowhere close to the best burger I ever had. It has a smokey flavor to it which was a bit too much. But for a plant based meat substitute, it was really pretty good.

That being said, my stomach feels terrible now (an hour after eating), but I’m not sure if it’s the burger or the pile of onion rings I ordered as a side. Probably both. My body hasn’t had that level of grease in a long time. This may be a long night.

What I Read in January

I’ll try to update this monthly if I can.

I use Goodreads to track my reading and find it an indispensable tool in finding out what my friends are reading. In no particular order, here are the 8 books I read last month.

The Poisoner’s Handbook. I loved how this nonfiction book started out and thought I was going to love it. And I did for the first half. It started getting redundant about halfway through. I feel that it was just a bit disorganized for my taste but a nice walkthrough of different poisons from the early 20th century.

Queen of Sorcery and Magician’s Gambit. Books two and three of The Belgariad which is one of my favorite series of all time. It’s simplistic, your usual hero’s journey/LOTR derivative, but also filled with old friends. It’s my comfort reading and I am unapologetic about my love for it.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway. It keeps you guessing although I wasn’t a fan of the writing style.

The Outsider by Stephen King. Not one of his strongest books but it starts out fast and you can’t help but turn the pages. About halfway through it loses its steam and kind of coasts to the finish line. But the beginning really is good enough to recommend it.

Moral Letters to Lucilius. Only if you’re in the mood to delve into some stoicism. If so, dive in. If not, see The Outsider.

The Word is Murder. A nice spin on Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock was a grizzled former police detective and Watson was a screenwriter. Actually, that sounds like a terrible premise but it does actually work on the page.

Year One by Nora Roberts. I think this is the first Nora Roberts book I have ever read which is weird considering that she has written 25,000 books. Actually, that’s probably the reason why I have stayed away from her books. I rarely trust authors who write that much. (King is the exception.) They get kind of a James Patterson odor about them imo. But, this is my favorite books that I have read to this point. It’s a nice post-apocalyptic fiction which is a mix of The Stand and The Walking Dead, so there’s very little new ground here other than a supernatural element where some of the survivors end up with supernatural powers. I’ll gladly read book 2.

What have you guys been reading?

Question of the Day

Who is a standup comedian who makes you laugh the most?

Bill Burr hands down for me. Every single time I start watching one of his specials on Netflix, I always end up doubled over with laughter. And he’s from a few towns over from where I live.

Question of the Day

Is the government shutdown affecting your life?

My wife works for an airline and she has been a bit worried about security lines and air traffic controllers of course. So we are fortunate that at this point, that is the most apparent way.

Question of the Day

What are your favorite non-political blogs? They can focus on art, technology, books, food, etc.

This is completely a selfish question. My sphere of blogs have become stagnant and I’m just reading too much about Trump at the moment and need some mental sorbet.

One Week of Light Therapy

I posted about my new light therapy lamp last Friday in an attempt to combat my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I have used it nightly for about 45 minutes. And so far I have to say, meh. Lola dislikes it and lets me know her displeasure by glaring at me with the intensity that’s only slightly less than the lamp. But she finally found out she can just put her head behind the lamp and not be so irritated.

The good part is that it brighter. This is especially nice when I’m practicing the cello and the light feels like a bright window where everything is sunny and nothing hurts.

The bad part is, I’m not sure how you quantify depression so I’m really not sure if it is much help. I’ll keep going to see how it does but I was was pretty down the last two days. So, I guess I’ll give it more of a try.