Sunday, 14 October 2007

Blogger action day

*** This is important.***
Tomorrow (the 15th) is blog action day. A group is trying to get every blogger around the world to write, on the 15th, about the environment, one of the most pressing issues for my generation. If you have a blog, click the link and join in! I'm kind of jumping the gun talking about it here, but this is important, and as time goes by, I feel more and more strongly about this.

http://www.blogactionday.com/


Radiohead has a new album out online.

So far, after listening to it about five times, I'm quite disappointed -- it's the first Radiohead album where I really feel like they're not covering any territory they haven't covered better before. The reduces the list to Pixar as the only creative team that I know a lot about, and still haven't repeated themselves/released anything below top-notch. (I haven't seen enough Miyazaki to say for sure about his work.)

The list:
Let-downs:
what movie/album did you expect to love the most, only to be disappointed?
Personal nominees: Radiohead: In Rainbows; Shaft (with Samuel L. Jackson); X-Men 3 (should have seen that coming), The Constant Gardener, Braveheart, Harry Potter 6 and 7,


next:
Pleasant Surprises:
What movie/album did you have full intention to hate, only to discover it was actually much more enjoyable than it needed to be?
Personal Nominees: Legally Blonde, High School Musical, Nelly Furtado (Whoa Nelly), Green Day (American Idiot), Sahara (action movie with Matthew McConaughey), Transformers, the Movie


Next:

Anyone here read The Alchemist?
One of you -- one of the people in my circle -- recommended it to me, but I can't remember which of you did.

Well, I read it. I've discovered the formula to sell a million copies of a book.

1. Short -- should be readable in a single afternoon, maximum two sittings.
2. Male hero -- young, idealistic, big dreams
3. Maximum 6th grade reading level (if it has a lower level than that, it will appeal to second language learners, which is also a plus: you'd be amazed how many times I've seen a Korean reading "Tuesdays With Morrie" on the subway)
4. A thinly veiled moral/didactic lesson/inspiration about how to live your life and realize your dreams.
5. A tone like a fable -- story moves quickly, and does not dig too deeply into the concrete details of setting and place and character description -- characters and settings are portrayed in broad strokes, so as not to distract from The Message.

I've read at least a half dozen of these books now, ranging from sublime (The Little Prince) to abysmal (Tuesdays With Morrie -- sorry if any of you liked it, but I didn't.) I've heard I REALLY, MUST read The Secret next. I'm kind of dreading it.

In order of awesomeness, here is the Roboseyo (sometimes)overbearingly-inspirational reading list.
1. The Little Prince: I think I'd trade 20 years of my life to write a book as simple and wise as this one. Die young + write The Little Prince: I could deal with that. The least didactic of the books on this list. It almost doesn't qualify for the genre, because it's too good.
2. Siddhartha - Herman Hesse -- engaging story. Not too didactic, though it IS about a young idealist's spiritual journey.
3. The first half of Jonathan Livingston Seagull -- chase down excellence and perfection with passion, even if it isolates you. Nice.
4. The Alchemist -- I liked it. It's true. It dropped in some biblical references that were a bit cloying, but not too bad. I wasn't quite bowled over, but I liked it.
5. The Greatest Salesman In The World -- (the least known of the ones I've read) by Og Mandino-- the most didactic, but enjoyable reading, for a bald self-motivation tract with a tacked-on story and an overbearing religious subtext that didn't quite fit the story, and even detracted from it. The meditations were good, though.
6. The last half of Jonathan Livingston Seagull -- it got a little weird, and too mystical/symbolic to me, and didn't live up to the simple excellence of the first half. Starts going downhill when JLS meets The Great Seagull.
7. Tuesdays With Morrie -- instead of evoking our feelings through excellent writing, Mr. Albom tells us how we ought to feel, and made ME feel manipulated. A meditation on death and moving on that left me totally unmoved.

Didn't qualify, despite being very talky/preachy:
Ishmael - Daniel Quinn (not inspirational)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (too long, actually had a story for the first 2/3)


Which other inspiration-disguised-as-story bestsellers did I miss?

In a later post:
the books I should read once a year until I die --everybody should have a handful of books that basically function like lifelong friends.

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