Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Living like a Hermit

The last couple of weeks I feel like I have pretty much just holed up in my studio and have not gone out much. Granted, I have been sick and I put my self on a pretty tight budget (I've gotta save money for China) - so I ended up reading a whole lotta books. I try to write little book talks here and I was going to try to be ambitious and do mini movies but I think that may be a little too much for me at the moment.

I also have been in a locked in my headspace kind of place so I tend to not want to be around people...

But here is a list of what I have finished reading. I always wondered how those librarians who give those book talk workshops do it and now I know. (1) they don't sleep
(2) they don't go out
(3) they don't have tv (or they do and they don't really like to watch it)
(4) they have tv but only receive 1 channel so really what is the point? (that's me!)

Here are books I have finished:
  • Ancient Philosophers by Don Nardo. This 110 page book is a brief introduction to ancient philosophy and covers both the east and the west. Nardo focuses on Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Buddha and Confucius but he also mentions Socrates, Thales and Theophrastus. It contains maps of where these different philosophers lived in relation to one another as well as illustrations and depictions of these men. He pulls out the main questions that each philosopher focused on, writes on their childhood and lives as well as each man's contributions. In the end, there are passages attributed to each philosopher that asserts their contributions or views on things Nardo mentions in the earlier chapters. For example, Nardo writes about how Aristotle believed that slavery was natural and excerpts a passage from Politics to support this point. For Buddha, Nardo emphasized that Buddha focused on suffering and the passage is about how evildoers will not go unpunished. It is short but filled with a lot of good information and a great list for those interested in reading more. As always, Nardo is very accessible for those of us who are not philosophy majors or experts.
  • The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. This is based the true story of a German boy named Helmuth Hubener, who at age 16 was tried and executed by the Nazis for spreading "propaganda" on the truth about the war. Bartoletti interviewed Hubener's friends, 2 of who helped him spread his fliers and also were tried with him. It is told with Hubener in prison counting down the days to his execution looking back at his life. His family was very patriotic towards Germany. It is another perspective, one that I do not think we really acknowledge. The Germans who were against Hitler but also loved their country. Life and decisions are much more complicated than they seem. Bartoletti also included photographs of Hubener, his family and his friends.
  • When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. This was much better than Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim. Sedaris again takes us on a hilarious ride as we catch glimpses of his life with Hugh and his family and living in France and then in Japan. The last tale focuses on Sedaris' quitting smoking. I can say that I know exactly how he was feeling except I did not spend $20,000 to do it. I really enjoyed his stories of following Hugh, who sounds like he's a speed walker, and his quest to quit smoking and his impressions of people. One of my favorite stories is about a plane ride where he doesn't want to give up his seat. His lozenge ends up somewhere awkward. You read it to find out where and what happens.
Also in my hermitude, I watched a couple of movies, which at the moment, I cannot remember any of the titles of..One of them was "27 dresses" - meh. Also watched "There Will Be Blood" - I don't get the big deal. Why all the hype? Daniel Day Lewis' character, Daniel, is an a--hole but I guess, it was a masterful performance of an a--hole. Then I watched some old favorites, like "Kinky Boots."

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