Saturday, March 26, 2005

Zero down-time

It seems the past week or two I've had no idle time for musings... hence no blog posts.

Since I have so little free time lately, I figured it would be a good idea to buy a bunch of books to read (note, this is my attempt at irony). I was recently in a bookstore and the following books struck my fancy (and my wallet):

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time This is a unique novel written from the point of view of an autistic teenager. It's total fiction, but for some reason is quite interesting and entertaining.

Running with Scissors While hanging around in the bookstore, I was standing in the biography section and I commented to a friend that I've never really found biographies interesting. I'm not a big reader and when I do read it tends to be fiction. So, after commenting on how I don't like biographies, I decided maybe I should give them a chance. So, by chance, I happened on this memoir by Augusten Burroughs. The title initially caught my eye, and I was further lured by cover which had a washed-out photograph of a child with a cardboard box on his head. It's a pretty odd book about someone's strange childhood, but I found the writing style quite engaging and after reading the first few pages I decided to buy it.

How the Mind Works This is a non-fiction book by Steven Pinker. The title pretty clearly describes what it's about. From skimming a chapter or two, it definitely looks like good stuff.

A Japanese Reader This is a collection of lessons on reading Japanese. I took a semester of Japanese back in college many years ago. I enjoyed it, but I was also taking Chinese at the time and was starting to get the two confused, and Chinese won out. Since I'm now studying Okinawan Karate, I thought it might be useful to try to work on the Japanese language studies again. I think all of that knowledge from college has long since faded, but I'm hoping I can make a new start and maybe find I haven't completely forgotten all the details.

The Science Book This is almost like a coffee-table book - not something you will necessarilly read from cover-to-cover in one sitting, but it's a nice reference with lots of pictures. It's a collection of 250 milestones in the history of science - starting with the origins of counting (back in 35,000 BC) and ending with the Human Genome Sequence in 2000 AD. Every two pages are dedicate to a specific milestone, so you whatever page you open the book to, you get a nice summary of one specific milestone.

Ultimate Flexibility, A Complete Guide to Stretching for Martial Arts I've always been pretty poor on the flexibility and since I started karate back in January I figure I can use some extra pointers on stretching. This book is pretty comprehensive and covers a lot of the details on the physiology of stretching, the muscle groups involved, what types of stretching are best for certain applications, plus it has good descriptions and photos of over 200 individual stretches.

In addition to these books I just bought, I'm still reading two novels: Fade and A Confederacy of Dunces.

While I was waiting in the check-out line at the bookstore, I was standing in front of a collection of CDs on their "impulse-buy" rack. I noticed they had the new CD from Moby which I had been meaning to pick up, so I add that to my purchase. It's very good music, especially the track Slipping Away. I'm glad I had forgotten to buy it on iTunes earlier this week. The in-store version includes a second disc with a bunch of ambient music tracks.