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Misc

Little, Big

Only in the most unusual cases is it useful to determine whether a book is good or bad. It is usually both.

Robert Musil

I certainly wouldn’t consider Little, Big by John Crowley one of the best novels I’ve ever read, or would I? It’s certainly one of the most interestingly strange and effecting fiction books I’ve read. I definitely remember many moments after reading where it stuck with me over the course of a morning or evening in a way not many books have ever done. Similar to what Tim Ferriss describes in a glowing review from one of his 5 Bullet Friday’s:

Little, Big is simply one of the best novels I’ve ever read, and even that doesn’t do it justice. It is, as one reviewer put it, “mysteriously affecting.”…On top of that, I feel like it put me in an altered state of consciousness that often lasted for 6–12 hours, best described as a deep feeling of serenity.

Categories
Misc

Fall music rotation (part 2)

There’s been a lot of new stuff in rotation as of late, as well as some old favorites as well. Here is another selection of some of my favorite music keeping me company during my favorite time of year. See part 1 here.

Categories
Misc

Atomic habits

Although I write and think a lot about habits, I hadn’t read Atomic Habits by James Clear until very recently. It had been on my reading list for a while, and I finally got around to it and finished it last week. I’m working on a habit change experiment with my physical health this month and so the thoughts involving habits were all the more relevant to me. Here is what jumped out at me.

Categories
Misc

Fake it and make it

We’re dressing up here for Halloween, regardless of whether we can actually go trick-or-treating. Even though we aren’t going to be able to be on display for the neighborhood this year, it’s funny to think about what the act of dressing up does: it gives you permission. All of the sudden you can act in a different way and it’s ok.

I previously mentioned that you should get a helmet. Using props, dressing up, pretending for a moment to be something else, all of these are good tools you can use to trick your brain into forgetting the fear of failure and ridicule just enough so that you can act.

Categories
Misc

Opposites attract

I just finished reading Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee. Enjoyed it more that I thought I would. The premise isn’t all that exciting, like most McPhee books (his compendium about the geological history of North America won the Pulitzer prize!), but it was hard to put down. The portraits of the main characters and the portraits of the wilderness locations were superb and endlessly interesting.

Encounters with the Archdruid tells the story of David Brower, a giant figure in the environmental conservation movement in the last century, and three trips he takes to different wilderness areas in the US with the the author and three of his bitterest rivals: a miner, a developer, and a dam builder. The book is divided into three sections, one of each of the trips they take, and weaves between background stories about each of the four figures and the locations and experiences they have along the way.

Here are some of my favorite passages from the book.