Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: new read

Joseph Conrad is my next read: Lord Jim

I read by Joseph Conrad was “Heart of Darkness” in my early 20’s because I heard the movie “Apocalypse Now” was based on it and I’ve always wanted to read the books my favorite movies are based on.

I bought it and I read it but was lost. I didn’t see any similarities. I was too young? Ignorant? Not in the right frame of mind, maybe? Now I know I need to re-read it and watch that movie again. It’s a classic.

My next Joseph Conrad book.

When I saw another Joseph Conrad book in the giveaway pile, I snatched it up. I may not have seen the significance in “Heart of Darkness,” but I was sufficiently enamored by his style to want to read another of his books, even twenty-five years later. A paperback version of “Lord Jim,” with an old “$1.00” sticker on the front cover, is what I hold in my hands.

A side note to people selling used books anywhere: please, please, please, stop putting stickers on the front cover or over the old bar code. You’re ruining the artwork of the cover and making it hard for collectors to scan their books into their library apps.

Do you read the introductions to books? I typically don’t, but I fell into this one completely and I think it helped me get the context and historical importance of the book and author. Joseph Conrad wrote his books in his third language, English. Wow.

I started reading it over the weekend, and I’m about one hundred pages in right now. It took me awhile to focus and understand the language, but I’m loving it. It’s stressful, listening to Jim explain why he left a ship full of immigrants that he believed was going to sink. There you are, sure you are all going to die in a horrible way. Would you remain?

This is why we read fiction, to experience someone else’s reality. It helps us empathize and bond with our fellow humans.

And why is the integrity of a ships captain and crew so important, a sacred duty? Because no one would get on board, put their lives in their hands for several months voyage, if they couldn’t trust them. Since we don’t use ships in this way much these days, it never occurred to me. I suppose a pilot would need the same trust, but I never even thought about that either.

Have you read “Lord Jim” or any other Joseph Conrad book? Was it voluntary or was it assigned at school? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Want to read more of my thoughts about the book, Lord Jim?
Does Our Conscience or Comrades Guide Our Actions?
Peace in The Motion of the Waves
Lord Jim & This ‘Cancel’ Idea

Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt

How did I get to Eichmann in Jerusalem? Through Netflix’s new “Play Something” button. Let me talk about that for a moment.

Eichmann in Jerusalem book cover on a desert background.

When I used to get bored, maybe a little tired, and just didn’t feel like doing anything, sometimes I would plop myself down on the couch and turn on the TV. I didn’t really care what was on. I just wanted to sit there and zone out awhile. Pick up the remote, flip through the channels. No, not sports. No, not talk shows. Hold on…this is decent. Sometimes I’d end up watching the whole thing, sometimes just a few minutes.

I can’t do that with streaming. I have to scroll through and pick something. And that, my friends, is an activity, and I’m trying to avoid activity. Now what?

Enter “Play Something.” I’m always amazed when things like this happen. What? I’m not the only one in the world that wants to just turn it on and see what happens?! Wow!

So, I try it and the first thing that comes on is “The Eichmann Show.” At first, it doesn’t seem interesting, even though it is about one of our family’s favorite subjects, World War II. Then we get sucked into it. The whole family is crying. We are talking, arguing, discussing philosophical shit. And I’m poking around the interwebs wondering if there is a book to tell me more.

And that’s where this baby came from. By the way, go watch that movie but be prepared. It’s rough. But it’s not just about the trial. The history of news television, sensationalism on tv, and people’s attitudes at the time of the trial was very interesting.

We watched that movie back in December and I’m just now getting to the book. I’ve been looking forward to it because of its author’s supposedly controversial thoughts on the trial. Reading the Wikipedia article about the book, I’m afraid it’s going to be a rough one. Much of what the author was pointing out about Eichmann and the Nazi regime seems to be commonplace in our current times, something I’m afraid to point out for fear of backlash, which is unnerving, given the backlash Arendt got for not just what she wrote about but how she said it.

With this book, I’m going back to taking more time, looking up words I don’t know well, and reading more background information when I need it. I plan on summarizing each chapter for myself and seeing if I can integrate more of the book into my life, and forget less of what I read. I’ve found myself rushing through a lot of books lately in the hopes of upping my end of the year tally. I tend to be a little obsessive sometimes and this one aspect of reading has gotten away from me this past year.

Have you read Eichmann in Jerusalem? Did you watch The Eichmann Show? Want to read along with me? Go get the book at Thriftbooks.com and let me know what you think in the comments. I’ll be posting my thoughts later this month after I finish reading.

“In The Beginning” by Alister McGrath

I picked up “In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture” by Alister McGrath off the TBR pile this morning and I’m already loving it…as usual.

I love Christian church history, and this looks like it’s going to be far more than I thought it was going to be. I’ve always been curious about Christian history, as in, “How in the world did we get where we are?!” But it’s a complicated topic in that there is a lot of bias in how it is presented to the world.

When I read something written by a non-Christian, I get the sense of hostility and contempt. As if they are only writing the book to disprove the religion’s stances on life. Or there is the feeling of, “Oh those poor dumb people that believe it this shit.” It’s a turn off. I’d like a book written with respect if not reverence and belief.

When I read something by an actively believing Christian, there’s a lot of glossing over the subject. Depending on the author’s sect, they steer the narrative around certain pieces and towards proselytizing instead of informing and educating. This is also a turn off because I’m really curious about the actual history, not the spiritual significance.

Here is the thing. I believe that there is something bigger than us and that “god” is bigger than any book written by humans. I don’t believe we (humans) need to change the message for the listener. I don’t believe we need to hide certain aspects until people are ready to hear them. I don’t believe that humans can mess up god’s will toward others.

If it is real, then it will get to us how it gets to us, and I firmly believe that it gets to us in many different ways, tailored for each and every one of us in our own language and time. It’s a personal journey, not fit for anyone else in this realm of consciousness.

Which leads me to this question. Why bother speaking/writing about it? Why bother discussing it at all? Because that is how humans work. It’s how we discover and learn. It’s how we were created. And, in my opinion, how “god” speaks to us.

I’m really looking forward to reading this! Have you read “In the Beginning” by Alister McGrath? If you want to read it, run over to Thriftbooks and get it. We can chat about it later!

Draft No 4 – On The Writing Process

Diving into Draft No 4 – On the Writing Process by John McPhee this morning. I’m pretty sure books about reading and writing are my favorite!

“NEXT!”

Sometimes I wonder if I move on to new books too quickly. Maybe I should linger a bit? Take my time? Spend some quality time digesting the little gem so that I may fully incorporate all its goodness?

Nah! Who’s got time for that?!

I think I’ll stick to my system. I read, I make notes, I blog, I move on. Blogging this way has helped me make more connections between books though, so that makes me happy. I’m still longing to make connections with actual people over books, but that will come someday. I must be patient. I’ve laid my traps with plenty of bait. Now we wait.

Draft No. 4 book cover on gardening tools.

This morning I picked up, Draft No 4 – On the Writing Process by John McPhee. I’m very excited about this one. Thomas C. Foster mentioned it in his book How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor which I read back in December. When I was browsing Barnes & Noble (swoons at the memory), I found it and brought it home with me.

Ok…I wasn’t exactly browsing. It was more like a deliberate search for books I already had on my handy dandy wish list, but I went there with the intention of browsing and maybe picking up some nice new novels.

Any who…

The back of the book says, “a master class in the writer’s craft.” Yes, please! In lieu of actually being in a writing class, this will do nicely. One of my deepest, darkest desires…shut up…is to take a real class. You know, with people. But I was too insecure and shy to move forward on that idea BCB (that’s before covid bullshit) and now…forget it. The virus scares me a mere fraction of how much people do, so I’m steering clear of the herd until it settles.

But I can read a book! Right?! So here I am. This one looks fun.

Have you read it? Have you ever taken a writing class? Do you know of any online ones that are good? What about writer’s groups? I’ve been thinking about joining one of those for a long time, but haven’t gotten up the nerve.

If you’d like to read this with me, you can find Draft No. 4 at Thriftbooks.com. If you do read it (or you have already), leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mr. Feynman’s book “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!”

The Mr. Feynman book cover on the couch with the dog.

“Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!” is another used book from the 2020 book stash! Yay for free books!

I love memoirs and biographies, so I saved it based on that and because it sounded familiar, like I should know the title. I don’t know why and since I’ve looked it up a little before I started reading it, I still don’t see why it sounds familiar to me.

On my quick internet search, I found out that he is relatively famous, a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist. Maybe I’ve heard the name in a movie or tv show?

It doesn’t matter. Like I said, I love memoirs and biographies, so that’s why I picked it up. I learn so much by reading about other people’s lives. It’s an addiction. No matter who they are, famous or not, and from any corner of the earth, short or long, reading memoir is like living multiple lives.

Reading history, I learn the framework of the past, the who, what, when and where. Reading historical fiction helps me get some perspective, adds details, the skin, hair, and nails to the skeleton framework of time.

Reading memoir, I step into a person’s thoughts and begin to add the muscles and tendons to that skeleton.

Everyone on this planet has their own personal perspective. If we could see the world through everyone else eyes and thoughts, instead of just our own, we’d have a better idea of what the world really looked like. Life would become far more multi-dimensional and less flat!

That’s why I read memoir and biography, to experience more than one life a time.

This one looks like it’s going to be fun. The man worked with Einstein! And if we learned anything from “The Big Bang Theory,” it’s that theoretical physicists are fun people to learn from.

Do you know of Richard Feynman? If you’d like to read it, you can find “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!” at Thriftbooks.com. I’d love to know what you thought of the book. Make a comment and we’ll talk!


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

“The 28 Mansions of the Moon”

The 28 Mansions of the Moon book cover on a Joshua Tree.

This book is special because it is the first I’ve purchased and read because I followed the author on Instagram. I loved his posts and then saw that he had a book out…had to get it. It doesn’t take much for me to want to read a book, that’s for certain!

I’m thirty pages in today and enjoying it immensely. It’s different, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to read more and maybe learn more about what it’s based on.

You can find the book on Amazon here and follow the author on Instagram here.

“The 28 Mansions of the Moon” is also my first new read of 2021.

This year I plan on doing something different and read one book at a time for a while. I used to have two books going because one was usually a slow, difficult read that I could only focus on for about twenty minutes before my brain hurt. I may pick up one of those reads again and need to have two books going at once, but for now let’s see how this goes!

Cup of tea and a book journal.
Afternoon Tea

I have a brand-new book journal for the occasion.

Believe it or not, I found this lovely little book over a year ago in a shop in San Diego. I picked up and thought…no, I’ll just lose it before I need it…but it’s SO cute! Yep. I bought it and now I finally get to use it. Yay for keeping track of things!

Happy New Year Everyone!

If you’d like to know my thoughts on this book, you’ll find them at the links below.
What Does it Mean to be Human? Contradictions!
Negativity Bias Can be a Positive Force


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

New Read: “Normal People” A Novel

Picture of my new read cover with a desert sunrise background.
Sunrise in the desert…priceless.

Another “New Read” Blog Post? Already?!

Yes, I just happened to finish both of my previous books one day apart, so on to new ones in the same fashion. “There’s no rest for the wicked.” Right?

Picture of my new read cover with a cup of coffee and a cat.
The cover says, so I’m ready!

Once again, I’m not sure why I originally picked this book up. It wasn’t a bookstore or Costco book pile impulse buy. Neither was it a gift or free book I happened across. I must have read about it in another book or article. Like I said in a previous post, I’m working on fixing that gap.

The title is probably what drew my attention. “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, maybe I’ll learn something about these so-called normal people.

From the back cover, though, it looks like a modern love story. That’s always nice to read too!

I have a fresh pot of coffee and some oatmeal cookies and I’m ready to dive in.

Have you heard of this book? Want to read it with me?

You’ll find my thoughts about quotes from this book at…
The School System is Oppressive for a Reason
Can We Find Human Connection in an Irritating Sound
I’m a writer. What’s Your Superpower?


My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive one email a month only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

And, yes, I promise never to sell my email list, or bombard your inbox with spam.

New Read: “How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor”

Picture of the new read on a pile of desert firewood.

Welcome to the first post in a new series of posts on my blog: New Read!

Each time I start a new book, I’ll create a new post. It will serve a couple of purposes. The first will be to note when I start a new book and alert YOU to look forward to future quotes and thoughts about the content. Maybe you’ll want to get it and read along with me. Message me if you do!

The second is that it’s a great chance to share pictures of my desert with you. All the photos are of my actual book on my actual property. I hope you like dirt and rocks a much as I do!

My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’re receive one email a month only available to my email followers…so exclusive! And, yes, I promise never to sell my email list, or bombard your inbox with spam.

On to the New Book post!

“How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster is not only about reading books. It’s about reading all nonfiction, including blogs and newspapers, even social media posts. I bet there’s a ton of useful information here, ways to decipher what’s real and what’s not, along with smarter ways to interpret all the incoming information, instead of relying Facebook’s so-called “Fact Checking” system.

I’m not sure where I got the idea to read it, probably from another blog post. I have a new system to remember where I got the book recommendation and I’ve been implementing it for a month now. In the future, I’d like to be able to link back to my source of inspiration to thank them.

I’m only a few pages into this book right now. I ran out of time to read this morning…stupid housework to do. It’s already interesting though and I can’t wait to read more.


I wrote a summary of what I thought most helpful in this book. You can read it at This Book Makes Reading Nonfiction More Gratifying.

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