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Posts about books (old posts, page 1)

Orwell’s 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face … forever.

That, probably is the quotable line, I found.

The book’s terrible, and I hated the story (too bleak, too dystopian).
The only reason for its popularity is that events in real life, are proving Orwell right.

Butterick’s Practical Typography

In my youth, I came across the work of Robin Williams.
No, not that one.

She introduced me to the beauty of CRAP.
And the fact that the PC is not a typewriter.
But most of all, she introducted me to the beauty of type and design

Fonts, and line spacing and kerning and everything else lovely, about the written word.

And now if you want all that wisdom distilled, into a short, opinionated, beautiful web series, look no further than Matthew Butterick’s, Practical Typography.

The content is freely given, and the book is reader supported

What is typography?
What is type composition?
How do you format text?
Are there two spaces after a line? Or one?
What are the best fonts to use, instead of tired old Times New Roman?
How do you layout your page for a letterhead? a research document? a presentation? a résumé?
And why in God’s name, does typography even matter? Isn’t print dead?

Answers to these, and many more questions in the book.
If you want your prose to look polished, you owe it to yourself to read it.


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Word for word, the most epigramatic book I have read.
Short, sweet and beautiful words and lines and dialogue.

Here’s a few.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.


Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.


Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.


Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.


There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.


Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.


Man is many things, but he is not rational.


People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.


We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.


We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful.


Ben Hur

Decided to reread the old stories I had read in my childhood.

Started with Ben–Hur.
You might know the movie, more the book.

Adventure, slave galleys, a love triangle, and of course really well written historical fiction.

Loved it so much that I went and got the rest of Lew Wallace’s fiction.
The rains are going to be so much more enjoyable :)


Forest 404


It calls itself, an eco thriller.
But that is selling the series short.

It’s a lush, beautiful soundscape.
The forests still ring in my ears.
The drums still thump.
The future is chilly and industrial.

The writing and the dialogue are crisp.
And most importantly, it has an all woman cast.

And that is all I am willing to share.
Find the podcast here. It says episodes available indefinitely.
So go have fun!
I binged it. I’m sure you will too.


Stillness is the Key, Ryan Holiday

Stillness is the Key, Ryan Holiday

This is the fitting conclusion to Ryan’s Stoic trilogy. (The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy, being the other two)
Must read! Quick Read.
Stillness, intention, doing the work with deliberation, and focus; the book delves through it all in a beautiful manner.
Passages I loved …

“Wrestle with big questions. Wrestle with big ideas. Treat your brain like the muscle that it is. Get stronger through resistance and exposure and training.”

and

“Always think about what you’re really being asked to give. Because the answer is often a piece of your life, usually in exchange for something you don’t even want. Remember, that’s what time is. It’s your life, it’s your flesh and blood, that you can never get back.
In every situation ask:
What is it?
Why does it matter?
Do I need it?
Do I want it?
What are the hidden costs?
Will I look back from the distant future and be glad I did it?
If I never knew about it at all—if the request was lost in the mail, if they hadn’t been able to pin me down to ask me—would I even notice that I missed out?

When we know what to say no to, we can say yes to the things that matter.”


A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston

A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston

fun read
when a working actor, tells their story, it’s always a treat.
when a working actor, who struck it big, tells their story, it’s a roller coaster :)
Bryan has fun with the book; there are tales that appear so real, until he yanks the rug, telling you it wasn’t. And there are passages that are unbelievable, but true.
Loved this passage in the book …

Early in my career, I was always hustling. Doing commercials, guest-starring, auditioning like crazy. I was making a decent living, but I confided to Robin that I felt I was stuck in junior varsity. I wondered if I had plateaued. Ever thoughtful, my wife gave me the gift of private sessions with a self-help guy named Breck Costin, who was really wonderful with actors and other creative people.

Breck suggested that I focus on process rather than outcome. I wasn’t going to the audition to get anything: a job or money or validation. I wasn’t going to compete with the other guys.

I was going to give something.

I wasn’t there to get a job. I was there to do a job. Simple as that. I was there to give a performance. If I attached to the outcome, I was setting myself up to expect, and thus to fail. My job was to focus on character. My job was to be interesting. My job was to be compelling. Take some chances. Serve the text. Enjoy the process.

epictetus-books

“Don’t just say you have read books.
Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.
Books are the training weights of the mind.
They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”

— Epictetus, The Art of Living

Books I’ve Read, May Edition

If you are looking for something to read, you might find something interesting here.

May

  • The Great Mental Models, Shane Parrish
    (the first of a soon to be multivolume work.
    must read times a hundred.
    this book teaches you how to think.
    and how to do it well.
    have i said it’s a must read? you must read it.)

  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman
    (must read. scarily charming.)

April

  • Keep Going, Austin Kleon
    (must read. new annual read. timely. beautiful quotes. hugely inspirational)

  • Chocolate Wars, Deborah Cadbury
    (must read. as a child growing up in the shadow of the large Cadbury factory, near home, Cadbury has always fascinated me. i still remember their school tours where we could go see how the chocolate was made and come home with a couple of bars of Dairy Milk. the factory is now shutdown, and the tempting aroma of chocolate no longer fills the air. this book delves into nearly 200 years of Cadbury’s (as well as its contemporaries) history. a lovely nostalgic throwback to a more innocent, more generous age.)

March

  • Titan’s Wrath, Rhett C Bruno

  • Never Grow Up, Jackie Chan
    (charmingly mistitled, because it is all about Jackie growing up, albeit a little too late. beautiful notes of apology and gratitude to the people in his life and of course, being Jackie, loads of hilarious stories)

  • Company of One, Paul Jarvis

  • Titan’s Son, Rhett C Bruno
    (something to get my mind off studies. the series is still fun)

  • Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport
    (must read. short. an in-depth practical treatise on getting out of the clicky, clicky, swipe, swipe circle of digital death i was in. found it really helpful)

  • Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi & Tal Raz
    (good read. if you’re an introvert like me, this is a good stepping stone to help you get out there.)

  • Thinking in Bets, Annie Duke
    (must read. short treatise on how you need to think probabilistically and divorce your efforts and your work, Arjun-like, from their results)

  • Titanborn, Rhett C Bruno
    (short fun read. in the vein of Asimov’s detective stories)

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