Thursday, October 07, 2010

That's My Positive Outlook

I recently was gifted (?) with a bunch of my old newspapering notepads that had been moldering in my folks' house for more than a decade. Being an environmental sort, I've been going through them and tearing out the old notes for recycling, while saving the unused paper so that I have more loose sheets of paper floating around the house.

95% of the notes are about horrible hippie bands in Boulder. 4.99% are administrative notes. And then there's this cheery one, apparently from 1998 and headed "Problems":

"Job: Unfulfilling. Soul-sucking.

Interpersonal Relationships: Mess."

I'm sure I was deadly serious when I wrote that, but today it made me laugh out loud.

* * *

Despite evidence to the contrary, I still do read books:

#43 -- "Be Not Afraid, For You Have Sons in America" by Stacy Sullivan

#44 -- "Upside Down" by Eduardo Galeano

#45 -- "My Battle of Algiers" by Ted Morgan

#46 -- "The Secret Pilgrim" by John LeCarre

#47 -- "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner

Whew. All good here, if you want the one-line wrap-up. Sullivan's book is on the Kosovo war, from a perspective I haven't seen much of: the KLA guerrillas' point of view. A worthy addition to my growing Kosovo library.

"Upside Down" is chicken soup for the lefty soul; energetic and inspiring, kinda preaching to the converted but with some interesting perspectives that I'd never considered. "My Battle" is a blunt, honest memoir of the Algerian war from the French side; riveting and harsh.

Like all of LeCarre's books, I loved "The Secret Pilgrim" -- it feels a bit lighter than some of his others as it's (essentially) a collection of short stories linked by a framing device, but I'll take light LeCarre over lots of other things. And "The Geography of Bliss" is a good time, funny as hell as Weiner travels the globe in search of joy. Made me really want to go to Iceland and Bhutan; made me really not want to go to Moldova. Obviously, I could have used this book in 1998.

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