Archive for January 2011

Black Swan

16 January 2011 | 0

Hannah and I went to see Black Swan on Friday night. I think Hannah said it best: “It’s a perfect movie about perfection.” It’s definitely as good as all the critics have been saying, and I especially recommend it for artists, athletes, performers and others who seek perfection. Outside of all the obviously great aspects—script, direction, acting, costume design—I really enjoyed the sound design. There were a lot of “squishes” and other really tactile, tangible, intimate bodily sounds that really deepened my experience of the film and helped put me more directly in Portman’s character. Go see it, and prepare to leave the theater shaking your head.

New Year’s Resolution

2 January 2011 | 2

While everyone is planning their new diet/exercise/muscle-building regimen of 2011 (that—let’s be honest—is maybe going to get them to March), I’ve decided to make a simple resolution to read. I already read a fair amount. But, post-Christmas, I’ve got a fresh stack of books to start working my way through and there’s no way I’m going to get through them without a concerted and conscious effort in the form of the all-powerful New Year’s Resolution.

Luckily, I’ve already gotten one down, though it was a bit of a cheat: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. Surprisingly, I’ve yet to read any of his other books, though after the documentaries of his I’ve seen, the articles of his I’ve read, and now this book, I’d just be filling in the details and the science behind his recommendations. The book was a quick read and full of bite-sized advice, and if you’re honestly looking to change your eating patterns in the New Year, this seems to be as good a place as any to start.

The rest of my list is a collection of works of politics, education, biography and fiction. I’m a few pages into The Speaker of the House by Matthew N. Green. It seems like it’ll be a good overview of various Speaker’s methods and time in office, which, as part of my effort to better understand the Legislative branch of government, should prove quite insightful. I’ve also briefly skimmed through How to Win Every Argument by Madsen Pirie, though only enough to know that it’s going to be a great introductory course in logic. The last book in my stack that I’ve started to read is Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, considered one of the foundational books of feminist thought. I had borrowed it from the library early last year, but couldn’t get through it in the three weeks the library allowed me. I’ll probably start it fresh, but I’m really excited to wrap it up.

Of the books I haven’t started yet, there are two works of fiction: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The first has really great reviews on Amazon, though I know very little about it, and the second came recommended via Boing Boing. Also in the fiction vein is Classic Myths to Read Aloud by William F. Russell. Ali, like many kids, is really into the Greek and Roman myths, so I’m looking forward to enjoying these stories with her.

To round out my list, I’ve got Aung San Suu Kyi’s The Voice of Hope, C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and E. D. Hirsch Jr’s The Making of Americans and What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. Aung San Suu Kyi is an amazing and inspirational writer, C. S. Lewis is a classic, and the E. D. Hirsch books look to be full of practical educational information.

All in all, I think I’ve got an excellent selection of books on hand. And even with all of those in front of me, I can’t even really dive into them until I finish Atlas Shrugged (which I’m 650 pages into of 1070) and The Myth of a Christian Nation (which is the only thing I have out from the library right now). Here’s to a new year of reading!