Medium Raw

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I must confess, I have a few guilty pleasures when it comes to books. Most girls have Danielle Steele. I have Anthony Bourdain.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I enjoy reading things that are honest. Bourdain is as honest as writing can get. His emotions are raw (all puns intended), he gave away a piece of himself between the lines. The epilogue that came after the credits reads like an 80’s movie epilogue with updates on whatever happened to people he wrote about in Kitchen Confidential.

Maybe it’s time to go back to re-read Kitchen Confidential and write about it…

P.S. I’m so proud of myself finished reading this as an eBook via public library within the borrowing period. Yay!

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Goodreads

I took up running in the last six months as part of a physical requirement of a test I was taking. The process was long and slow, but my aim was a slow and steady pace of 5 or 6 miles per hour, or 10-12 minute mile.

I had this book in possession for a while. You’ll be surprised that I never read any of Mr. Murakami’s famous books such as Norwegian Wood or 1Q84. I wanted to read a book about running, and was surprised that Mr. Murakami wrote one. His writing is warm, funny, and makes me feel that we are not that different as runners: the struggles, meditation, the journey. I highly recommend this to all runners.

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

Huffington Post

I took a expository writing class for one of my last classes in college. I was not very good at it, but walked away with a valuable life lesson taught by my teacher: Good writing starts with honesty.

This book caught my eye as I once practiced Yoga, and wanted to go back to the lonely road of independent practice. If you are reading this book expecting it to teach you Yoga, you are reading the wrong book. This is the author’s sometimes rewarding, sometimes joyful, sometimes cruel, sometimes painful, but honest, truthful, keep-it-at-100 life journey. She used Yoga poses to draw a parallel to a phase of her life she was going through.

The author’s lesson is simple: Life is a journey, and the moment you live in right now comes from all the journeys and choices you made before. The journey you go through today will lead you to future journeys. Life is also mostly 20/20 hindsight.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.

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Amazon

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was my first high school English book I read before I started high school. I had really bad memories of trying to understand concepts when I barely got out of 8th Grade and trying to be a grown up. I didn’t remember much of the book except the really funny parts like how a 3 year old was weaned, and a clueless father on a disastrous family outing.

Reading it as an adult was a completely different story. I didn’t realize how much I’ve grown as a person until I go back and re-read some of the books I was made to read in high school. This one takes home the trophy for a tearjerker.

Not all of us may be as poor and disadvantaged as Francie Nolan, but all of us have a little Francie within us: strength when facing adversaries, strength when our hearts were broken in two, in three, even in pieces.

The whole ride, I was rooting for Francie, scene after scene, disappointment after disappointment, heartbreak after heartbreak. At the end, she was just like that tree outside her apartment: No matter how many times it’s cut down, it will grow another, another and another. It will grow when the sun doesn’t shine or when there’s no rain. It will grow no matter how harsh the wind blows or how cold the weather gets.

I cried a few times reading the book. I cried to celebrate the youth I used to have. I cried to appreciate how far I’ve come, and how much farther I have to go.

Accomplishment

My recent accomplishment: Finished reading a book in two weeks.

Wait, that’s an accomplishment? You bet! Given the adult life I’m living, finish reading a book in two weeks is no small task. That means having the book in my hand during commute, lunch break, before bed, etc., without creeping into my work hours. I lied, it crept into my work hours.

I will go into detail which book got me this interested, so much to invest this much time and attention, which I usually don’t have.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

This is one of my top ten favorite non fiction. 🙂

cooked
Google Books

Michael Pollan gives us the most compelling story of cooking. Yes, cooking!

Fire. Water. Air. Earth. Each of these elements are more than meets the eye. With food, they are at their peak in creating the most delicious concoctions, not only bringing people joy, but necessitate the human race’s survival.

Go read this. You owe it to yourself.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

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Amazon

Do you like scary movies? This is a scary book, except the stories are real, and what some people got away Scot-free with are also real. Real-life scary movie.

You also need the stomach to take in all the unjust that’s described in the book. You can praise some of the people being smart and figuring out ways to game the system, I’m just hoping you’d feel a pinch in your heart when you saw what scary things people in poverty can get into. It can happen to any of us, unless you’re rich.

The Quants

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Amazon.com

I finished the audio but am going back to the book and read it one more time.

The book has a lot of information. The moral of the story is, when a crisis is this big and this catastrophic, it is hard to point a finger to just any one person and say he or she is at fault. Sadly, what the book described is a systematic failure at every point from self-governance to oversight.

The plan is to go back and re-read the book.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

The Big Short
Amazon

You want to read a scary story? How about what the events and moments that lead to “Too Big To Fail“?

Michael Lewis was in the finance game before he got out, right before Solomon Brothers failed in 1996. His other more famous career, i.e. writing, gave us the gift of compelling story telling, in this book four heroes with the opportunity of a lifetime: All the things that lead to the financial meltdown in 2008, where they have a chance to cash in big time. The scariest part? It’s all true, with all the details.

Don’t dismiss this as another boring finance world business book. Lewis put most of the complicated concepts in layman’s terms. When you’re done reading it, if you’re not angry, you need to check to see if you have a conscience.

BTW, this book is now a movie, slanted for a Christmas premiere: