Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

I'm not often drawn to a get-rich-quick book, and to be honest, I wasn't drawn to this one. Jon made me read it, mostly for the travel ideas. Tim Ferriss does have good ideas about how to travel and do worthwhile things while you're young instead of waiting until you're old and retired. (That's right, Mom, OLD!) (I remember hearing my dad's good friend Sherman talking about how he thought society was all backwards: we should be retired when we're young and energetic and go to work later, when we're ready to settle down. This book made me think of him.)

It's not really a get-rich-quick book, though. It's more about figuring out how to live your dreams instead of allowing yourself to be oppressed by your job and what everyone says you have to do in order to be successful. Tim Ferriss seems a little unscrupulous sometimes (like when he wins the world kickboxing championship by taking advantage of technicalities he found in the rules), but the ideas outlined in his book don't require that. It's worth reading.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quarterlife

I watched the series premiere of this TV show while I was at Ivy's house and liked it pretty well. The next day I read that it was watched by so few people that it probably wouldn't air a second episode. Ha ha! Considering how often I watch TV, this has happened to a large proportion of the TV shows I've watched and liked, like Keen Eddie. But Quarterlife apparently began life as a web series, so I guess if I really care, I could watch more of it. Maybe someday. I don't think it was great, just not as inane and annoying as the rest of what's typically on TV.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

I read the book a few years ago and thought it was pretty good entertainment reading--suspenseful and exciting. People took it too seriously, but the author was partly to blame for that, considering his statement at the beginning of the book about "facts" he'd included. I wasn't very excited to see the movie (obviously I didn't rush out to see it), but it turned out to be better than I thought it would be. I was surprised that it was fairly slow-moving, possibly even less suspenseful than the book. It wasn't great but not bad.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs

I loved this book. It's light-hearted (but not frivolous), easy to read, thoughtful, hilarious, entertaining. A.J. Jacobs, a secular Jew (he describes himself as Jewish like the Olive Garden is Italian), decides to live all the rules, laws and advice of the Bible for one year, even the most obscure and bizarre. Along the way he finds other groups and individuals who try to follow those laws, and he's always respectful and fair-minded. Like Jon said when he finished it, it wasn't long enough, which is a pretty good gripe to have about a book. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards

Since I was at Ivy's when this aired, I got to watch it. But it was kind of boring. Jon Stewart was funny in an I-think-the-Oscars-are-stupid kind of way that I find interesting. It's fun to see pregnant actresses (Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba and Cate Blanchett). And I'm glad Juno won at least one of four awards it was nominated for (best original screenplay). Otherwise, like I said, kind of boring. But I got my TV fix for a while!

Mansfield Park (2007)

The 1999 Mansfield Park is pretty edgy and takes some liberties with Jane Austen's story. This PBS film sticks to the story a little better but isn't as satisfyingly passionate. The Crawfords in the movie are immediately untrustworthy and shallow, while Austen's Crawfords are much more interesting and surprise you with their deceitfulness. At least that's how I remember the novel. Anyway, it was entertaining but not as good as Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

Northanger Abbey (2007)

I read the novel within the last year and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The new PBS film is delightful, capturing the heroine's overwrought imagination quite well. I loved it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan

The cover of In Defense of Food advises "Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants." Small parts of it are recycled from The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is an amazing and wonderful book, but there's also a fair amount of original stuff about nutrition research that was pretty eye-opening. His conclusions about how to eat for health weren't earth-shattering to me, but they were useful and are helping me get back on track after feeling kind of derailed about what we're supposed to be eating. I liked it a lot.

Persuasion (2007)

I liked this new PBS version of Jane Austen's Persuasion better than the 1995 film, which I found confusing, even knowing the story. It was a nice way to spend one evening after the eleven children went to bed. (You might think I'm very casual about watching that many kids, but you might also notice that I keep mentioning the eleven children.) Anyway, it was a great escape film.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

The second National Treasure movie is even cornier than the first, but still enjoyable. We couldn't see a lot of it towards the end because we saw it the drive-in and a pretty thick fog rolled in. That was kind of weird.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Out of Step (2002)

This LDS movie about a Utah girl who goes to New York as a dance student has more complicated characters than we usually see in LDS films and isn't as silly as some, but it was kind of hard to believe that the setting is supposed to be New York. Jon and I had just been there and walked right by NYU, where the story takes place. The students in the movie look more like University of Utah students, and I bet the professor is more like a U. of U. professor, too.