Book Report!

The Heart Goes Last

This is the fourth episode in the Positron Series. I can’t really say much about it, because it’s still in progress. The plot has thickened, our protagonists have been filled in on their missions to take down their community’s managers, and we’re now about to see what the world looks like outside of their dystopian village.

The Highly Sensitive Person

As a Highly Sensitive Person, it was nice to hear that some of my more annoying quirks are shared by others like myself. For example, I always noticed that I perform extremely poorly just when it most matters (i.e. when I’m being assessed, tested, or scrutinized in any way like during auditions, work training, or dance performances). I can do just fine when no one’s looking, ya gotta believe me! It is maddening.

And it was helpful to learn why this happens: HSPs are at a continually higher rate of sensitivity to stimuli, so when anything more is added (i.e. stressors), we become overwhelmed and we shut down, whereas most others simply have heightened arousal (e.g. nervousness) or some lucky ducks experience improved performance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem like there’s a whole lot I can do about this problem.

Another thing to note about this book: a lot of the information was referenced in and/or related closely to information in Quiet (a book about introversion which I also read recently).

The Black Moth

The gal wrote this book when she was like 19. Nutso! I read this because I really like Robin Hood-type characters, which can include Highwaymen. I just think the whole concept of a Highwayman would make for a really good story, but I’m not really aware of any yet (I should totally write one :)). When I heard of this one (“The Black Moth” is this Highwayman’s nickname), I thought I’d check it out.

It was alright, kind of just light and simple. It is a “Regency Romance“, so the dialogue is old-style and some things just feel odd in a modern light. One such puzzling element: the height of the drama revolves around the lead female character being physically abducted and brought back to the villain’s house to be raped (or rather, forced into marriage, and then raped). Pretty dark, right?

Well, when she is *SPOILER ALERT* saved at the last moment (literally, the villain is about to tear her dress off, and the hero breaks in through the window or something similarly Errol Flynn-esque, and they have an almost-deadly sword fight), the hero and his band of helpers (including some of the heroine’s own family members) stay and eat dinner with the villain in his mansion. And the story pretty much ends with that happy little scene. Wha…? As a woman, and ya know, a human being, I found that offensive.

North and South

Ughhhhh this book was the worrrssssttttt. It was like it was trying to be Pride and Prejudice, but without the charming characters, believable plot, or witty dialogue. It went on forever, nothing happened, and worst: the characters were completely unlikable. It took me forever to read.

Ready Player One

What a great book! I should apparently only read dystopian novels, since I seem to always like them. So this one takes place in near-future America (about 30 years from now), in which the economy has completely collapsed, and climate change is looming yet larger, but people are kept pacified by escaping into an ever-available virtual-reality-ongoing-multiplayer-video game-type of thing.

The protagonist is competing in a global, virtual, easter egg hunt with very real (and mortal) consequences. The creator of the hunt grew up in the 1980s and was obsessed with the decade, so the book constantly throws out references to 80s pop culture, which was really fun. Very fun, satisfying ending too.

Start with Why

I read this because it was referenced by the CEO at my new job (part-time, an organization that works with technology in schools). I guess the idea is okay..I don’t disagree with it. In fact, it’s often my mantra (as in “Why again are we doing things this way..?”). But it’s not the “make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons” book that I anticipated. What it’s really saying is, basically, when big corporations do a good job of marketing a desirable lifestyle to its customer base (what I believe Sinek actually means when he talks about “the WHY”), people will buy their product and the company will make more money. Which is like..well…duh.

I did like one line, which paraphrased Thomas Friedman (“The World is Flat”..which I should read): “Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.” So true. Being a realist, people (i.e. optimists) often consider me to be a pessimist. They can call me whatever they want, ’cause I know I’m right. Too bad I’m useless.

 

Eleanor and Park

A friend of mine (June of the Moon) lent me this one and said it was really good. I was wary (it’s a YA romance…and I’m just..always dubious about everything in life ever), but I really enjoyed it. I just finished it about an hour ago. It kind of helped to show me what romantic love is (or at least this version of romantic love). I guess that’s mainly what this book is, in essence: one long definition of young love. I was also really grateful that the ending was not unhappy. The beginning eludes to a really tragic ending, so I was none too pleased about that, and braced myself for it, but was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t happen! It was a nice (though not unblemished) world  to visit.

 

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4 thoughts on “Book Report!

  1. I’d be inclined to get the sensitive person book but suspect I need to connect with other people more than read one’s philosophy on the matter. I think socializing might be more helpful. But, maybe the winds will change, and I’ll seek it out anyway.

    I think I perform slightly better under pressure than I do when left to my own devices for long. It doesn’t make much sense since I DO get easily overwhelmed…especially when I feel “threatened” or lorded over by authorities. I steer clear of conflicts and obstacles I need to tackle. It’s not good. But, oddly enough, when in the heat of the moment–if I am not already suffering the onset of a panic attack–I can do “amazing things”. I’m great with brainstorming. I’m happy to lend a hand to those who need it when I feel the task isn’t against my nature. I’m a good therapist when someone stops by to share a few thoughts. I just suck at putting things into motion/action…initiating and sometimes following through. Of course, not having regular friends or family who work with me periodically…having the friends I once had change on me and leave me hanging…that hasn’t helped.

    So, it’s me against the world…

    Tap, tap, ball change, shuffle off to Buffalo…

    I like a book that says, “You have a problem and there’s nothing you can do about being sensitive. Thanks for buying me.” hehe

    I like Robin Hood-type (and modern Red Riding Hoods) characters, too. I have a few ideas for similar stories but have yet to flush out the details.

    I don’t do well with “olde English” dialogues. I find written accents intriguing at times. But, when character is written in with either a “hillbilly slang” or olde English lexicon, I tend to zone out.

    Dark? That’s actually pretty standard or basic:P And, it sounds a lil like “Wolf” with Jack Nicholson and Michele Pfeifer which I just watched again last night. I’m still not quite sure if she was just playing the men for fools or if she was really in any danger…or why she gave the bad guy (the guy who became the quasi-bad guy) a weapon to hurt her love interest…or why she wasn’t concerned about her fingerprints on a gun.

    I am okay with dystopian/futuristic stories…but seeing that very 1980’s cover with a stack of trailer homes…and the mention of escaping into an online game… [Granted, I have a similar story in the works:P….it just doesn’t involve trailer homes stacked together in some wasteland. It’s not a Bruce Dern movie with people dressed in rags and only 4 books on a bus for a school…and everyone killing each other for water.] It sounds a bit like Running Man or The Hunger Games…another sporting competition for survival story?

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    1. All of the action in Ready Player One occurs in video game (usually old-timey arcade game) form. In fact, one of the protagonist’s major “battles” was really just him reenact one of his favorite movies. And no one is fighting this particular war for literal survival, but rather for something more like intellectual/entertainment freedom. It was like fighting to keep the spirit of the 80s alive.

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      1. Ready Player One sounds like something cooked up inside my own head…but put into print by another hand. It hasn’t been flushed out by me, yet, because I thought some of that plot was just replayed video game action ambition, or residual “OOMPH!” that keeps people restless/awake after giving video activity a break. I didn’t want to just turn a video game into text play-by-play. But, the potential for another Tron-like venture in “cyber-space” remains a seed waiting to grow into something good.

        So fighting for sport? In other words, online gaming of present day:P It’s not real war…it’s just grown people not washing their undies while spending countless hours buzzing their eyeballs and breaking joints pretending to be blowing each other up with ridiculously huge guns and explosives of a million colors.

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