Viewing blog entries in category: Books
Hahaha. Was just looking at my Amazon page and noticed that my print book which sells for $4.99 new, is available used, for the bargain bin price of $43.58 + $3.99 shipping.
Who bought my book and is now trying to turn a profit on it? Wait, could it be a family member trying to sell the free copy they received from me? Hmm. Do I have any family members living in Georgia? Nope. Another mystery. So many mysteries, so little time.
To commemorate my ten year anniversary of being a blogger at Solo, I have put together a book, in PDF format, of my favorite polemical writings from the last ten years. I have titled it...
Download PDF Here.
The past is the past.
Today is a fresh start.
This is now the time for resolution.
Start of my fifth book: realitybites Resolution.
Book four is being assembled now...
Should have a link to it later today.
All books can be downloaded for free from my Box. They are in PDF format. Links to books.
Certain passages in Morrissey's book, Autobiography, read as misogynistic polemics against femaleness. To deny this is delusional. Here is an example: "Night after night like an unowned dog I would tear through the park, a creature in human form, all perilous bolt inviting danger, the bike dancing controlled flips as I gulped jets of rain–more danger, more fun. In comparison, what had girls to offer? Nothing but a mangled jungle of tangled hair presented as the jackpot payoff. Honeypots sprawled like open graves, their owners doing nothing at all other than letting you. The call of duty is all yours–to turn on and get off; to hit the spot and know the ropes; to please and be pleased; as the owners of such Bermuda Triangles do... nothing."
Coming from anyone else, this would read as hate speech. Why do we forgive the writer who pens such a diatribe against our sex? Because he is Morrissey? Yes, because he is Morrissey. But should we? Or should we hold him accountable?
I never cared—still don't—about his sexual orientation. I mean, I never had romantic fantasies to be with the man. Sure he is sexy, charismatic, and handsome. I guess when I first set eyes on him and for a short time after that, there was an attraction. But I am a realist. Wasn't gonna hook-up with him. I had no illusions of such. So it mattered not that he wasn't sexually attracted to women. But not being attracted to them is one thing. Being utterly disgusted by them is another. I assumed, rightfully, that he is gay. This noted passage, along with several others in the book, confirm this for me.
Imagine if he, as a white person, wrote a diatribe against blackness. Alarm bells would go off. But as most of us know, sex/gender is the last form of discrimination that is tolerated—worldwide. You think it isn't? You think we have moved past sex/gender discrimination? No one thinks it is acceptable anymore? Think again. How many of the liberals out there cry out against gender segregation in Islamic societies? Not too many. There is outrage about Palestinians being oppressed by the Israelis. But nobody is talking about liberating the women from male oppression, within this sex segregated society.
What Moz wrote was at the very least, insensitive. I am really glad I am not one to hang on his every word. For if I were, I would be devastated.
Anybody remember when Christopher Hitchens wrote that article claiming women weren't funny? It was a great polemic. I didn't agree with him. Not sure more than a handful of folks did/do. But the Internet lit up light a Christmas tree. And every liberal and conservative newspaper, talk show, and online magazine was discussing it, asking, "Is he sexist?" "Is he a misogynist?" There was careful, intelligent debate. The best of the best voiced their opinions, and wrote articulate retorts.
There isn't much going on debate-wise when it comes to Morrissey's attacks on femaleness. Why? Why the eerie silence in the media? Why the silence here? Actually, the silence on Solo is not surprising. Because, to bring up such a topic results in an idiotic comment such as, "What is the point of this thread?" This type of fan wants to silence the dissenters, the free thinkers, the folks who question things. Bringing these things out in the open threatens to pop their filter bubbles.
What does it mean if Morrissey hates femaleness—at least sexually? Does it change the way we interpret the songs? Is he no longer on our side—a voice for equality? What do lyrics such as pretty girls make graves and I lost my faith In womanhood look like in this new light? Should we now take them more literally? Reevaluate all the songs? Would doing so ruin the listening experience for many? Yes, I am certain it would. Would it ruin mine? No, not at all. Never saw him as a hero or as a champion for the female sex—and her interests. So, nobody has fallen off a pedestal in my world. I do, however, feel sad for those who did hold Moz to a higher standard, believing him to be a spokesperson for women's rights and issues. This book, surely, was a soul crusher.
This is a summary/study guide of sorts for myself and anyone else interested in Street Epistemology.
*I am learning to be more tolerant and less judgmental through reading this book. The title is slightly misleading. This book is not about evangelizing. The goal is not to convert anyone into an atheist. The idea is to teach critical thinking skills which will move a person from a faith-based epistemology to a reason-based one. Hopefully this will further move them towards skepticism and possibly atheism. But the goal is not to render them godless, but rather, faithless. This book is a must for dyed-in-the-wool atheists who want to develop the skills needed to interact with the faithful in more loving, tolerant, and productive ways. While at the same time, helping teach them to think more critically. A long overdue book surely to become a classic in the atheist cannon.
Excerpts from book...
Chapter One: Street Epistemology
Street Epistemology is a vision and a strategy for the next generation of atheists, skeptics, humanists, philosophers, and activists. Left behind is the idealized vision of wimpy, effete philosophers: older men in jackets with elbow patches, smoking pipes, stroking their white, unkempt beards. Gone is cowering to ideology, orthodoxy, and the modern threat of political correctness.
Enter the Street Epistemologist: an articulate, clear, helpful voice with an unremitting desire to help people overcome their faith and to create a better world—a world that uses intelligence, reason, rationality, thoughtfulness, ingenuity, sincerity, science, and kindness to build the future; not a world built on faith, delusion, pretending, religion, fear, pseudoscience, superstition, or a certainty achieved by keeping people in a stupor that makes them pawns of unseen forces because they’re terrified.
The Street Epistemologist is a philosopher and a fighter. She has savvy and street smarts that come from the school of hard knocks. She relentlessly helps others by tearing down falsehoods about whatever enshrined "truths" enslave us.
Vision for Street Epistemology...
Hard-boiled means that you look at things straight on. You play it straight. You don’t sugarcoat it, you don’t play it cute, you don’t pull your punches. You look at the cold, hard truth. You lay things out truthfully. That’s your healthy skepticism. You become the investigator—you have to be your own private investigator—you’re the detective—so you better learn how to handle yourself.
The immediate forerunners to Street Epistemologists were “the Four Horsemen,” each of whom contributed to identifying a part of the problem with faith and religion. American neuroscientist Sam Harris articulated the problems and consequences of faith. British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explained the God delusion and taught us how ideas spread from person to person within a culture. American philosopher Daniel Dennett analyzed religion and its effects as natural phenomena. British-American author Christopher Hitchens divorced religion from morality and addressed the historical role of religion. The Four Horsemen called out the problem of faith and religion and started a turn in our thinking and in our culture—they demeaned society’s view of religion, faith, and superstition, while elevating attitudes about reason, rationality, Enlightenment, and humanistic values.
The Four Horsemen identified the problems and raised our awareness, but they offered few solutions. No roadmap. Not even guideposts. Now the onus is upon the next generation of thinkers and activists to take direct and immediate action to fix the problems Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, and Hitchens identified.
A Manual for Creating Atheists is a step beyond Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett. A Manual for Creating Atheists offers practical solutions to the problems of faith and religion through the creation of Street Epistemologists—legions of people who view interactions with the faithful as clinical interventions designed to disabuse them of their faith.
Chapter Two: Faith
Old definition: belief without evidence.
New definition: pretending to know things you don't know.
Common definition: One who does not believe in god(s).
New way to define atheist: An atheist does not assert--claim to know--that there is no god(s). She instead states that, "There’s insufficient evidence to warrant belief in a divine, supernatural creator of the universe. However, if I were shown sufficient evidence to warrant belief in such an entity, then I would believe.” "The atheist does not claim, “No matter how solid the evidence for a supernatural creator, I refuse to believe.”
Do not use the term agnosticism. It is archaic and meaningless.
Faith claims are knowledge claims.
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on how we come to knowledge, what knowledge is, and what processes of knowing the world are reliable. Conclusions one comes to as the result of an epistemological process are knowledge claims. A knowledge claim is an assertion of truth.
Faith: pretending to know things you don't.
God works in mysterious ways.
I am pretending to know that god works in mysterious ways.
My faith is true for me.
Pretending to know things I don't know is true for me.
Why should people stop having faith if it helps them get through the day?
Why should people stop pretending to know things they don’t know if it helps them get through the day?
Faith and hope are not synonyms.
One can hope for anything or place one’s trust in anyone or anything. This is not the same as claiming to know something. To hope for something admits there’s a possibility that what you want may not be realized. For example, if you hope your stock will rise tomorrow, you are not claiming to know your stock will rise; you want your stock to rise, but you recognize there’s a possibility it may not. Desire is not certainty but the wish for an outcome.
A recent move by apologists is to avoid the use of the word “faith” entirely, and instead to use the word “trust.” Given that the word “faith” is inherently problematic, I think this is an excellent strategy. The counter to this, however, is identical: “Without sufficient evidence how do you know what to trust?” If the response is, “There’s sufficient evidence,” then your reply should be, “Then you don’t need faith.”
Chapter Three: Doxastic Closure, Belief, and Epistemology
There are five reasons why otherwise reasonable people embrace absurd propositions: (1) they have a history of not formulating their beliefs on the basis of evidence; (2) they formulate their beliefs on what they thought was reliable evidence but wasn’t (e.g., the perception of the testament of the Holy Spirit); (3) they have never been exposed to competing epistemologies and beliefs; (4) they yield to social pressures; and (5) they devalue truth or are relativists.
The word “doxastic” derives from the Greek doxa, which means “belief.” I use the phrase “doxastic closure,” which is esoteric even among seasoned epistemologists and logicians, in a different and less technical way than it’s used in philosophical literature. I use the term to mean that either a specific belief one holds, or that one’s entire belief system, is resistant to revision.
Doxastic openness is the beginning of genuine humility. Awareness of ignorance is by definition doxastic openness. Awareness of ignorance makes it possible to look at different alternatives, arguments, ways of viewing the world, and ideas, precisely because one understands that one does not know what one thought one previously knew. The tools and allies of faith—certainty, prejudice, pretending, confirmation bias, irrationality, and superstition—all come into question through the self-awareness of ignorance.
Chapter Four: Interventions and Strategies
• Develop nonadversarial relationships
• Help clients think differently and understand what could be gained through change
• “Meet clients where they are”17 and don’t force a change
• Express empathy
• Go with resistance
• Tap into internal change behavior
Chapter Five: Enter Socrates
The Socratic method has five stages: (1) wonder; (2) hypothesis; (3) elenchus, (4) accepting or revising the hypothesis; (5) acting accordingly.
A hypothesis is never proven to be true. After a hypothesis survives repeated iterations in the elenchus, this only means that to date it has withstood a process of falsification. For example, through a window by a lake, you’ve seen one million white swans; nevertheless, this doesn’t mean all swans are white. No matter how many swans you’ve seen, this does not make the hypothesis that all swans are white true, it only means the hypothesis hasn’t been shown to be false (yet).
Chapter Six: After the Fall
Helping people, especially children, to be comfortable with not knowing, yet at the same time encouraging the development of curiosity, of wonder, and of a zest to explore the world, is a crucial and indispensable undertaking. New books and lines of literature about how to make children comfortable with not knowing and how to develop reliable epistemologies must be written, widely circulated, and read ubiquitously. To start we must create the value of being comfortable with uncertainty, particularly with regard to life’s ultimate questions. In other words, not only do we need to devalue an existing paradigm (faith), we also need to revalue an underappreciated one (reason).
Chapter Seven: Anti-Apologetics 101
There are only eleven defenses for faith. They fall into these three categories:
Faith is True
• Why is there something rather than nothing?
• You can't prove there is no god.
• I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.
• My faith is true for me.
• Science can't explain quantum mechanics.
• You have faith in science.
Faith is Useful
• My faith is beneficial to me.
• Life has no meaning without faith.
• Why take away faith if it helps get people through the day?
To argue that people need faith is to abandon hope, and to condescend and accuse the faithful of being incapable of understanding the importance of reason and rationality. There are better and worse ways to come to terms with death, to find strength during times of crisis, to make meaning and purpose in our lives, to interpret our sense of awe and wonder, and to contribute to human well-being—and the faithful are completely capable of understanding and achieving this.
Atheism is Corrosive
•Without faith society would devolve morally.
Chapter Eight: Faith and the Academy
Epistemological Relativism: That any way to come to knowledge is as good as any other.
Contemporary Academic Leftism: How Criticizing Bad Thinking Became Immoral: Classic and Social Liberalism evolves into Contemporary Academic Leftism
In the twentieth century, social liberalism evolved further still, with its dominant strain becoming contemporary academic leftism.1 This current manifestation of liberalism is a skeleton of former incarnations and is best described not by what it is, but by the parasitic ideologies that have given that skeleton its corrupted form: relativism, subjectivity, tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism, respect for difference, and inclusion.2 These invasive values betray classical and social liberalism’s history of standing for basic freedoms and fighting all forms of tyranny.
Historically, there’s nothing intrinsic to liberalism that necessarily weds it to the ideologies currently piggybacking on it. The fact that there is no necessary connection between the classical forms of liberalism and the values that currently fall within the sphere of contemporary academic leftism is reason for hope—hope that contemporary academic leftism can be decoupled from these external, invasive values, which undermine the emancipatory hope offered by classical and social liberalism, to return liberalism to its historical and intended roots.
Epistemic relativism is either coupled with the idea that any process one uses to form beliefs is either just as good as any other process—a kind of epistemic egalitarianism—or with the idea that processes cannot be judged because one process is always judged by another process.
Yet another tenet of contemporary academic leftism is the belief, the value, that ideas have dignity. When one believes dignity is a property of ideas and not just a property of people, then criticizing an idea becomes akin to criticizing a person. In other words, morally, just as one shouldn’t criticize physical attributes common among sub-Saharan Africans, or among Scandinavians, so too one should not criticize ideas, faith traditions, and so forth.
Granting ideas dignity has two consequences. The first consequence is that criticizing faith traditions becomes viewed as a form of hate speech—like saying the “N” word. This kind of political correctness further buttresses faith from dialectical criticism. Most people won’t criticize faith out of fear people will think not only that they’re bad people, but also that they’re mean-spirited, angry, bigoted, prejudiced, insensitive, hateful people.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the failure of contemporary academic feminism. Feminism is currently married to, or rather cohabitating with, academic leftism. Consequently, feminism has absorbed the same exogenous values that liberalism absorbed. Thus, there has been a tragic, catastrophic, and almost wholesale failure of contemporary academic feminism to speak out against the unbridled, ruthless misogyny of the Taliban, the horrific and wide-scale domestic violence suffered by women in Papua New Guinea, the sexual and physical violence common among Aboriginal women and girls in Australia, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
If one were to abstract feminism from values like tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism as applied to the realm of ideas, etc., what would the results be? Would American feminists be more likely or less likely to criticize the treatment of women in other cultures? The answer is obvious. Feminism’s silence can be understood because it’s been tainted by a litany of invasive values such as multiculturalism and relativism.
Contemporary academic leftism is also faith’s unwitting ally. Contemporary academic leftists have bullied criticisms of faith off the table.12
Multiculturalism and associated ideologies grant “diverse” epistemologies—especially faith processes—immunity from criticism. Multiculturalism buttresses faith-based processes from criticism by conflating race with culture, and by making attacks on faith and reasoning processes ethically synonymous with attacks on race, gender, and other immutable characteristics.
In order to reason well, one needs to be able to rule out competing or irrelevant alternatives. But one cannot do this if one believes that there’s no way to make an objective judgment about those alternatives.
Chapter Nine: Containment Protocols
Just as the body is exposed to toxins so is the mind.
Faith is an unclassified cognitive illness disguised as a moral virtue. Each of us dreads the thought of becoming ill, and we take whatever measures necessary to regain our health. Not so with the faith virus. People infected by faith feel gratitude and appreciation for their affliction. But even beyond gratitude, part of the difficulty in dislodging the faith virus is, as Dennett has argued, that it’s perceived as a moral virtue. People infected with faith don’t think of it as a malady, but as a gift, even a blessing.
It’s disturbing that many people who have no faith are untroubled by the possibility of their own infection. The reasons for this are complex and possibly extend into the domain of neuroscience, but a large part of the problem is that faith is intertwined with morality. People infected by the faith virus believe having faith is important, and resolute belief in something—anything—is a virtue.
n the short term, one specific verbal technique to help contain faithbased justifications is through the “Adult Table” response. One can sit at the Adult Table if one has evidence in support of a position. Absent evidence, the claimant needs to go to the Kid’s Table. For example, if one thinks homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children because they’re more likely to beat them, this is an empirical claim and the tools of science can be used to ascertain whether or not this is true (it’s not). Make empirically verifiable claims, even if the conclusions are ugly, and you get a voice in the conversation—you’ve earned the right to sit at the Adult Table. Wave an ancient text and expect others to cede to its authority, or claim faith as a justification for your beliefs—then you need to sit at the Kid’s Table. Those at the Kid’s Table can talk about anything they’d like, but they have no adult responsibilities and no voice in public policy.
The Adult Table metaphor is best used with leaders of faith communities who are accustomed to deference. If you’re fortunate enough to engage imams, mullahs, rabbis, pastors, ministers, clerics, swamis, gurus, chaplains, shaman, priests, witch doctors, or any other faith leaders, be blunt and direct when demanding evidence for their claims. Continued failure to produce evidence should be met with, “You are pretending to know things you don’t know. Go to the Kid’s Table, this is a conversation for adults.”
“We fear clear, honest, blunt dialogue, but what we ought to fear are stupid and dangerous ideas, because while blunt and honest dialogue might be offensive to some, stupid and dangerous ideas can be fatal to all of us.”—Matt Thornton
My print version is on its way. Should have it in a week or so. But in the meantime I am going to start reading it as an eBook on my tablet.
This is an ongoing post, updated regularly until I finish the book.
Let the reading begin...
Good morning. And indeed it is. After reading Moz's book in bed last night, I slept like a baby. Didn't want to put it down. But I knew I had a busy day up ahead.
This is going to sound cliche, but the book is a page turner. It really is. From page one I was fully engrossed in the text. Morrissey is a wonderful story teller. Nannie, Jackie, and all his family members read like interesting characters in a novel. Moz's imagery is affective and colorful. Bleak, quiet, dirty, desperate Manchester... no wonder Moz found friendship and amusement in small vinyl discs. There was nothing else to do. The city died after dark. Two channels on television. No other electronics to be found. There was music and books. And that's it. His childhood was so different from my own. But because of his ability to describe his experiences so effectively, I am able to empathize with and visualize his early years.
Moz eloquently and thoroughly reveals why he became a singer and not a guitarist or a pianist. He first fell in love with the words on the page and not the music via Record Song Book... "an expensive magazine that prints the lyrics of famous or bubbling songs of the month, and I practice with invented melodies on the songs that I haven't heard. It is only the singing voice, I decide, that tells us how things became how they are..."
Can't wait to read more tonight. I want to know what became of Mary once she moved to America. And Nannie. Did she settle nicely into her new home? Poor black cat. We can only hope that Minnie fed it. Alas Morrissey tells us it is highly unlikely.
Another great morning. Great read last night. Pages 50-1oo reveal a great deal about Moz's early sexual development. If the book ended here, I'd without any doubt conclude that he is in fact gay (not bi). But there are nearly 400 more pages to ingest. So we shall see.
Hmm. So, Morrissey announces on TTY : "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course... not many."
Well this really muddies the waters, doesn't it? What's a girl to think now?
Woke up this morning with this beautiful passage still etched in my mind...
"The written word is an attempt at completeness when there is no one impatiently awaiting you in a dimly lit bedroom – awaiting your tales of the day, as the healing hands of someone who knew turn to you and touch you, and you lose yourself so completely in another that you are momentarily delivered from yourself. Whispering across the pillow comes a kind voice that might tell you how to get out of certain difficulties, from someone who might mercifully detach you from your complications. When there is no matching of lives, and we live on a strict diet of the self, the most intimate bond can be with the words that we write."
Last night I learned what became of Mary. Married, kids, frogs galore. But what happened between the years that she arrived in the US and got married? Why did she move there in the first place?
Jon Daley. Tragedy. So sad. Lots of loss and death in Moz's young life. Could this explain why he has walls erected? Perhaps.
"My own name is by now synonymous with the word ‘miserable’ in the press, so Johnny putters with ‘misery’ and playfully arrives at ‘misery mozzery’, which truncates to Moz, and I am classified ever after. I had originally decided to use only my surname because I couldn’t think of anyone else in music that had done so – although, of course, many had been known by just one name, but it hadn’t been their surname. Only classical composers were known by just their surnames, and this suited my mudlark temperament quite nicely."
I hope he doesn't mind being called Moz. That is how I refer to him 90% of the time.
Still waiting for my print book to arrive. By the time it gets here, I'll probably be finished with the eBook. I'm almost halfway finished now.
Yay! My book was in my PO Box this morning. Should I read the print version or keep reading it on my tablet? Hmm... I'll probably do both. I like being able to highlight text then copy it and email it to myself. Keeps me from having to type out my favorite passages. But I do love holding a paperback book. And... it is much easier to flip through the pages.
I'm halfway through the book. The Smiths dissolve with a whisper...
"At the close of the Strangeways sessions there took place a glut of meetings with accountants and lawyers at the Wool Hall Studio, and in the context of such, the Smiths breathed a last exhausted sigh, and folded. It happened as quickly and as unemotionally as this sentence took to describe it. No high-octane squabbles, no screams at midnight, no flying furniture, no one dragged head first into the snake-pit, no animated yelps from unused outbuildings (these would, of course, come eight years later, eight years too late, at the Smiths High Court trial). In 1987, at Roland Gardens, Johnny and I stood – he smiling, I not master but servant. Sing me to sleep|I’m tired, and I|I want to go to bed."
Welcome to America! Love Moz's humorous descriptions of his experiences in the US while touring during is early Solo years. Here are a couple examples...
"The Smiths and REM had come to light at roughly the same time, and, as a Sire Records executive had remarked, ‘It’s just a question of which of the two will explode in America first.’ As the Smiths choked to death on a chip, the REM rocket accelerated. Michael’s voice is a very cornfed John Denver sound, and in fact his real name is John."
"I am introduced to ‘the most famous football player in America – who loves you.’
‘Does he have a name?’ I ask, but suddenly this jockstrap hunk of studhorse has me in a crushed manful hug, into which I disappear like a pressed flower. Where, I wonder, am I? ‘Oh, I think Morrissey summed it all up perfectly when he said ...’ and at this point prime-time television’s Denis Leary bursts into mock tears – which is of course the punchline, and the loud audience laughter indicates understanding."
Love Moz's description of his time with Jake. He obviously was very much in love and happy as well.
This had me in stitches. I guess it all depends on who his biting wit is directed at...
"Siouxsie chooses Timi Yuro’s Interlude, and she pulls up at Hook End Manor recording studio in a black Mercedes. She is carrying her own microphone and she wants to get on with it minus any familiar chit-chat. In the event, she is a seasoned professional of exact run-throughs and topnotch precision. There is only one crack in the alabaster as she listens to her final take and softly asks me, ‘Are you sure it’s OK?’ It is the solitary moment when the Soviet Statue breathes. One can suddenly imagine real blood in Siouxsie’s veins – and yet, perhaps not."
I'm about to enter the courtroom...
Trudging slowly through the court case pages. Just when I think I will be able to come up for air... oh no!
Love the last hundred pages of the book. Moz is witty and playful. Almost happy, it seems. His description of his relationship with Tina Dehghani shows her to be loyal, considerate, non-demanding, intelligent, and good company. Passionate? Doesn't say. Obviously he can and does love both men AND women. Maybe just a few more men--or many--than women. Is it ever 50/50? Perhaps he desires men more in a physical and emotional, even intellectual sense. But he can clearly also relate to women and establish meaningful connections with them.
Moz is not a misogynist, as some have suggest. What man does not utter insensitive things every once in a while? Women are not innocent either. The street runs both ways. True misogyny is fueled by dogma and anger. Moz has no script and no rage against femaleness.
Some of Moz's comments can/may be interpreted as anti-Semitic. But I don't believe Moz harbors any real hate for Jews--or any group for that matter. He just doesn't filter what he says a great deal of the time. This is not always a bad thing. At least he is not vulgar--now that would be criminal.
I finished the book this afternoon. Enjoyed it very much. Well done Moz. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
I just put together a third PDF book titled, realitybites Returns. It contains all my blog entries from where realiybites back left off up until today.
If you want to read it you can download it here:
realitybites Returns free PDF download
And here are some other PDFs you might want to download, or not:
realitybites free PDF download
realitybites back free PDF download
Just the Poems
An Atheist in God's Sandbox
Hilariously Depressing Moz Lyrics
I am going to go get all of my books out of storage. Screw it if they have to be stacked floor to ceiling. That's how The Hitch displayed his fine collection.
From storage to hallway...
Stacked on marble table... gosh I miss my bookshelves...
V V V
Best 2012 releases:
Take This Waltz
Side by Side
Zero Dark Thirty
The Hunger Games
Silver Linings Playbook
Pitch Perfect (for fun factor)
Best non-2012 films:
Gates of Heaven
2001 Space Odyssey
My Dinner With Andre
Some Like It Hot
This is Not a Film
La Dolce Vita
Bonnie and Clyde
The Magic of Reality
Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the China Production Game
Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story
Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account
Fave artist discoveries:
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Sisters of Mercy
This Mortal Coil
Most listened to artists (non-new):
Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder
Fave websites this year:
Million Dollar Decorators
The Big Bang Theory
Two and a Half Men
The Good Wife
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
The Real Housewives of Orange County
Slate's Movie Spoilers
Slate's Cultural Gabfest
I have decided to do another reading list with ratings for 2013. My 2012 reading list is now closed--no new books will be added. Last year I read forty books. Not too shabby.
Just like last year, this will be an ongoing list--to be updated regularly. I will give each book a rating of one to four points. And I will only list books which I have read in their entirety. Below the list of books I have read so far, is a list of books that I am currently reading. Once each is read, I will rate it and add it to the finished list.
Books Read ~ January 2013 - December 2013:
One Summer: America, 1927 ~ 4
A Manual For Creating Atheists ~ 4
Autobiography by Morrissey ~ 3.5
Packing for Mars ~ 3.5
Gulp ~ 3.5
Morrissey in Conversation: The Essential Interviews ~ 3
Enduring Love ~ 3
A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths ~ 3
The Progress Paradox ~ 3
The Wisdom of Psychopaths ~ 2.5
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America ~ 2.5
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism ~ 2.5
*Update May 8, 2013: I am failing miserably at following through with my fiction reading goal. I have fallen back into my old, comfortable ways. When I have the time, I am reading non-fiction exclusively. Old habits die hard. I think I should just give it a rest. We only have so much leisure time in our lives. Instead of feeling guilty for not reading fiction, perhaps I should just accept the fact that I prefer non-fiction. And that is OK.
I never, ever make New Year's resolutions. If I want to do something, I do it. And if I don't, which is more often the case, I don't. Simple as that. However, I do make to do lists and set daily/weekly goals.
But, as I was driving home today, I thought to myself, I should set a reading goal for this upcoming year... a goal to read one fiction book a month--six classics and six modern novels in 2013.
I don't have a list of what I will be reading yet but I do have some books and authors in mind...
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
London Fields by Martin Amis
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
House of Dolls by Ka-tzetnik
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
The Code of the Woosters or Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I will routinely update this blog entry when I begin a new book and also when I finish the previous one--providing a brief review/summary.
The first book I read is: Enduring Love (1998) by Ian McEwan
Description (from Amazon.com):
On a windy spring day in the Chilterns, the calm, organized life of science writer Joe Rose is shattered when he witnesses a tragic accident. A hot-air balloon with a boy trapped in its basket is being tossed by the wind, and in the attempt to save the child, a man is killed. A stranger named Jed Parry joins Rose in helping to bring the balloon to safety. But unknown to Rose, something passes between Parry and himself on that day--something that gives birth to an obsession in Parry so powerful that it will test the limits of Rose's beloved rationalism, threaten the love of his wife, Clarissa, and drive him to the brink of murder and madness. Brilliant and compassionate, this is a novel of love, faith, and suspense, and of how life can change in an instant.
Summary: A decent read. Not the most compelling story or characters. But the style of writing is top-notch. Definitely want to read more of McEwan's works. I may read Atonement in the near future--possibly his most loved book to date. I didn't read Atonement first, as I had already seen the film based on the book and I was looking for a story that I was unfamiliar with. I give this book 3 out of 4 stars.
The second book I am reading is: The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Description (from Amazon.com):
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
In just a few weeks, it will be eight years since I started my blog at Solo. I really can't believe I stayed committed to writing in it for all these years. In 2011, my blog was published as a book in both electronic and print formats. But much of what had been written in the earlier years didn't make the cut. So over the next two weeks, I am going to recycle some of my older posts.
The first one I'd like to share is from November 2, 2007--five years ago.
The second one is from September 19, 2005
I will be posting more throughout the next two weeks.
These are the latest and greatest kibbles and bits that I am devouring at the moment...
The Big Bang Theory
I just started watching this hilarious television show. Right now I am a third of the way through season two. Yes, I have indulged in another series binge watch. Towards the end of season one, I began to wonder if this show could continue to be interesting. Sheldon's character seemed to have the potential of becoming redundant. But I took a day off from watching. And my interest has been renewed. This is a really clever, intelligent show. The characters are endearing and the writing is top notch. I'm sticking with it. Season six has just begun. I hope to get caught up to this moving train asap.
Fifty Shades of Grey - The Film
The screenwriter for the upcoming film has been announced. And casting suggestions are still pouring in--something that surely will continue until the official cast is announced. I stumbled upon this article today. I think it does a thorough job of breaking down the picks and highlighting the pros and cons for each. Remember my casting picks?
How Music Works by David Byrne
I just started reading this eBook. I am a fan of The Talking Heads. But one need not be to enjoy Byrne's mostly non-autobiographical tour of the world of music. Byrne meticulously pulls back the curtain for us non-musicians and gives us an insider's look into the underpinnings of the music world. So far, I have learned a great deal about how the environment shapes the type of music that is created. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this book.
Entertainment at its finest? Perhaps not, but it's stimulating enough to keep me coming back. I like the people who post here. They are a diverse group. This diversity is what makes it an interesting place to visit and interact. I like that there are sensitive, Moz-obsessed vegans as well as extroverted, witty intellectuals. There's room for everyone.
Hey guys. To celebrate my acquisition of a newer model Kindle, I have created a second follow-up book titled realitybites back. Pretty clever name eh? This eBook is a collection of my blog writings over the last year and a half.
Anyhow, I am giving it away for free in PDF format. It has images and links. You can read it on your PC or reading device. Looks great on my new Kindle--old model did not support PDF's very well. To download book, click HERE. File was too large to attach here. So it is downloadable from my online storage Box.
Also you can read the book right out of the Box. Haha.
Lastly, don't be afraid to download the book. It won't bite. And I have no way of knowing who downloaded it or where from. Box is a free online service and I am not privy to any of those transactions/functions. The only thing I get is an email at the end of the day with a generic summary saying someone viewed, or, two people downloaded etc. So feel free and safe to download or read online. Or not.
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