Notes from the Now

Posts Tagged ‘vaclav_havel’

My March 2010 In Books

In Africa, History, literature on April 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

Here’s what March 2010 looked like for me reading-wise:

  • Jackie McMullen w/ Larry Bird & Magic JohnsonWhen the Game was Ours” : I’m a sucker for 80s hoops stories. The sports media reported on all the big “reveals” before the book was released, but the stories were still engaging. It turns out I didn’t know as much about Larry Bird as I thought I did!
  • David CohenNelson Mandela A Life in Pictures” : Nice general history of South Africa & Mandela, with excellent photographs and excerpts of speeches.
  • Fried & Hannsson (of 37signals.com) “REWORK” : I don’t read many of these web2.0-style business books, but the hype around REWORK (and the interestingness of 37Signals) made me give this one a try.  It’s a little too slogan-y (but that might just be the genre), but they give anyone who’s trying to run a small organization some ideas and ways to think about priorities.
  • Vaclav HavelDisturbing the Peace” : Probably read this out of order, should have read a solid “standard” biography first.  Havel fascinates me.
  • Chinua AchebeThe Education of a British-Protected Child” : The essays/speeches are a little uneven, until Achebe starts talking about Joseph Conrad’s “the Heart of Darkness” and it’s legacy.  Worth reading those if you are interested in the post-colonial interplay between the West & Africa (you’ll probably learn something about Biafra along the way).
  • Cormac McCarthyThe Road” : An artful modern classic worthy of acclaim.  I started reading this in the Winter, but had to put it down until the Spring.  It’s too bleak a story to read when your own personal environment feels bleak, but when the sun comes out, you can appreciate McCarthy’s triumph.
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Party Like It’s 1989

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

With today being the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I figure it’s a good time to talk about book recommendations about the Revolutions of 1989.

In 2004, I read Timothy Garton Ash’s  “The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague” which sticks with me as being a great telling of the stories of 1989 from the ground.  Ash was able to convey a sense of how information moved (and sometimes didn’t move) between the various countries in the “Eastern Bloc”.  The edition I read was published in 1993 with an afterward published in 1999.

My hero from 1989 is Vaclav Havel, and in 2000, I read his collection “The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice” which sticks with me as being one of the most inspiring collections of political speech-writing ever put together.

Reading On This Date: October 24…

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm

One of the benefits of having a list of books I’ve read over the past decade, is that I can post the occasional “what was I reading on this date X years ago” entry.

So looking at October 24th:

Currently, I’m reading the interviews that make up Vaclav Havel’s “Disturbing the Peace”.

Haul from HP Booksale

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Even though I’m supposedly limiting my book purchases to what I can trade for at swaptree, I couldn’t resist stopping by the Hyde Park Book Sale over the weekend.

I spent $5.50! Here’s my haul:

“The Plot Against America” Philip Roth (hardcover, great shape)
“Little Children” Tom Perrotta
“Reading Lolita in Tehran”
“Interpreter of Maladies” Jhumpa Lahiri (it’s nice to have an extra copy on hand to give away)
“Independence Day” by Richard Ford
“Free Burning” by Bayo Ojikutu
“Segu” by Maryse Conde
“Disturbing the Peace” by Vaclav Havel