There's been mostly a lot of reading and writing going on. I finished my feature script and am now working on a pitch/proposal. I was supposed to be working on a short term VFX job, but it got postponed. More time for reading!
Last time I wrote about books, I was just starting on Franklin and Eleanor (by Hazel Rowley). If you are a history buff, I do recommend it. It focuses on their marriage and all those ups and downs. They didn't have a "traditional" marriage, but what they had worked and they made it work. They clearly respected each other's positions and there was a lot of love between them. Eleanor was one tough cookie!
A friend asked if I would be interested in reading a book she had heard about as a potential inspiration/recommendation for her business consulting website. I said I was game and bought the book: Curious--Discover the Missing Ingrediants to a Fulfilling Life (by Todd Kashdan). The book made some interesting points but either I've read too many of these kinds of books and am far ahead of the author's intended audience, or it was a bit repetitious and dull. I felt the book could have been 1/2 as long as still provided the pertinent info. Bascially, if you are more open, more curious, it will improve various parts of your life (work, relationships, creativity, etc). That's my oversimplification! Hard to recommend this one. Just borrow my copy and read the parts I highlighted.
I may have felt the above book was a bit dull because before starting it, I had just finished reading Poke The Box by Seth Godin. This short "manifesto" (as Mr. Godin calls it) is a fast and furious read that will get your blood flowing and your creative juices pumping! I read it in about a hour (I'm a fast reader) and then I bought 5 more copies to give to people who I thought would love and appreciate it. This book will help you get going on things you might be putting off -- small things or big.
As the follow up to Poke The Box there is a smiliarly sized tome called Do The Work (by Steven Pressfield.) Poke the Box gets you motivated and Do The Work helps you organize your path to success. I highly recommend both these books if you are feeling stuck in a rut and have some ideas but are not sure how to get moving! Excellent excellent excellent!
Then along came Sarah Vowell of This American Life fame with her new book Unfamiliar Fishes. It is a history of the missionaries who came to Hawai'i and their long lasting impact on the monarchy, politics and culture of the islands. Having learned some of this in public school on Maui, it is extremely fascinating to read about it again now, especially with Ms. Vowell's wry insights. She has made a study of religious folks with her previous book The Wordy Shipmates about the puritan roots in the US. This is an excellent companion piece to that book. Hawaii, the 50th state (and birthplace of myself and a certain sitting president) seems such a lovely place full of beaches, clear waters, coconut trees and hula and all a part of the good old US of A. But when you read this book you'll learn about all the machinations that went on to ease power away from the Hawaiian monarchy.
Hawaii is one of my favorite topics, but if you know me and my reading history at all, you'll know my other favorite topic is Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House series. I knew there were others out there who were fascinated (obsessed?) with her books and life, but not until social media gained so much traction did I really find like minded peeps. One of my favorite Laura fans is Wendy McClure who recently published The Wilder Life: My Adventures In The Lost World Of Little House On The Prairie. The book is hilarous and sweet as she visits all the "Little Houses" of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life. Having been to Minnesota and South Dakota on a mini Little House tour myself back in 1998, I was right there with her at Plum Creek and in DeSmet. In fact, I had a similar feeling as Ms. McClure had in DeSmet after going to all the Ingalls locations somehow I couldn't stay a minute longer. The last four books in the series take place here and it's a bit overwhelming on some level. I got there in the morning and was going to spend the night, but by about 3pm I was done and needed to get out. But I digress. I loved this book and even sent a photo to the Wilder Life Facebook page of myself with the book. Yes, that's me in the sunbonnet I begged my mom to make for me in elementary school. I still have it close by at all times. If you are on twitter and a Laura fan, then follow Ms. McClure's hilarious twitter feed: @HalfPintIngalls
Earlier this week I finished reading How Italian Food Conquered The World (By John Mariani). Now all I want to do is eat spagetti and meatballs. Okay, not really, but it's a fascinating book about one of my favorite foods in the world and how Italian food grew from humble beginnings to a global cuisine, including stories about Chef Boyardee (a real guy!) and how sterotypical Italian-American food is nothing like the regional cuisines of Italy's many different regions. If you like food and good food writing and history, I highly recommend this book!
Phew! that's a lot of reading. Currently I'm about 1/3 of the way through Atlantic by Simon Winchester. Fascinating stuff!