Week 8: 1,484 pages or 73.6% — maybe this isn’t such a disaster

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This week I read many pages of a few works– I finished The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic by Ginger Strand (200 pages) and I also started reading Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss–and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata (50 pages). I also read, re-read and ripped pages from the March volume of POETRY Magazine.

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I loved The Brothers Vonnegut — if you are a fan of Kurt V’s writing, it’s a must read. Kurt’s brother, Bernard, is a scientist, an engineer specifically, and studied weather control– he actually was the inventor of silver iodide cloud seeding. He worked for GE. Kurt wrote for GE and much of his inspiration for stories came from this shit job he had. That and his time at war. The tug of war between the two brothers– the ironies and contradictions of Bernard, innocent as he was, working towards creating tools to control the weather, which ultimately would be used as a war tactic– while his brother, Kurt, very anti-war is trying to get his writing career off the ground under the noses of GE, which he uses as great starting material for his scifi stories.

I loved learning how hard it was for Kurt to succeed as a writer. It just helps knowing that the mountains of rejection Kurt fucking Vonnegut faced are really something– he was continually rejected for years, and years, and more years. It’s a wonder any writer survives, but I am so glad that he powered through.

I loved learning more about Kurt Vonnegut generally. I identify a lot with him and his bravery makes me want to pursue being evermore myself in my writing, and not shying away from what I want to say– no matter how difficult it might be.

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Rethinking Thin is a book I am reading for work. In the first 50 pages I have become familiarized with a number of diets that were from the 19th century. It is really something to imagine we have been repeating ourselves continuously for over a hundred years when it comes to dieting. The dangers of sugar were discussed in the late 1800s! The idea of fasting to reset eating habits, etc. There is nothing that hasn’t already been tried is the simple message. As an obesity researcher, I am in touch with commercial diets but it is helpful to visit the long history of dieting.

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I found this month’s POETRY to be really inspiring– it amazes me continuously how many great writers are out there in the world. I carry POETRY with me just about everywhere– this way if I’m stuck waiting for a late friend, or have a few minutes before a meeting, I have something to read. I also don’t mind ripping out pages and giving them away, or mailing them to friends. Just this past weekend I was sitting at the Missouri Lounge  in Berkeley waiting for a friend to show up and I got to talking to a young lady waiting for her drinks to arrive. She asked what I was reading and I told her– she thought it was a fun idea and I told her to give it a try while she was waiting. I ended up giving her a few poems from this volume and then she told me she teaches poetry! Small world.

A few pieces I enjoyed from this volume are pasted here:

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That’s enough for this week! I am feeling more optimistic about reaching 2,017 pages in a few short weeks. This challenge is just flying by!

4 comments on “Week 8: 1,484 pages or 73.6% — maybe this isn’t such a disaster”

  1. What a great reading week! I’m really interested in the Vonnegut book–I think I’ll have to add it to my ever-increasing reading list. And you’ve reminded me that I need to resubscribe to Poetry Magazine. I let my subscription lapse in the chaos of my crazy December, and now I really miss reading it every month. Thank you! And hooray! The finish line is in sight!

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    1. Nadia- I have been “not counting” Poetry mag as pages because it is so ubiquitous in my daily life– like one of your previous entries, I can’t possibly sort out a number of pages. However, I figured it was worth adding in this time since I really spent a lot of time with this one. If you can get it, the March volume is so worth having. I’d send you mine but it’s missing a number of pages,

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    1. Hi Daniela, I am still reading. I am about halfway through. I work for a weight loss company as the Director of Research and my boss had asked me to read this but I’m working on other projects at the moment. However, the book is really a landscape of diet history– the end of the book is alarming and speculative (my boss shared with me) and there are inherent issues when journalists write about science and research, but overall it is a very interesting read. We’d already tried every diet you’ve heard of ever before 1900, which is fascinating to think about.

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