Archive for November, 2007

15
Nov
07

Have you read a book yet?

As I already mentioned in my German blog (http://devanna.wordpress.com), a study by TMS Emnid revealed that 22 percent of us Germans haven’t read a book yet in 2007. While I feel the study is somewhat limited because they only asked 502 people (14 years and up), it still surprises me. I was proud when I realized that I have already read at least seven books this year. And of course, I have this list of books I still want to read, so I’m not going to stop reading anytime soon.

Someone commented on the German entry (I really like comments *hint, hint*) and said that he’s not surprised since books are expensive and besides, the Internet takes a lot of people’s time and only requires little concentration. While I disagree with the books are expensive-reasoning – you can get many good books for only a few bucks, you can get books free from the library, and you can always ask a friend to let you borrow something, after all – I do agree with the explanation that the Internet takes away your time. I shamefully have to admit that once I got home from work today, I switched on my computer and spent all evening online. I watched a videoblog during dinner, then I answered emails, then I wrote a blog entry, then I answered another email, looked for friends on Skype, read through a friend’s DVD list, googled “‘fan makes weird noise’ Dell” (which didn’t help me find a remedy)… Well, you get the picture. I figured I do a lot of my reading on public transportation.

Therefore I suggest someone do a study to show the connection between how many books you read and how much time you spent on public transportation. I’m guesstimating that I read 20 pages a day on my way to and from work. Maybe even 30. If the book manages to captivate me, I’ll read more when I’m home, but mostly I’m just hungry and tired and leave it for the next day. 20 pages a day makes 100 pages a week makes about two books a month (at least if we take into account that I tend to read some on the weekends, too). There I am, proud of the seven books I’ve read, when really I should be at book 21 meanwhile. But considering that the public transportation situation only started this October, I think I’m still doing pretty well. :)

14
Nov
07

If I had a company…

The following is a list of things I would do if I were the head of a company:

  1. Introduce myself to every new employee and try to memorize their name.
  2. Give all my employees directions what to do and tell them who they can turn to when they need help.
  3. Let my employees know that I care about their opinion and that my door is open if they need something.
  4. Give my employees a nice sweater or T-shirt or SOMETHING so they will identify with the company (more).
  5. Have a party for everyone once in a while. (Like a Christmas party.)
  6. Make sure they always have free tea and coffee.
  7. Talk to my employees to find out what I can do to make work more pleasant for them.
  8. Offer everyone a 4-day work week.
  9. Have core hours from 11am to 3pm, if possible.
  10. If an employee does a great job, I’d tell them so.
  11. If an employee doesn’t do their job, I’d tell them that I disapprove.
  12. Yes, you may write emails or look at YouTube videos, but only if you get your work done.
  13. I’ll pay very well, if I can afford it. I’m happy with a decent salary, I don’t need millions.
  14. If the company is big enough, I’ll have a cafeteria.
  15. If the company is really big, you can choose a vegan dish for lunch.
  16. There’d be enough stationery for everyone. You’d even get sharpies and highlighters.
  17. You’d have to push bathroom doors from the inside to open them (so you can push them open with your foot when you leave)

What did I forget?

11
Nov
07

Hollywood Undercover by His Highness Halperin

I just finished reading Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown by Ian Halperin. I can’t bring myself to say it was a bad book, since it actually did have interesting parts, but it wasn’t exactly good either.

Ian Halperin was supposed to make a movie about struggling Canadian actors trying to land parts in TV pilots, but then he ended up making a different movie that is more about the inside of Hollywood. Kind of. And this is the book about it.

Basically what he does is, he runs around LA in an extravagant shirt, calling himself “His Highness Halperin”, and he tells a lof of people he’s royal. Sometimes he tells people he wants to make a movie or he tells them other stories he’s making up. Frankly, I think he’s a little full of himself and he makes fun of people believing all his tall tales. Who knows how many of the tales he’s been told and retells in his book are actually lies?

Mostly, the book is full of gossip. What I don’t like about it is that it is so unstructured. First he tells a short history of Scientology, which bored me since I read Janet Reitman’s very interesting Rolling Stone article Inside Scientology a while ago. And while Reitman’s article was thorough and exhaustive, Halperin seems to be doing everything halfheartedly. He starts investigating Scientology, but stops his investigation quickly. Then he talks about how supposedly most male actors in Hollywood are gay. Suddenly he’s talking about the rampant drug use among the stars of Tinseltown, and then suddenly he gives an overview of the theories surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death.

Sometimes in this book you’ll find references to his YouTube videos. He uploaded short clips to some of the things he describes in the book, but they’re mostly not very spectacular and thus a are somewhat pointless.

I think his book could’ve benefited from just picking one or two topics and exploring them in greater detail rather than covering a wide range of topics. This way, his book is more like a collection of anecdotes and a string of stories of brief encounters with celebrities. Since some of those encounters and anecdotes are interesting, I still enjoyed reading the book, but sometimes Halperin just annoyed me.

03
Nov
07

Girl Meets Boy

Until a few weeks ago, I had never even heard of Ali Smith, but this week I think the money I spent to visit the Frankfurt book fair (a.k.a. die Frankfurter Buchmesse) was absolutely worth it. They eventually sold off books cheaply because I went on Sunday, the last day of the fair, and I suppose the publishers didn’t want to have to take all their books back with them. So, in the last hour of the book fair, I bought three books for a total of 10 EUR:

1. Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith
2. Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown by Ian Halperin
3. Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Kody Scott

Number 1 and 2 aren’t even officially out yet, so I’m especially excited about those. I already read Girl Meets Boy and it only took me three days, which is quite quick for me (I’m a slow reader). I completely enjoyed this book. Ali Smith is a discovery for me and I will be reading more of her books in future. I really enjoy the way she writes, how her characters talk and think, how they interact. I enjoyed the humor in it and the politics and the love story and I felt the book was a real page turner. I also enjoyed the “pop culture” references. I enjoyed it as a whole. I don’t know what else to say about it (I’m bad with reviews) other than get it when it comes out.

I think I’ll be reading Hollywood Undercover next, although it is a big book, and big books are not as enjoyable in crowded subway trains as small books are. But it sounds interesting and might be a quick read.

As always, by the way: reading suggestions are welcome.