Some randomness

• I spent almost two hours on a “fiendish” Sudoku this week and finally cracked it. What makes a Sudoku fiendish rather than just cruel? And is fiendish crueller than cruel or less so? Maybe I just don’t know all the Sudoku tricks but this was like trying to play a game of Chess ten moves ahead. I had an Aha! moment halfway through which was like disproving a faulty cognition after some strenuous CBT. After that it was easier. And then I celebrated with a 40-minute run/walk.

• Yesterday I just couldn’t get this cartoon. What was the joke? Finally the light came on. Perhaps I shouldn’t try these things after seeing four patients in a row.

• A friend is interested in Dance & Movement Therapy (DMT) and so I’ve been reading up on the subject. Makes me think about how we communicate with our bodies and how unconscious memories are stored in the body (cf. kinesiology). Traditional analytically-trained therapists have been quite resistant to using dance or movement in therapy but, as the saying goes, “the body doesn’t lie”. Non-verbal communication is definitely as important (or even more important) than verbal communication.

• I’ve not been following the tragedy in Haiti closely but I did catch some visual footage of Haitian orphans arriving at a US hospital, each one bundled up in yellow plastic and accompanied by a concerned adult. I suppose this sort of story is made for TV but I found it moving to think that these kids will hopefully receive excellent medical care and loving adoptive families in the US. I’ve also been impressed with the multinational rescue efforts to try and free survivors from the rubble of Port-au-Prince.

• I’ve rediscovered book podcasts and have found them an excellent accompaniment to ironing. Started with the Guardian and was very interested to hear their best and worst books of the decade. Saturday was voted the worst book of the decade for its smug white male narrator while Atonement was a contender for best book of the decade. I don’t go in for these best and worst things but I did get some names of books to order. Apparently I can’t ignore Joan Didion’s “A Year of Magical Thinking” anymore. Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood was also highly recommended. Which podcasts do you listen to?

• As for the books to look out for in 2010, Ian McEwan is at it again, this time with an Eco book, while Martin Amis apparently writes about his sister in “The Pregnant Widow”. Hmm, not sure. The reviewers were wondering about female authors. Any must-reads to look out for in 2010?

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13 Responses to Some randomness

  1. Harriet says:

    Cute joke – I get it. And the character on the right reminds me of a friend from college. Whenever he would drink he would put a colander on his head, start dancing around, and we would call him Mikhail Baryshnikov.

    I didn’t like A Year of Magical Thinking, but I can’t remember why. I read it a few years ago. Do you like non-fiction? If so you must read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. Very well written, funny, informative, I learned a lot about people who live in caves in Mexico.

  2. adevotedreader says:

    It took me some thought to get that rather misnamed joke, so you ‘re not alone Pete!

    For podcasts, I like the BBC’s Open Book and World Book Club, The New Yorker’s Fiction podcast (a short story read and discussed by another author) and anything on ABC Radio National (who are very generous with the audio of their various programs). You should be able to google all those and find something of interest.

  3. yogurty says:

    Joan Didion’s Magical Thinking is a slow, painful, but satisfying read. Understanding the depth of grief is never a bad thing for we therapy types. To avoid the pitfall of taking for granted that we “understand.”

    I did so much love Atonement. I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out that library scene. Took the movie for me to have that “aha” moment. (Thank you, director, for figuring that one out).

    As for Saturday, I disagree as a worst of. There was such a realism to the terror, I couldn’t put it down once the action picked up. I just love McEwan’s work so you won’t find any of his books on any “worst of” list of mine. Amsterdam was the first book I read of his and I haven’t looked back.

    I’m currently reading “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith, a coming of age novel that is wonderful.

    Cute cartoon! I must remember that one!

  4. doctordi says:

    I saw the stage version of The Year of Magical Thinking… I may have even blogged about it… pretty grim stuff, it’s all just really sad, but Didion is a pretty clear-eyed lady and a sharp, sharp tack.

    I’m going to be reading the new DeLillo, which doesn’t help your hunt for women authors to watch, but I will let you know what I think!

    You must have been pretty tired reading that cartoon!!!!

  5. litlove says:

    I’ve never listened to podcasts although they sound like a fantastic accompaniment to ironing. And I really do want to read Bad Blood this year (have been promising it to myself for ages). I gave the Didion to a friend of mine when she’d lost her mother, and she loved it and found it the only book she could read for months. So my feeling is that it’s a book to keep for the right moment when it will make an emotional impact. I’m awful at knowing what’s coming out in the year – it’s best I don’t really – there’s enough book buying going on as I work my way through the world’s back catalogue! 🙂

  6. verbivore says:

    I love book podcasts as well, take them on my walks or when I’m doing housework.

    I’m currently drooling over the Open Letter books catalogue for 2010, some really appealing fiction in there. Sigh…so little time.

  7. Pete says:

    Harriet – Well there’s plenty more of Osteus if you like guys with colanders on their heads. Alex and Patrick Latimer’s ‘The Western Nostril’ is available via email. Dry but I like it. And I can just imagine you reading about cave-dwellers in Mexico on your Kindle. Will look out for it.

    Sarah – You’re a gem! Thank you for those podcasts leads. I don’t have an ipod or MP3 player but I will still be in podcast mini-heaven. Chews up the bandwidth but it’s worth it.

    yogurty – I agree. I often feel out of my depth with grief. Perhaps I should order this and take little steps into it to prepare myself. I also loved Atonement and thought the negative reaction to Saturday was over-done. The ending was a little lame perhaps but the rest was excellent. Enjoy Dodie Smith – the movie of “I capture the castle” is also wonderful. Romola Garai I think is the actress.

    Di – I can do grim! Well I think I can. Anyway, I can’t back away now. As for DeLillo, I don’t know him but sounds like a good summer read?

    Litlove – Perhaps we can plan to read Bad Blood at roughly the same time? Although at your rate you will finish it in a third of the time! As for recommending the right book at the right moment, of course you would be without equal 😉 I’ll let you know what I think of the Didion when I get there.

    Verbivore – I still have to get up to speed technologically so that I can do that with podcasts. And I think for my own safety I’d better steer clear of the Open Letter catalogue! Enjoy.

  8. Grad says:

    I LOVED The Year of Magical Thinking by Didion. I recommend it to everyone – everyone! Especially those who are suffering a loss. I got the cartoon, although it took me a couple of “reads.” I’m not sure how to listen a podcast. What do I do?

    • Pete says:

      That’s good to hear re the Didion. Am ordering today. As for the podcasts, they’re fun and easy (I hope). If you want to listen to one of the New Yorker fiction podcasts that Sarah mentioned then:

      1. click here http://www.newyorker.com/online/2010/01/18/100118on_audio_russell/?xrail
      2. Right-click on the link that says “right click here”
      3. You can then save it onto your computer
      4. Listen in Windows Media Player (or similar)
      5. You can also transfer it to your iPod (I’m not there yet). Enjoy.

  9. Dorothy W. says:

    DMT sounds interesting to me; it’s one of those things I might not have taken seriously a while back, but after having done quite a lot of yoga lately, I’m more willing to believe that the body “knows” more than we give it credit for.

    • Pete says:

      I know. I’m excited about this because I’ve also started enjoying yoga recently and I’m interested in how it might change how I respond to my body.

  10. Courtney says:

    I found Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking – well – magical. Really a wonderful book – a work of art that came out of her grief. As for must reads this year, I will probably end up reading a bunch of books from the last decade…I never seem able to read books right when they come out!

  11. litlove says:

    Oh Pete, just to say I am absolutely on for reading Bad Blood in tandem. Just say the word when you are ready! 🙂

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