Cultural Bucket List

Book List

(Legend: [x]=Done, [SD]=someday, [IP]=in progress; ❤ consistency, [-]=on hold until further notice, @= on current 2013 reading list)

I’ve noticed I like making lists and think that list making is tantamount to completing the task. My current reading list consists of reviewing my college texts to develop a deeper appreciation of the courses I took. Grasping and valuing quality over quantity is a challenge for me.

edit 01/01/13: 1) on non-fiction/self help type books: After finishing Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, I’m taking a break from self-help nonfiction books. God has been an amazing influence in my life this year. Reading C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape letters and memorizing Bible passages has positively changed my life more than most self-help books could do for me. In the words of an anonymous blog writer, the 1st prize is desiring what you’re actually trying to do (e.g. I want to read literature because I want to find out the magic of literature) vs. 2nd prize: I want to read the book because I can be elitist and appear educated vs. 3rd prize: I want to read the book because XYZ will give me $$ for reading it. Reading self-help books in the past couple of years (pop psychology, etc.) has been an ersatz front for real change. I think I thought to myself “Reading about tennis playing will turn me into the next Roger Federer” #ifonly. 2) reading literature has been a lot of fun. it makes my language more colorful, my communication clearer, my daily life more imaginative, more observant. What more could I ask for?
[ ] Reading Lolita in Tehran (Azar Nafisi) 2012

Seeing, Drawing, Keeping Notebooks, Pictures of Architecture and Interior Design, see more

[ ] Political Science
[ ] Logic
[IP ] Shakespeare’s Comedies: -Comedy of Errors
[ ] Daniel kahnemann’s Thinking Fast and Slow
[ ] Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine

x Down and Out in Paris and London (George Orwell)

x Nudge (Thaler and Sunstein) (1x)
[IP] Logic

>>Someday<< (listed somewhat thematically)

Italian Renaissance: [ ] The Prince (Machiavelli) and [ ] The Perfect Courtier (Castiglione)

Science Writing/Medicine: [ ] Atul Gawande [ ] Michael Crichton
[ ] Stephen Jay Gould
[ ] Political-Economic Science Scholars
[ ] Theory of Literature
[ ] Story of Civilization 


[ ] Haruki Murakami <3– I really love the way this man thinks. Connecting with people. Kindness. working hard. Focusing. Imagination. Beyond anything, I think I’m lacking in imagination. So I’m going to read books on ways of seeing. Then I should probably read a book on dialogue. Hmph.
. Hear the Wind Sing (1979)
. Pinball, 1973 (1980)
A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985)
Norwegian Wood (1987)
. Dance Dance Dance (1988)
South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992)
The Wind up Bird Chronicle (1995)
Sputnik Sweetheart (1999)
Kafka on the Shore (2002)
After Dark (2004)
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
After the Quake
xThe Elephant Vanishes (1980~)
xWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2007)

[ ] E.B White
x Writings from the New Yorker 1925-1976
.  Essays of E.B. White
. Letters of E.B. White
.  The Wild Flag
.  The Points of My Compass
.  One Man’s Meat
.  Here is New York
.  White on White
.  The Second Tree from the Corner
.  Quo Vadmus, or the The Case of the Bicycle

[ ] C.S. Lewis

x The Screwtape Letters 2012/2013


x Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog (or L’elegance de herisson) 2012

[ ] David Foster Wallace
x Interviews with Hideous Men: it’s not just that you’re beautiful, it’s just that you’re so darn smart. beautiful girls are a dime a dozen, but let’s face it, genuinely smart people are rare. of either sex. and for me, i think it’s because of your intelligence more than anything else.

[@] Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
x Laws of Simplicity (John Maeda): complicated for a topic about simplicity, prune things until you carve out the essence. now that’s simplicity.
. Examined Lives From Socrates to Nietzsche  (1,2)
. All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age (1,2)
. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig; (if like, then continue with [ ] Lila)

x The How of Happiness: control 40% of your happiness, intentional happiness, finding meaning, having flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) in work, making time for family and friends, hedonic adaptation (so, money, power and status do not make us as happy as we think they would; yes, they temporarily make us happier, but not in the long run because of the social comparison and ambition/greed), write down 3 things you’re grateful.
x Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”
. Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up”
Defining Decade

[-] A.J. Jacobs
x Guinea Pig Diaries/My Life As an Experiment (p. 256)
x The Know It All (p. 400)–say yes to life/adventures or else your life will be pretty boring.

[ ] Fairy Tales:
. Grimm’s Fairy Tales
. Hans Christian Andersen

[@]Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov
[-] Shakespeare (?) + guide
[-] plays
x The Pillowman
[-] short stories
[X] J.R.R. Tolkien: a sense of adventure, looks can deceive (think what the hobbits did despite their appearances!), Gandalf on procrastination– what doesn’t get done today you have to get done tomorrow.
The Hobbit
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

[-] Lies My Teacher Told Me
[-] Economics/Macroeconomics
[-] architecture (i.e. reminiscent of SHG > ORD plane talk)/culture/art history

[-] Ways Of Seeing John Berger, published by Penguin (hat tip)
[-] more seeing (hat tip)
[x] Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places by John Stilgoe

[ ] Jane Jacobs (1)


x Getting More (Stuart Diamond)

[-] Storytelling: (12)– why not just read actual stories, instead of reading about them?
[-] Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People
[x] Rubin’s books: 12
x Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide

Movie List:
[ ]Quentin Tarantino
x Reservoir Dogs
[ ] Jean-Pierre Jeunet (?)
_____[ ] Mic-Macs
[ ]Woody Allen
[ ] Ingmar Bergman
[ ] Kramer vs. Kramer (via How do You Know)
[x] How Do you Know: Lisa–So I was wondering if there was one general thing you’ve found over the years to be generally true in a general way that would be helpful to anyone in any situation? Psychiatrist– That’s a great question. Yes, I’d say figure out what you want and learn how to ask for it.
[ ] Objectified
[ ]Visual acoustics
[ ] The Visitor
[ ] Eric Rohmer 
[] movies with strong female lead characters.
? (hat tip: “Films to Love and Hate”,

Things to Try:
[ ] make own homemade bacon
[ ] beekeeping (make own local honey, get rid of your allergies! hooray)
[ ] les verrines: 12 
[ ] mindful meditation 
[ ] traveling: 1
[ ] homemade yogurt
[ ] drawing
[ ] trapeze
– sprezzatura (!)
things i wish i’d known
stay in France for an extended period (and achieve near fluency; where I can “think in French”)/find French internship.
[ ] Watson Adventures
[ ] beekeeping/make my own honey
[ ] grow my own vegetables: IP–strawberries!
[ ] Color Run
[ ] get a greyhound (hypoallergic, motivating for exercise, adorable, and low maintenance)

—Why did I not recognize the beauty of consistency, being curious, and reading more? If it’s something I should have done a long time ago (think summers, I would have picked an author and read all summer long. Oh the beauty of reading, limited time, and sustained focus. Let’s use the time we have now! —

— I’m really proud of myself. I was consistent (still at least 1 more book to go). I’ve consistently read one author for at least 3 consecutive books– Murakami: 1. Norwegian Wood, 2. The Elephant Vanishes and 3. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. This first part is the happiness associated with being consistent. (I am unbelievable happy). However, I had to push myself a few times to keep reading. The Wind-up Bird Chronical is a lengthier novel than the his other works. What’s the next goal post consistency? Read the book 2 times!! I know this is hard. But I read Norwegian Wood almost a second time through and I got so much more out of it. It was really hard to read the happiness a second time since it’s non-fiction and mostly instructional. However, my next goal is to read Murakami. again. Sure, I’m going to return the books to the library because I have no idea if they are overdue or not. But I’m going to read his books again. While they’re still fresh in my head. Nagasawa (Norwegian Wood), a character with questionable moral ideas did get a few things right. If you read things that other people don’t read, you’ll think differently. He’s not unlike Noboru (Wind Up Bird Chronicle) where he says the others are ‘garbage and rocks’ which made me laugh because it sounds funny. Anyways, I really like Murakami’s works. More so than I expected. But I’m going to read the book again, while it’s still fresh in my head so I get more out of it.) Alas, quality is difficult to see. quantity is much easier (thus, standardized tests over critical thinking testing).

–It’s easy for me to say, “I read 100 books this year” It’s harder for me to say, “I read 3 books well this year.” Quality control is harder to gauge while quantity control is much easier to measure. I think I know what I’m going to do. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be worth it. I’m going to borrow max 2 books at a time. That way, I control the urge to rush through the book (which usually accompanies misreading) and also get the chance to reread a book twice (or more if I really like it). After all, I don’t want my mind to be just garbage and rocks. I’d rather not waste my time reading junk lit. to be disappointed and prefer to read


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