They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we can all agree that a cover design can either add or take away from your first impression of a book.
Matt Roeser is a graphic designer. He reads books and designs new covers for them. You can find out more about his work on his website or get a more in-depth, almost behind-the-scenes for his work at newcover.tumblr.com.
Remember how I said I was going to read a series of books based on characters in their twenties and find lessons that can be drawn from them? I didn’t tell you about it? My bad. I could have sworn…
Anyway, that’s what my focus on books has been lately. I know it’s going to be a stretch since characters in novel are only constructed as diferent parts of a writer’s point of view, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take on anyway. The first book I tackled is The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Have you ever been hanging out with friends and started playing 20 questions because you ran out of conversation topics and everyone was bored? Prior to this book, my answer to the question, “If you could have any superpower, what would be?”, was always Time Travel or rather, Teleportation. However, after this book, I’m rethinking my desire for a power that would allow me to bend Time at will.
Audrey Niffenegger’s book is a story about a boy and a girl who fall in love. We first meet them in the library, where the boy works and the girl came to check out a book. They meet for the first time. Only it’s not really the first time. At least for Clare (that’s the girl). She’s known Henry since she was a little girl. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a story about childhood friends meeting each other for the first time after many years. You only have to read the title of the book to figure it out.
Henry is a time traveler, or if you want to get technical, a Chrono-Displaced person. He time travels to different stages in his life, which sounds really awesome…only it’s not. He comes and goes against his will and has no control over where he goes…or anything for that matter. He shows up on the other side, naked, often cold, bumping into (sometimes literally) quite uncomfortable situations. That’s how a 30-something Henry meets a 6-year old Clare.
Their love story develops throughout the book, as things get more and more challenging. Certain technical parts were confusing to me, like , the way he could time-travel to meet himself and how sometimes, he could be time-traveling to a place where another version of himself was also time-traveling.
It did prompt a question in my mind that I could use for this little experiment of mine. The book plays a lot with Time, Memory and Knowledge and how they shape a person’s life. Because of Henry’s time-traveling and his relationship with Clare, there were things that Clare knew way before they happened, which greatly affected the way she grew up and how she came to view the world. The 20-something period is so full of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. However, we must continue to take action, preparing for the future even if we don’t know all the details.
Here’s my question: What’s one thing that Christmas You (4 months from now) would be grateful to Present You for having done today? A little wordy, but you get the point.
It started as a joke. Any time a friend would ask a question none of us knew the answer to, we would yell “To the Google!” It sort of stuck and can now be used for any other platform. Need homemade/handmade goods? To the Etsy! Need a virtual pep talk? To the TED! Need some visual inspiration? To the Tumblr!
28-year old Street Photographer Ourit Ben-Haim has been taking pictures of New York City subway riders since 2007. However, her site didn’t come together until 2011. Her photos capture what every day people are reading, some of them very surprising or entertaining. Along with photos, she provides links for where to rent or buy the books. The photos are also posted on the UNYPL’s Facebook Page, allowing people to have conversations about the books and to get excited about reading or discovering new books.
The Underground New York Public Library is definitely one Tumblr to check out for inspiration!
Photo: Screenshot of UNYPL
Life of Pi, Done. Read. Processed.
First Line: My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
First Impression: I actually didn’t have an accurate first impression of the book because I hadn’t read it. I remember some girls reading it for their AP Literature, the summer before our Senior Year.
Synopsis: A young Indian boy is trapped on the Pacific ocean…with an adult-sized Bengal tiger. For 7 months!
Connection: I think I’ve only been to the zoo twice in my entire life. However, having read this book, I want to go. I guess my connection to Life of Pi has to do with the Spiritual component of the book. Pi is a character who gets attracted to God at a very young age. In fact, without his parents’ knowledge, he embraces Hinduism, Christianity AND Islam. Confronted by all the spiritual leaders one day and forced to choose, he utters the most innocent reply: “I just want to love God”. Even when the chances of his survival dwindled down during those 7 months, he continued to pray. As someone who was curious and attracted to God at a very young age, I related to his desire to know God.
Lasting memory: “I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway’s worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away. There was much I had to do.” (Life of Pi, pg. 169)
I’m finally halfway through Life of Pi. I had no idea it would take so long. I feel like I’m just slogging through. There’s so much good stuff in here though. Case in point, the following quotes:
“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing hte sun above you. It is like losing —- I’m sorry, I would rather not go on.”
“I speak in all modesty as I say this, but I discovered at that moment that I have a fierce will to live. It’s not something evident, in my experience. Some of us give up on life with only a resigned sigh. Others fight a little, then lose hope. Still ohters — and I am one of those—never give up. We fight and fight and fight. We fight no matter the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight to the every end. It’s not a question of courage. It’s something constitutional, an inability to let go. It may be nothing more than life-hungry stupidity”.
“For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you mst fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it . because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage ot forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
BOOM! *drop mic, walk off stage*
If you never read Life of Pi but still want to walk away with at least one fact, something you can share if someone ever bring it up, it would be this. It won’t make you sound smart, but it definitely won’t make you sound clueless either. Pi, the main character, is named after a pool. No, really. His full first name is actually Piscine. which is the French word for “Pool”. If you want extra points, you can say that his full name is Piscine Molitor Patel. His father respected a man who was a huge fan of pools and of swimming.
There’s a memorable scene in the book where Piscine decides to no longer be called by his full first name. It seems that schoolchildren are cruel, regardless of the culture they’re in. Upon switching schools, he decided that he would rename himself Pi, a shortened version of his name and the mathematical constant, pi. To make the idea stick that first day of class, he would walk up to the board during each teacher’s roll call and write down his new name on the board, complete with the math sign and 3.14. By the end of the day, every student and teacher in his class knew him as Pi.
I think I remember it mostly because it’s something that I can personally identify with. Having a multi-syllable name, I often struggle with which name I should use to introduce myself. Should I say my full name and watch the other person struggle to grasp it? Should I go with the nickname? Are nicknames supposed to be reserved for friends and family or should it be the other way around? What’s the protocol? Is there protocol?
This makes networking sessions very fun. And by fun, I mean, not so much.
I think Google should add a third button under its search bar. It would read: Google Search, I’m Feeling Lucky and I’m Feeling Generous. The I’m Feeling Generous button would be linked to sites like Kiva.org and Kickstarter so that, on days when you’re feeling down or you start to lose trust in the human race, you can click on it and help someone get a tiny bit closer to their dream. Because it is true what they say: There are more blessings in giving than in receiving.
Kickstarter is an online platform that allows creatives to crowdfund their projects. In other words, they invite others to be a part of their work by trading “a piece of the real estate” for financial support. You can check out projects by Location, Category or by Popularity. We love Kickstarter because as Yann Martel mentions in his foreword of Life of Pi: “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams”. Here are a few projects that’s caught our eye recently.
1. I grew up on series like Asterix and Obelix and the Adventures of Tintin. So, when I came across Penny and Bobby, it didn’t take long to convince me. I found myself getting excited like I did years ago, when I got ahold of my first animated book series. Plus, you’re never too old to enjoy mythological adventures. No, you can’t convince me otherwise.
2. What determines success or failure on the road to Change? This documentary asks this very question. I don’t know about you, but I’m curious of the answer…or answers. There are only 11 days to go!
3. Another project about lighting a fire under your behind. Anyone else can relate to the whole “quiet desperation” thing? Did I really catch a glimpse of Danielle Laporte in that trailer? Chris Guillebeau? I want to see this in a movie theater! Only 5 dollars and you get a digital download. Say whaaa?
4. A guide to Multicultural London. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. Wanderlust, take me away! 19 days to go on this one.
5. Bonus! This project is all funded, but I thought it’s worth mentioning anyway. When Christina Mercado couldn’t find a job after grad school, she turned lemons into lemonade by writing an adult “children’s” book about the process of finding a job. I want a copy!
It seems like forever ago, since I’ve blogged about books…or reading…or music. Well, let’s remedy that with the announcement of the second book: Life of Pi
The first time I heard about Yann Martel’s book, I was at a pre-college summer camp. A couple of girls were reading it for their Senior year AP English Lit class. I remember having a brief conversation with them about it. A conversation that I remember nothing from. Needless to say, I know very little about this book.
This should be interesting.
Let’s read, shall we?
You know who needs this book? Every single person graduating this May from college! You should buy it for them as a graduation gift. One thing this book doesn’t cover, though, is how to find a job. So, maybe that recent college grad entering the work world in the middle of a recession may scowl at you when you hand them this book. But…you should still get a copy and pass it on to them when they do get that job, because the book starts from your first day at the job.
So, what’s the one thing I’m taking away from this book?
The Friday Update
It’s the chapter titled “One Thing You Should Do Every Friday”. It’s intuitive but something not all of us think to do. The Friday Update is a simple e-mail drafted in bullet-point format, updating your boss or supervisor(s) on your progress. It should include the following things:
1. Your accomplishments that week: Things you got done, projects you finished, phone calls you made, etc
2. Your challenges or areas you need help or insight: Places in project where you’ve hit a snag, Things with which you need more information or help from them, etc
3. Noteworthy opportunities, suggestions and insight: This is an extremely helpful one when you don’t have daily contact with your boss/supervisor(s). It’s your input on how to do something better or faster, your suggestions, etc
4. Issues that need their input or approval: These are the questions you have for them on current or future projects.
5. Your Schedule and goals for the next week: Bullet point goals with dates next to them.
BAM! Hit Send!…okay, make sure you’ve proofread, then hit Send!
The thing with this is that it keeps you accountable and reminds the upper-levels that you’re bringing value to the company. I read this and recently implemented this in my own routine, with positive feedback.
Have you read this? Wanna read this now? Amazon’s calling!