Apparently, I am just a mouse hitting the “treat” button over and over; when I can’t figure out what kind of book I’m craving, I hit up my own bookshelf for an old favorite. I think that when I have just finished reading a string of really great and satisfying books, the prospect of an average book is unbearable to me and so I come crawling back for comfort until I’m ready to venture out again.
I am always happy to take suggestions, but right now I’m having this thing where I am not happy in my job and my money is tied up in my house and so I can’t go back to school so I have devised my own coursework; first, read about different jobs, then read everything that there is to know about what interests you and then diversify so that you are a well-rounded person.
Alright kids, sit up and pay attention!
Up All Night by Martha Gies.
I read this several years ago, probably just after it’s release in 2004. I love social stories, I love people watching and non-creepy voyeurism. It’s about night jobs in different professions around Portland told straight from the individual in more of a report form rather than an objective essay. Very Studs Terkel Working.* Portland institutions like the Montage and Trimet are tertiary characters making it a very Portland-centric read. I feel like in keeping Portland the weird place that it is, it should have it’s own Weird Travel section at Powell’s and that Up All Night should sit just next to Chuck Palahniuk.
Historic Preservation in Small Towns: A Manual of Practice. By Aurthur Ziegler and Walter Kidney
Weird. I get it. But I like (and have always liked and formed bizarre attachments to) buildings. I was not fortunate enough to be one of those kids who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, or knew that I could actually do the things that I was interested in; I had a strange, detached idea of the world that I am still sparring with. Anyhoo, I checked and this book is actually in the coursework for the Historic Preservation program that I am pretend-attending. This book makes sense, even to me. I have visions of preserving my hometown one day and taking the 200 year old buildings, restoring them and making them useful again and this is where I’m starting. Look at me go! I even have a pet project to get me started. More on that at a later date.
A Short History of Nearly Everything. By Bill Bryson.
It may be difficult for me to convey to you how much I adore Bill Bryson. Everyone does. If my life had a narrator, I would want it to be him**. I love A Walk in the Woods, that and The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America***are two of my top 10 of all time. So just imagine Fancy Pants’ nerd glee when he wrote a book encompassing EVERYTHING…in his wonderful voice; awed, humble, like you are having a pint and a conversation with a pal-and not the know-it-all, annoying one either. This is history, geology, dinosaurs, universe, the elements, all made approachable. You actually get a very interesting, abbreviated understanding of “nearly everything.” I am usually re-reading at least one of his books, but you don’t have to take my word for it…
* Working is a great book, too. A precursor to Up All Night on a National level. It is amazing how much people talking about their jobs in the 70’s sounds exactly the same as people talking about their work in 2014.
** Or David Sedaris. Oh, my beloved David…
*** PRO-TIP; GO READ THEM RIGHT NOW.