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Subject:Stephen Lewis, Race Against Time
Time:02:13 am
I finished reading Stephen Lewis’ 2005 Massey Lectures last night. They were incredible. I cannot put into words how much this book affected me, though I will try. For those that don’t know, he is the UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa. This man is utterly amazing. I had heard of his work before, but it was reading of his experiences first hand, in his beautifully passionate writing, that made me fall in love with him. When I read, I tend to earmark pages with great quotes on them. Twenty pages of this less than 200 page book are dog-eared.

There are five lectures, and each addresses a separate challenge facing the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, which in turn roughly map onto separate Millennium Development Goals (which you can read more about here). I really want to share some of the quotes. I honestly think everyone in the world (no exaggeration) should read these lectures, so if you have the time, read a few of these. They are broken down by lecture. Be warned: they are very, very long.

Preface – Last ParagraphCollapse )

Context: It Shames and Diminishes Us AllCollapse )

Pandemic: My Country Is On Its KneesCollapse )

Education: An Avalanche of Studies, Little StudyingCollapse )

Women: Half the World, Barely RepresentedCollapse )

Solutions: A Gallery of Alternatives in Good FaithCollapse )

Okay, you have been warned, and were warned, that the passages I chose are extremely long. They are by no means the best quotes of the book; just some that struck me and I chose to remember. But really, I could have earmarked the whole book. I don’t expect everyone to read all these quotes, but I thought I would share them should somebody want to. This book might just have become my bible.
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Current Music:The Shins - Girl Inform Me
Subject:I am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe
Time:09:50 am
A very long review under the cutCollapse )
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Subject:Tuesdays with Morrie
Time:01:04 am
I finished Tuesdays with Morrie sometime last week. It was an incredible story. I cried several times, which isn't unusual, but it is a sign of a good book. If you don't know, the book is a true story of a guy who finds out his favourite professor from university is dying. He goes to see him every Tuesday until he dies and gets taught a new life lesson.

First off, here are some good quotes:

"We've got a form of brainwashing going on in this country," Morrie sighed. "Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that's what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it--and have it repeated to us--over and over until nobody even bothers to think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what's really important anymore." (p. 124-5)

"Here's what I mean by building your own little sub-culture," Morrie said. "I don't mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don't go around naked, for example. I don't run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things--how we think, what we value--those you must choose yourself. You can't let anyone--or any society--determine those for you." (p. 155)

The funny thing about it was I kept thinking, "yeah, I already think like that" or "yeah, I already do that". I don't mean to say I'm brilliant. I was thinking, though, about how I have thought or said very similar things to people and got negative and/or just neutral reactions. Why does Morrie have such authority because he is dying? It's a shame that you are only taken seriously on matters of life when you are so close to death. If it always happens like that, the planet is screwed. I mean, how functional is it when we only find out what's good for us (and others) in life when we can no longer undo the years and years of looking at it the wrong way.

All in all, it was touching. And good that someone actually wrote it down and got millions of people to read it.
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Subject:Adrian Mole
Time:12:25 am
It's been a long time since anybody updated this place. It's been a long time since I actually read a book that wasn't assigned to me. But I finished one today and it felt good to read again.

This time it was Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction by Sue Townsend. I bought it almost as soon as I saw it. Adrian Mole was one of my favourites when I was young. First, because of his cool name, and second, because he was British. He was hilarious too! He measured his penis every morning when he woke up and recorded the size on a notebook that was hidden under his bed (it was a thirteen-year-old's diary, so no creepiness).

Anyway, this newest one is the diary of a grown up Adrian Mole. It's pretty tongue-in-cheek funny, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to the more scholarly crowd we've got goin' on here. Here are some funny moments from it regardless:

Adrian is dating this girl, but he wants to break up with her because she is crazy. So he writes a bunch of letter drafts and tries to decide which one is the best. This is the one I personally liked the best:

Dear Marigold
Can I be honest with you? I have recently discovered that I am gay. The signs have been there for some time (perhaps this explains why I did not stumble across your clitoris). I almost bought a chandelier recently. I have taken to wearing rubber gloves while doing my housework and I have noticed myself using waspish humour as a method of communication.

Here's another good one:

My birthday.
I am thirty-five today. I am officially middle-aged. It is all downhill from now. A pathetic slide towards gum disease, wheelchair ramps and death.

A recurrent theme of the book is his strong support of Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq. It is obvious that the author strongly opposes it though, because Adrian keeps making really idiotic comments about the war and by the end of the book he is against it too.

I hope to add to this place a bit more now. I am also reading Tuesdays with Morrie for a class (kinda) and I just started reading Stephen Lewis' Massey Lectures today. Both are very good so far.
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Time:02:04 am
Adrienne gave me the push I needed.

I have been reading scientific journal articles and The Gossip Girl series. Gorgeous dichotamy.
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Subject:No Previous Experience
Time:10:39 pm
I read two books while I was in Cuba. The first was No Previous Experience: a memoir of love and change written by Canadian biographer Elspeth Cameron. It's a true story of two "straight" women who fall in love with each other... and about the hurtles that they have to jump over to be together, and to even recognise their love for each other.

It is by far the best "lesbian" book I have read. It was a beautiful, passionate, emotional, heart-wrenching love story that I think would appeal to anyone of any sexual orientation. I didn't mark any quotes from it, but it was an amazing story. Definitely, definitely, definitely recommend this one.

Thanks, Steph. You always introduce me to these great books.

Oh yeah, I've decided to resurrect this thing. If you guys are reading any books (or have read) I think you should start writing about them in here again. I love hearing about other people's adventures in reading.

I'll write about the other book when I get a chance.
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Subject:dagmars daughter
Time:04:04 pm
Current Mood:crappycrappy
I read Dagmars daughter after a long draught of not being able to find anything interesting. Its set on an island in the St lawrence at the beginning of the century. It is mainly women characters and they are very interesting. I liked it, it was a very different setting and a fast paced story it told the story of three generations in 200 pages.

Than right after that i finally read Tuesdays with morrie which i loved and read in one day. Why can't i have that mindset every day instead of being so down and bitter? I have to constantly remind myself to try and have a better outlook on life.

Now I am reading Our lady of the the forest; about a girl in Oregan who claims to see the Virgin Mary in the forest behind a trailer park. I can't decide if its going to be stupid or interesting yet.
Thats all...........have you people become illiterate or too busy with school to read anything decent? lol
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Subject:Maeve Binchy
Time:08:47 pm
I finished reading Nights of Rain and Stars a couple of days ago. I wasn't exactly disappointed....okay, maybe I was disappointed. It felt to me like she is just giving up on writing stories that are believable. Which makes me wonder, were they ever? I'm not sure if I have just matured in my reading, or whether her books are starting to decline...or both.

I don't know how to describe the book. I enjoyed the characters; as usual, I felt like I knew them by the end. But otherwise, I felt that the story was too "fluffy" and the events within it way too coincidental to be realistic. What I used to like about her books were that they were realistic. Maybe my definition of realism has changed over the last two years (when I read her last one).

So, obviously, I don't recommend the book. I will, however, continue to love Maeve Binchy for everything she has written before. And, believe it or not, I will still look forward to reading her next one.

I am hoping to pick Anna back up, but I'm not sure if this is feasible considering I have a million things to read/do for school. One can only hope.
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Time:11:47 am
Here's a virus being e-mailed to lj users and it looks like this:

Dear LiveJournal user,
We have recently noticed that you haven't updated your LiveJournal in
awhile. If you would like to keep your LiveJournal account, you must sign in
within the next 24 hours.
You may sign in at: {link removed}
Failure to sign in within the next 24 hours will result in account termination.

Please, post this in your personal journal and in your communities
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Subject:I'm so excited!
Time:03:54 pm
Guess what? I am going to listen to Ann-Marie MacDonald read from The Way the Crow Flies this evening, and am going to get my copy signed.

I'm such a book geek that this is just as exciting to me as seeing one of my favourite bands in concert. Whoo!
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