September 15, 2009

Impressively Random Accomplishments

I like to read. Don't shake your head. Yes, it is true.

I've broadened my reading repertoire in the recent past. In my teen years I read horror books almost exclusively. In high school I used to keep a list in my backpack of all of the different ways people died in these books; it was a long and creative list. Had my list been found then it might have been looked at strangely. However, in a post-Columbine world this list would now likely get me some quality time with the RCMP.

My reading tastes have expanded as I have matured. Yes, I still have a sweet spot for vampire stories and most things supernatural but now I have range beyond horror. For example I now read non-fiction- a genre previous foreign to me and my tiny brain. I now read literature, biographies, self-help books (I really should kick this habit), philosophy (well, i tried- it hurts my head), business and management books, the Harvard Business Review, Star magazine and really whatever crosses my path that sparks a tiny bit if interest. I am not picky and certainly not exclusive to one genre anymore. I even enjoy some of my husband's more cerebral comic books. Sorry Love, Legion of Superheros and any and all of the Final Crisis titles will never make the list!

I'll read pretty much anything these days. However, I have noticed an interesting trend in my book choices of late. I am reading books about normal people looking for purpose in their life or trying to improve themselves. These people have chosen to set rather random, but impressively challenging, goals for themselves and then write a blog and a book about it. Say for example cooking ALL of the recipes from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1" in a year or reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

I can't tell if I am drawn to these books as a way to improve myself by proxy or if it is something else entirely. I get all of their satisfaction for their impressively random accomplishments but I have to do none of the work- except read their books I suppose. Based on the success of at least one of these books (now a major motion picture- as the cover tells me) I see a trend of these types of books coming in the future. I am trying to figure out if I am going to live vicariously through these future books or find my own impressively random accomplishment to do and then write about it. (A side note: these people did live regular lives while doing their tasks- so this is not a passive cry for help before I quit my job, abandon my family and decide to groom cows for a year in India.)

This ties-in nicely to a catalogue that fortuitously (and randomly) ended up in my mail box last week. I have been carrying it around in my purse. This is a catalogue for specialized university-type courses distributed on DVD or down loadable audio. They are not for credit but purely for interest. Their titles include things like "A Brief History of the World" ( 36- 30 minute lectures) "The Joy of Mathematics" ( 24- 30 minute lectures) and "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition" ( 48- 45 minute lectures). These are not necessarily the ones that are triggering my interest but you get the idea.

Now, my sister will be quick to suggest that my parents OBVIOUSLY dropped me on my head a lot when I was a child for me to consider such a task. But you know what- this is exactly how these other books started. Someone doubting the random accomplishment or even questioning why- thus spurring on the task.

I am on the precipice my friends. I don't know which way this will go. But if you find me on the streets chatting with unusual aplomb about the main differences between the Old and New Testaments or casually dropping mathematical references into conversation you can safely assume that I've taken the jump.

And then I'll write a book about it.


  1. That just makes my head hurt reading your blog today......and Dad and Mom must have dropped you on your head several times. Where do you find the time girl!!!


  2. It's like sitting on the bus to the University again. Nice to hear what's on your mind in more than 50 characters. d

  3. can I have the cole notes...hehe...I'd rather watch the's faster :)

  4. Ha Ha Ha! I love you for who you are Jen! I really have no idea where you might find time to do these things as well as what you already do. Do you have a secret time machine at home or do you just never sleep. I remember one particular book you bought at Barnes and Noble on our last Black Friday trip... I think we all wanted to borrow that one! LOL And do you have any idea what the cows look like in India? You may never want to groom them. LOL I stated to think, "wow Jen and I are so very different." But then I thought, "Honestly who does these things that Jen does anyways." Not very many people are as motivated and as crazy as Jen. You practically have your own language. THis is why I love you too. Because your you!


  5. You are not missing anything by not reading Final Crisis, however the Legion of Super-heroes (note the spelling) is great fun. Does it have a deeper meaning? No. But it is a great future flung soap opera of a comic.

    Wait until you see my Alex Ross Artist Proof! You will want to read the Legion.