Saturday, July 10, 2010

Journal of My Mental Environment

Pretentious title ripped off from Adbusters, to head up the usual (and infrequent) record of what I'm filling my brain with these days.

Listening To:

  • Despite the hideous title, NurtureShock is an amazing book about how kids develop, and how parents mess that development up (ok, also what we're doing right). The premise is that there's specific research out there that contradicts "common wisdom" about parenting, and that if we applied more of it, we'd be more successful at raising well adjusted, creative kids. Very smart and practical stuff -- I'll be re-reading this one.
  • Okanagan Odyssey -- I'm a big fan of local writer Don Gayton. My mom and I went to the book launch in Summerland, enjoying the author's mellow charm and wit. These insightful, humorous stories and chunks of analysis of Okanagan lives and landscapes feel just right to me. I suspect the warmth and depth of this writing would make it compelling and interesting enough for an "outsider", but for those of us living here, it's a real treasure.
  • Still Alice -- More Alzheimer's reading, this time a novel that feels like very personal, powerful non-fiction. I had some quiet time alone when Tannis took the girls to Nakusp and used a few hours to finish it. It had a disquieting effect on me -- not depressing as much as just feeling off-balance and afraid. Several of my own recent memory troubles popped up, matching scenarios in the book where Alice is recognizing her early-onset Alzheimer's. Might be just normal things that everyone messes up sometimes...I hope. I was also thinking of Grandpa again, of course, and feeling discouraged about the lack of progress in potential treatments.
  • We're starting at the beginning of the Harry Potter series as bed-time reading for the girls, after being in the doldrums since finishing our LOTR marathon, not finding anything else as compelling or entertaining. Although the girls have already read it repeatedly on their own, we're really enjoying Book 1 together. The series should take us into autumn if we stick with it.

  • Prom Night in Mississippi, an excellent documentary about a little town attempting to have its first integrated (whites and blacks) high school prom. Very intense and well done.
  • Kung-Fu Panda has been a bit of a hit at our house.
  • Continuing my fascination with music composition, I've been watching Classical European Composers on DVD, so far covering Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Vivaldi. I can't say the series itself is very good, but it's better than nothing.






Tannis said...

It's great to have a record of this stuff. My first thought when I saw the post title was "wow, he has a mental environment, I'm jealous!". I feel like I have a mental seive.

Dianne said...

Haha - I also feel more in the mental sieve realm, but really enjoyed this post and am listening to Dance of the Knights. Thanks!

Jeremy said...

Oh, please don't get me wrong -- very little of value stays with me after this stuff passes through my mental sieve. The music maybe moreso because I listen repeatedly and seem to have good wiring for music...but nothing else.

Melodie said...

I love Fiona Apple, so I had to check out that cover. Great stuff. Thanks for recommending it. I think she's due for another album soon... it's been a while since Extrodinary Machine.

I also started taking more careful (paranoid?) observation of my own memory lapses while reading Still Alice. I thought it was a wonderfully written, yet terrifying read.

Melodie said...

I meant "Extraordinary". ;P

Jeremy said...

Fiona Apple is one of those artists I really like, but have never actively followed their career. Should probably dig back into her back catalog.