Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ask me anything, I've probably read about it.

I finally finished my New Yorker-thon that I started a few weeks ago, in time to start my reading challenge for 2013.  Covering all of 2011 and 2012, I read about:
  • Tina Fey's recollections of writing for SNL,
  • The science of "crowd crush," 
  • The long-term health effects of childhood trauma, 
  • The return of harbor seals to New York City, 
  • Modernist "sous vide" cuisine, 
  • Political assassinations in Guatemala, 
  • The neurology of time perception,
  • A midwestern blogger with pretensions of living the pioneer life,
  • Death penalty mitigation,
  • The development of Mac computers, 
  • PepsiCo and the obesity epidemic, 
  • Technological intricacies of animation at Pixar,
  • The hype behind acai,
  • The problem of insight with mental illness,
  • Public resistance to vaccines, 
  • Whether college is for everyone,
  • A father's account of his daughter's death from a rare brain cancer, 
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe's role in beginning the civil war, 
  • Online dating sites,
  • David Sedaris' take on learning foreign languages, 
  • The devaluation of friendship by social networking sites, 
  • Edible insect proponents, 
  • Paleogenetics,
  • Secularism as lack of God v. secularism as affirmation of the here and now, 
  • Bullet-proof fashion,
  • The life of the lone druggist in a former Utopian town,
  • Shoplifting, 
  • Norton Juster & Jules Feiffer's Phantom Tollbooth as a celebration of the liberal arts education, 
  • The pros and cons of decriminalization of drug use in Portugal,
  • The future of Planned Parenthood and the war on women's rights,
  • When the double jeopardy rules get broken in a murder trial,
  • A profile of the rapper Drake,
  • The placebo effect in medical research,
  • Guinnessport (the undertaking of world records), 
  • The worlds oldest temple in Turkey and how it affects our view of religion,
  • The psychology behind layaway purchases,
  • Profiles of the creators of Portlandia,
  • The ethics of teens being tried as adults and serving life without parole,
  • The invisibility of the old, 
  • Saving rare tortoises from extinction, 
  • The brainstorming myth,
  • Cyber bullying,
  • Surgical face transplants,
  • Training police dogs,
  • Influenza pandemics,
  • The case against having kids,
  • Stimulating t-cells to fight cancer,
  • Couch surfing as a way of travel,
  • Internet dating in China,
  • Working as a suspect in police lineups,
  • Forensic linguistics,
  • The violence of German fairytales,
  • Cheating in marathons,
  • Efficiency in Big Medicine,
  • The reckless use of young informants by the police, 
  • The negative effects of antibiotic use on the human micro biome,
  • Profile of a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman,
  • Retirement coaches, aaaaaand
  • Psychochemical warfare.
Whew.  I'm ready for a nice, easy novel.


  1. are chock full of knowledge now arent can have a conversation with just about new books for christmas....woot

    1. I've got a whole stack of books just calling my name.

  2. That is quite an accomplishment!
    now don't be boring people at your next cocktail party....

    1. Yeah. Because I go to cocktail parties all the time.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love this! Was the Sedaris thing hilarious? He's my all-time favorite writer. Some of these topics must be trending, because I read about placebos, brainstorming and German fairy tales online last week. The tales I read were so ridiculous, I actually thought they were funny and wonder if they were originally never meant for children.

    1. Yes - Sedaris is always funny, isn't he? I saw him live once and I'm pretty sure that's the hardest I've ever laughed in public.

      It seems like I'll read an in depth look at something on the New Yorker and some time later the topic appears on some on-line site. I think people used to expose kids to much more horrific stories then now. Maybe to keep them in line or maybe as a reflection of how brutal and short life was.

  4. I like David Sedaris and he has a funny sister too.
    "neurology of time perception" - I would find that interesting. Physicist, Richard Feynman, wrote about an experiment he did in school about his curiosity of that.

    1. So much of what we perceive is influenced by factors we aren't even aware of.

  5. You are certainly well read. I need to change myself and start reading more books. I spend 8 hours a day reading posts when I could be dreaming my time in a good book!

    1. Setting myself a goal last year of 36 books really jump-started me. Now I can't wait to start the next book.

  6. Okay, tell us how to save rare tortoises from extinction....

    What do you mean, you've forgotten, you read that 11 months ago?

    1. This particular species they are trying to breed in captivity in carefully replicated habitats bthey are also tracking the existing population to deter poachers.

      And actually, I've read all those articles in the last few weeks.

  7. Ok, I will:
    What is the meaning of life, in numeric terms?

    Seriously, 36 books a year is a good goal, and reachable by most, if they just devote a couple hours a day to reading.
    Happy new year.

    1. 42

      I could not begin to spend two hours every day reading. Not and run an business and a household. Fortunately, I'm a fast reader.

    2. Ha! Well, thanks for all the fish.....

  8. That is a very eclectic list of topics! I would be thrilled to begin, add to, or update my knowlege in just about any of those areas. There is so much to learn!

    1. There is indeed so much o learn. I love that about life.

  9. You are so well-read that I'm scared for you to read my ridiculously vapid posts now!

    Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 is a great year for you. :)

    1. Ummm... have you not read any of MY vapid posts?

      Happy New Year to you, too!

  10. WOW...what an impressive list of diverse topics!

    The one about the profile of a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman sounds awesome. I just Googled it and found, Ask Betty! When I have more time I need to go back and read it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I got a headache just reading the topics! That was a lot to absorb and learn about! Do tell us if you like The Sisters; always looking for a good novel!

    Happy New Year!!!


    1. It was a pleasure to read, truly. It's the sorts of thing I love learning about.

      I'll let you know about the book.

  12. Oh God! I'm exhausted just reading this list. Lots of fascinating subjects, but I think I'll start with The Sisters!

    1. That project was for the nerd in me, that's for sure.

  13. some of those topics sounds really fascinating, others not so much. i love the eclectic nature of it all though.

    1. The funny thing about that is I only read articles that ere interesting to me - the ones on this list. Everything else I skipped over.

  14. That book looks really easy after all those other topics...... mind you, I am interested in quite a few of those topics too!
    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

    1. The New Yorker writers have a way of making all sorts of topics engaging.

      And you, too!

  15. Diverse reading list there. I have to admit that mine includes too much crime and policing, but maybe I can be better balanced in the coming year.

    Happy New Year to you Secret Agent.

    1. That's why I like that magazine - it allows me to read widely without a huge time commitment.

      And to you!

  16. There's a science to crow crush? Oh.

    I hadn't realized the NY'er had so many interesting articles. Kind of reminds me of Science Digest.

    1. CrowD crush. Like during Black Friday sales. Both a psychology and a physics to it.

  17. You've managed to get through a few books this year!

    Happy New Year and happy reading.

    1. I did read 36 books, but these are long articles in a weekly magazine.

  18. My friend, I wrote a poem where I think I said 'curiosity is brethren to astonishment '

    This is why your life is full xo

    Happy new year , cs, we're going for it once again :-)


    1. It has carried me through some difficult times, that's for sure.

  19. Speaking as a recovering New Yorker reader, I admire your fortitude and diligence!!
    Happy New Year, my friend!

    1. That's so funny - as I was working my way through I said to my sister that I wished the New Yorker only published once a month instead of weekly because I canNOT keep up!

  20. Reminds me of that old Police/Sting song, "Too much information running through my brain..."