Fictitious Dishes…

I love the idea of cooking dishes inspired by books. The photographs here are mouth-watering: Fictitious Dishes: Elegant and Imaginative Photographs of Meals from Famous Literature | Brain Pickings.

The Bell Jar

I just finished reading The Bell Jar, so this photo really resonated with me. The staging of the food perfectly captures the literary tone.

Little Free Library project…

I’m going to be sponsoring a Little Free Library in our neighborhood. “Take a book, return a book.” I enjoy looking at the pictures of all the little free libraries people have built. Here’s one repurposing a pay phone booth, which is extinct now, of course.

Littel Free Library in a pay phone

It would be nice to build the equivalent of a Little Free Library using e-books, but giving the restrictions placed upon them by publishers, that doesn’t seem likely. Fortunately, paper books will be with us for a long time. Just because I have and enjoy a Kindle doesn’t stop me from buying paper books. My urge to share books, as well as to support community meeting places like our local bookstore, also keeps me buying them.

The shape of stories…

Click through to see The Shapes of Stories, a Kurt Vonnegut Infographic by Maya Eilam. Her infographic is based on Vonnegut’s master’s thesis, which posited that a story’s main character has ups and downs that can be graphed. This graph reveals the story’s shape, and there are types of stories that have the same shape.

I find it fascinating how obsessed our species is with story. I wonder if we ever meet any aliens, would they have the same obsession? Is storytelling the key to success as a species?

A cartoonist’s advice…

Zen Pencils has posted a terrific homage to Bill Watterson, creator of much-beloved Calvin and Hobbes, in this cartoon: BILL WATTERSON: A cartoonist’s advice. Reading and rereading this is a good prescription for when you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to quit that corporate job and follow your passions to create the life you truly want.

Another artist who inspired me was Nathan Sawaya. We went to see his exhibition, Art of the Brick, last weekend. Yes, he creates all his art in Legos, and it’s amazing. He too quit a corporate lawyer job to pursue what many would see as a frivolous pastime, and he has crafted a great career out of doing what he loves.

Zombies are the things that get us that we don’t see coming…

World War Z is getting a lot of coverage this weekend, but I would like to remind everyone that it is a pretty good novel. By all accounts, the book is different enough from the movie that it’s worth reading even after seeing the movie. I have been reading some profiles of the author, Max Brooks, this weekend. Things I did not know: He is the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft; he tours the country giving lectures on zombie preparedness; and he doesn’t think zombies are funny. For him, zombies are those random things in life that get us that we don’t see coming–a car accident, cancer, random chance. Zombies are the personification of that old chestnut, “Life isn’t fair.”

By trying to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, something that we can feel reasonably sure is not ever going to happen, we prepare for the things we can’t control, that feel too big for us to take on. (Max Brooks wrote a survival manual for the zombie apocalypse before he wrote World War Z.) Maybe this is why I like to read apocalyptic fiction. There is literally very little I can do about climate change or peak oil, but I can read about people who go through worse, and survive it.

Alternate World War Z movie poster art found here.

The psychology behind belief in conspiracy theories…

If you’ve ever wondered why many people have no trouble believing convoluted conspiracy theories, such as the New World Order granddaddy of all conspiracies, this is an interesting read: Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories – NYTimes.com.