Tom Shadyac’s Book List

Tom Shadyac is the creative force behind the documentary entitled I AM. I confess that up until now I have not been a fan of his work. I AM looks very interesting, and so does his book list.

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Triple whammy moose-moon, moose shenanigans, Tetherdog, and other moosefoolery

Of Moose and Men : A Skewed Look at Life in Alaska by A.E. Poynor

Chapter 2 – Moose Confusion

Ok, I am only into the first few paragraphs and I have to stop to giggle while reading Mr. Poynor’s explanation of the mysteries of the Alaskan Moose and the tourist’s never ending challenge of capturing an image. I fail to explain, in this post, why this is so amusing, because I lack the writing skills that Mr. Poynor possesses. You simply must read this book!

You really must read this book in order to learn what a Moose-moon is (actually, a “triple whammy moose moon!”), moose shenanigans and other moose games like shadowing. This is where my internal movie production company converts the text to an animated comic strip with Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson as the child in the scene. In this scene, the moose follows (or shadows) the child on his way to school, in order to amuse itself by frightening the child. See, I can’t make it funny. But Mr. Poynor does.

Looking like a Real Alaskan

Of Moose and Men : A Skewed Look at Life in Alaska by A.E. Poynor

Chapter 1 – Looking like a Real Alaskan

A Real Alaskan, the author defines that term colorfully in Chapter 1.

I was so delighted to read this chapter because it reminded me of where I grew up. It is a small town in a western state, where the main industry was mining and ranching.  There was a very distinct sub-culture that was born there. The men had a specific dress code that they adhered to, much like Mr. Poynor’s Real Alaskans. Very similar, in fact. But, in addition to bedecking themselves with knives, the men in my home town also chose to wear pistols. Sometimes two of them. And, one of  their main sources of pride was the rifle filled gun racks in the truck cab windows. Most of the men donned a favorite hat that was worn to tatters. They may very well have been riveted on.  One clue that they did come off occasionally was that they grew dirtier with age, leaving me to conclude that they were not worn in the bath. Over the last 15 years or so, they have even created their own dialect. It is difficult to understand until you spend a few hours listening to stories. Then some sort of magic happens and you find yourself understanding every word.

Of Moose and Men; A Skewed Look at Life in Alaska by A.E. Poynor

Writing a review reporting that this was a delightful book didn’t quite seem to do it justice.  So I decided that I should explain why I found it so delightful, by chapter.

First, I should explain that I have a tiny movie production company, inside my head, which projects a movie against the inside of my forehead, when I read.  They seem to have cast Earl Pickles (from Pickles by Brian Crane) as the male lead and Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson) to play the role of the boy.  I find both of these comic strips and their characters very endearing.

As there are 46 chapters in this book, I will follow up with posts on my favorite chapters.

“It is a compilation of humor columns I have written for the Alaskan paper “The Peninsula Clarion.” Most of the material appeared between 1991 and 1993, and pertains to the humorous side of living in Alaska.” A.E. Poynor

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra

I believe that this is the first in a series of 3 fictional novels that Deepak Chopra wrote, about 3 great Profits; Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.  This was somewhat of collaboration between Deepak Chopra and his friend Shekhar Kapur, who together imagined the stories of Buddha’s life while on his path to enlightenment.

For me, the author provides a sense of life and culture which helped to make the story more real. And, he wrote about some of the events, from over 80 years of Buddha’s lifetime that would introduce one to Buddha and illustrate his journey from birth through his enlightenment. The author was able to present the ideas behind Buddhism in a simple language so that a novice can understand.

A HarperCollins e-book

The Gourmet Cookie Book by Gourmet Magazine

This book contains many generations of cookie recipes, from all different parts of the world.  Recipes that were designated, by Gourmet Magazine, as the single best cookie recipe for each year, between 1941-2009.

I think that it is very charming that the recipes are reprinted in this book, in the same format as they were first published in the magazine, so the reader also gets a sense of the culture during those decades. In addition to the recipes, there is a brief introduction and history of that cookie, which all cookie fans will enjoy reading.

For me, an important component to this cookie book is the section entitled Recipe Tips.  It provides standard definitions and directions, to ensure satisfaction.

Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet by Deepak Chopra

This is the 3rd in a series of 3 fictional novels that Deepak Chopra wrote, about  3 great Profits; Buddha, Jesus  and Muhammad.  This is the first in the series that I’ve read.

The author painted for me, a representation of the life and culture that existed during Muhammad’s lifetime.  And, introduced me to Muhammad and the birth of Islam, through stories of his life, as if related by those closest to him; his family, friends and enemies. And, he also gave me a brief introduction to Islam. I enjoyed reading this story, immensely.

I also greatly appreciated the Author’s Note and the Afterward which was a fact based discussion about Muhammad and Islam, past and present.  I’ve not thoroughly studied Deepak Chopra, but my sense of him is that he speaks honestly and without personal bias. I appreciate and trust his work.

Of Moose and Men : A Skewed Look at Life in Alaska by A.E. Poynor

I thought that I would blog about this book a little differently from the others.  This book is so funny that I want to share the laughs as I experience them.  And, I have experienced a full range of laughter from a giggle and an out loud guffaw to a high-pitched whine.  My abdominal muscles ache and no one would want to be in the same room with me. My good dog escapes to another room.

I shall start by sharing some of the reviews from the back of the book:

Lori Evans, Executive Editor, The Peninsula Clarion:

“I eagerly look forward to Poynor joining the ranks of Clemens, Harte and Thurber; they are all deceased.”

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Author’s Mother:

“Oh, all right, you can quote me. Just don’t say anything stupid, like I read this sort of drivel.”

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Kathy Tarr, Executive Director, Kenai Visitors & Convention Bureau:

“If I was a tourist, and could buy only one book on my trip to Alaska, this would be it. That way, if my luggage was lost, I wouldn’t be nearly so pissed.”
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From the Author:”It is a compilation of humor columns I have written for the Alaskan paper ‘The Peninsula Clarion.’ Most of the material appeared between 1991 and 1993, and pertains to the humorous side of living in Alaska.”
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At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

“It’s easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable. Enter the world of Mitford, and you won’t want to leave. “

In this first novel, in the Mitford Series, we are introduced to the main character, Father Tim who is at the age where he should be considering retirement, but instead Jan Karon finds unexpected adventures to send him on.  Along the way we meet the colorful and lovable town folk who have amazing relationships. Jan Karon makes gardening, enjoying food, family, friends and pets seem magical.  I read these stories when I need a warm and fuzzy fix.

The Mitford Snowmen, A Christmas Story by Jan Karon

Mitford has a snow day and one of the shop owners on main street inspires a snowman building contest and everyone on main street,  from the Pastor of the Episcopal Church to the town’s Mayor,  comes outside to play.  After the sweetness of this day, the Mayor designates it as The First Annual Mitford Snowman Jubilee and buys donuts for all of the 26 participants.

For me, Jan Karon paints such rich and colorful stories about Mitford and its residents. This is about one amazing day, that is very moving and memorable.  There are delightful illustrations, of snowmen and snowwomen, in the booklet to assist the imagination.  This is one of my treasurers.

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