Ruby Ramblings

Hour two
October 22, 2011, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon

I have to run out the door to play an hour long at a fall festival, and got woefully little reading done after responding to an e-mail for a request to play, reading through ten read-a-thoners blogs, and reheating Indian fair.

The e-mail I was a little conflicted about. People seem to think that musicians are hankering to play at every opportunity that calls. This isn’t true. I’m eager to work, as it were, but the hours of writing, practicing, rehearsing, not to mention the cost of equipment, gear, gas, and the like, mean that I expect to be compensated for my work. Regardless of the fact that the work in question is also art. “Exposure” is, largely, bullshit. It doesn’t pay my rent, or buy me groceries. To be asked by a successful national chain to play at their annual event for free, is a good exercise in asking for what I’m worth and potentially saying no and walking away.

Current Book: The Liar’s Club
Page: 26
Pages read since start of read-a-thon: 2 (go ahead laugh)

And yet another thing that is not actually reading: A Book Puzzle!

What do you think this title is?

one @

Dewey’s Read-a-thon
October 22, 2011, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon, Music

I turned on the computer this morning to make my morning rounds, and discovered that I had completely missed the fact that one of my favorite geek-out activities starts today.  Dewey’s Read-a-thon is a twenty-four hour catch up on reading, read new blogs, literary-word-fest.

My friend Susan in Korea, who writes a fantastic book blog: Naked Without Books, got me hooked in the first place.

Luckily for me, the only thing I have to do today is play a short gig at the Munjoy Hill Association Fall Festival, but first I’m going to read a little while eating some leftover Indian food from the new best Indian restaurant in Portland, Maine, Haggarty’s. I know, I know, doesn’t sound very Indian does it? It’s Brit-Indi owned by a couple of Scotsmen, and it’s great.

I actually have a purpose for this read-a-thon. I uploaded a bunch of books to paperbackwap and bookmooch, but haven’t had time to read them before (confession) marking them mailed. I know I’m terrible, but they are my books, and this is my method for getting through my monster To-Be-Read pile. So I need to quickly get through:

And for my obligations on Bookobsessed Yankee Book Swaps, I may dabble in:


And just because the opening chapter is really fun, it has pictures, and it’s by two local authors:

I have a wide range of relatively short things to choose from, and tons of leftover Indian and Thai food from the last two days musicians meetings.

For people who are used to seeing my posts on international and national travel, you are about to see a level of book geekdom that you may not have known existed in me. You can choose to follow along, or ignore and wait for more pictures of pretty places to pop up in the future. Although, the limbo my life has been in lately hasn’t been very inspiring for travel blogging. I’ve been in Maine much longer than I intended, and I’ve been in denial about how much I’m actually enjoying being home.

And on to the Read-a-Thon’s official questions:
1) I am reading from Portland, ME today. (My hometown, which I’ve inadvertently returned to after seven years of jaunting around the world.)

2. Three random facts: Well, I’ve already admitted that I post books to bookswapping sites before I’ve read them so that I’ll read them faster. I’m on a diabolical plan to be the best female honky-tonk guitar player. Cambodia and Chile are the two places I’ve never been to that are top of my wish list. Oooo, and one more, my mother recently informed me that I’m a sapiosexual.

3. Goals for the read-a-thon: see above.

4. Advice to new read-a-thoners: don’t feel guilty about sleep.

October 25, 2009, 11:54 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon

My goal was to read as much as I good while also producing good quality blogs as I went. I’m not going to go back and review these books later. Minus a few edits, I think I accomplished that pretty well.

Currently reading: Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia
Pages read in current book: 47
Pages read total: 721
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The last one. I didn’t do much reading, more fussing.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year
? Cork Boat was fun and light.

5. How many books did you read?
3 and little more

6. What were the names of the books you read? Cork Boat by John Pollack, Che’s Chevrolet, Fidel’s Oldsmobile by Richard Schweid, The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer, and part of Hearing Birds Fly by Louisa Waugh

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed what I’ve read of Hearing Birds Fly the most, but I was really affected by The Life You Can Save.

8. Which did you enjoy least? I loved all of the books, but with how heavy handed Che’s Chevrolet was with history, it would have been the least interesting to read last.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?Oh, I’ll definitely do it again, as a reader and blogger.

Can You Hear Me Now?
October 25, 2009, 10:53 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon

Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongoliaby Louisa Waugh

Although there is only an hour and half left, and there is no way I’ll come even close to finishing another book, I decided I might as well hold out to the very end. Especially since my read-a-thon was severely lacking in some women’s writing. The first two books I read were about boys and their toys, and the last one was much more rounded, but still I think I should get a little woman’s voice here. I was going to switch to fiction, but I decided to stay the course and choose a non-fiction with a worldly theme.

There are several people reading this who I think will appreciate the opening quote, “If an ass goes travelling, he’ll not come home a horse.” Thomas Fuller

Currently reading: Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia
Pages read in current book: 1
Pages read total: 676
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center

Book three finshed, I need a breather after this one.
October 25, 2009, 10:23 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon

Some statistics taken out of the book:
There are about 1 billion people living in what are considered affluent countries. Those countries government and private donations give an amount of money that works out to roughly $60 per person in donations.

There are 3 billion people living in poverty – living on less than $2/day. Even in countries that have very small economies, this is not considered enough money to give a person access to housing, food, education, and basic health care.

Given those two things, $60/person is clearly not enough money to be donating. Singer outlines in the beginning of the book how when people are presented with the story of a child drowning in a pond and a man wearing a new armani suit and shoes, that it is his moral obligation to rescue the child, regardless that he will ruin $3,000 worth of clothes. Although this is very over-simplified view, he expands this thought into arguments for and against helping people on a larger, and broader scale. How it is difficult for some people to offer money to people they’ve never met both in their home countries and internationally, and the arguments that can be made to cultivate a culture of giving.

Singer asks us to look at places where we spend money on things we would not miss. $3 lattes instead of making coffee at home, bottled water when we could filter, or in many places outright drink the tap water, soda at convenience stores and restaurants, clothes we don’t really wear, or more shoes we don’t need. He then asks people to look even above that for people who are capable, and consider giving even more. He argues that people should give as much as they can to just before the point that they are doing more harm to themselves than good for other people.

The book is divided into several different categories:
1.The Argument: Saving a child, why it is wrong not to help, common objections to giving
2. Human Nature: Why we don’t give more, creating a culture of giving
3. The Facts About Aid: How much does it cost to save a life, which charities do it best, and improving aid
4. A New standard for Giving: Your child and the children of others, asking too much?, A realistic approach.

His final conclusion is that if everyone who lives above the poverty line themselves contributed 5% of their income, and the super rich gave a little more than that, we would have more than enough money to combat poverty, and the three chronic health issues that he outlines: 27,000 who kids die of preventable diseases every day, at least 3 million women living with fistula who are not allowed to contribute to their local economies due to isolation, and the several million people who have gone blind from reversible cataracts.

The Life You Can Save

Currently Reading: The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty
Pages read in current book: 174
Pages read total: 675
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center

The Life You Can Save
October 25, 2009, 8:37 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon, Uncategorized

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

One charity I found particularly inspiring in this book is the Worldwide Fistula Fund, an organization that helps women who are injured through childbirth or violence in a way that is treatable, but often ignored.

Please, please, please watch this video. It is amazing.

Pages read in current book: 102
Total pages read: 603
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center

Vroom Vroom
October 25, 2009, 6:10 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon

University of North Carolina Press publishes some really, really interesting titles.

The same model as Che Guevara’s first car. His was apparently emerald green with the white top.

Che’s Chevrolet, Fidel’s Oldsmobile: On the Road in Cuba is a fantastic look at the history of car ownership in Cuba, combined with the author’s tales of travel through the country, and a basic outline of the countries political history since the early 1900s.

I was not trying to start a theme, but the two books I’ve read this weekend have both involved ingenuity of transportation, and both coincidentally included stories of the author’s reaction to 9/11. In Cork Boat, Pollack is working as a Washington speech writer when it happens, so he is heavily affected by both the events and the hysterical aftermath that existed on the hill. In Che’s Chevrolet, Schweid is conducting his research in Cuba, and thinks the Israeli tourist who tells him what happened must have gotten her news wrong. He has to hunt down a ritzy foreigner hotel to see the news, as Cuba’s media is completely controlled and their are only two state run channels that show local, controlled stories.

Schweid’s book shows a Cuba that was quickly developing, with a lot of help from the US, that came to a dead stop after the revolution. With no economy to speak of, and the inability to import much, the country has stalled. Schweid makes the history of the automobile on the island the case in point, how there are approximately 60,000 1950s era cars on the road in Cuba, kept running by shear ingenuity, and piecing together parts from the Eastern European and Russian cars that are slowly imported.

He spends a chapter describing how Cuba was keeping up with America in the “planned obsolescence” of vehicle manufacturing in the ’40s and ’50s, this changed with the embargo, and I really enjoyed Schweid’s passage on how their attitude toward the cars changed:

” Mabye even now Cubans would buy a new car every couple of years, like North Americans, if they could. But the fact is right now they cannot. So they have cared for and maintained the same models that North Americans bought and threw away in great numbers, so many of them scrapped that the remaining few have become collector’s items. The mechanics in Havana and Santiago de Cuba who have kept these cars running all these years belong to a genre of Cuban genius. They have done these cars much prouder than the manufacturers who built them to throw them away.”

Pages read in current book: 216
Total pages read: 501
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center