Read: Small Fry

This just in.

*spoiler alert* Though, I don’t write ‘review-reviews’. I write what I feel. Felt. Am feeling.

I cried toward the final 20% of the book.

Also, I have been sitting on Walter Isaacson’s bio on Steve Jobs since it was published. Now I know why.

It was meant to be sat on.

I’m not an Apple fan. I may have had a MacBook Air, have a MacBook Pro, used an iPhone 4, 5, owned two iPads and own two iPads, plus other Apple stuff; but I’m not a fan. I just buy things that appealed to me, randomly. I don’t idolize Steve Jobs (never cared about Apple launches). Brilliant, but I’d pick Anderson Cooper over him any second. And yeah as if I’d even ever get to do that.

I cried because of Kevin and Dorothy’s kindness. There’s a quote somewhere by someone random who said something along the lines of,

Lisa may one day realize she can never replace her parents, and Kevin and Dorothy can never buy a daughter.

What a stupid thing to say. Really. But you’ve been mentioned in her book so, congratulations, I guess?

The part where Steve’s bio on some corporate website mentioned he has three instead of four children.

The parts where her father keeps saying, or hints, “You need to be part of the family, Lis,” – I’m sorry, but isn’t that some form of gaslighting? The author’s so kind with her words. Probably doesn’t wanna upset her siblings, especially the youngest one, named Eve, because Eve said, out loud, “She was daddy’s mistake,” – Kids, they always say the darnest things and get away with it, though I hope, not for life. Eve, if you’re reading this, I hope you’ve since grown to realize that you could process thoughts before you speak.

It’s easy to read this bio without the late Steve Jobs hovering around the pages because I’ve never read much nor finished watching videos with Steve Jobs in it. I believe it has a lot to with my disliking of what’s ‘trending‘. I was working closely with consumer technology for over a decade and yet I couldn’t be bothered.

So, once again? Now I know why. Strange, but it’s so that I could dive in clean into this memoir of a wounded soul. I visualized her father as her father, first. Mostly, even. The way she wrote this memoir, it wasn’t about her father, who happens to be Steve Jobs.

It was about a child’s relationship with her father.

Did I know Steve Jobs was cruel towards his “mistake of an unwed family he didn’t want”? Not until I read this book.

Did I know he was stingy? Well, not really.

All I knew was that he was a genius with a temper, and had a kid he originally refused to acknowledge (paternity). That, was all.

So, for me, it’s as though all these years dealing with consumer tech and the media, I was miraculously saved from all these insignificant details, until Small Fry was written and published.

I’m glad, I’m really glad, that I had sat on Jobs, the biography.

I don’t know what kind of surprises will be waiting for me, but I hope it would address Steve’s parents (not much of the birth ones), their relationship, and how he came to be one of, well, the cold people his wife Laurene openly declared during a session with the author’s therapist (“We’re just cold people”, said Laurene. The author was also present during the session). I am also curious about Laurene. She’s gotta be his twin, otherwise, there’s no way their relationship had continued to work.

Despite all the negativity, I do agree with the author’s father on this, which is possibly (should damn be) the greatest quote by him, ever –

Passage taken from the book, chapter ‘Runaway’:

My father gave a speech in which he said that it wasn’t love that brought people together and kept them together, but values – shared values.

How’s Laurene not his twin, I will never be able to comprehend.

I’m drained from this read, in a good way, I suppose. I can never begin to imagine the sorrow she’s been carrying since she was a tiny, curious, hungry for acceptance, child. Ms. Brennan-Jobs, you will pay it forward. Thank you for sharing your story.

What Reading Spree?

“I just went on a reading spree!”

If you have days or times when you can ‘go on a reading spree’, well, I’m jealous of you, though not happy for you. There’s no happiness in seeing somebody, or anybody, for being able to read and read and read, and then, finish – done – next!

This book has been sitting on my dining table for two months. It’s not that I don’t want to finish it in one day or even within a week or two. The book is good. The author is fearless, passionate even, as she needs to interview talk to druglords who are incarcerated across few of the most notorious prisons in the world.

It’s funny how people pass comments like, wow, “You’re still reading that book?”, or, “You took that long to finish one book?”

It’s as if people who read don’t necessarily have lives beyond books (we wish we hadn’t, really), or, as if people who don’t read, knows what’s it like to actually spend quality time reading a book.

Some people could finish 700 pages in one setting, sure. They have different reading speeds, they could comprehend the context better, they didn’t have other commitments, they probably have no kids, grown kids who don’t need them, or they work in jobs that enables them to read, or they prefer to screw up their jobs and family or whatsoever so that they could read.

Who knows? Who are you to know?

I couldn’t read all day and night. Not even all day. There’s work, there’s chores, there’s kids, there’s texts to respond to otherwise they’ll call (which is worse) if you don’t respond.

Then there’s moody days and gloomy skies.

It’s so stupid, seeing bookworms belittling each other over “you just started that?! I finished that last month!”

Shut up, b*tch. Better, f*ck off.

This is why people are discouraged from reading. Well, at least one of the reasons. People just wouldn’t leave them alone.

If you come across a snobbish bookworm, send them the link to this post. May this be a STFU reminder for those morons.

“Reading sprees” are a privilege, never a right. Sure, neglect everything else and naturally everything will become a right for/to you. I hope our paths will never cross, and by that I mean literally and digitally.

#oldbooks: The World’s Best Fairy Tales

The World’s Best Fairy Tales, Reader’s Digest (1976)

I practically grew up with this book. I read it over, and over, and over, simply because the writing was so easy to absorb and imagine (and the stories were classics too). My mom got this copy for my brothers in 1976, when they were aged 3 and 2, respectively. I only came along in ’82.

This was an era where Reader’s Digest was a noble company (still is) that had a cult following all around the world. My parents would buy most books they sold (medical reference books, cook books, story books, encyclopedias etc.), because they’re always of good quality and content.

Reader’s Digest is still around, but we know people have since shifted their magazine interests elsewhere. Times have changed, though not necessarily for the better. I don’t know what are people reading nowadays (as in, similar context to Reader’s Digest, maybe Oprah magazine? What do I know), but what I do hope, is for Reader’s Digest to remain resilient, and keep adapting, evolving. Although I’m not on a monthly subscription, I still buy a copy every few months, whenever I happen to see it on display.

Here’s to Reader’s Digest. May you continue to prosper and grow.

Reading: I, Who Did Not Die

Source: https://meredithamay.net/book/

If I finish this book by 31st December 2018 (I’ll try not to, since I’ve already completed my reading challenge for 2018), I think it’ll be a tie with my favorite book of the year. It will sound like an understatement super cliché if I used the following words to describe this book: ‘necessary’, ‘beyond powerful’, ‘remarkable’. So I will try to omit those words in my post once I’m done.

Thanks to this book, I have decided to separate my ‘Best Book’ categories into the following:

  • Current Affairs, War & History
  • Business
  • Memoir/Autobiography
  • True Crime
  • Biography
  • etc.

I have yet to write a post on In Extremis, which I’ve finished a week ago, and the remaining 20+ books. I guess I just don’t know how to make them sound smart. Because they are all better and smarter than me, than the world-at-large, than you.

Yemen is still in peril, so is Syria. So many ‘disappeared’ Chinese dissidents who are under house arrest that no one cares about in power cares or dares to interfere. Some dead, unreported. Law abiding Muslims oppressed in Xinjiang. Captured and assassinated journalists who are treated as ‘political prisoners’ around the world. This planet we are living in, fml – and yet we continue to bear children.

Here’s to 2019 – for better or for worse.

Going In Circles

How many of us read not just as a means to be a better person*, but as a means to disappear into the book, completely, wishing never to come back, because the only thing that’s waiting for us if we ‘go back’, is nothing but despair, darkness, and endless misery?

“So what do you do to cope?” My cousin asked me today. “I read,” I said.

Reading works for me, and I honestly dread the day I lose my sight, because that will be the end of me. If money can buy me peace, I’d build a soundproof room to read. If money can buy me time, I’d use the time to read. If money can buy me things? I’d buy books. If money can make me things? I’d build a beautiful reading nook. If money can buy me legacies? I’d buy books and build libraries.

Most days, I am highly aware that I am indeed going in circles, facing the same toxicity, day in, day out. Although, it is much worse of an awakening to know that I am not alone in this circle. Once upon a time, I had a demanding job career, and I hardly got sick, maybe once a year, at most. Overtime didn’t mean sh*t. I soldiered on with a crazy-work-but-not much-life balance that made me, strangely, physically stronger.

Now that I no longer have that balance, I have found something else to replace it. Reading is great, mentally, but it is not the same as having a purpose or being rewarded – work, meetings, plannings, projects, business travels, salary, mentoring, etc.

I battle with the idea of going to the gym, going for a swim, or read. First world problems, they call it. I even find myself asking, stupidly, “Should I be exercising or reading to make this body stronger?”

What, do I even need to answer that question?

Once upon a life ago, I had the office and work responsibilities to turn to, amidst the deadly toxicity I have to endure. Now, all I do is read. I read, and read, and read. Wishing things would just go away, or better, have an ending. However, life toxicity doesn’t end until it ends, like the breath of life leaving a human body. Life isn’t a book, until it becomes a book. When it becomes a book, you’d have dissipated by then, completely, into earth, into air.

There are times when I question myself upon finishing a book – Did I read it thoroughly, when all those toxicity were exploding in between the pages? Did I miss anything crucial while toxic fumes were engulfing my lungs? Or, “F*ck, I sure hope I could concentrate on finishing this book tonight while I battle the toxic fumes and tend my intoxicated wounds!” – Stuff like that.

Currently, I’m physically sick – flu, cough, sore throat, headaches. I try to use books to heal from within, hoping it could literally help my body recover. After all, it wasn’t just a virus that made these possible. Really, it’s not, and it’s morbidly terrifying.

But is that even possible, using books to heal a broken body?

“I’ve been doing it for a couple years, though.”

No, honey, it is not possible. You know it’s not working, it did not work, and it will never work. That’s the verdict.

I don’t go never did well with New Year Resolutions, but it doesn’t hurt to say it anyway – Come next year, I am still going to stick to reading, to better myself, and to use it as a first-aid for the on-going mental battleground I’m going to have to endure; but with a new addition – Head to the f*cking gym or pool at least once a week.

Because my mind alone can’t work my soul anymore. My body has to work it too.

*reading teaches not just knowledge, but the ability to formulate and practice compassion through understanding the lives of others.

Break: Number Fill-Ins

I left my Kindle at home this morning, but thankfully, this was in my bag (the folder that holds this, is not always in my bag).

Also, I took a photo of the little kiddo. He’s not there yet (the idea of searching for words diagonally, backwards etc.) compared to his older brother, but he’s having a blast searching for letters related to his name!