in Reading Notes

Books Read in August ’16

With a few weeks off before beginning work on Season 3 of the show, I made a point of finishing up the in-progress books on my Kindle, Audible, and book stand. While it’s more manageable to keep the thread of multiple books when I have several hours a day to read, I can’t maintain that mental juggling act during production. The books I read ranged from technology and time to philosophy and athletics, and the variety kept me engaged.

With the return to work, a bike commute, and an increase in running mileage, I’ll be listening to books as much as reading hard copies, so I expect an influx of lighter choices (already I’m enjoying a book about octopus) for the ears, as well as continued exploration of other curiosities.

Best August Book:

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler – Despite considering myself an animation enthusiast, I knew surprisingly little about Walt Disney’s origin story, and the beginning of the most dominant animation production in history, before reading Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney. This book is a wonderful combination of biography, history, and commentary. It shows Disney’s drive to push cartoons into an art form, to imbue his creations with music and life, and what happens when the pursuit of high art clashes with the need for money, and the need to appeal to an audience.

Comparing Disney’s growth into a producer and businessman with others who’ve shaped animation, like Hayao Mayazki, was also instructive. What do we lose when we leave the daily toil of creative trenches behind for the battle of shaping an industry? When should you give up control of the minutiae to master the bigger picture? For artists and business people alike, how we think about those decisions can affect the course of our careers and lives.

Other Non-Fiction Reads:

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall – I listened to this while running, and felt my own form shifting to a lighter, easier gait because of the description of the Mexican Tarahumara tribes’ style of running.

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly by William J. Bernstein

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Turning Point: 1997-2008 by Hayao Miyazaki

The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence by Josh Waitzkin

My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgård

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

A Geography of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist, or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently by Robert Levine


Other Fiction Reads:

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson – I’d like to read more science fiction, and this book topped many of the lists of where to start. I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to reading more.