Ventipop #227 :: Thank You America, Life Cereal & A New Way To Read


“Sometimes A Gift Is More Than A Gift”


The Japanese have a word for the unread books that pile up on your desk or nightstand or all over your house: “Tsundoku.” It literally means “reading pile.” As used in this sentence: No home is truly a home without many tsundokus.


Life Tips from Jay: A New Way To Read

I’ve read more books this year than I have in a very long time. And I’ve also read more books written by authors I’ve never read before. I’ve accomplished this literary feat by refusing to read critical book reviews and staying away from reading book synopsis or even book jackets. I’m sure this sounds like book blasphemy to the readers out there, but I’ve never enjoyed reading more by simply refusing to know what a book is about before I read it. Critical reviews give way too much away often from a skewed opinion-filled viewpoint; after all, that’s their job. And book jackets are often misleading or give away too many crucial plot points.

My advice to discover new books is to listen to family and friends talk about something new they’ve read, follow your favorite authors on Twitter or bookmark your favorite literary sites on the internet. Anytime you hear anyone mention a book in a positive way, just make a note and add it to your “To Read” list. When the time comes for a new book, whip out the list, don’t do any additional research to discover anything else about the book. Just get it and open to the prologue or page one and start reading. Trust me, knowing nothing beyond someone I respect has stated they enjoyed a book is an invigorating and motivating new way to read. It’s re-ignited my love of reading and helped me discover new exciting authors. So go forth, lick a finger, open a book without expectation or pre-conceived notions. It’s scary but so worth it.

Mesmerized by Animated Mid-Century Book Covers

So much respect for Henning M. Lederer. He masterfully animates minimalist mid-century book covers. If you’re into this, there are more of these videos here.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Life Cereal

There was a man in the grocery today. His hands were shaking. He seemed confused.

Off-balance. Wobbly. Not old. Not young. His shirt was torn at the elbow. Plaid shirt. Worn. Torn at the elbow.

Staring in an aisle of cereal. Seeing nothing. The world moving around him. He was still. Except for the shaking hands.

I thought he was going to fall. Swaying like a brittle tree in a strong wind. My hands outstretched to catch. To brace the inevitable fall.

“Sir, do you need help?”

A turn of his head. Slowly. To me. Eyes focusing. Recognition coming. Re-entering the world. A rocket-ship landing. An alien recalibrating to human form.

The societal dances. The pirouettes we perform.

A glitch. A jerk of the lips. A twitch. A mouth evolving to smile. Eyes faraway and glazed to present and friendly.

“Sir?” I repeat.

So feint. A mere whisper.

“My wife always did this.”

I ask, “What is it you are looking for?”

A blanket of sadness drapes, envelops him. He fades. Stares.

“I don’t know.” He says. “I don’t know…”

And he’s gone again.

Mental Yoga or Favorite Long Reads of the Week

  1. Aeon - Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

  2. The New Yorker - How To Control A Machine With Your Brain

  3. The New York Times - 100 Notable Books of 2018

Movie Streams - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix, Cam on Netflix

Bits n Pieces

  1. ‘Something beautiful amid total disaster.’ - The Camp Fire and the salvation of London the cat

  2. I may or may not have watched this more than once.

  3. The Layaway Angel - A man walked into a Vermont Walmart and paid off everyone’s layaway bill.

  4. Shoe Company Takes A Stand - Why TOMS is taking a stand to end gun violence.

  5. iOS 12 Update - My favorite new feature by far is “The Space Bar Trick"


International Corner

  1. Northern Ireland - Who is the woman in green?

  2. Finland - ‘We Are Smarter Than That’: Finns Hilariously Mock Trump’s ‘Raking’ Solution

  3. Britain - Brexit chaos could cause Britain to run out of Mars bars in two weeks.

  4. Germany - This is a statue in Berlin titled “Politicians Discussing Global Warming”:


Apple Holiday Ad :: “Share Your Gift”

Essential Holiday Links


Happy Thanksgiving Everybody