Monthly Archives: March 2012

Reading For Robin Goes To Memphis

MemphisOkay, to be honest the blog is not going to Memphis, just I am. The blog will be left here in New York, sad and alone and probably without a new post until Tuesday.

But while the blog is throwing a party in my empty apartment, I’ll be at a party of a different sort in Tennessee. I’m excited!

While my schedule in Memphis is pretty packed, my hours on the plane are blissfully free for reading. I’ll be finishing up the book I’m reading now and hopefully making a dent in the next one. Unfortunately, they are both books for work that aren’t out yet so not much to talk about here. Once they’re done, though, I’m moving on… to Fifty Shades of Grey and all the erotica I could hope for (and much, much more I’m sure).

After all that, I promise I’m getting back to my mom’s list.

Joshua Foer Live And In Person

Joshua FoerI am so excited for Reading For Robin’s first ever guest post! And not just because it means I can watch an extra few minutes of How I Met Your Mother. Here Carley tells us about attending Joshua Foer’s talk at Google’s New York office.

Before I officially begin my guest post on Reading for Robin (affectionately referred to as RFR in my circles), I’d like to say what an honor it is to be posting. I am RFR’s #1 fan so this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and an honor.  So thank you, Sam!

The purpose of this post is to tell you about a talk I attended with Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein, which Sam recently listened to and wrote about here and here.  Moonwalking with Einstein is about memory, and so the discussion that Foer gave centered around just that. And since I work in the technology world, the conversation turned to how the internet, smartphones and computers  have changed the way that we (humans) use our memories.  Has the internet (and the ease with which we can access bounds of information) made us dumber or just lazier?

During my hour with Joshua Foer, I was convinced of the latter. Foer argues that because we know that we can just “Google” something, we are not compelled to memorize solitary facts.  We use our memory’s capacity for other, more complex things. Foer also argues that our memory is like a lens, always changing and interacting with the environment. Knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom, and technology is only making shallow knowledge more accessible, which enables us to tackle more complex problems. If we don’t use our memory for shallow facts, we could ideally use the extra memory capacity to solve more complex problems. Whether we choose to do that is a different story entirely.

By the end of the hour, what we really concluded was that the world is changing, and so is the way that humans process information. Now that we have access to all of the world’s information through the click of a button, will we stop memorizing shallow facts (For example, half of high school students don’t know who we fought in WWII!?!) so that we have more time and memory capacity to absorb complex ideas and thoughts that we are truly passionate about? What scares me is this: if we don’t take the time to learn facts, how are we supposed to know what we should care about? In the WWII example, if you don’t know who we fought (or why), how are we supposed to know that we should care about it?

I haven’t had a chance yet to read Moonwalking with Einstein, but now that I own a copy, I am looking forward to reading it, and I hope to have more questions and opinions about such an interesting topic.  Maybe when I finish the book, I’ll be back as a guest blogger to tell you what I learned!

A Little Grey, A Little Einstein

Fifty Shades of GreyI actually meant to post yesterday. I had things to say (for once) and I wanted to say them. Unfortunately, filing my taxes got in the way. Or, to be more honest, sitting next to Andrew while he did most of the work on filing my taxes got in the way.

No worries, I’m here now. And here’s what you missed yesterday:

Universal and Focus Features won the rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. As a reminder, Fifty Shades of Grey is the erotic novel sweeping Long Island nail salons. What I can’t figure out is how this is going to be a real movie and not just a pornographic film. I mean, I haven’t read the book yet, but from what I hear it’s got to be rated at least NC-17 right? I guess I will soon find out! Once again, yes, this is our current book club book.

Also, on a completely different, unsexual note, I finished the audiobook of Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking With Einstein just days after the 15th Annual USA Memory Championship took place. For the curious, Nelson Dellis won, making him the new USA Memory Champion. On his path to glory, Nelson also managed to set the US record for speed numbers by memorizing 303 digits in five minutes.

In more Joshua Foer news, the author was at Google’s New York office on Monday to speak to the Googlers about Moonwalking with Einstein. Sadly my job kept me from being there but my Google liaison Carley was in attendance. She has promised to write a guest post about the event so get excited for that. If it hasn’t been posted in the next week or so, feel free to bug her about it.

And there you have it, everything on my mind the last two days.

The Hunger Games Movie Happened

Hunger Games movieSo this is my last Hunger Games post for a while… I think. I make no promises of course. But how could I not update you after actually seeing the Hunger Games movie in theaters yesterday?

I showed up to the movie with a huge posse (as per usual?). Even before we took over almost an entire row, we were chatting about our expectations, our Peeta/Gale allegiances, etc. After the movie ended, we picked up right where we left off.

I thought the movie was great. Pretty much all of the casting was spot-on and the acting was excellent. I also felt that the visuals were really eye-catching and well-done (though some of the camera work had me feeling nauseous and as if I was actually in the Hunger Games). The parts of the movie about Rue were some of my favorite.

The one area I thought the movie faltered in a little bit was portraying the relationships between the characters. I understand that at 2.5 hours the movie is already long enough and could not fit in any more explanation. Still, I didn’t think Katniss and Gale’s relationship was fully displayed nor did I think a credible relationship between Katniss and Peeta was established. I blame the change in perspective for this. The book is told from Katniss’ point of view so the reader is in her head and knows exactly what she is thinking about the people in her life. However, it’s a little hard to film a movie that way.

The plus of the movie’s perspective is that we can see more of The Capital’s intervention. When Katniss is doing too well, you see the gamemakers scheming to flush her out of the woods, and so forth. It added something to view that side of the action.

Okay, between endless in person Hunger Games conversations and this blog post, I think that is more than enough analysis of a movie with purely entertainment value. So let’s conclude with, I really enjoyed it! If you liked the books, you should go see the movies. I may now have a small girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence.

Go For The Gold in Memory

USA Memory ChampionshipI’ve been listening to Walking With Einstein for a few weeks now and the story mostly revolves around the USA Memory Championship. The author, Joshua Foer, originally gets interested in memory covering the event and then decides to enter himself for the next year’s competition.

This all made me curious. I decided to do a little research (ie Googling) to find out more about the contest. It turns out the 15th Annual USA Memory Championship is this Saturday. The events include Names and Faces, Speed Numbers, Speed Cards, Poetry, Spoken Words, Double Deck O’Cards, and Three Strikes Your Out. Listen to Walking With Einstein and you will at least know what a few of these entail. I know way more about them than I ever thought I would.

This is probably the only year this competition will ever be on my radar. Still, now I’m kind of interested to see how it all turns out.

NYC Is Crazy For Hunger Games

Crowd outside B&N for Hunger Games castThis post is going to be a race against the NyQuil. Here goes…

Maggie challenged me to write about Hunger Games every day this week. I haven’t lived up to the goal, but I’m not entirely giving up.

Speaking of Maggie, on Tuesday we found ourselves strolling through Union Square together. “What’s that big crowd doing outside of Union Square?” she asked. And then I remembered. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson of the Hunger Games movie were making an appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. But what we thought was simply a lot of people in front of the store (see my picture), was actually a line several blocks long. According to GalleyCat, people had been camping out for 24 hours in hopes of getting an autograph.

While I’m certainly looking forward to the movie (I already have tickets to a Sunday afternoon show), I feel no need to meet the cast. They aren’t even that famous… yet. But it was amusing to see all the craziness.

All the magic starts tonight at midnight. Happy Hunger Games Opening Night!

Hunger Games Takes Over The World

Hunger GamesIt’s Hunger Games week so I’m giving myself a free pass to blog about it as much as I want to. And since I am not that close to finishing my book, I need something to discuss on the blog.

The most recent news out of Panem the Internet is that Suzanne Collins, author of the trilogy, has just become the best-selling Kindle author of all time. No big deal or anything.

I’ve experienced the Hunger Games in both paperback and e-book form so I did help to contribute to that title at least a little. So you’re welcome Ms. Collins.