Lyse Links: Talking cats, secret lives, and extreme athletes


Long weekend! More time for reading! Wait, what? That’s not what you do with your long weekends? Strange. (To be fair, it’s not the only thing I do either. I went to a dog beach last night, I’m cycling a preserve tonight, and I’m hopeful for kayaking on Monday! Readers can love outdoor activities too. )

This Week’s Gems

Munchausen Proxy or Con Artist? This story is worthy of a novel. (Actually, it’s similar to elements of Everything, Everything, which just released as a movie, but started as a YA novel. But I don’t think EE is an appropriate treatment of this idea.)

The Dutch King’s Secret Double Life: This is absolutely my favorite piece of news to release in ages. If you’re as tired as I am of conspiracies and mud-slinging and corrupt politicians, you’ll enjoy this.

Why did a Chinese peroxide company pay 1 billion for a talking cat (app)? Look, it’s not an actual talking cat. 1 billion for a talking cat would make sense. But if you’re a businessperson, this one’s for you. If you’re normal, like the rest of us [normal, I say!], read this to be freaked out about the deals and associations and global business games you don’t know about. Or don’t read it. I personally enjoy not thinking about global conspiracies I can’t control.

College dean in hot water over Yelp reviews: Yes, over Yelp reviews. How many times do people (teachers, especially!) need to be reminded that the Internet affects real life?

Why do you think about the future?

The barbarians are at Etsy’s hand-hewn, responsibly-sourced gates: I sometimes edit the headlines of these stories, but that one was perfect. I don’t use Etsy and I’ve never been much of a fan, but the company is a fascinating study in balancing values with practical (sometimes pragmatic) business sense.

Dug Up from the Treasure Chest

For this long weekend, I trawled through the articles I’ve saved from the last few years, picking out some of my favorites. I believe these are all new to Lyse Links, but a few may be reposts.

The Shadow Side of Greatness: This is an old one, but led to one of the most important questions in my life: What kind of pain do you want? If you strive for greatness or push yourself to master something, read this.

Jesus’s Wife, The Harvard Professor, and the Florida Pornographer: Truth may be stranger than fiction, but only if you can separate the two. This story of tracking down an ancient manuscript is a trip from beginning to end.

The Reluctant Memoirist: A beautiful essay on the power of words and the complicated ethics of undercover journalism. (Some strong language in reprinted comments/criticism.)

Live, for the moment: The complex relationship between extreme athletes and their audiences. Articles that discuss and analyze internet trends, rather than dismissing them as youthful foolishness, are vital. Internet creators are a new brand of entrepreneur and broader culture doesn’t give them enough critical attention.

 

Which article is your favorite?

 

Unpopular book opinion: Excerpts/Previews


Have you noticed the trend recently of authors and publishers releasing excerpts/previews/sneak peaks? They’ll market them as huge news! or a giveaway! or even a pre-order bonus. When I go to book conferences, many authors give them away at their signing tables.

But here’s the thing.

I don’t read excerpts. In fact, I prefer as little preview of a book as possible. That wasn’t always the case. As a kid, I didn’t know a lot about book news, but I obsessively followed the trailers and hype for movies. And eventually I learned that I enjoyed a movie less when I’d seen all the good parts first. The jokes are less funny when you’ve watched clips of them ad infinitum. But in my early years around the book community, I did the same thing. I’d read the synopses and the previews and follow all the pre-release hype. And no joke, I have sitting on my shelf right now 2 books that I pre-ordered last year and still have not read.

I’ve realized that excitement about a release often has more to do with the event than it does the story in the book. When I get caught up in hype, it’s normally about being part of the community–fangirling with other fans, getting likes and retweets from authors, participating in the collective hullabaloo.

Enjoying stories, on the other hand, happens most often when I pick up a book out of curiosity. “Hey, I think I’m in the mood for this.” “Oh, I remember people posting about this. Let’s see what it’s about.” Some of the books I’ve enjoyed most are the ones I didn’t know much about ahead of time.

So I don’t read excerpts or synopses anymore. And I kinda wish publishers would stop making such a big deal out of them. Even if, from a marketing standpoint, I understand why previews are an easy move.

Side note: nonfiction is a different story. I read The Undoing Project 100% because of excerpts released as articles.

What about you? Do you love excerpts and previews?

A Scientific Guide to Paperfury’s Favorite Books


I might have too much time on my hands. Today, giving in to a silly idea I’ve had for awhile now, I trawled through 7 months of Cait/Paperfury‘s Instagram feed to track how many times she featured a Stiefvater or Schwab book. If you follow Cait, you’ve probably wondered about that yourself. It seems like every other post is one of the queens of lyrical darkness.

Now I have the answers for you.

According to a very scientific analysis, Continue reading

Lyse Links: conspiracy theories, overachievers, and Confucius


Do I say I have great articles for you every time I post these? Because I really love these. I even eliminated a few that were interesting, but not quite up to snuff. Categorized for easier skimming, but they’re ALL worth reading, I promise.
(Oh, and there’s a quick question at the end. Could you do me a favor and pop down to answer it? Thanks :D)

Humor

Conspiracy Theorists Use Twitter to Yell at Mars Rover — this will make you shake your head. But it’s good to be reminded how people outside our circles think. And I’m guessing hoping none of you are in that circle.
My Fully Optimized Life — McSweeney’s piece on living an optimized life. 😀
How to Survive Hard Times as a Copywriter — also McSweeney’s. This one hits home…

Living Your Best Life

Incrementalism is OK — for overachievers especially, it’s hard to remember that small gains are ok, even good. This interview with Robb Wolf was a good reminder for me.
How I Got a Second Degree in 2 Years While Working Fulltime — really, I couldn’t not read this. While I have an ambivalent relationship with this kind of extreme achievement, this guy seems pretty balanced and he has lots of good advice. (If you want my less-polished version, drawn from personal experience doing extreme things, check this out.)
I Gave Up TV, Then Qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and Got My PhD — Again, I have very mixed feelings. I’ve suffered some psychological backlash from pushing myself hard and I also don’t like the way we (as a culture) have started fetishizing streamlined lives and accumulated accomplishments. But I do support people testing these ideas in their own lives.
Can a Harvard Professor and Confucius Change Your Life? — I think this article is most interesting for the way that you can watch non-religious people hungering for many of the principles of a religious life. If you’re interested in self-improvement, this is an important read.

Thought-Provoking

Because I’m a Girl — I have nothing to say about this. Read it.

Trusting Your Fat Friend — You should read this whole piece, but the major takeaway for me was Continue reading

Reading Recap: April 2017


2017 Reading Goals | January Recap | March Recap

I am having a great reading year! Feels good to dedicate so much time to my favorite hobby. 🙂

2017 Goals

As a reminder, here are my goals:

  • Total: 150
  • Pages: 60,000
  • 40 non-fiction
  • 10 classics
  • 10 translations
  • 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
  • 50 book reviews

Totals Through April

Continue reading

Tired Legs, Sloppy Trails


I ran today for the first time in a week. Last week I came down with a cold and decided to skip 2 runs and rest. With the end of the semester, a full-time job, and a move this week, I had plenty of other responsibilities to sap my energy! But I’m on the tail-end of the sickness now and I really wanted to get back to training. So tonight was a short warmup run and I’m hoping to do a long run tomorrow and jump back up to my target mileage.

[Sidebar: I’m really close to hitting 50 miles for the month. If I’d stuck with my training program, I’d have passed that mark easily, but now I’m scheming how to get a run in on moving day. That’s a shocking and encouraging number to me, so I’d really like to experience that milestone.]

So after work tonight I loaded the dog up and headed out to my favorite local park. It’s a great place with a dog park and miles of trails. We’ve had a few days of rain, so I knew the trails would be pretty messy and they were! My legs are covered in dirt and mud splashes. I had a nasty side stitch partway through and I had to stop a few times–to deal with dog or observe wildlife or whatever–but it felt great to get back out.

[Sidebar again: speaking of wildlife, check out these photos and video from the park! Continue reading

Reading Recap: March 2017


Well, I missed February’s recap, so we need to catch up a lot. It’s been a good reading year!

As a reminder, here are my goals:

  • Total: 150
  • Pages: 60,000
  • 40 non-fiction
  • 10 classics
  • 10 translations
  • 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
  • 50 book reviews

(see this post for more details)

Here are the totals from the end of March: Continue reading