Tolkien, Round 2: The Two Towers (and a few notes on Allegiant)

I started The Two Towers a couple of days ago after finishing Allegiant. I have to admit, even though I wrote in my last post that I would be able to finish Allegiant within a week’s time, I didn’t actually believe that I would.  And then I did! Awesome. I credit two things to the accomplishment of this goal:

1) telling myself (sternly) to buckle down and read
2) shaming myself into reading more to balance the insane number of hours I’ve recently spent watching back to back episodes of Raising Hope on Netflix.

SIDE BAR: Please note that Raising Hope is awesome and hilarious. Here is the trailer:

In the end, I decided not to write a post for Allegiant and instead jump right into The Two Towers. Before moving on, however, I do want to acknowledge that Veronica Roth managed to end that series in a way that I was not anticipating at all. In fact when the “Big Denouement” did occur, I thought she was twisting my arm. I kept reading because I was so convinced that in a few more pages or chapters, something would happen to the effect of a Literary Gotcha* but the Gotcha never came. I was bewildered, dazed, and, I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried. I soldiered on and read through my tears, and now I can put that pain behind me and move on to some good old fashioned fantasy lit.

When I last left the gang, Boromir had tried (and failed) to get the ring from Frodo, which didn’t work out too well for him as I recall. Then Frodo and Sam had stowed away on a boat together to face the rest of their journey alone. Such brave lil’ hobbits, aren’t they?

My goal now is to finish The Lord of the Rings series before the end of the month, which means I need step up my game. Wish me luck!

*Literary Gotcha: 1 to be led to believe one thing and to later discover that the opposite is true; 2 a term I just made up (dibs on copyright!); 3 a literary device

List? What List?

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been reading from The List for some time now. I warned you all that this would happen from time to time! Still, I feel that is a weak excuse, at best. In short, I’ve been a bad bad girl (get your heads out of the gutter now, we’re talking about reading here, not sexy time).

First, I diverged from the reading list to read The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, which I’ve documented in previous posts. No regrets!

Then my reading ran away with itself…

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Someone I greatly respect (and one of my superiors) at work recommended The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi. The last book recommended by this superior was Arlene Dickinson’s Persuasion, which I really enjoyed. As far as professional reading goes, it was very insightful and it made a lot of sense to me – it also ended up being some required reading for the company. So it follows that once I saw her recommendation for The Effortless Experience pop up, I used one of my Audible credits for the audiobook. I’m glad I did, too. Essentially, the authors posit that the new goal for companies should be to focus on making the customer experience easier. Apparently there has been too much of a focus over the years on providing an over-the-top amazing customer experience, when all people really want is for you to make their lives easier. You make their life easier, you win their business and potentially their loyalty. BAM! Eureka! But in all seriousness it has had a positive impact on the way I do my job. For that reason, I’m glad I took the time to listen to this audiobook. Also I wouldn’t be too surprised to see it pop up as required reading at work, or having some kind of influence on strategies for next year. So if you think about it that way, I’m one step ahead!

Next up, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. (SIDE BAR: that man has a lot of “L”s in his name, doesn’t he?) This was also acquired with Audible credits. Listen – I went into my account one day and saw that I had saved up 6 credits. That’s a lot of credits considering you only get one a month! I had no choice but to use them!! Right? Right. Of course. Let’s not be wasteful. For those of you out there still raising an incredulous eyebrow in my general direction, here was my justification: (1) I wanted to use my Audible credits, (2) I still wanted to finish Allegiant before returning to the Lord of The Rings series, and (3) I wanted an audiobook to listen to for my commute.

So after finishing Effortless Experience I moved on to David and Goliath. It was really interesting – I didn’t agree with all of the conclusions drawn by Gladwell in his discussion of our perceptions of advantages and disadvantages, but I still found the conversation to be thought provoking and intriguing. It’s the sort of thing I think a debate club or Toastmaster’s club could really have fun with. Actually, it might make for an interesting blog post of its own…maybe I’ll do a follow-up post on that one…we’ll see, no promises.

Now I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth, which I think I should be able to finish up in the next week or so, and listening to Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. To be honest, I think I’m a bit premature in my listening of Dad is Fat. I think I might enjoy it more when kids start being a factor in my life.

After I finish Allegiant I PROMISE I’ll go back to Lord of the Rings. Pinky swear! I already have the audiobook and everything!

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