I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about the value of novels. For the

longest time, I didn’t understand the value of reading a novel. Science books,

business books had so much information about the world and how it works. Why

read something imaginable when you can read something which is real?

^

Novels may not have graphs and statistics, they convince you the need to be

nice to one each other, talk to your kids/parent, and believe in yourself.

We all know these are things we should do, and if a book can make you act it out, the

book’s value is far beyond any fact.

^

The Kite Runner is one of those books.

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After Dark by Haruki Murakami

This book is mind bothering. Endings for books resolve all of our curiosity, or shuts

out our hope for any happy ending. This book continues on after the last page. But

there is a way to resolve our curiosity.

after_dark.largeWe encounter many people in life and not know how their life is unfolding. The novel

has that going on. The book will make you mad after you finish it because you won’t

know what will happen to a character you were reading for 50 pages. The only

character you need to think about is Mari. Even though the book talks in a 3rd

point of view, you must think you’re Mari and think how shes feeling while all of this is

going on.

^

The main conflict in this story is Mari not getting a long with her only

sister Eri. Mari saw a resemblance of Eri in the innocent, and helpless Chinese

prostitute girl. Takahashi told Mari that Eri desires to get a long with Mari again. Mari

found out that even the strongest people in the world like Kaoru will have a very hard

time getting a long with people. Out of all what happened over the night, after dark

Mari finds a strong desire to get back with her sister Eri again. Mari also finds out the

moment when they were the closest with each other. Mari starts this process of

unification by hugging Eri extra tight as the dark fades away.

I grew up listening to Offspring, Green Day, Rancid, and etc. But I never knew how all of this PUNK movement started. This is why I decided to buy this book.

Please Kill Me (the uncensored oral history of Punk)

{$9.92/$194.08}

IMG_0352Overall, I’m disappointed in PUNK. But I’m satisfied. The PUNK I know is all about

giving the finger to the BIG MAN. You know you can’t beat the BIG MAN, but you

want to do something about those pigs who rip you off. So that started PUNK! I hate

how you are doing things, and I know anything I do won’t change a thing, but this is

how I feel and the only way I know how to express my anger at you.

^

The musicians who first started this sort of movement, The Velvet Underground, was

well tutored by the famous Andy Warhol. After the first generation of pioneers, things

just got bad. Punk stars became junkies and useless. The movement started to be an

act of self destruction. England saw this act of self destruction and magnified this to a

new level of Chaos, and it died.

^

Danny Fields: “…this punk thing wasn’t viable. That they were meant to self-destruct

and so what’s the point in investing in any of them? Why build an audience for the

Ramones or the Pistols or the Clash? Why institutionalize them if they’re just

going to be destroyed, if it’s their nature to destroy others and to destroy

themselves?”

Legs McNeil: “Now that it was here, I didn’t want any part of it. Overnight, punk had

become as stupid as everything else. Punk wasn’t ours anymore. It had become

everything we hated.”

^

POWER ANGER DIY were the things good about PUNK. Let’s leave it at that.

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin {$15/$121.08}

The author used to be in a band, but fell in love with the BRAIN as well. If you’ve been

listening to music more than a decade this book will be very interesting for you.

brainmusic

Just like most cognitive study related book, we learn that we are not who we think

we are. The songs we listened to in the past will affect the music we listen to in the

future. This is because our brain records and stores data of each song we listen to.

If we listen to Britney and Jonas Brothers for 10 yrs, we will listen to the sortof crap

for 50 more yrs. If you train your listening skills to be more diverse, every

song will be pleasant for your ears.

^

The type of songs you listen to during your teenage year will affect you the most.

Because teenage years are when you ask the serious questions in life. Who am I? What

am I good for? How do I steal money from my mom’s purse? Except for the last question,

all questions are related to finding who you are as a person. The music you listen to

during these years will impact how you are as a person.

^

Out of many components of music, for example rhythm, scale, melody, and beat, the

author argues that timbre, the type of instrument you are playing a note, has the most

distinguished taste out of all the components. Shifting the chords, changing the

rhythm, has all been done before. But in the late 20th century and the 21st century,

the type of instrument you play with is the most differentiating factor of them all. I

agree with his statement! Look at electronica music these days… its amazing what

kindof sound they can produce!

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For your future music listening entertainment,

I highly recommend this book.

The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman is a famous economist who won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

The  book promotes narrowing the gap between the rich and poor class.

IMG_0331The book is all about REPUBLICAN PARTY BASHING. In a society like ours, we have

the rich, the poor, and everyone in the middle. The narrower the income gap is, the

society as a whole is more stable. But what are the forces needed to keep this gap narrow

as possible? This is where government comes in. The government has the power to

narrow this gap, or let it widen as much as the free market wants it to.

^

The book looks at union organization and welfare history in the US. Since the 70s,

unions got harder to organize and the amount of money put in welfare decreased.

Following this was the increase in income gap. The Obama administration is setting

policies to increase welfare, and campaigning for a strong union organization. These

policies are in-sync with Dr. Krugman’s research.

^

I believe a society AS A WHOLE must develop and grow. We’ve seen amazing

developments over the past few decades. But were we marching on forward together?

I do not believe this is the case. The richest in the nation were getting obese, fat, and

stuffed while the poorest had to get their second job, or maybe third job. I admire

those who work three jobs, just to get food on the table. However, I’m disgusted about

the situation. Nobody should be working three jobs, just to get food on the table. So

what is an indication of my opinion? The minimum wage in this country does not

increase that much compared to the economy. I’m not sure about the idea of putting

an income gap on the rich, but I do believe we have to increase the minimum wage.

My philosophy is that, if the country is getting wealthier, the people of the

country needs to get wealthier at the same time.

krugman

Republicans were destroying unions, and welfare for too long.

Now is the time for a new change!

All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman $40/$106.08

big0743293185About a year ago, I didn’t know what to do with my life. But luckily, I’ve met good

guidance from then. A couple of months ago, my desire to pursue a career in the music

business grew. But I didn’t know where to start. I think this book is a good way to start.

^

If you know which field in the music business you want to get involved, this is not a book

for you. There is no tip on how to become a better manager, promoter, or agent. This

book simply tells you the BUSINESS OF MUSIC. The book focuses on two sub topics. The

first is the type of jobs involved in the music business. And the second is how money

flows in music. The book is in the MUSICIAN’S Point of View.

^

The really helpful information on this book were the ways on how to choose your team.

There is an online directory for all the music managers, promoters, lawyers, and

business managers. When I was looking for a job in New York, I couldn’t get a job from

looking at the job listing sites. I knew I had to do something different. I went on

Allaccess to find me a promoter and lawyer I could work for. I ended up working for an

entertainment lawyer. This book is filled with small tips like these. The most interesting

section was the record deal. I always thought a band’s contract with a major record

company is better longer. It’s quite the opposite. You need to view every album as an

investment. I wish every album could be a great commercial success, but it simply

doesn’t work like that. When record companies invest in a record, they want their

investments returned plus profit. When your first album doesn’t make a profit, you are

obligated to make another album to recover the investment of your first album.

But if you make another DOG album, well you just get bigger in debt with your

record company. The book talks about other situations where you actually create a

commercial successful album, but don’t see much of that profit due to the BUSINESS

of music.

^

The book tells you to think smart when it comes to money. For ages, record companies

were messing with great musicians. The only way to secure your next disaster is doing

nothing for yourself. Reading this book won’t guarantee fame, but it will save your ass

from tough situations.

This is one of those books that I’ve been waiting to read. Thank you Laura Kim forgiving this opportunity.
Bill Maher preached “I don’t  know,” (if God exists) in his movie Religulous. Richard Dawkins goes a little bit further. He defines God as Allah, Jesus, the Gods in human religions.

Richard Dawkins writes there is no God.

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The book is divided in to ten chapters. (ten commandments?)  The book is basically a huge argument between the people in religion and Richard Dawkins. But overall I believe he is trying to fix the image of Atheism. Atheism has been linked to anarchy, no morals, and soulless for a long time. When in reality, atheism is a different set of thinking. How this became the image of blood, violence, and chaos is beyond my understanding. I’m not sure if Passion of Christ is a representation of Christianity, but that shit looked violent. For the sake of himself and other atheist, this book will hopefully change how people think about atheists.

The book writes what most atheists think about. If the holy book is so divine why does it contradict itself? If God is loving, why did he kill so many people? Even today, why should religion have a different set of laws from everyone else? And the whole argument between Creation and Evolution goes on for two chapters.

But there were interesting readings that I’ve never thought of. Where is the root of ethic and moral? Religion claims without God there would have been no moral and ethic. Moral and ethic came from God. So does God have any tips on how to deal with Iran? I believe and read “WE” create moral and ethic. Don’t you think we could of gathered and decide murder is bad? In the book there is a tribe without a religion. When researchers talked to them, they had a similar ethic code. Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t rape, and etc.  And let’s say ethic came from God. Try reading the Bible without flinching. Was it Abraham? He gave his daughters for the village people to rape instead of the angels. Jesus told the disciples to leave their family and follow him. And this other dude almost killed his own son for God.

Our idea of what is right changed over time. White people thought colored people are inferior. Gays were burnt. And women are still treated like shit in some countries. The teachings in the Bible could have been awesome for that time. But we live in a different time with different ideas. I think its about time to let go old traditions that make no sense. There’s so many reasons why I left the path of Jesus. But one memory is still striking for me. I was interested in the Witch Hunt in high school. Religious extremist killing people without a fair trial. You see religious extremist even today trying to burn gays. So I asked my fellow brothers if they thought being gay was a sin. All 5 of them thought it was. And I knew this is not something I want to believe in.

On the 8th chapter Richard Dawkins goes all out on why he is negative about religion. Everything is sure and absolute in religion. Faith makes people believe in stuff they don’t truly understand. “I’m not sure Lord, but I will follow you.” One of phrases I used when I used to pray. There is no room for investigation or check. For a person who is so sure about the unsure, the brightest scientist’s evidence becomes useless. Jesus’ way or the highway mentality blocks the courses of discussion and pisses Richard Dawkins off.

Have you ever watched Jesus Camp? The biggest issue I have with religion is the kids. Not the 10 year old boys who get sexually harassed by religious figures, but my future kids. This is my theory and a bit of Dr. Dawkins, the reason why religion survived this long is through the kids. Believing in an imaginary friend (Jesus/God), believing in a Big Fish ate a man and that man surviving. Believing in a talking snake, believing anything without much thinking is what kids do and what religion exploits. My parents were Christians but they were very opened about it. I explored other religions and they were always there to talk about it. They never told me to shut up and believe what we believe in. I thank them so much for that. I’ve been a kid before and for anyone at that age to decide their life worth of belief is mind blowing. Give the kids a chance to explore and question. Because that’s all they do at that age.

Today we live in a world of religion. Religion is an actual powerful tool for politics. And that scares the shit out of me. But for most people religion is not politics. It’s a good Sunday morning. A place for community. A place for peace. Whatever your reasons are, its your decision, and I respect that. But when religion comes in the way of your dream and desire, I hope you become selfish and pursue what you want.

Because at the end God loves you no matter what. Right?