Lifestyle bloggers seem to have a central hook that they manage to turn into enough content to write a book, set up some kind of class, and keep their blog going for however long they stay interested. I tried something like that in a different blog of mine years ago. I had this notion of The Edge. The Edge is where things get scary and uncomfortable. It was about pushing myself while working out and going into places I normally avoid in my personal life. The idea got old quickly and I stopped writing those posts. They felt forced and inauthentic. It was a reasonable idea at the time, but looking back it really just reflects my constant internal refrain that I must go beyond the comfortable and experience real pain and suffering to discover what is at my core.
So maybe there are other central ideas that I could use to build up an entire brand. It's not that I have a real desire to become some kind of online thought leader. It's just an intellectual exercise. The next best idea I have for a central message is to avoid the pattern set by others and do your own thing. The space that others already occupy is crowded. Find your own thing and succeed at that. This is not a particularly unique message, and the irony that using the idea of following your own path as a way to emulate what others have done is not lost on me.
Formulas and following well tread paths is a popular idea. That's why telling people to believe in themselves and do their own thing is a powerful, if slightly cliched, message. This Nowegian guy Jo Nesbo has been successful following the formula of so many thriller writers before him. I was seeing these books in B&N so I decided to check one out. There is a whole series of them so this could be another list of books for me to check off if they provided enough intrigue. The book was decent enough, but I'm not going to be pursuing any more of them. The story felt very familiar despite talking place in Norway. It was a curiosity read. My curiosity is sated and I can happily leave Nesbo and Harry Hole behind (they may be good audio books though). So another book is off my to be read list.
My Ulysses progress has slowed, but I'm still moving my bookmark. Unlike The Redbreast, nothing about Ulysses feels familiar. It's not everyday that you read a book that is basically some guys internal narrative. I'm getting the hang of the book. It takes some coaxing for me to start reading it, but once I'm in it's not a huge deal for me to read 10 pages or so. This is not rapid progress, but it's progress. I'm about a quarter through the book. Sustained effort will get me to the end before the year is out.
I spent a huge chunk of my last half day Friday of the year at the garage while my car was being inspected. I used that time to start reading Undermajordomo Minor. It's the latest novel by Patrick deWitt. I read and enjoyed The Sister Brothers. His books are short, quick but still substantial reads. He's good with dialogue and the books are humorous. I will finish this book quickly, assuming I actually spend some time reading. I've been giving a decent chunk of my reading time to a book I checked out of the library. To Have or to Be? I'm not supposed to read library books (or any book other than those I owned at the start of the year), but I picked this one up when I was checking something out for my daughter. It's a very, very interesting book. There are some pretty weighty ideas scattered throughout the book. It's surprisingly easy to read for something so scholarly. I'm intrigued but not totally taken in. The politics of the book do not sit well with me. I will still finish it. It gets me closer to 30 but does nothing for Book Shelf Zero. As those are both more about having than being, I don't think it would bother Fromm too much.