In West Va. with a genius and Iowa with some creepy people

IMG_20120904_131924 I’m getting a little worried about my challenges, and I’m also a little pressed for options these days, so I’m going with what is in the queue and will help me out a bit with challenge goals. I got a chance to read a biography that has been sitting both on my bookshelf and on my phone for ages, A Beautiful Mind, and a mystery by a favorite guilty pleasures author, John Sandford. These which checked off W. Va and Iowa and an N author.

Most of you have probably seen the movie made based on A Beautiful Mind. I actually haven’t, because I wanted to read the book, which represents things more accurately, first. In case you haven’t, the book is the story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who became psychotic and lost most of his adult life to hospitalization and relative obscurity, only to regain his ability to function in late adulthood, when he remarried his wife and was awarded the Nobel in Economics for his work in game theory. For me as a psychologist, his is a fascinating tale, since people diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia are not known for their positive prognosis. There is a good PBS documentary about him called A Brilliant Madness which you can also watch on You Tube for free. The book was fascinating, well written, and only slightly dense with math that makes the eyes cross. I once thought I would major in math in college. In the end, I’d have been horrifically out of my league, as was very clear from reading this book. I will leave that to the geniuses, and stick to practicing psychology and reading great books. I was very glad to have read this one, even though I generally prefer to stick to fiction. So many amazing novels, so little time, and all that. But this checked off an N author and W. Va, so I was good to veer away from fiction for a few days.

A little tiny bit of Bad Blood takes place in Iowa, so I checked off Iowa with this book. It’s bordering on cheating, but I have a ridiculously busy job now, and I can read a more serious Iowa option later if I have time. In the meantime, I got in a guilty pleasure read, with one of John Sandford’s novels about Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers, who’s an amusing protagonist with a great t-shirt collection and a decent ability to quote scripture. The latter comes in handy in this novel, in which he investigates a series of murders that involve a strange German religious sect on the Minnesota/Iowa border. This is not literary fiction, but it’s a fun read, and I try to keep up on my John Sandford mysteries. They are solidly entertaining and less intimidating than some of the 40+ hour novels I have to choose from in the near future!

Progress report:

Around the World (goal: 52 total including at least 6 in each of 6 different regions) 20
Asia/Mideast: 5 (Israel, China, Afghanistan, Japan, Iran)
Africa: 1 (Madagascar)
Europe: 8 (England/UK, Ireland, Monaco, Poland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Holland)
Caribbean/Central America/North America: 4 (US, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic)
Oceania: 1 (Fiji)
South America:
Extra: 1 (Scotland)

Around the US (goal: 50 states, DC, and PR): 14 (CA, CO, GA, IA, LA, MA, MN, MS, NM, NJ, NY, PA, RI, WV)

1001 Books (goal 52): 15

A to Z challenge (must be completed in order–26 author last names A to Z then 26 titles A to Z–strategy is all!): 14
Authors: Auster, Beinart, Chandler, Donovan, Eugenides, Faulkner, Grau, Hosseini, Ishiguro, Joyce, King, Lewis, Murakami, Nasar


About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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