Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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make time for reading every week

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in your heart there's a sparkAnansi Boys, Neil Gaiman

This book was SO FUN to read! I had such a good time with it. His sense of humor is great here, and I love the way he weaves fantasy with real life. The story has good heart too. Read it!

Am reading a book of his short stories now, and they’re darker, a lot of ghost tales. I like that too but I enjoy him more when he’s being fun. 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparkWorld War Z, by Max Brooks

I have not been this scared by a book in twenty years. First night I laid in bed til two a.m. calculating the thickness of the glass slider separating me from the living dead, plotting my escape plan and trying to figure out the best hiding place, or whether it was a better idea to just take myself out before they got me. I wondered if I should jump with my kid off the highest bridge so they wouldn’t eat her. I mentally ran through various relatives and estimated their shooting ability, how likely they would be able to get a head shot on a gaggle of zombies, and oh yeah, wondering why they always travel in packs. Nobody’s ever explained that! Okay, I’m not crazy. I know the zombies are not coming for me. Well, not strictly speaking anyway. But he’s written an oral history based on his interviews with the “survivors,” their firsthand accounts of what happened during the Zombie War, the Great Plague. He covers the globe, because it was pandemic, from the refugees fleeing and spreading the disease, to the at-first slow and clueless but eventually chillingly efficient military response, and the political restructuring that followed the apocalypse to rebuild society. Imagine, former analysts and VPs having to now get retrained by former migrant farmhands and carpenters to do something useful because the human population had almost gone extinct and nobody knew how to build, repair or grow anything. Anyway, I guess it’s not hard to make the leap to any deadly global threat, and that’s probably what had me so riled about the damn zombies coming after us. Clearly, there’s only one thing to do if I’m ever gonna sleep again. 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparknot a romance

The Giant’s House: A Romance. Nothing romanticized about it. It’s a love story of sorts, an unconventional one, of two lonely misfits. A quiet, kind of heartbreaking story. She handles the characters in a very uncontrived, honest way; they ring true. 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparkunfinished

The Sister by Poppy Adams. I was enjoying it but my attention span is as bad as ever and once she launched into pages upon pages of moth research jargon, my brain walked out on it. It was overdue and I’d renewed it already so I just took it back. I never made it to all the secrets, damn it. Can’t somebody just give me the spoiler? 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparkThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Thanks to Bookish for the recommendation. I have a book called Great Books for Girls, and this needs to be in it, obviously for the strong female heroine. Young, smart, resourceful and independent. And when she makes a sacrifice, it’s for the right reasons. In the Disney tales young girls are reared on, it seems they have to sacrifice part of themselves for the man, whereas Frankie sacrifices male approval to stay true to herself. My only regret is that my daughter isn’t old enough for it yet, but when she is, around age twelve or so, I’ll be really happy to give it to her. The only thing I would have changed is that I would have given the book a more admirable male character too. I don’t think a feminist novel and a strong male character are mutually exclusive. 5 years ago


IraReading

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (though my copy isn’t the 10th anniversary edition, but an old copy from the bookshop I volunteer at – I’ll check out the 10th anniversary one afterwards.) I’ll write more when I finish them but, they both are wonderful books about what make us human. 5 years ago


cratylusUntitled

I’ve spent less time reading paper books lately. I read lots of pdfs etc , but it’s not as relaxing. 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparkLibrary debtor's jail

I’m scared of what my fees are for my overdue books. They’re going to punish me. Now that wouldn’t be a bad place to hang out, would it? We could all share stories about what book we were in for, and punishment would be to finish all the books we’d kept out late because we got excited and greedy and checked out too many at one time. The hardcore library criminals would be all book-nerdy, all well-read rebels not easily intimidated by the Librarian Authority Figure, one of whom is the warden of the place, by the way. Yeah, I could do some serious time there. 5 years ago


in your heart there's a sparkYou Suck, Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is zany. Wacky. I don’t really know a better word right now, but he’s good for when you need a break from heavier stories. But I can’t read him too often because I tend to like my fiction a bit more serious, I guess, and by that I mean not all about the laughs. I’m not expressing what I mean very well. Here…reading books like this is kind of like being in a room with an extrovert who has had too much caffeine (coming from someone who’s not and doesn’t). No, I’m still not getting at what I mean. I guess I just like characters who feel real to me. And his stories are just too out there to feel real.

HOWEVER. I did like this story. Now, I was starting to feel just some annoyance at one point with it, because I wasn’t able to bond with the characters. (A horny, 19 year old vampire and his girlfriend, so y’know…) BUT. Then he introduced the character of Abby Normal, the little goth girl who becomes their “minion” and she humanized the story for me (not to mention made it even more fun). Her teenager diary entries about serving her “Dark Lord” and his mistress are as hilarious as . . . looking for the right simile . . . watching Young Frankenstein? Yeah, that funny. She needs her own book! She stole the story. It wouldn’t have been very good without her. The kid is precious. 5 years ago


IraWhat Do *You* Care What Other People Think? - by Richard P. Feynman

I’m reading quite a few books at the moment, as I’m trying to teach myself various things, but this is the one I’m reading for pleasure – it’s a book I found in the second-hand bookshop I volunteer for, a collection of true stories from the “Nobel Prize-winning physicist, accomplished bongo-player and artist” Richard Feynman. I’m about halfway through it, and I like the stories a lot – the stories themselves aren’t that well-written or easy to read, but they’re good stories, and they do paint a great portrait of a fascinating and inspiring man. I especially loved the title story (you can read it here), of him and his first love Arlene. It made me choke up a little. After I finish this, I’ll have to seek out his first collection of stories, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! :)

Edit: Heh, from a Youtube comment I just saw: According to the book “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, it is claimed that Feynman can beat 10 times with his right hand and 11 times with his left hand SIMULTANEOUSLY! And it is said that this is more difficult than quantum electrodynamics!5 years ago


CynonymousThe Princess Bride, William Goldman

Every bit as loveable as the movie! And because of it I’ve created a new word: stolent! It’s an adjective to describe a book someone loans to you, after which you decide to keep forever. 6 years ago


smiling redhead AKA JessA LOT of reading this week! =)

Since Saturday (today being Tuesday) I’ve read:
the first 2 books in the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale (very good teen sci-fi series)
The True Meaning of Cleavage
The Exploits of a Reluctant (but extremely good-looking) Hero
some other random book from the library I don’t remember
1/2 of Twilight (OMG! It is amazing! I can’t wait until I have time to finish reading it and continue the series!) 6 years ago


CynonymousOn Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

Oh, I want to read more from him now. This was a short little heartbreaker of a book about a young couple on their wedding night. It’s about how sometimes you don’t know how to save a moment until it’s too late. Oh, it had me crying. But he’s a wonderful writer, and he can build up to a moment superbly. I can’t believe I haven’t read him before. 6 years ago


CynonymousSeventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman

I sort of fell out of love with this book the more I read of it. It’s hard for me to explain why. Lots of times I just have feelings about books and I can’t really articulate them. I’d probably make a terrible reviewer. I do really like the way she writes, but I guess I wanted to feel closer to the characters. I think I love a book most when I can love the characters in them. When I feel like they’re real people I carry around with me in my heart. 6 years ago


CynonymousAfter Dark, Haruki Murakami

Reads like you’re watching a movie. Sort of episodic, like a short film. And creepy. A strange little story that leaves too many unanswered questions. Looking online, this doesn’t seem to be one of his best. I think he’s worth reading more of, though. 6 years ago


CynonymousMy oldest love, it fills me with quiet joy

To be doing this goal. Oh, if only there were more time to do everything we loved, and fewer things to do that we don’t love. 6 years ago


CynonymousEdmund and Rosemary Go to Hell, Bruce Eric Kaplan

Now this is a quickie. About a hundred pages you can read in ten minutes. (It’s a picture book by a cartoonist.) Worth the few minutes of your time. :) Edmund and Rosemary are convinced they’re in hell. Hell on earth. But then they don’t want to leave. They find reason to stay. It’s a hopeful little story. 6 years ago


CynonymousBlue Angel, Francine Prose

A good story, a really good writer, but it was a bit of a downer watching someone pretty much ruin his life, and so foolishly. But then at the end it’s like the author thought that was what he needed, to shake up his boring, quiet little life. I’m not so sure about that. Did anyone read this? Did you think that was a good outcome for him? 6 years ago


CynonymousThe Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd

What, did someone challenge her to write a story with monks because she has one in her name? :D She writes a beautiful story, though. I thought she was writing about me. I guess I’ll check out The Secret Life of Bees now. 6 years ago


CynonymousWhy is it?

Why is it that I can’t read at home? But I can gobble up pages like a wildfire at my mom’s house? Even if I take my family with me. Because there’s enough room for them to get out of my hair and because there are no household distractions. I have been going there often on the weekends lately and am going to spend some time there this summer. Their country library may disappoint me, though, so I’ll bring lots of books. :) 6 years ago


CynonymousAs Hot As It Was You Ought To Thank Me, Nanci Kincaid

I finished most of this in one day. But I have a strict 1:30 bedtime on the weekends so I picked it right back up first thing this morning for the last few pages. At first the Southern/rural Florida voice was a bit strong for me and put me off. And I’m from rural Florida. But the book was set in the 50s, so she probably got it just right for that era. But anyway. She’s a good story teller. Lots of family drama and mystery, with a very strong sense of place, narrated by a thirteen year old girl. I loved her description of the hurricane and people’s response to it. It was authentic; you can tell she grew up here:

Outside we could hear the cooperative shouts of the men, sounding like they were having a fine time, exploring the damage in the darkness, shouting in a way that made me think they were strangely happy. That the excitement was worth everything they had lost, because losing things was nothing new to them—but a bit of excitement was.

Anyway, during the storm, somebody in this book goes missing. The book won’t solve that mystery for you, but I didn’t mind so much. 6 years ago


CynonymousThe Gum Thief, Douglas Coupland

I wish I hadn’t read it. None of the characters are likeable. Not that that’s required for a good book. But if you have a glum outlook on life and want to wallow in it, go ahead. 6 years ago


CynonymousEqual Love, Peter Ho Davies

Thank you, Ira, for introducing me to an author I didn’t know before. :) It helped me pass the time yesterday when I was worried about you. I went outside with it, though, and got eaten up by mosquitoes! It’s so buggy here. My favourite story might have been Everything You Can Remember in Thirty Seconds is Yours to Keep. :) It’s the one about the young woman whose baby is taken by social services and who brings her aging, estranged mother home to live with her, thinking she can help her get her son back more quickly. 6 years ago


CynonymousLove Walked In, Maria de los Santos

I often like a book more while I’m in it than I do afterward, on reflection. This was kind of like that. I enjoyed it but in retrospect it gets a bit too predictable and is too neatly wrapped up at the end for me. I’m sure they’ll make a movie of it. I don’t think I’ll want to see it. 6 years ago


CynonymousI read a very dirty book!

So dirty that I can’t even tell you what it was. I’d be too embarrassed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that good so you probably don’t need to know anyway. 6 years ago


smiling redhead AKA JessLes Miserables

is my current read… thanks to spending another hour or so this week reading it instead of doing something that could be construed as productive, I’m now up to chapter 14. I love it!!! Possibly moreso than the stage version (which is what got me interested in reading the book in the first place). 6 years ago


CynonymousEleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Someone I like loved The Alchemist, and I didn’t see that one in the library so I picked up this one. What I liked about this book was its philosophy towards love, passion, risk and adventure. And it’s about a prostitute, so it didn’t get boring. ;) But it was just okay. I didn’t really buy completely into the main character. 6 years ago


smiling redhead AKA Jessugh, school

with all the work I’m going to have to do this semester, I’m not going to have much time for reading for pleasure, but I am hoping to read something for fun each week. The good news is that one of the books I brought from home is required for one of my classes, which I did not know, so I will at least get to read that. 6 years ago


IraI'm changing the name of this goal

as it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to have whole afternoons or evenings free for reading with any regularity. I would still like to find more time for it than ten minutes before bed or fifteen minutes on the train – I can’t really enjoy a book that way.

During the last break (yeah, a while back) I had more time to read, and finished a Pocket Penguin book, Short Short Stories by Dave Eggers, which is really just a collection of his short stories that appeared in the Guardian in 2004. They are… okay. They would be good to read in a newspaper, but probably don’t justify a book. I find that outside of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which was mostly about himself and his brother (and which I loved) – I haven’t really liked anything else of his I’ve read. Apart from a short story called “After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned”, the whole thing of which you can read here.

There was nothing like that in Short Short Stories – it appears to me that while he is a wonderful writer, he’s not very good at writing characters – they all seem to be identifiably him. But it wasn’t that bad really, and there were stories that I liked: “The Weird Wife” and “On Making Someone A Good Man By Calling Him a Good Man”. But mostly these are more newspaper columns, in which he is quite funny, but often digresses to rant about Bush.

Anyway, just a book I’d had for ages and wanted to finish. Now I’m going through a book of Ernest Hemingway short stories, and finding it a bit hard going. There’s a lot of death. I liked the first couple of stories, but the tone seems to be unrelentingly grim so far. And I don’t think I really enjoy the way he writes, though there’s much to admire about it – even when I was reading The Old Man and the Sea, which I enjoyed, his writing style felt a bit dry. I’ll stick with it for a bit longer though, and hope it gets better. 6 years ago


IraBird By Bird by Anne Lamott

I’d heard some great things about this book over the years, but only got round to checking it out recently. It is as good as they say.

She gives great advice on writing and life (because they are kind of the same), she writes wonderfully, and – something that doesn’t happen that often – I got a really strong impression that I would really like Anne Lamott, as a person, if we ever met.

One of the best things about the book for me is her sense of humour – and her making our self-absorption and bitterness and petty jealousies so funny and human.

I wonder if her other books would be as good, especially her novels – will be seeking them out! 7 years ago


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