Category Archives: Reading

Book Lover’s Meme

Stolen from Robin….My favorite escape….
1. Do you remember how you developed a love of reading?
I started to love stories before I could read.  We had the classic fairy tales on albums and I would beg my mother to play them. I fell in love with reading very young.  The Witch of Blackbird Pond is the first book I really remember loving but I just always read.  When I was in elementary school my best friend had an apple tree in her front yard and her dad read science fiction periodicals.  We would grab a handful and find a good limb and pass them back and forth while we read and snacked on apples.

2. What are some books you loved as a child?
I remember when the library started in our town and every time they got a new Nancy Drew book in the librarian would call and tell me.  I also read all the Clara Barton Nurse books.

3. What is your favorite genre?
Fiction – crime, mystery, and some science fiction

4. Do you have a favorite novel?
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

5. Where do you usually read?

6. When do you usually read?
I read every night to go to sleep.  I have been doing it so long that if I try to read during the day I will find it hard to stay awake!  I read online all the time.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
I usually read a little bible, a little non-fiction, then pick up the novel to fall asleep.  I also read non-fiction on a kind of as-needed basis and I read non-fiction a lot online.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I buy a lot of paperbacks used and non-fiction used from Amazon.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy?
I keep a lot of the non-fiction and some of the fiction favorites.  I trade paperbacks or give them away.

11. What are you reading now?
Now You See Him by Stella Cameron – murder mystery/romance heroine has sad background, stalked by killer, strong guy woos and protects, lightweight but it takes place in Louisiana on the Bayou Teche with a hurricane coming in any moment.  We have family in the area so it adds a little.

12. Do you keep a To Be Read list?
I have a wishlist of Amazon and a To Be Read PILE next to the bed

13. What’s next?
A Voice in the wind by Francine Rivers

14. What books would you like to reread?
1984, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, Once and Future King

16. Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list, J.D Robb, James Patterson, John J. Nance

Denise – I’m tagging you!


Daniel Pink, Career Advice, and Manga

Daniel Pink has a new book out and I am planning on reading it but until I can get an actual copy in my hand here are goodies to share.  Garr Reynolds has created a presentation with an overview and a few of his own ideas.  It is definitely worth the watch. The book is The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You Will Ever Need.   

An article in Business Week says this:


In Japan, no subject is too serious or too pedestrian for manga. Comic books about financial management are popular. The True Life of Carlos Ghosn, a series about the head of Nissan Motor (NSANY), sold well. And a two-volume manga account of the country’s economic development has become a classic.

As for those who are still dubious about the, uh, value proposition of a business comic book, Pink offers this pitch for manga: It provides maximum efficiency of expression.


You can watch Garr Reynolds presentation here and also download a pdf if you prefer a paper copy. 

I have not been a big fan of manga but as I read more online and the pile of books next to my bedside table grows taller than the table, it may be worth a second look.  My experience thus far has been the kind that high school students want to read and is often not appropriate for school.  I am interested to know if anyone knows of more manga style books that are reference or informational.  If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear about them.


“Keep It Simple Stupid!” Is a motto I should have etched into the inside of my glasses lens so I would constantly have it in the corner of my line of vision.

One of my favorite websites that I feel embraces this idea is CommonCraft and they had a wonderful piece recently titled “Super Simple vs Needlessly Complex“. It showed a picture of a young man pulling a device called the Q-drum which is basically a rolling container for water with a rope attached. One person can easily haul 20 gallons of water with this simple tool. The comparison image showed a Japanese toilet that had 17 buttons on it. The picture of the Q-Drum came from an article on simple design that can be found here. My attention was grabbed by this quote:

The world’s cleverest designers, said Dr. Polak, a former psychiatrist who now runs an organization helping poor farmers become entrepreneurs, cater to the globe’s richest 10 percent, creating items like wine labels, couture and Maseratis.“We need a revolution to reverse that silly ratio,” he said.

Amen Dr. Polak – sign me up.

So how do I make these changes on a personal level? I am starting with some of the suggestions in the article Simple Living Manifesto on the Zen Habits blog.

For the cynics who say that the list below is too long, there are really only two steps to simplifying:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you.
  2. Eliminate everything else.

Of course, that’s not terribly useful unless you can see how to apply that to different areas of your life, so I present to you the Long List.

The long list contains 72 ideas with links to help on some of the individual suggestions. This seems like a “complex” list but if you start with the first which tells you to identify the four or five most important things in your life and make those your priority. The next two are evaluate your time and your commitments and ditch whatever is not in line with your most important things. Everything else flows from there. The blog author states that the entire list will not work for everyone – to just choose a few that work for you and concentrate on them.

I’m going to spend some time working on my “Most Important” list and post about it later. I also want to think about how simplifying would translate to education.

The internet is the great “leveler”. Anyone can find information on anything – anytime. That information doesn’t mean a thing if the learner can’t read, comprehend, or aggregate it into something meaningful to them. If we distill what is the most important skill in education today wouldn’t it be reading even in the higher grades?

We work harder to have more which means we need more to organize and take care of the more we worked for which means we need to work more to pay for it all. We eat junk because we don’t have time to cook good healthy food because we are working so hard so we have to work more (or at least make more money) to afford the junk food that ultimately makes us sick which means we have to make more money to pay for the medical bills. We teach our kids that they need a good education so they can have nice things and a nice job but if the above life is what we are showing them and if they are seeing it all as pointless I vote with them.

I don’t think simplicity is the goal so much as the way to achieve the goal. If we are so tied to all the stuff and the working to sustain it then where is the meaning? How often do we even have time to stop and think and question if there is meaning in our lives? Why should this generation educate themselves to have a live that has no meaning?

That’s the context for the questions I am asking myself while I work on my most important list. I want to be productive. I want to have meaning. I want to be present in my life, in my family, and in my job. I want a little solitude. I want to be as healthy as my choices can make me. I want my kids to see meaning in my life.
Do you have a list? Am I the only one who struggles with this?

Harry Potter Disappointment

I am a Harry Potter fan. There. I’ve said it. I pre-ordered the new book from Amazon and we went to see “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” this afternoon. While I enjoyed the continuation of the story of Harry this was my least favorite story and the movie was dark and depressing.

One of the things I like about Harry Potter is the sense of wonder and hope. Here is this kid who has had such a terrible time growing up and has somehow managed to not become bitter. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and knows how to be a friend even though he hasn’t had any experience with friendship. He is loyal, kind, admirable.
In this book and movie it seems like that sense of wonder is gone, the expectations are all bad, Harry spends much of his time pushing his friends away, and in general the quality of the story wasn’t up to the same standards as the others.

Every other Harry Potter book and movie left me wishing they had gone on longer. This was the first one that made me feel like it could have fit into half the time and it didn’t even seem as though the characters liked each other. The only time I saw any of the old Harry was when he was teaching the other students and the part of Ron was almost non-existent.

Sometimes there is enormous pressure on authors who write a very popular series of books to hurry up and crank out the next one. If that’s what happened here it makes me sad. I hope Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is better. If not it may be a good thing if it is the last of the series.