Everyone probably knows by now that I highly recommend reading 100 books on your favorite subject -- the books and authors I have found has been high adventure in the best way. But I tripped on this list of another way to pick books, on a site call The Millions, and it looks very intriguing. So, if 100 books seems intimidating for you, why not try this list prepared by Janet Potter?
I discovered one of my favorite books because the author called our store and charmed the living daylights out of me. I found another in a box of old books that my Russian literature professor left outside his office to give away. So while I do think that you should read the canon if it interests you, I think it’s more important that you read the books that find their own way into your hands.
With that in mind, here is my list of books you should read (if you want to):
You should read the book that you hear two booksellers arguing about at the registers while you’re browsing in a bookstore.
You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re laughing.
You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re crying.
You should read the book that you find left behind in the airplane seat pocket, on a park bench, on the bus, at a restaurant, or in a hotel room.
You should read the book that you see someone reading for hours in a coffee shop — there when you got there and still there when you left — that made you envious because you were working instead of absorbed in a book.
You should read the book you find in your grandparents’ house that’s inscribed “To Ray, all my love, Christmas 1949.”
You should read the book that you didn’t read when it was assigned in your high school English class. You’d probably like it better now anyway.
You should read the book whose author happened to mention on Charlie Rose that their favorite band is your favorite band.
You should read the book that your favorite band references in their lyrics.
You should read the book that your history professor mentions and then says, “which, by the way, is a great book,” offhandedly.
You should read the book that you loved in high school. Read it again.
You should read the book that you find on the library’s free cart whose cover makes you laugh.
You should read the book whose main character has your first name.
You should read the book whose author gets into funny Twitter exchanges with Colson Whitehead.
You should read the book about your hometown’s history that was published by someone who grew up there.
You should read the book your parents give you for your high school graduation.
You should read the book you’ve started a few times and keep meaning to finish once and for all.
You should read books with characters you don’t like.
You should read books about countries you’re about to visit.
You should read books about historical events you don’t know anything about.
You should read books about things you already know a little about.
You should read books you can’t stop hearing about and books you’ve never heard of.
You should read books mentioned in other books.
You should read prize-winners, bestsellers, beach reads, book club picks, and classics, when you want to.
You should just keep reading.
Here is my argument, in three parts:
First, this article comes from Karen Maezen Miller's website.
blaming Steve Jobs
Karen Maezen Miller
June 23rd, 2015
This afternoon I went into the backyard and noticed a patch where everything has shriveled and the ground is cracked and bare, and although this wretched drought is in its fourth year, it seems like it happened overnight. The garden is dying.
I blame Steve Jobs.
I’ve been blaming Steve Jobs for a whole mess of stuff for a long time now, for the conversations that stopped, the music that ended, the books that disappeared, the kids that went absent, the friends that drifted off and the way the world seems to have shriveled into a hot, lifeless, angry place of crazy strangers. Oh, I know it wasn’t him. It’s a cynical joke. But it was him, and the legion led by him. I saw it happen. I saw it happen with me and I saw it happen with nearly everyone else. And now there is hell to pay.
He was a god to many. But he was never my guru. I never entered that temple, not all the way. The theatrics looked cool, but they disturbed me. There was awesome power and beauty in his works, but I never trusted myself to handle that kind of artillery. It went too fast and too far. I didn’t need it. I didn’t want it. I am too cheap. I bought a laptop. It works fine. It sits on this desk. Every time I use it I have to stop, be still, and do only one thing. I do not carry it in my hands or put it in my purse, pocket or car. It is not a companion. It is not the world. It is a very small and distorted picture of the world.
I have to wake myself up every minute of every day to realize the difference.
I am probably the only person you know without a smartphone. Please don’t text me.
It seems to me that we have completely confused the world with a picture of the world. We are so adept at manipulating the false picture — with just one thumb — that we have forgotten how to occupy the real world. How to live responsibly and with accountability. How to use our hands and feet and heart. We are so fascinated with artificial intelligence that we have negated our own. We do stupid things. We say stupid things. We shout at each other in tiny digital boxes. We overuse exclamation points.
When we do things directly in the world, instead of through technology, when we speak aloud to one another, meet face-to-face and side-by-side, it is altogether a different experience. It is intimate and alive. Magic, really. You can’t program it. Totally original, one-of-a-kind, without a trademark.
Innovation produces some really neat things, but it can’t be your religion. It won’t soothe or satisfy. It destroys what is to make room for what’s next. To be sure, it’s a naturally occurring cycle, January to December, but it can be sped up to the point of wanton waste and disposability. Suppose every time you were hungry you took only one bite and then tossed the apple. (It got a little brown around the teeth marks.) The earth would be nothing but a landfill of fallen fruit, and we’d all be hungry ghosts, waiting in line all night to grab the next nibble that will once again fail to satisfy.
I know Steve Jobs isn’t to blame. But I blame Steve Jobs.
This is a lousy load to lay at the tomb of a giant and a genius. Although he was arrogant and egotistical, by all accounts Mr. Jobs made amends to estranged friends, family and rivals and was at peace before the end. It’s a given. Everyone reaches the end of ideas when they arrive at the ultimate disruption. I’m going to have to give him a break for everything that troubles me and take responsibility for what’s right here now.
I’m going to have to keep this place alive.
So I’m heading out to walk this world of mine and see what needs doing. To notice the dry spots. Fix what’s broken. Lend a hand. Spare a little more time, a little more water, and a lot more love. I know this in my bones because I preach it, and I preach it because I need it: What you pay attention to thrives, and what you do not pay attention to withers and dies.
What will you pay attention to today?
Second, this article from Justin Wise.
June 23, 2015
I’m tired of organisational ‘stretch’ goals, increased productivity year on year, more-better-faster, doing-more-with-less, change after change, restructure after restructure. I’m tired of the push for endless growth, non-stop better performance, climbing the pole, getting to the top, being a ‘world-class’ whatever-it-is. I’m tired of squeezing out extra profit, running a lean-mean six-sigma machine. I’m tired of people being human ‘resources’ instead of people, of the way we’ve replaced the simplicity and directness of conversation with procedure and process, and of the increasing bureaucratisation of our workplaces that replaces practical wisdom with monotone rules and repeatability. I’m tired of endless criticism, not-good-enough-yet, and the self-judgement that comes with it. I’m tired of busyness and back-to-back meetings and no-time-to-talk and a million emails in my inbox and staring at my smartphone to see if anyone needs me. I’m tired of impossible targets and five-year-plans that everybody knows won’t come to be and corporate visions and values that box people in and try to make them all the same.
I see all of this in so many organisations I work with. And I see much of it echoed in myself. And I’m tired of it all.
I think there’s a chance you may be tired of it too. Even if (especially if) you’re one of the people arguing most to bring all of this about.
We enslave ourselves to the idea that we’ll be saved if we can just keep going faster – an idea that produces so much of the difficulty above, and so much stress in each of us.
What would happen I wonder if, instead, we freed ourselves into the possibility that so much of what we do is just fine as it is?
And that we, and all we are up to, are good enough already?
Third, my favorite new TV show, Mr. Robot.
Mr. Robot is modern dystopia, about a disenchanted (is there any other kind?) hacker. I am embarrassed by how much I love dystopia. I don't want a dystopic life; I work really hard not to have one. But there is something that makes me eat them like CANDY.
Dystopias at their heart can be a little silly because they are so grim, but I think they speak to me because they look directly into the eye of the beast that causes misery. Yeah. I really love this show.
To celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary and both our fiftieth birthdays, Chris and I took a three week trip to Dublin, Liverpool, and North Wales. In 2005, we'd married at Portmeirion in Wales. I will spare you the hundreds of great pictures we took of sea gulls, pigeons, funny signs, close-ups of flowers, and hundreds of other things, and just show the most evocative...
...And a GREAT website on writing. My favorite scifi/fantasy website io9.com brought this to my attention. He has a lot of wonderful things to say about Writing. (Unfortunately, I see there are more books I need to buy...) But here is an excerpt from Mr. Wendig's latest blog on writing:
1. HEY LOOK A PROBLEM
2. HEY LOOK A SOLUTION
3. THE END YAY
That is not nearly enough story.
A story should look more like:
1. HEY LOOK A PROBLEM
2. I’M GONNA JUST GO AHEAD AND FIX THAT PROBLEM AND –
3. OH GOD I MADE IT WORSE
4. OH FUCK SOMEBODY ELSE IS MAKING IT WORSE TOO
5. WAIT I THINK I GOT THIS –
6A. SHIT SHIT SHIT
6B. FUCK FUCK FUCK
7. IT’S NOT JUST WORSE NOW BUT DIFFERENT
8. EVERYTHING IS COMPLICATED
9. ALL IS LOST
10. WAIT, IS THAT A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?
11. IT IS BUT IT’S A VELOCIRAPTOR WITH A FLASHLIGHT IN ITS MOUTH
12. WAIT AN IDEA
13. I HAVE BEATEN THE VELOCIRAPTOR AND NOW I HAVE A FLASHLIGHT AND MY PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED IN PART BUT NOT TOO NEATLY BECAUSE TIDY, PAT ENDINGS MAKE STORY JESUS ANGRY, SO ANGRY THAT STORY JESUS GIVES EVERYONE MOUTH HERPES
A lot of the complexities and consequences that should be found are often skipped or zipped past — but all of that (which you could roughly lump under the single term UH-OH) should not be avoided. You should instead be hovering over that turmoil. In a flight, we want to get past the turbulence as fast as we can. But in fiction, we thrive on turbulence.
Do not hurry past it.