Thursday, May 17, 2018

Books and Such

Thank you for all the nice comments on my last post. My stomach is feeling better, although not 100% normal yet. I am not sure if the improvement is due to time, the Pepto I took one night, or the beer I had the next night... or some combination of all three.

Tonight, let's talk about books! Books are more fun than identity theft and upset stomachs.

I've ready some really great non-fiction books lately, so first I'll tell you about those.

I read Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann, for book club this month and oh wow, you should read it. It tells the story of a murder spree targeting members of the Osage tribe, who were incredibly wealthy due to their rights to oil found on their land, but who could not turn their wealth into fair treatment from the government or most white people with whom they interacted. It is a gripping true crime story mixed with a devastating history lesson.

I am just now finishing up My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This was a gift, and it sat unread for quite awhile. But I'm so glad I decided to pick it up! The essays and speeches in the first part of the book provide a fascinating look into Justice Ginsburg's early life and career. But I think my favorite essay in the book is The Madison Lecture: Speaking in a Judicial Voice. Specifically, her comments on Roe v. Wade in the "Measured Motions in Third Branch Decisionmaking"are really thought-provoking. Basically, she thinks the court got too far out ahead of the legislative bodies in making that ruling, and made too broad of a ruling. She argues that a more moderate ruling might have allowed time for the legislative branches of state governments to "catch up" and thereby have avoided the contentious backlash against the ruling we're all living through now. I'm not really doing justice to her argument, so if you're interested in it, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of the book and reading the lecture yourself.

On a much different note: The Colour of Food, by Anne Else, was another gift book. I can't disentangle how much of my enjoyment of it was because it is a well-written and diverting set of essays about memories and food and how much came from the fact that the book was given to me by my mother-in-law, and I think may have helped me understand her a bit better. (I like my mother-in-law quite a lot, for the record, so that is in no way a comment on her. I just don't see her all that often since she lives in New Zealand!)

Next, I'll be reading Laura Vanderkam's next book, Off the Clock. I have an advance copy and will start it as soon as I finish the Ruth Bader Ginsburg book.

In fact, Off the Clock is going to be the first book in what I hope will be a series of books I read and write about over at my "real name blog." I've been struggling to decide what to do with that space now that I'm no longer an independent consultant. I considered just moth balling it, but I decided that I like the idea of having a space to write under my actual name, even if I won't write as often. I recently decided that I want to use that space to explore my long-standing interest in the relationship between time use and well-being. I'm still not sure exactly what that will look like, but I have decided that part of it will be reading a book and then writing about what I learned from it and also what I don't agree with in it, if that is relevant. 

I decided to start with Off the Clock since Laura was nice enough to send me an advance copy and I'd like to read it close to when it comes out. But I have been gathering a bit of a list of books I want to read. This evening, I even got that list out of my head and into Trello. I debated various ways to track my list and decided on Trello because I can access it from anywhere and I can keep some notes associated with the books as I read them. Also, the board paradigm seemed like a good way to organize my reading list. So I made a Trello board with three lists: to read, reading, and read. Each book gets a card. It is the happiest of boards! An entire board devoted to books! I'll report back in later on how it works out for this project, irrespective of how the project itself actually goes.

If you're interested in following along on my reading and other explorations, follow me over there. I'm not sure I'll write much about it here. I'm still thinking about how I'll structure things, but I am leaning towards a simple "read along if you want to" structure, where I announce each book as I start it and then when I finish it, I post on it and anyone who is interested can come and discuss. I think this is going to be a slow motion project, and I also think that it would be the sort of thing you can dip in and out of as the books (or podcasts or whatever else) interest you. If you're curious, here are some of the other books on my "to read" list right now:


And I suspect I'll dig a few more out of my podcast history! I've got a bunch of other books on my board, too, but they aren't necessarily related to this project. Although some, like Evicted, by Matthew Desmond, might find their way in once I read them... who knows? It will be fun to see what connections I find. I'm very open to other reading suggestions, so drop them in the comments if you have them!

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