Saturday, September 12, 2009

Books are our Friends!

The public library is one of my favorite places to be. I have often thought, Maybe they would let me just move a cot in here and spend the night once in awhile... A happy thought... I suppose it comes from my early training with books -- I can still hear my mother saying, "Be good to your books -- books are our friends!"

At least twice and sometimes three times a week, I find myself in a library, due to my work, and sometimes I have an extra few minutes. As I browse the library shelves, the books seem to jump into my hands and shout, "Read me! Read me!" I have little resistance to such demands, regardless of how limited my reading time will be and how slowly I read. So I end up with a smorgasbord of books and books on CD (now that there's a CD player in my car!) and music CD's, and sometimes a movie or two as well. Even magazines once in awhile!

So... life is really full right now, and I'm working on facing up to the fact that I won't get to read all these library books before they are due, even with many renewals. So a pile is going back today, but first I wanted to list them here to share and perhaps stimulate some discussion... What are you reading? What are you having to take back unread? What happens when you go to the library?

Well, in case anyone's interested, here is the stack --

  • The Power of Less, by Leo Barbauta. Full of good ideas on how to de-clutter one's work-life and life in general. I browsed through it a couple times but don't have time/energy right now to work my way through it. (Flipping through the book as I write this, I find I am currently working against his rule about single-tasking: When you work on a task, don't switch to other tasks. I was writing a Module test for my Math 150 class before I started this blog post.)
  • Archimedes' Bathtub/The Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking, by David Perkins. Fascinating. I got part way through it, and will put it on my short list of books to get again. It's one of those books that draws from all over history and other disciplines, which is particularly interesting to me.
  • Euclid in the Rainforest/Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math, by Joseph Mazur. It's the story of the author's travels (through the rainforest and perhaps other travels, I don't know yet) intertwined with math and logic problems he encountered along the way. I'm part way into this, and finding it pretty interesting. But it's also frustrating as there are math errors peppered through it (I think not on purpose.)
  • The Myth of Ability/Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, by John Mighton. I have read this before, and picked it up again to get ideas for teaching my Math 150 course. (Didn't have time to do much with it, and we've moved beyond the scope of the book now.) It is a great book, though -- I highly recommend it. It tells the story of the JUMP math program, which would be a wonderful tutoring program to implement in every school system throughout the country.
  • Childhood Unbound/Saving Our Kids' Best Selves -- Confident Parenting in a World of Change, by Ron Taffel, Ph.D. So far enlightening, but it may go back soon due only to lack of reading time...) I'm continuing the effort to understand the challenges faced by parents today that are different from the ones my generation of parents faced. Also, trying to see if there are any sane voices out there writing for today's parents. So far, I think so. One of his ideas that stands out in my mind:
    Almost the same way one would think about sexuality and substance use, delaying kids' absolute access to screen time is essential. (author's emphasis.)
  • Tear Down This Myth, by Will Bunch. A book about politics. Picked it up recently and haven't started it yet, so will keep it for a little while.
  • Double Crossed/Uncovering the Catholic Church's Betrayal of American Nuns, by Kenneth Briggs. This one I am going to try to finish, as it is fascinating and instructive in many ways beyond the topic at hand. I was taught by nuns for my first nine years of school, and have had lots of other contact with them through the years. Almost all of that was a positive experience. When I was a child, I thought (like many Catholic girls of the time) that I might be a nun when I grew up. Sometimes I still think about it, so reading this book is helping me to think more realistically about it.
  • The Creative Family : how to encourage imagination and nurture family connections, by Amanda Blake Soule. I picked this up to share with a babysitting client, who is delighted with it. It has a wide range of projects, crafts, and other activities for families to do together, presented in a very do-able way.
Books on CD --
  • Every mother is a daughter/the neverending quest for success, inner peace, and a really clean kitchen (recipes and knitting patterns included), by Perri Klass. I might finish this one, but listening to recipes on CD is not cool. (I can't imagine listening to knitting instructions - haven't gotten to those yet!) On the other hand, fast-forwarding through the recipes is helping me get through it faster. Hmmm... why am I continuing to listen to a book when "getting through it faster" is looking attractive? It's going back.
  • Mrs. Pollifax, innocent tourist, by Dorothy Gilman. Never read it, love to listen to these books... it's a keeper for awhile.
  • Holiday on Ice, by David Sedaris. Haven't been able to make myself listen to this -- I have an aversion to doing anything Christmas other than in December and January, so it's going back. (I didn't know it was Christmas stuff when I picked it up - was in a hurry.)
Music CD's:
  • Several by George Winston and other Windham Hill artists -- wonderful music anytime (except in the car.)
  • John Fahey, Peter Lang, Leo Kottke. Guitar music; I’ve had it before and loved it…and still love it.
  • Linus & Lucy, Music of Vince Guaraldi. Happy happy music!!
  • Tales from the acoustic planet, by Bela Fleck Haven't listened to it yet, but I like acoustic music...we'll see!
  • Saturday's rhapsody, by Jim Chappell. Good listening while making up math tests and lesson plans.
  • Music for airports, by Brian Eno. Interesting. Comforting, somehow.
  • Also CD’s of Gordon Lightfoot, Norah Jones, and Gershwin.
And one movie:
  • Neverwas. Watched it last night; it had it's shining moments. Ian McKellan was great, and the sets & props were wonderful, magical. Despite what you might read about it, however, it isn't a movie for children.