Sunday, December 30, 2018

1. Play Anything: the pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom, and the secret of games
by Ian Bogost
5/5 Stars
Published Sept. 13, 2016
Read Jan. 29, 2019

Reading this changed what I expect out of a book.  I no longer want to read books that simply support what I already believe. I want to read books that radically change how I conceive the world.  This book did that.  For example, it changed how I conceive of our relationship to stuff.  While I was aware of how the focus of acquiring gives a lot of control to consumerism, marketing, runaway growth, and focus on things that are not that important in the long run, I hadn't realized how the focus on minimalism gives just as much control on stuff but in the opposite direction. In the end, it's not accomplishing much anyway because it's not like the stuff just disappears. It goes to a landfill.  Better to find a creative use for the stuff you own, or even better still, to not acquire the stuff in the first place.

2. So You Want to Talk About Race
Ijeoma Oluo
5/5 Stars
Pub. Jan. 16, 2018
Read Nov. 2019

Captured so many lessons that I have learned with much difficulty over the course of my adult life.  Would I have been spared some pain if I had been able to read this book instead?  Would people of color I've interacted with been spared pain from my ignorant interactions with them? This book had concise, well-written responses to lots of questions dealing with race, organized in such a way as to spare the reader from descending into a paralysis of guilt. Furthermore, it continued to challenge me beyond what I've learned, as the best books do.  In particular, it explains that co-option of another culture is problematic, not because you appreciate aspects of the other culture, but when the power dynamic continues to benefit White supremacy rather than benefitting  the producers of that culture. I gifted this book to many people because I think it is so important and furthering the dialogue.

3. Property of the Rebel Librarian
by Allison Varnes
5/5 Stars
Pub. Sep. 18, 2018
Read Sep. 26, 2018

Spoke to my heart, both as a board member of the Friends of the Library and as an owner of a Little Free Library.  Truly, we take for granted the amazing resource we have of free access to knowledge and the 1984-like scenario in this book served as a good reminder of how fortunate we are. Even in an age where our President is hideously harmful, we still have the freedom to read what we like and share ideas with people.  This is our route to recovery and healthy transformation.

4. Down and Across
by Arvin Ahmadi
5/5 Stars
Pub. Feb. 6, 2018
Read Nov. 26, 2018

As someone who reads a lot of books, this book was refreshingly different. Sure, it's got the kid who doesn't have a clue what his future holds and is trying to figure himself out. But the way he goes about it is brash and the friends that he makes are too. This book is just plain fun. One of his friends enjoys making crossword puzzles as a hobby.  She made it seem like so much fun, that it inspired me to make my own crossword puzzles!

5. The Alcatraz Escape
by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
5/5 Stars
Pub. May 1, 2018
Read Dec. 1, 2018

Filled with puzzles and fun, this was my favorite of the three in the series so far. What a way to capture the imagination by using Alcatraz as the location for the game! Anyone who is at all familiar with San Francisco will enjoy this book. Also, parts were laugh-aloud funny.

6. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
by Stacy McAnulty
5/5 Stars
Pub. May 1, 2018
Read Sep. 2, 2018

Lucy is struck by lightning and becomes a math savant.  Now she just needs to face the challenge of middle school. Her mission: make one friend, join one activity, and read one book that is not a math book.

I honestly need to re-read this one because I don't remember it all that well. I do remember that I loved it though!

7. Creativity is a Verb
by Patti Digh
5/5 Stars
Pub. Oct. 10, 2010
Read Oct. 28, 2018

Has so many creative prompts, this book could keep you inspired for a lifetime.  I particularly enjoyed capturing an image and combining it with a theme such as integrity.

8. Jnana-Yoga
by Swami Vivekananda
5/5 Stars
Pub. Dec. 1, 1982
Read Nov. 13, 2018

Meets difficult questions such as why is there evil in the world, what happens to us after we die, what is the nature of God, head on. Its central theme is unity. I found much truth in this book.

9. Doughnut Economics
by Kate Raworth
4/5 Stars
Pub. Apr. 6, 2017
Read Nov. 6, 2018

This is the kind of book I would like to write: a synthesis of ideas from many different fields, concisely and cogently explained. One of the ideas that stood out to me is that not only is infinite growth not possible, it isn't desirable either.

10. Growing Wings on Their Way
by Rosalind Armson
4/5 Stars
Pub. May 31, 2011
Read Oct. 2, 2018

This books does explicitly what I've been trying to do with general systems thinking books: apply systems thinking to the messy situations of human interactions.  Fantastic and thought-provoking!


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