Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Like many of you, I love libraries. Like, a lot:

Run, Don’t Walk | J.R. Johnson

Passport to Wonders | J.R. Johnson

Keys to the Universe | J.R. Johnson

Inquiring Minds Want to Know | J.R. Johnson

Books Neverending | J.R. Johnson

Keys to the Universe | J.R. Johnson

Lovely Libraries | J.R. Johnson

What Now? Check Out a Ukulele at the Library | J.R. Johnson

I don’t love that some people are trying to control what others can read in libraries. If this is happening in your neighborhood, what can you do?

How to Protect Your Local Library From Book Ban Campaigns – Bloomberg

Library boards, school boards and legislatures are becoming battlegrounds in a push to censor books. Communities are fighting back.

I was also glad to see this policy on Intellectual Freedom And Controversial Material at my childhood library: 

The libraries have a responsibility to serve all segments of the county. Materials useful to some may be objectionable to others.  Selections are based solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collections and to serving the interests of readers. The libraries attempt to represent all sides of controversial issues. Their function is to provide information, not to advocate specific points of view.

Reading preferences are a purely individual matter; while anyone is free to personally reject books and other materials, this right cannot be exercised to restrict the freedom to others.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no cataloged item will be placed on closed shelves, except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft. Items may be placed on temporary reserve for specific class assignment or projects.

Responsibility for what children and young adults read and view rests with their parents’ and/or legal guardians. Selections will not be inhibited by the possibility that controversial materials may come into the possession of children or young adults.

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Photo by Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

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This is fun: NPR just came out with an interactive, cross-genre list of over four hundred books they recommend from 2022.

Books We Love : NPR

Whatever you’re into, you’ll likely find it here. The list includes everything from science fiction to science writing, to biographies to kids’ books to poetry, cookbooks, humor, history, sports, music and more.

I’ve read some of these books but not most, by any means, even in my preferred genres. The site also includes recommendations from the past decade, for a total of more than 3200 options. Just in case you make it through this year’s list!

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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If your library is not “unsafe,” it probably isn’t doing its job.

— John Berry

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Photo by Rabie Madaci on Unsplash

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Never put off till tomorrow the book you can read today.

— Holbrook Jackson

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Photo by Sabina Sturzu on Unsplash

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I have a minor confession: I have never read Charles Dickens. I may have started A Tale of Two Cities but I don’t think I finished it. Scratch that, I know I didn’t finish it.

Many of Dickens’ major novels were written for publishers who paid by the word. The man wasn’t stupid. He wrote A Lot of words. He also wrote across class boundaries, giving readers a window into the lives of those they might not otherwise encounter.

We live in a world shaped by his works and ideas. Movies, characters, what makes up some of the foundations of modern Christmas, a lot of that has to do with Dickens’ works. 

But I haven’t read the original source material.

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If someone wanted to remedy a hole like this in their literary education, where to start?

One nice thing about the classics, they are everywhere.

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Photo by Hert Niks on Unsplash

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“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

― Stephen King

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

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The sun is out and while it’s not exactly warm, the world is bright and beautiful. I’m working on a number of project ideas and am about to help Mr Man dissect the fridge. 

(brief break for said dissection)

Yep, we need a new fridge. Or rather, the fridge needs a new compressor and it doesn’t make sense to replace that one thing. I shall now spend a not-insignificant amount of time imagining a world in which incentives for engineers are structured in ways that make designing modular, easy-to-repair systems the goal. 

So I’m a little sad today, because having to get rid of a mostly fine appliance is a damn shame.

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That said, I am also reading. I just finished Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. It’s a good book but not, like so many others, an easy one to ingest. I stuck with it and am glad I did. The language is challenging, any name or title under four syllables is rare, and the author does an astonishing job (I realized about 10% of the way in) of putting the reader in the place of the awkward, out-of-his-depth, confused main character. It adds an extra, internal dimension to the act of reading an external book. 

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And here’s to my parents, who raised me with the belief that no day with a book is ever truly wasted.

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Book Magic

Does this happen to you? Sometimes I read a book and it’s bad. Maybe I learn a few things about what not to do, but the characters are too stupid to live or the author wants me to root for an ass, the story ends too early or too late, or some essential plot point is broken. This drives me a little bit nuts.

I finish the book and am left not with the happy satisfying end of story feeling, but with bad book juju. Is that a thing? It should be.

I’m left a little cranky, and nothing is as it should be.

My drink is too hot or too cold. Lunch tastes weird. My clothes fit funny. Even cookies don’t have their usual delicious snap.

Until I find a new book, a good book, and all is right again:)

Just me?*

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Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

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* Of course it’s not just me:) This is why authors work so hard to provide a satisfying reader experience. This is also why I reread books I know I love.

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Chilling, Apparently

Apparently, we are chilling today. 

Do not disturb the Neko Monster!

Mostly, anyway. I’ve accomplished a few things and had planned to plan my next month of writing work, but I’m really just having fun reading.

What else? In keeping with the chilling theme, I may design a few icebergs, because what better art project on a snowy day?


Later, I’ll give Mr. Man a haircut (while appreciating the talents of his regular barber, who does the job roughly 4 million times faster than I do). And then I may do a little design work. Or learn about household economics in early nineteenth-century England. Or shovel some snow. Or find my second-favorite biscuit recipe. Or pack and freeze a 25-pound bag of flour.

Or maybe not. I’ve got a book to finish.

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

— Napoleon Hill

Happy Sunday!

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This article by scientist Pascal Lee has a great point: reading helps kids turn dreams into reality. I just have one tiny bone to pick, and that has to do with the non/fiction divide:

“Let’s get ready for Mission: Mars and take our kids with us. Let’s start them on this journey with a non-fiction STEM book.”

I absolutely agree that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning and advancement requires books of the non-fiction variety. That’s right, actual facts are actually important. No question. I would add, though, that not only is it not bad if Generation Mars includes fiction on its reading list, doing so will help them with that first bit: having dreams. It’s also important to remember that much of the best science fiction is based on extrapolated science fact.*

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
— Peter Diamandis

As Lee points out, Scholastic’s “Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life” motto is right on target, but why limit that reading? Non-fiction shows you how to build the path, fiction helps you decide where you want to go and imagine what it will be like when you get there.

I can’t wait to see where Generation Mars takes us.

* While “top X” lists are always arguable, they can be a great place to start. Check out this list of The Best Hard Science Fiction Books of all Time: Ten titles that inspired Technology Review to publish TRSF, its own collection of sci-fi stories.

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