I had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.
All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.
The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.
After a two month hiatus I am back with the 45th book from my Classics Club list. That’s 45% of my list done and I’m only 32 books behind schedule 😉
Going into Bel Ami I thought I knew what the book was about, but I wasn’t aware it had a subtitle, The History of a Scoundrel, which would’ve told me I was in no way correct!
If I’m honest I chose Bel Ami because it was short and accessible on my phone. (Thank you Kindle iPhone app, this isn’t the first time you’ve saved me from boredom.) I forgot the next book I wanted to read and an hour is a long time for lunch so I started this and read it pretty quickly. You’d think I would use lunch and my commute to catch up on my 10+ hours of back logged podcasts to listen to, but no why would I do that when there are more books to read!?
When I read Doing Good Better, I was looking for this. That isn’t a knock on Doing Good Better, it’s a kudos to Simple Giving and Jennifer Iacovelli. And I guess that’s an even bigger kudos to Tarcher/Penguin (publisher’s site) for sending me a copy because I would never have found sought it out, even though philanthropy is what I do for a living.* Simple Giving comes out next week October 27, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Where Iacovelli succeeds in the breadth of which she covers in this rather short book. She talks about individual and crowd sourced philanthropy, she talks about volunteering and socially conscious purchases and businesses and she spends time talking about how you can engage even the youngest of philanthropists in volunteering their time.
Don’t worry, I’m not leaving book blogging, it’s the one thing I’ve kept constant over the past however many years, this is more an observation of something I randomly stumbled upon earlier this week.
I originally wanted to call this post “RIP Fellow Book Bloggers,” because what I’m writing about is sad and it’s also October, so makes sense right? Well earlier this week, I’m still not sure why or how I did it, I found myself cleaning up my RSS feed. I had about 120 blogs under my “Books” label (individuals, libraries, bookstores, etc.). Well I started clicking on them individually and seeing when the last post was made and I was saddened by what I found. By time I finished I found out 57 of the book specific blogs I followed at one point no longer existed. Let me say that again, In the past 3-4 years ALMOST half of the book blogs that I discovered have ceased to exist. It was a bit surreal as I kept clicking and kept finding blogs that no longer existed, blogs that felt like they ended mid sentence and blogs that had turned private.
As my final follow-up piece in my series of why my blog and online presence will enhance future career opportunities I’m going to talk about my voice. (For the first three pieces click the links: introduction, technology and building relationships.) For all intents and purposes “voice” in this piece can easily be exchanged with “aesthetic.”
Let’s get the basics out of the way; I was not an English, Communications or Journalism major. A lot of the English grammar terms I know I learned while taking Spanish because I apparently didn’t pay attention in high school English class. (They taught us that right?) What little editing I do know I’ve picked up on my own, learned in a really intensive copy editing class or am schooled in on a regular basis by the amazing editor at work. What’s great is that, none of this keeps me from wishing to copy edit books, like the one above, or to organize and copy edit the internet, but that is an entirely different world.
All of this being said I still have a voice. I have a distinct voice and it’s worked to my advantage personally, on this blog, and professionally, working with students and young alumni. Someone recently said to me that the ability to change your voice based on who you’re writing to/working with is a skill you can’t be taught, that you either have it or you don’t. I like to think I have this skill and mostly it is thanks to this blog.
There seem to be two types of self-help/reflection books that are making huge impacts on the book selling industry these days. You have the artsy “adult coloring books,” of which I’ve bought plenty for relatives and recommend to friends. And you have the ones more suited to those that love words and wordplay like How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad) and Burn After Writing.
These books/journals/art projects ask you to take time out of your everyday life and either forget about it (coloring) or look at the things that have the potential to make you happy or sad and dissect them. They use activities like drawing, list-making, word associations and many other activities to get you to think about things differently than you do on a regular basis.
In case you missed it, I went to Spain last month (scroll to the end for some GREAT panoramas). I was there for two weeks and it was wonderful. I’m still working on a “recap” post which will probably just be a link to my photos and a list of everything we did. The plus side is that you, my lovely book lover friends, get to have a special post made just for you!
To kick off, here’s a photo of the Monument al llibre statue by Joan Brossa (Wikipedia link) we stumbled across in Barcelona. Here’s a different angle. Overwhelmingly our bookish adventures were in Madrid. I’m sure this is because I planned Madrid and Tim planned Barcelona, but that’s just how it fell.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while you might be aware I can read Spanish, or at least eek my way through it. I’ve wanted to improve on my speaking and reading of Spanish ever since I realized I was starting to lose it, but haven’t had much opportunity (aka I’m lazy). What I didn’t know was how all-pervading Cervantes’ was to the city of Madrid and the country of Spain. Seriously, I mean sure I knew going to Madrid I wanted to visit the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the Plaza de España, but I didn’t know I would see Cervantes or Don Quixote (Part 1 & Part 2) EVERYWHERE.