Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016

These are the books I read in 2016 with my ratings – 18 non-fiction and 12 fiction:

  1. The monk who sold his Ferrari: a fable about fulfilling your dreams & reaching your destiny by Robin S. Sharma 3 stars (re-read)
  2. The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins 4 stars
  3. Family secrets by Liz Byrski 3 stars
  4. The eyeball end by Ali Mc 3 stars
  5. The Wahls Protocol: How I beat progressive MS using Paleo principles and functional medicine by Dr Terri Wahls 3 stars
  6. Testimony by Anita Shreve 2 stars
  7. Happiness anywhere anytime: Happiness secrets revealed by missing socks, my dog, and a hitman by Dr Bruce Wells 3 stars
  8. The eye of the sheep by Sofie Laguna 3 stars
  9. The honeymoon effect: the science of creating heaven on Earth by Dr Bruce H Lipton 3 stars
  10. Oneness by Rasha 4 stars
  11. Wild mind: Living the writers life by Natalie Golderg 3 stars(re-read)
  12. I swear I’ll make it up to you by Mishka Shubaly 4 stars
  13. Creative journal writing: the art and heart of reflection by Stephanie Dowrick 3 stars
  14. Still life with teapot by Brigid Lowry 3 stars
  15. A woman of the goldfields: recollections of Emily Skinner 1854 – 1878 by Edward Duyker 3 stars
  16. Me before you by Jojo Moyes 3 stars
  17. After you by Jojo Moyes 3 stars
  18. The yoga of Max’s discontent by Karan Bajaj 4 stars
  19. Fifteen young men by Paul Kennedy 4 stars
  20. Only in Spain: a foot-stomping, firecracker of a memoir about food, Flamenco, and falling in love by Nellie Bennett 2 stars
  21. The happiness of pursuit: finding the quest that will bring purpose to your life by Chris Guillebeau 3 stars
  22. The chameleon’s poison by Iurgi Urrutia 4 stars
  23. Wood Green by Sean Rabin 4 stars
  24. Cloudwish by Fiona Wood 3 stars
  25. Penguin Bloom: the odd little bird who saved a family by Cameron Bloom 3 stars
  26. The best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion 1 star
  27. Reckoning: A memoir by Magda Szubanski 3 stars
  28. The rose of Tibet by Lionel Davidson 3 stars
  29. Super accelerated living: how to manifest an epic life by Bentinho Massaro 4 stars
  30. The world of the Happy Pear by Stephen and David Flynn 4 stars

All of the books that make it to the reading challenge list I did actually read to the end. Books I Did Not Finish aren’t listed.

These selections have been influenced by:

  • authors that were guests of the library where I work;
    • Ali Mc
    • Sofie Laguna
    • Dr Bruce Wells
    • Iurgi Urrutia
    • Paul Kennedy
  • books and authors discussed on various podcasts;
    • Mishka Shubaly
    • Stephen and David Flynn
    • Chris Guillebeau
    • Dr Terri Wahls
    • Dr Bruce Lipton
    • Robin Sharma
    • Bentinho Massaro
    • Karan Bajaj
  • also serendipity and curiosity.

Alexa, Jelly, and Web 3.8

Forget Web 2.0! That is so 2005! Now we have Web 3.8. Wow!

What is that? Remember ‘six degrees of separation’? Well, according to Biz Stone, the guys who came up with that theory have done more research and found that in this digitally connected era, the degrees of separation have reduced to just 3.8.

Rich Roll interviews Biz Stone in an intriguing interview where Biz explains his newest website and system – askjelly. Biz Stone is one of the guys who co-founded Twitter. Oh – that Biz Stone!

fullsizerender

Askjelly is a systemised knowledgebase that uses people for answers instead of text-based information on the Internet. As Rich and Biz spoke I realised that Librarians might finally be out of a job. The famous quote by Neil Gaiman: ‘Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.’, might finally be defunct. Biz has found a way to crowd-source the subjective questions.

So I put askjelly to the test and posed the question: “What will happen to Librarians in the age of knowledge-bases, ‘jelly’ and AI?

And shortly thereafter I received two thoughtful replies:

From CallKathy:

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-6-25-27-pm

And from Chris:

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-6-24-00-pm

Biz’s theory is that there are not really unique questions, and that someone on this planet will have the answer for you.

He then went on to show how this technology works with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa and it evoked similarities to the AI robot in the movie Her.

Rich Roll has kindly listed a lot of the relevant articles and links in the show notes of his podcast information and it’s well worth a look.

As for the success of #askjelly and the future of Librarianship – only time will tell.

 

Esoteric ponderings

Lately I have not been writing, and consequently my blog has been ignored. I have been on a quiet quest searching for answers and personal healing. Along the way, I have been accompanied by others, who appear to be on a similar quest. Listening to their voices and conversations on podcasts has lifted my spirit, healed my wounds, opened my heart, grounded my doubts, and soothed my very being.

These are some of the voices that I have been listening to:

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-11-48-am

Bentinho Massaro shows us “where self-realization meets empowered living. Through a few simple instructions profound realizations will emerge, enabling the innate fragrance of freedom to bloom and emanate everywhere you go.”

Rich Roll wants to educate, inspire and empower you to unleash your best, most authentic self.”

Julie Piatt (Srimati) offers Divine Throughline – “spiritual musings on living life divine.”

Jonathan Fields has the Good Life Project. “I love discovering stories and ideas that inspire me.

Elizabeth Gilbert explores Big Magic “creative living beyond fear”.

Rob Bell has a weekly Robcast where he talks about God, spirit, wisdom, and more.

Jono Fisher’s Wake Up Project focuses on kindness, leadership, courage, and inspiration.

Kimberly Wilson is a self proclaimed Francophile and offers some “Tranquility du Jour”.

Listening to the conversations on these podcasts, while I commute to and from work, fills me with gratitude, wonder, information, inspiration, and motivation to just get on with my life. Thank you.

My Family History

Surrounded by piles of photos, prints and digital, and indebted with family facts and stories, I struggle to shape it into a sensible narrative.

IMG_7865

Curating the family history is a challenging exercise and yet I am enthusiastic to weave it together for prosperity and for anyone who might someday wonder.

This is something that has interested me for many years and I have been on some previous fact finding missions that revealed things we didn’t know. I love to find out about our origins and the lives of our ancestors. I can name three ships that brought different branches of the family to Australia: The Hampshire, The Shand, and The Niagara. I love to see the photos of ancestors to spot the family resemblances that crop up unexpectedly.

Not a ‘scrap-booker’ by nature I think that ultimately a hand crafted personal creative book would be a beautiful result. In the meantime I have begun to do a simple storyboard using PowerPoint to set out my narrative. There are obvious important gaps that need to be filled somehow.

So I think about others in the family who have compiled remarkable genealogies that are relevant and interesting to my story. One of my father’s cousins has passed away now and I wonder where that wealth of knowledge is now. Another cousin of my husbands father must be very old now if not also passed away – where is her lovely story and impressive pedigree charts now? Another – my cousin is contactable, but that branch of the family story is well documented already, so not as pressing.

Some of the old photos are gorgeous but without captions the identities are a mystery. ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ but also presents many questions; such a who, where, when, why.

This historic photo for example is of the family of Smiths who lived in Portland Victoria Australia. One of the boys is my paternal grandfather.

Smith_family_in_Portland_1920

Family members who knew them previously identified the others in the photo. A scribble on the back of a print states that this photo was taken in 1920 in Portland, just prior to the family being ‘separated’. The father and mother of this family are not in the photograph because they had both passed away. I know the story and it is a tragic tale that I will include in my personal family history when the time comes.

Meanwhile my investigations continue and I try to wrangle this precious pile of pictures into something interesting and useful.

Live & Local

IMG_7833It has been a busy week for me as I have organised the local events to celebrate National Library Week.

We kicked off the week with the Sydney Writers Festival.

This year’s Sydney Writers Festival was live-streamed across the country, and it was my job to liaise with the organisers to have it broadcast at Frankston Library.

The quality of the live stream was excellent and it really felt as though you had front row seats in Sydney. Andrea Louise Thomas was the MC for our local event and she had prepared questions for audience discussion after each talk.

IMG_0446I was fortunate to enjoy these wonderful sessions on the Friday:

The ‘live and local’ sessions continued on the Saturday and Sunday, at the library, and these were very much appreciated by those that attended.

National Simultaneous Storytime was celebrated with much hat wearing fun by lots of children who took part at our libraries. We also offered video versions on our Facebook page.

IMG_7848The current Miles Franklin Award winning author Sofie Laguna spoke eloquently to an eager crowd mid-week; The Eye of the Sheep a source of much discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7842A local pianist Yani played our old possum-painted plunka during two lunchtime periods. She competed bravely against dodgy piano keys, seagulls, crows, traffic noise, wind and rain. I sat contentedly listening to her imperfect renditions of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and others.

We conclude our busy week with a live music concert with Sympatico.

A competition is yet to be concluded. We posed the question: ‘When was the first free library provided in Frankston?’ The answer is on display in our libraries.

IMG_7832

On being dismantled

“Yes!” I exclaimed as I drove along the freeway to work one morning. Julie Piatt had just said some enlightening words:

“You’ve got to rise to a different level, and start defining what’s going on with you. This is my sacred moment! This is my opportunity. Bless ‘them’ for giving me this opportunity. I’m not going to waste it. I’m not going to lose this moment. Let me take it and ingest it with all of my being, so that I extract the nectar of life.”

cover170x170 I was hearing these words from the podcast Divine Throughline and Srimati’s words rang clear and true for me. She described the experience of being ‘dismantled’ in life. Her experience was one of financial collapse and the struggles she faced in dealing with that. But she emphasized that the same dismantling can occur with relationships, health, etc.

The word ‘dismantling’ accurately describes the feeling that I have been experiencing over these past few years since my parents died. They were the foundation of my identity – positively and negatively. As outgoing people they regularly did the talking for their reserved eldest child. My identity in this world was shaped and supported by their description of me. I saw myself through their eyes. Their supporting framework for me existed for 55 years and now it is gone.

Other notions of my character and personality emerged, were well lived, and then outlived: capable and interested student, competitive swimmer and netballer, designer, wife, mother…

It was my identity as a mother where I found confidence, connection, meaning, competence, and unconditional love. There is nothing new in this, but for me, as someone without confidence, this formed a strong identity for me. I loved, nurtured, helped, supported, and communicated to these new beings who I was responsible for, with the constant help from my husband – their father. These were/are my favourite people in the whole world. I loved seeing the world through the eyes of a mother, sharing life experiences with them.

They flew from the nest as confident, independent, capable, and happy adults to find their own way in life. A success story. And while my parents were still part of this world, they continued to hold up my fragile ivory tower.

But then I was ‘benched’ as Julie Piatt describes in her podcast. Much of what I knew to be my identity was removed through relationships that were now gone or had failed, and this was not ever my intention. Piece by piece my identity has been stripped away. Of course I am grateful for those that remain.

“This is your soul saying “Get on your knees and I’m going to bring you down and your ego is not going to like this. I’m going to take you down to your core and reveal to you who you really are which is so much more beautiful that any personality or any ego, ever was.”

She says to allow ourselves some time and then you have to pick yourself up and rise to a different level. This is my sacred moment. She goes on to advise that we must do the things we love, everyday, whatever that might be; to be open to the miracle, and to see life through the lens of abundance and gratitude. I try and it is easy because I have so much to be grateful for.

Tell me

A realization struck me as I sat in the audience listening to Doctor Bruce Wells talk about happiness: I am living my life aligned to my passions and values. My employed work is to plan and organize library related events for the interest and benefit of our local community. It is a privileged position and while, in general, library work does align with my values associated with ethics, morals, and liberty, Dr. Wells made me realize that for me there is something deeper.

 

IMG_7674

Dr Bruce Wells at Frankston Library 16 April 2016

I love reading and books. I love being exposed to new ideas. I love to imagine other worlds and lives that exist between the pages. I love being told a good story. I love feeding my hunger for exploration and discovery. I love sitting at home in a comfortable chair absorbed in the latest good read. Working in a library, invites, supports and encourages others to read a good book and learn new things.

But it is my work that takes this one step further. What good are books full of treasured stories if they sit idly waiting on shelves gathering dust? What makes people pick it off the shelf and open the cover? It relies too heavily on serendipity. Library staff create displays and programs to highlight and celebrate books and themes in order to help people see what they don’t always know is there. (I read ebooks too and I am well aware of the new consumer habits associated with obtaining ebooks, but for this post I am focussing on our public libraries and print books. Many people don’t know that you can borrow an ebook for free from a public library; but that’s a whole other post).

But I go one step further. I invite authors to come along and speak at our library. What better way to bring books to life than to have the author there before you, in the flesh, to tell you more about their ideas?

Being told stories is a cherished human activity that goes back before books. Campfire stories are still a favourite thing to do when we can. The popularity of TED Talks is no surprise. We all love to hear something interesting. Then we might follow up this interest by exploring more on the topic.

So my realization was that I am able to share my own love of reading, books, and storytelling, by inviting authors to come and speak in person at our library. Local people can enjoy hearing stories told, and the writing craft explained, by the authors themselves. Books are thus brought to life. It is a true privilege for me to be in this position to be able to bring about this unique alchemy.

IMG_7574

Ali MC and Abe Nouk at Frankston Library 19 March 2016

These are the authors that I have organized speaking events for over the past year:

And these are the events that are coming up soon: