These are the books I read in 2017 with my ratings – 11 fiction and 14 non-fiction:
These are the books I read in 2017 with my ratings – 11 fiction and 14 non-fiction:
|How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease||Michael Greger||★★★★★|
|The Museum of Modern Love||Heather Rose||★★★★★|
|Good Morning Midnight||Lily Brooks-Dalton||★★★★★|
|Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret||Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn||★★★★★|
|Green Kitchen Travels||David Frenkel and Luise Vindahl||★★★★★|
|Life On Earth||Mike Dooley||★★★★|
|Healing from Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off from a Family Member||Mark Sichel||★★★★|
|Beyond the Rock||Janelle McCulloch||★★★|
|The Book of Joy||The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams||★★★|
|The Whistler||John Grisham||★★★|
|The Desire Map||Danielle LaPorte||★★★|
|The Course of Love||Alain de Botton||★★★|
|How to be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living||Rob Bell||★★★|
|How to Live a Good Life||Jonathan Fields||★★★|
|A Whole Life||Robert Seethaler||★★★|
|The Fast Diet Cookbook||John Chatham||★★★|
|My Italian Bulldozer||Alexander McCall Smith||★★★|
|Hiding in Plain Sight||Susan Lewis||★★|
|Kissed by a Deer||Margi Gibb||★★|
|The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work||Jon Gordon||★★|
|Fight Like a Girl||Clementine Ford||★|
Is that an oxymoron? How can you ‘party’ when you are reading silently? Well I guess that is the hook.
“We were all going to be at home alone reading; why not do it together?”
It is a concept that took off in the US and attributed to Daniel Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket). Although here Christopher Frizzelle takes credit for the idea. I don’t really care who came up with the idea; it is ‘novel’ and gaining popularity in today’s noisy world and equally noisy libraries.
Several public libraries in Australia jumped on the bandwagon this month. Here Jeff O’Neal of Book Riot offers how to host a Silent Reading Party in 7 easy steps.
We held one at the library where I work. I tried to create a cosy setting for the people that came along. And there was wine! The whole concept was appreciated and enjoyed with requests to do it again. #glamblogweekly
These are the books I read in 2016 with my ratings – 18 non-fiction and 12 fiction:
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:
I want to tell you about this concept – the Self Initiated Life Long Learning Experience. This is a new acronym created by me a few months ago. It is a way that people use the library that is currently not described in any way. This to me is one of the backbone features of the library. It is something I have called SiLLé
Self – it is about the individual; not your parents or your school or your workplace.
It is initiated by the individual; not by a curriculum, or a government organisation, or a rigid course.
The double ‘l’’s stand for Life Long Learning; that is self-explanatory I think. It could have been three ‘I’’s but that would have been silly.
é – because it is an experience. ‘e’ also represents the electronic medium of the virtual and digital world that libraries are part of. The French accent I put in just to give the acronym some French flair, but also because the French appreciate the value of the silly idea. This public library in Nice France is proof of that.
Here is an example of the self initiated lifelong learning experience.
A few years back I read this library book. The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas. I enjoyed it immensely. The book introduced some things that I had not heard about before:
So I listened to an audio copy of the book and enjoyed the story once again. I heard the pronunciation – “nam-myoho-renge-kyo” – but sadly no chant. So I hopped online to research these things. I found various versions of the chant on YouTube. And I found that the chant means “Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra”. I also found out that SGI Buddhism stands for Soka Gakkai International and this is a Japanese branch of Buddhism.
You could do all of this without the help of the library, however this is where the library catalogue serves as a precision tool for the masterful library users. Using the library catalogue I can bring up the record of the book I enjoyed and then cross-reference by subject to find more books on the topic, or by that author to see what else this guy has written, or by the narrator because I enjoyed hearing the gorgeous English accent of Nicholas Bell.
So the self-initiated lifelong learning experience continues… It is a truly unique intellectual wandering specific to me, and my random interests; as it is for everyone. Through this process we learn new things, our knowledge increases, and some of these pursuits might lead to something like a job; but not necessarily. However the impact that is has on improved literacy is immense. And we know that improved literacy helps with freedom of expression, civil liberty and a democratic society.
Now let me tell you a story about this man Og Mandino. Augustine Mandino was born in 1923. After schooling he joined the U S Air Force where he became a military officer and a jet fighter pilot. He flew during World War II. After his military duties, Mandino became a door to door insurance salesman. But he was really bad at it. He became an alcoholic, failed his family, and became destitute. He wanted to commit suicide. He went to a gun shop to get a gun and end it all. But the gun shop was closed.
Next door there happened to be a library so he went in to wait until the gun shop opened. He browsed through the books in a library, and it was the books about self-help, success and motivation that captured Mandino’s attention. He began reading and found himself there at the end of the day, having forgotten all about the gun. He read hundreds of books that dealt with success, a pastime that helped him alleviate his alcoholism.
He found W. Clement Stone’s classic, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, and this book changed Mandino’s life. He wrote the bestselling book The Greatest Salesman in the World. His books have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into over twenty-five different languages.
Mandino eventually became a successful writer and speaker. This was before the Internet and before TED talks. He died in 1996.
The library saved his life. Because…
GoodReads is a fantastic online tool for keeping track of your reading and I have been using it for the last couple of years. By contrast LibraryThing is great for recommending books that suit your reading and uses crowd tagging extremely effectively.
I used the reading challenge within GoodReads setting my goal at 50 books for the year. I am not an especially fast reader and tend to abandon a book if it doesn’t grab me in the first chapter. With this challenge I was encouraged to read books to the end, and this worked well for the most part. I read 28 non-fiction books; 10 fiction books; and I did not finish (abandoned) 4. Only two received five-star ratings: one non-fiction and one fiction.
Also note the prevalence of self-help books. This is no surprise as it is a genre that I have always been fond of reading, ever since my father first introduced me to the book “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. The last two years have been a challenging time for me personally trying to come to terms with the deaths of my mother and father, and life without them.
This tendency to read self-help books has been validated by the efforts of the Reading Agency in the United Kingdom, where their “Books on Prescription” program and the “Mood Boosting Books” program show the power of reading to lift us up out of habitual and damaging thought patterns.
So here are my results in order of preference:
|1||The Goldfinch||Donna Tartt||✪✪✪✪✪|
|2||An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth||Chris Hadfield||✪✪✪✪✪|
|3||Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment||Katrina Kenison||✪✪✪✪|
|4||10 Day Detox Diet Success: How to succeed on the 10 Day Detox Diet||Mark Hyman M.D.||✪✪✪✪|
|5||Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster||Jon Krakauer||✪✪✪✪|
|6||Love With A Chance of Drowning||Torre DeRoche||✪✪✪✪|
|7||The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet||Nina Teicholz||✪✪✪✪|
|8||The Fast Diet||Michael Mosley||✪✪✪|
|9||Paris Letters||Janice Macleod||✪✪✪|
|10||Why Mindfulness is Better Than Chocolate: Your Guide to Inner Peace, Enhanced Focus and Deep Happiness||David Michie||✪✪✪|
|11||The Tenth Door: An Adventure Through the Jungles of Enlightenment||Michele Hebert||✪✪✪|
|12||Walk Like a Buddha: Even If Your Boss Sucks, Your Ex is Torturing You, and You’re Hungover Again||Lodro Rinzler||✪✪✪|
|13||The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife||Marianne Williamson||✪✪✪|
|15||Bringing the Sacred to Life: the Daily Practice of Zen Ritual||John Daido Loori||✪✪✪|
|16||The Beethoven Factor: the New Positive Psychology of Hardiness, Happiness, Healing and Hope||Paul Pearsall||✪✪✪|
|17||The Power (The Secret #2)||Rhonda Byrne||✪✪✪|
|18||Gone Girl||Gillian Flynn||✪✪✪|
|19||Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting||Dr. Wayne Dyer||✪✪✪|
|20||The Best of Me||Nicholas Sparks||✪✪✪|
|21||The Gospel of Joy||Amanda Gore||✪✪✪|
|22||A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose||Eckhart Tolle||✪✪✪|
|23||Radical Forgiveness||Colin C. Tipping||✪✪✪|
|24||Using LinkedIn||Patrice-Anne Rutledge||✪✪✪|
|25||The Inside-Out Revolution: the Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever||Michael Neill||✪✪✪|
|26||E-Squared: Nine Do It Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality||Pam Grout||✪✪✪|
|27||Still Alice||Lisa Genova||✪✪|
|28||Fitlosophy 1: chasing Physical perfection in a World of Gluttony||Sharny Kieser||✪✪|
|29||The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation||John F. Demartini||✪✪|
|30||What Westerners Have for Breakfast: Five Years in Goa||John McBeath||✪✪|
|31||Dying to Know: Is There Life After Death||Josh Langley||✪✪|
|32||The Husband’s Secret||Liane Moriarty||✪✪|
|33||A Long Way Down||Nick Hornby||✪✪|
|34||Why Is God Laughing? The Path to Joy and Spiritual Optimism||Deepak Chopra||✪✪|
|35||My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side||Elisa Medhus M.D.||✪✪|
|36||Driving Under the Influence||Jenna Martin||✪|
|37||Elizabeth is Missing||Emma Healey||✪|
|38||Sisters of Spicefield||Fran Cusworth||✪|
|39||Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking||Malcolm Gladwell||abandoned|
|40||The Cuckoo’s Calling||Robert Galbraith||abandoned|
|41||The Word Exchange||Alena Graedon||abandoned|
|42||After Darkness||Christine Piper||abandoned|
I plan to use GoodReads again to challenge myself once again in 2015 and I think that the target of 50 books remains a good one for me.
I was lucky to attend the Reading Agency Seminar held at the new Library at the Dock in Melbourne.
Debbie Hicks, Director of the Reading Agency, opened the seminar with a presentation about the reading programmes offered in the UK. They offer UK public libraries tools for reading activities under a sustainable strategic framework that is benchmarked nationally for ensure continuity.
Their programmes include:
Dr. Jacinta Halloran talked about the gap between the early stages of anxiety and depression and the need for prescribing drugs. She talked about the sinking feeling she gets when she prescribes drugs for depression, knowing that bibliotherapy could help at this early stage. Jacinta is the author of two novels: Dissection, andPilgrimage. Jacinta works with Susan McLaine and more information about their work can be found at the Bibliotherapy Australia website.
Lisa D’Onofrio showcased the ‘Go Goldfields’ project. Part of this included a Literacy Strategy “read all about it”, that involved collaboration across sectors using the National Numeracy and Literacy Framework in order to adopt a common language.
Bec Kavanagh spoke eloquently about the Stella Prize which seeks to highlight gender inequality in literature for children and teens.
Rosie Cirrito from Brimbank Libraries talked about their Reading Buddies program that matches volunteers with readers. A reward system uses stickers, etc , to acknowledge milestones.
Sarah Hopkins and Karyn Siegmann of Bayside Libraries talked about the reader experience in libraries. They aim to support a reading culture by maximising library spaces, displays, and collection usage trends (Collection HQ). “The book is the hero.”
Sue Wootton of Eastern Regional Libraries talked about their Read with the Reading Dog program that incorporates dogs for reading practice for children identified as needing extra help by local schools.
Robyn Childs from Moreland Libraries talked about their Read More program that encapsulates all of their reading activities: from author talks, displays, writing competitions, workshops, etc.
Shirley Bateman of Melbourne City Libraries facilitated some reflections on the presentations. These were:
Paula Kelly, Library Manager of Melbourne City Libraries reminded us about the SLV/PLVN Statewide project READ (yet to be completed).
Debbie Hicks of the Reading Agency said that “libraries are unifque community spaces for the delivery of interventions for wellbeing.” Books on Prescription offers a book list of self-help books that are professionally selected using a book selection protocol, and made available through public libraries in the UK. A user leaflet is also provided that offers further information.
Susan McLaine talked about the power of literature to move and heal, saying that “in the library is healing for the soul,” and that “there is often wisdom within the story. Our aim should be to enrich life quality, life spirit, and nourish connection.” Susan’s website is Words That Heal and she is currently working on her PhD at RMIT on the topic of “creative bibliotherapy” while continuing to facilitate session within a prison.
Dr. Louise Roufeil is a psychologist that provided an overview of mental health in Australia. 45% of Australians experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. 20% had a diagnosed mental health disorder in the last 12 months. The high prevalence of anxiety impacts on productivity across the board. Early intervention is not readily available. Bibliotherapy can fill this gap and libraries are well positioned to do this.
Lisa Lang of Melbourne City Libraries read an excerpt from a Tobias Wolff novel that left us hanging… A great example of their Story Lounge programme that runs monthly at Library on the Dock.
We finished the day with a practical planning session that only served to reaffirm the need for collaboration amongst library services in order to provide similar programs. What do we do already? What more can we do?
One of the joys of my job is being able to choose books for the book clubs to read. The existing Book Club Collection I work with has currently almost 150 titles. And there are about twelve book clubs using this service.
My job in recent months has been to trim the existing list by analyzing whether titles were unpopular and not likely to be read, as well as what titles were already read by our clubs. I decided on ten titles that I offered to other library services and these were all gratefully accepted and moved on.
At the same time I began a new list of possible contenders for the 2015 list. This list grew to about 25 titles that we read and debated about, although we didn’t get time to read them all. One is not yet published. So there is an element of educated guesswork and relying on published reviews.
My colleagues and I agreed on ten titles and these we have ordered to add to our collection for 2015. We also add ten titles from the SLV Summer Read from last season. Add two titles that we picked up through the library swaps, and we have 22 new titles to add to our Book Club Collection. You can see the list here.
Now all I have to do is find time to continue to read the ones I haven’t yet read.