Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random book things

The top 20 book club bestsellers for 2010 from based on readers' choices are:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

And for fun, 10 visual artists who use (recycled) books as their medium here at Flavorwire:

Once again, my thanks to Shelf Awareness "daily enlightenment for the book trade" email.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Getting things done, making things work

I've been very influenced by the two books Getting Things Done and Making Things Work, both available here at the Butler libraries. Perhaps the thinking in the following letter from the author, David Allen, will express why:

Hi Everyone,

As we near the end of 2010, it's a good time to let go of what no longer works for you—physically, mentally and emotionally. You'll be amazed at the creative energy that will often come forward when you do this. I bet you each have at least one, if not several, new projects, that will delight and amaze you, just waiting to come forward. And probably at least a few projects already in motion that could use some fresh, unencumbered attention put on them, with lots of new and creative ideas that could be captured and incorporated. Letting go of the old makes room for the new, if you allow it.

If you're still trying to get your arms around the whole "projects piece" of GTD, our new Managing Projects set seems to be connecting some important dots for folks out there from what we're hearing.

All the best,

Good Riddance
It's time to purge.

The end of a year and start of the new is a great metaphorical event you can use to enhance a critical aspect of your constructive creativity—get rid of everything that you can.

Your psyche has a certain quota of open loops and incompletions that it can tolerate, and it will unconsciously block the engagement with new material if it has reached its limit. Release some memory.

Want more business? Get rid of all the old energy in the business you've done. Are there any open loops left with any of your clients? Any agreements or disagreements that have not been completed or resolved? Any agendas and communications that need to be expressed? Clean the slate.

Want more clothes? Go through your closets and storage areas and cart to your local donation center everything that you haven't worn in the last 24 months. And anything that doesn't feel or look just right when you wear it.

Want to be freer to go where you want to, when you want to, with new transportation? Clean out your glove compartments and trunks of your cars. And for heaven's sake, get those little things fixed on your car or bicycle or motorbike that have been bugging you.

Do you want more wealth? Unhook from the investments and resources that have been nagging at you to change. (And give more than usual to someone or something that inspires you to do so.)

Do you want to feel more useful? Hand off anything that you are under-utilizing to someone who can employ it better.

Want some new visions for your life and work? Clean up and organize your boxes of old photographs. Want to know what to do with your life when you grow up? Start by cleaning the center drawer of your desk.

You will have to do all this anyway, sometime. Right now don't worry about the new. It's coming toward you at lightning speed, no matter what. Just get the decks clear so you're really ready to rock 'n' roll.

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

-Henry David Thoreau
"Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."

-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Memory Palace

From the review published today in Shelf Awareness:

...Bartók says our brains are built not to fix memories in stone but rather to transform them; our recollections change in the retelling of them. How often do we think about this when reading memoirs? How often do we realize this in ourselves? With memoirs, we hope to get a larger, universal truth, the kind we often encounter in fiction, because facts are mutable. And part of that truth will hold mystery...
(Marilyn Dahl)

The Memory Palace: A Memoir by Mira Bartók (Free Press, $25, 9781439183311/143918331, January 11, 2011)

Look for it here in the library next month.