Last year I finished 180 books, according to my records on Goodreads. My reading tastes generally lean toward fiction, but include a healthy dollop of non-fiction, especially books related to behavior change, education, and design. In recent years I’ve gotten stingier with my highest ratings, reserving five stars for only the books that really leave an impression on me. In 2016, there were seven books that I gave five stars (a little fewer than 4% of my total reading). Here they are.
Last week I attended a really cool event: I saw Stephen King interview Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels, at Sanders Theater at Harvard University. It was easily the best class I’ve ever attended in that lecture hall, with apologies to my Confucian Humanism professor. The conversation between King and Child was intended to promote the newest Reacher book, Make Me, but ended up covering topics from casting movies based on novels, to understanding cultures where novels are set, to the creative process. Continue reading An Idea is Born: Writing and the Creative Process
This year, my favorite summer books have actually been a bit more on the serious side. It didn’t happen on purpose, but I’ve found that the books that stand out among the ones I’ve read recently are a little less “beach read” and a little more “dissertation read.” The thing about a well-written book is that even if the topic isn’t a typically light one, the narrative can be just as engaging as a pop best-seller. So yeah, I’m the person on the beach reading, as Amanda Katz put it, “pretty much the opposite” of “the quintessential summer read.
So here are three books I recommend this summer so far: Continue reading Summer 2015 Reading Recommendations
On the heels of my recent job change, I’ve been thinking a lot about career paths and how small choices can have a lifelong influence. For me, two big forks in the professional road were choosing to study psychology in college, and then choosing not to become a clinician or counselor, which is perhaps the most obvious career for a psychology major to pursue. The funny thing is, the reasons why I chose not to go into a counseling role are also some of the reasons why I admire counselors so much. Continue reading Careers in Psychology: To Counsel or Not?
None of these are holiday-themed, but that’s ok, right? They’re all engaging, memorable reads, and while I can’t say they’re all “fun,” they all have their moments.
As an obsessive reader, I love the feel and and heft of a real book. Yeah, they have their drawbacks. Books take up a lot of space. Moving apartments becomes an ordeal. Bringing enough books to entertain me for a long flight requires a sturdy carryon bag and an arm workout. But I think it’s worth it. Continue reading Books are the best!
The fact is, people read differently on the web than they do in other formats. They scan: 79% of them told Jacob Nielsen that their first move when landing on a new web page is to scan. This means that there’s potentially really great content being left in the dust because page visitors aren’t noticing the deeper meaning when they scan.
Worse, people are classified into three types of web users: readers, scanners, and bottom feeders. Each type is progressively less likely to read in detail than the last, and guess which type is the least common? We readers are going the way of the dodo. Continue reading Writing and Formatting for Improved Reader Engagement
I love to read. Even though I spend a lot of time every day reading on the web for work and fun, my favorite thing to read is a book. I have a few rules for my pleasure reading that I now embrace as part of being authentically myself:
- I don’t like short stories (they’re not long enough for me to build a satisfying relationship with the characters, and I don’t like transitioning so many times in one volume)
- I don’t like graphic novels (I just don’t, no real justification)
- Nothing that strays too far into chick-lit, like where the plot objective is to land a man or have the perfect wedding or acquire the most incredible designer shoes
- I have weird rules about sci-fi. I usually don’t read it, and the times I like it, the book isn’t too off-the-wall. I can’t do books where the character names are like “Glork” and “Mxybzyb” and I can’t understand where they are or what they’re doing without getting acculturated to their strange universe.
- I really love murder-mystery-suspense type books, especially if they have forensic science stuff. These are my guilty pleasure.
With those in mind, here are a few of my recent favorites that I think would make excellent fun summer reading on the beach or a roof deck, while you sip your refreshing beverage of choice. Continue reading Friday Funday #5: Summer Reads