Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Few Good Books

One of my favorite quotes is:

"The more that you read, the more that you know,
The more that you know, the more places you'll go."

Dr. Seuss had it right all along. It's the reason I can't stop reading, can't stop learning. It's a fact in my life, that I love being challenged to learn new things. Actually, I crave it. Knowledge takes you to new places, discovering possibilities beyond current reason. Hence why I do things like teach myself French on the side (albeit quite difficult), study vocabulary books for fun, and read case study textbooks. My mother is the same way, as she's currently working on getting her third master's degree, this time in mathematics. (Read: genius.) Like her, I'm always pushing myself harder, expecting more than humanly possible. It stretches my mind to think creatively in how can I achieve all that I want in the given time period I have allotted in a day, month, year, lifetime...

Being the intensely competitive person I am (don't play me in Scrabble), this year I decided to impose a semi-daunting challenge to myself called: "52 Books." I had heard about it through fellow bloggers, and it sounded like the perfect fit for me. The goal is to read 52 books in a year, one per week. I told a few friends about it January, casually asking if they wanted to do it too. Not only did an outstanding number of people join the quest, but we've made it into a social media project through sharing book reviews via Twitter (join the conversation: #52books), as well as mini-blogging on tumblr, and just sending emails back and forth.

I read a couple books at a time typically, which possibly makes me take longer to complete; it keeps them all interesting for me. Thus far, I'm about fifty pages from completion of my sixth book and about 200 from finishing the seventh. Perhaps reading 500-600 page books at a time is making this more difficult to comply with the "one book a week" ideal. As long as by December 31, 2011, I've read 52 books, I will consider it a win.

This year, I've been all over the boards with what I've been reading, including:

1. "Game Change" by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
2. "Reading Jackie" by William M. Kuhn
3. "One Day" by David Nicholls
4. "Travel and Tourism Public Relations" by Dennis Deuschl
5. "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki
6. "Anthropology of an American Girl" by Hilary Thayer Hamann (almost complete)
7. "Decision Points" by George W. Bush (halfway complete)

I will say there are a few trends though in my reading, focusing on politics and biographies. It's what interests me most, which has surprised me actually. It used to be fiction was my genre of choice, loving the ability to be transported to another world entirely. Perhaps now I'm too entwined with events and people in our world to want to be taken away from it.

Although technology is a big proponent for me in my career and personal interest, I've yet to give in to the kindle or an iPad. There's nothing like turning the page to next set of words waiting to be read and having bookcases filled with novels waiting to be opened again. Soon, though, I know I'll begin utilizing them. It took me a while to give up my handheld CD player too for the iPod, as the strap fit perfectly around my hand when I would go for runs. (Side note: my dad still uses his radio headset and discman when working out, one of the many reasons why I adore him for his unwillingness to let go of the things he loves.) Eventually I did give in and now can't imagine my life before my iPod with its ability to hold more songs than I can ever dream of listening to at a given time. Time changes everything. Unlike the discman, though, I hope books, like learning, never go out of style.

“Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can.”


  1. I just finished "Decision Points"...it was so interesting! Hope you enjoy it :)

  2. Thanks, Amy! I read through the first portion quite quickly, but then have slowed down in the Afghanistan/Iraq chapters. I've heard the rest of the book is stellar so look forward to finishing!