Will Schwalbe is one of my writing heroes.
Will Schwalbe & me
Will has written: SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better (2010), The End Of Your Life Book Club (2012), Books for Living (2016). He does a terrific job of making connections with his readers because of his writing style and powerful messages.
It is Will’s practice to ask everyone he meets, “What are you reading?”
This question never fails to elicit amazing responses or conversations from those who are asked. Even if the person being asked isn’t a big reader, there are always books or stories from the past that seem to create connections for those in the conversation.
Recently our family took a trip to a state park. During a few of my MANY trips trips to our cabin, I noticed a gentleman reading outside his lodging. After the second day, I stopped and asked him, “What are you reading?”
“Oh,” he said, “nothing that would probably interest you.”
I said, “Try me.”
He was reading a Western novel by William Johnstone.
As an avid reader, former bookstore employee, and proud possessor of a soft spot for Westerns, I began to list off some of the series and books that I happened to know were written by William Johnstone. He was tickled by my knowledge and appreciation for the genre. Continue reading “So What Are You Reading?… (Read this even if you don’t like to read.)”
Do you know the power of “Yet”?
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is a book by Joshua Hammer. I learned about The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu on Goodreads and I want desperately to read it. However, after laboring through the first few chapters, I realized that I do not possess enough knowledge about Timbuktu, Mali, or the plight of the Islamic peoples as they have been tortured by Al Qaeda. The words of Adbel Kader Haidara, the original Bad-Ass, were beautiful, terrifying at times, and wonderfully descriptive, but my ignorance of how to pronounce and process many of the words left me feeling lost. After page 70, I put the book back on my “To Read” list. I just wasn’t smart enough for this book.
When I told my husband about being confounded by the book, he told me that I would get it; I just might have to read it a few times. He was hinting at the “Yet.”
A few days after re-shelving The Bad-Ass Librarians, I was speaking to my friend Donna. We were discussing The End of Your Life Book Club and the reads that were recommended in it. It was fun to compare what she had read to what I had read and what we both still wanted to read. It was then that I told her about Hammer’s book. I shared my disappointment in myself for not being educated enough to read the book. That is when Donna reminded me of the power of “Yet.” Continue reading “The Power of “Yet””
There were so many things I wanted to title this post… “Long Live the Tree Books,” “Becoming a Watch Deputy,” and (the title that almost made the cut) “Buying Books We Knock Over.” (I call dibs on all these titles for future posts.)
This past spring Aunt Carol recommended that I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club is a memoir of the books Will and his mother read and bonded over during her diagnosis and treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
I am not gonna lie. Reading this book made me feel smarter because Will and his mother Mary Anne read some AMAZING stuff. (I have an entire Goodreads book shelf dedicated to books I learned about in The End of Your Life Book Club.) It wasn’t so much the knowledge about the books they read that increased my intelligence; it was the way Will conveyed the powerful life lessons fostered by their reading, conversations, and the tremendous responsibility assumed because of their reading that made me feel smarter.
Will was announced as the author of the 2017 Capital READ in June. I was so excited! The date went immediately on my calendar and I ordered a new hardback copy of The End of Your Life Book Club from Amazon Marketplace.
When my copy arrived, I discovered that I had unwittingly ordered an autographed copy. I was bummed because I wanted my copy to be signed when I met Will. (Silly thing to be bummed about, right?) My signed copy ended up being a cool thing. Continue reading “Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe”
via Daily Prompt: Bitter
Often when I mention my blog, people tune me out. That’s okay. Many times when I invite people to read my blog, they smile and say, “That sounds cool, but I don’t have time to read,” and then they tell me about something else they read on Facebook. It’s okay.
If you don’t read my posts, it doesn’t hurt my feelings.
I write for myself and for those who do need the messages I compose.
I write for the opportunity to share my experiences and the lessons learned in daily events.
I write for other educators and farmers. We have the toughest careers there are. Someone has to get our message out there.
I write for the moms and dads who find joy and frustration in the role of parent and hopefully provide comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in our parenting struggles.
I write for those who suffer from self-doubt, worry, and guilt. We need to let that stuff go and hopefully my posts help others (as well as me) move on from that negativity. Continue reading “If You Don’t Read My Work, It Doesn’t Hurt My Feelings”
Goodreads.com is a home for book reviews, book recommendations, book lists, book clubs, and author bios and I am now obsessed with it.
If you already enjoy Goodreads, you might find humor in my newness or appreciation for the joy the site has brought to me. Please comment about any features you like or dislike on Goodreads. I had read about Goodreads from a number of other bloggers’ sites, but until our local librarian recommended it to me recently, I had not given it much consideration.
I checked out the site on Thursday and Friday created my account. Now I can’t stop reading reviews, searching for books that I have read or want to read, and am so enthralled by the give-aways, book clubs, and Goodreads blog that I am having trouble concentrating on what I wanted to type here.
There are many features to this site that I find beneficial. I love how the genres are organized. The search options are everywhere. I can even automatically search for the books I get from Amazon.
One of the best features for me is the ability to make a “Book Shelf.” I created a Book Shelf for the book club I sponsor at my kids’ school. I was able to find all of the book on the Mark Twain Reading list and add them. This will allow me to rate and review the books as soon as I read them. I can refer students and parents to this list and the sharing grows from there. Now I just have to get my hands on all those books. 🙂
I had the local library’s website open in split screen yesterday so I could start requesting some of the books that intrigued me from the Goodreads site. There is a way to find your local libraries and their catalogs through Goodreads and request your books. (I may wear out that Request button.) I still have to set the library request feature up on my account; searching for books and authors has prevented me from dedicating enough time to it.
Goodreads is on Twitter (of course) and I have really enjoyed the prompt posts they have published and found some very positive reviewers and followers in the Goodreads’ throngs. Continue reading “goodreads.com – My Newest Obsession”
Kelly’s portable “office”
At my old office, I surrounded myself with framed quotes. They helped motivate me and, I hope, inspired some of the people who came and went in the little non-profit I managed.
One of my favorite quotes was this, by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.”
I had to come to terms with my own “shipness” (it’s not a word, but I’m making it so) after the birth of my third child threw my work-life balance into an overwhelming tailspin. After weeks of crying in the daycare parking lot and crunching household budget numbers, it was made clear that something would have to give. That something? The job I’d loved for a decade, the one I never imagined leaving,
I saw a job ad for an adjunct communications instructor at the area technical college. I hadn’t applied for a job in more than ten years, but I enthusiastically submitted my name for the position. A part-time job would allow me to keep my professional life active and free up much-needed time for my three kids, including one with cerebral palsy who logs multiple doctor’s appointments each month.
While I waited, I continued to struggle in my full-time career. Even though I was stressed to the breaking point, I still didn’t know if I was ready to leave.
The day I finally hit a wall at work and came home devastated was the day I received a phone call about interviewing for the part-time teaching position. The relief and excitement I felt was the answer I’d been waiting for.
As soon as the interview was scheduled, I gave my notice at work. I didn’t even wait until I had the job, because I was that secure in the decision. I knew I could no longer “make it work” (said in my most exaggerated Tim Gunn voice). Continue reading “On Quitting – Thoughtful Thursday”
Seriously, what goes in a book review?
I have read many reviews of literature and all are different. As I embark on the journey through my summer reading list, I have found some amazing works to devour. I would love to share my thoughts on these books but am looking for guidance on what makes a successful book review.
It is always important to know if the reader recommends a book, but is the moral of the story as important as the author’s ability to build characters or describe scenes?
Is it better to give away the majority of the plot or build suspense with a few small snippets?
Personally, I love when reviewers share their favorite quotes from books. Does this appeal to you?
What gets you to read a book or at least a book review? Please share!
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I love recommendations for books to read too. 🙂
The Creative Power of the Unknown – Wise Words Wednesday
The personal philosophies found in the This I Believe collection continue to amaze me. One that stood out to me in particular this week came from astrophysicist Alan Lightman.
In his personal philosophy he wrote, “I hope that there are always things we don’t know about the physical world as well as about ourselves. I believe in the creative power of the unknown. I believe in the boundary of standing between the known and the unknown. I believe in the unanswered questions of children” (Allison, 149).
Our brains are so overworked with the little details of everyday survival that we forget to hold onto the magic of wonder. We limit our boundaries for growth.
I love when my children ask me questions that stump me. Those questions demonstrate the tremendous potential my children have for understanding and intelligence. It also reminds me that it’s ok to not be a know-it-all. We always have something to learn about our world or ourselves.
As you embark on your schedule-driven journey this week, leave a little room to learn and explore things that are new or unknown to you. Provide creative energy to your conversations and introductions. Allow the unknown to extend into your personal motivation. Continue reading “The Creative Power of the Unknown – Wise Words Wednesday”
The Right to be Wrong – Wise Words Wednesday
“I believe that man’ noblest endowment is his capacity to change. Armed with reason, he can see two sides and choose: He can be divinely wrong. I believe in a man’s right to be wrong.” – Leonard Bernstein
This I Believe is a collection of personal philosophies. I am currently reading it and LOVE what I am reading. The history of This I Believe dates back to the 1950’s. The original This I Believe series asked individuals to write their philosophy and then share it on the radio. It was a huge sensation.
As I pour through the philosophies of tremendous individuals, both from the 1950’s and present, I am moved by the similar themes that continue to surface. Kindness, compassion, intelligence, and faith are key elements in all of the entries. Each of these traits requires us to grow and change. Our wrong choices set us up for opportunities to do just that. Grow. Learn. Change. Become better people.
As you encounter the mistakes of others and yourself, remember the right to be wrong is guaranteed to everyone. We cannot develop deeper understanding in our lives, if we don’t discover what works and what doesn’t.
Being wrong is different than being bad. Continue reading “The Right to be Wrong – Wise Words Wednesday”
Versatile Blogger Award – February 2017
“Life is about being a versatile athlete and training in all realms of life.” -Ray Lewis
Upon receiving my nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award from The Wandress, author of “wandering in my Genes,” I was exceptionally honored. Her young blog on life and works of literature is sweet, sincere, and uplifting. To be considered “Versatile” by someone who has created such a fluid work of blog art is really a treat for me. Thank you!
The Versatile Blogger Award is an honor that also serves as a pay-it-forward approach to blogging. When this award is given, the recipient is to share 7 facts about his or her self (hopefully enlightening their readers as to why they have been deemed “Versatile”), thank the individual who nominated them, and then nominate 15 other bloggers that are also worthy of the honor.
As for my 7 Versatile Blogger Facts:
- I try to write a little every day. It is a proven practice for honing and strengthening one’s writing voice and skill. (I still need A LOT of practice.)
- Receiving “likes” and comments on my blog posts is the equivalent to winning the lottery. Anytime I receive a notification that a post has been liked, shared, or commented on, my heart does a happy little cartwheel.
- My children always want to be a part of my blog writing process but sometimes I am leery of including them. While I am comfortable exposing my own thoughts and fears, I am not always comfortable sharing details about my precious children. I guess I am just an overprotective mom.
- I have the most amazing collection of friends. They are all so different and lead such varying lives that I feel blessed to be a tie that binds them.
- I plan my meals a month at a time. I print a blank calendar at the beginning of each month, look through my pantry and freezer, plan our suppers, and then make my grocery lists from the monthly menu. It is one of my attempts to control the chaos of my life. It also saves money on groceries.
- My favorite color is blue. I LOVE the color blue.
- I don’t like to wash windows. I will sweep, do dishes, laundry, and vacuum my heart out, but I don’t like to wash windows. I plan to write about this in my spring cleaning posts.
Now to my nominations of other bloggers.
I follow a number of bloggers that I believe are tremendously versatile. Here are a few. Please check out their work.
- Meli author of https://thedreamingyogi.wordpress.com
- vinaytheblogger author of https://techyvinay.wordpress.com/
- Life in the Leslie Lane
- An Epic of Epic Epicness
- K. Lamb author of The Gentlemen Project
- Whitney Edna ibe author of https://whitneyibeblog.wordpress.com
- Bev author of https://sahmclub.wordpress.com/
- Steve Cauley author of https://pastorstevencauley.com/
- Natalie author of https://natalieschriefer.wordpress.com/
- Dawn Liz Jones author of https://dawnlizjones.wordpress.com/
By: Melanie A. Peters (2 time Versatile Blogger Award recipient)
P.S. Be sure to award someone with a compliment or statement of gratitude for what they bring to your life.