Christine Smallwood has a thoughtful review in the June 9 & 16 2014 New Yorker “Ghosts in the Stacks” of Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf: From LEQ to LES.
Smallwood raises some issues about reading books which is of considerable interest to me:
how we choose books today has been dramatically changed by technology (our preferences and reading habits are monitored and curated
what scholars read and how they read has changed (a distinction is made between close reading and surface reading)
I was appropriately admonished by her last paragraph:
And what about the books right in front of you that were published, even purchased, but, for all you know, might as well not have existed? My own bookshelves are filled with books I haven’t read, and books I read so long ago that they look at me like strangers. Can you have FOMO about your own life?…The alphabet is great, but there is nothing quite as arbitrary as one’s own past choices. Reading more books begins at home.”
Timeout on buying new books to read until I review what is filling my home office bookshelves. This is also a wonderful opportunity to use my LibrarianPro app.
Hmm—32 books in shelf # 1 beginning with father-in-law’s 1927 copy of the Best Known Works of Edgar Allan Poe and ending with Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment. How delightful!
Summer is a time for reading, reflecting, re-energizing, refocusing, and rejoicing about the beauty of living.
I still am choked up in tears from reading it. It strikes close to home, and it triggered reflections about my best past and present canine friends.
Curious David Redux: Here are some of my earlier reflections about dogs who taught me lessons. As the biped protagonist in Nunez’s novel comments to Apollo, the Great Dane, “Remember, I’m only human. I’m nowhere as sharp as you are.”
Today I am “dog-tired”–it was a three dog night yesterday as we celebrated a birthday with dear friends.
Several summers ago I was humbled at how much I have yet to learn about teaching and about learning. A friend Mary directed her beloved, devoted blind Newfoundland Ernie to “rescue” me by, on command, swimming out to a rowboat where I feigned being in distress.
I was saved as he towed me back guided only by the loving voice of Mary.
Reflections: It has been 6 months since Robin the Newf left my life. She leaves me with many fond memories and enduring lessons about patience, love, persistence, forgiveness, coping with pain, loyalty, and playfulness.
Her successor, Leo the Great, already is reminding me of all those lessons and, in his own way, offering me new things to learn.
Reflections: Robin and Glenn the Big Dog and Mollie the Golden Retriever and Queenie and Duchess and Snapper and Freud and Leo have made me laugh and cry, exhausted and rejuvenated me, and constantly pointed out to me the frailties of being a human. My father-in-law, Walter G. Schmidt deep love of dogs was extolled in his eulogy given by the Reverend Charles Valenti-Heine:
…”And that world, for Walter, included his beloved Canines. Lucy, Canis, Oaf, Chaucer, Trollope, and Freud, the last-named because Walter was told that the companionship of a good dog was of greater worth to people than any other therapy! The one time I remember Walter speaking in church was when Trollope died, and he stood up during joys and concerns to opine: ‘If there is a place in heaven for Presbyterians, then surely there is a place for greyhounds.’
I have had many dog role models both real and fictionalized. As I child I fondly remember Mr. Peabody and his seven-year-old sidekick, Sherman. I am attracted to the nonsense of dog cartoons in the same way that my dogs are attracted to scents. Though many of my friends claim I behave more like Scott Adams’ cartoon character Dilbert, I have often learned from the philosophies of his character Dogbert and from Snoopy.
Rudyard Kipling and Lord Byron have warned us ofhow dogs can capture your heart! Dogs continue to teach me so much! Some day soon I hope to be their full-time student.
Do dogs match their owners in physical appearance? in personality? There is an interesting body of research dealing with these questions. Under what circumstances does pet ownership reduce stress? increase it? Why in the world did I spend $250 tonight on pet treats? Perhaps I still am affected by my first reading of Argos‘ blind enduring faith. Robin, the patient gentle giant, knows.
Here is some anecdotal evidence provided by one of my playful students that owners like me (though there was sometimes confusion between Robin and me and, presently, Leo and me as to who is the owner) may start looking like their dogs!
Though good literature is timeless and much nonfiction is time-dependent, it would appear that my backlog of pleasure reading is in need of more time than the hour or so I devote to reading before falling asleep! Alas, this weekend is the annual University Lake barn sale where I habitually succumb to walking away with several grocery bags stuffed with even more to read.
Among the books (some of which are pictured above) I plan to have read before 2nd semester begins in mid January are the following:
Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Faster, Better: The Science of Being Productive in Life and Business and also his The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I try to read things of this sort because of my partnership in Schneider Consulting and out of interest in writing something like this. Greg, Jane, and I keep talking about publishing some of our accumulated wisdom from consulting the past 30 years.
Cixin Liu’s Death’s End. I read the first two books of this science fiction trilogy and have eagerly awaited more than a year for the translation of the third volume. I try to read several works from global authors every year and at the time I read the first book, I was under the understanding the Carroll was expecting an influx of students from China.
Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth. I admire and envy her way with words.
Jonathan Safran Foer’s novels Here I Am and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I tonight will finish his creative first novel Everything Is Illuminated.
Robert Sternberg’s What Universities Can Be: A New Model for Active Concerned Citizenship and Ethical Leadership.I’ve always admired Sternberg’s depth of thinking and once had the pleasure reviewing his book on research dealing with wisdom. This year Carroll’s overarching theme is “Citizenship.”
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. I deeply admire both men.
Alan Moore’s Jerusalem.
Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time.
Kennth Mikkelson’s (with whom I just connected on LinkedIn): The NeoGeneralist: Where You Go is Who You Are
J. K. Rowling’s: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Screen Play
And of course, for the next six weeks I continue to read, learn from, and interact online with the author Jane Hart of MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING: A RESOURCE BOOK FOR L&D. It is a fascinating and a very new reading experience for me to be interacting with the author and a number of fellow readers across the world as we read, discuss, and try to apply the ideas in her book. So much value is added to the printed copy I bought by my also having an online copy which I can annotate, explore the links and references, and perhaps even through my participation “refresh” it with ideas.
I’m proctoring my first two exams of the academic year (Statistics and Experimental Design) so I have a protected five hour block for reading and for writing. I’ll have another such window of opportunity while my wife is in the dentist’s office for an hour later today. My Ipad will accompany me there.
First I glance at my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. Looks like it is time to refine my Twitter filters. Can it really be that I have created over 1500 Tweets?? Do I still want to follow Edward Snowden? Jane Hart? Time to winnow—or to destroy the evidence:) I’ll revisit whom and what I follow as my interests and needs change. I’ll have to refresh my memory on what I and my students have written about Twitter. I send myself a note about which articles I want to read in depth or to share.
I’ll seek some counsel from my student research team. They surprised me the other day by indicating that they found Twitter a useful tool that they would like to learn more about. I fire off an email to them and am pleased that three of them are already on-board awaiting assignments—at 8:15 a.m.
Simpson Research Team 2016-2017
I peruse my email accounts briefly trying to identify what most deserves or needs my attention. I quickly visually scan the online version of the Waukesha Freeman with special attention to articles about Carroll; the Milwaukee Journal business section; and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I am delighted and impressed to see a draft stored on Google drive of an article written by one of my research assistants since we checked in this morning. It compares Skype and Face Time as communication tools. Well done, Alison! It was no accident that these students wrote their first book last year with only the slightest supervision from me. It will be interesting to see if they accept my challenge about advancing to the next level in developing their talent.
Time for a coffee break and a team meeting. We briefly meet between exams. I share with them a few projects that I would welcome their involvement in, and I share what I have learned today while exploring LinkedIn and Yammer. I learn so much FROM them. I grab several manuscripts dealing with “brain training” to read while I proctor exam # 2. Several Carroll alumni researchers share my interest in this topic and I want to keep up with them. Learning never ends.
I’m sitting in my office going through the usual re-entry rituals at the beginning of my almost 39th year of teaching here. My friend and colleague, Phil Krejcarek teasingly reminded me yesterday that he started a semester before me. Our esteemed colleague Gary Olsen started here in 1975.
I smile at the usual beginning of semester chaos. Passwords that don’t work (or I have forgotten); printers that need to be reconfigured because of upgrades; a necessary visit to the book store to make sure that my texts are in.
Today is Move-in Day for freshmen. I read in the Waukesha Freeman that Carroll is expecting 58 international students from 25 different countries bringing the total of international students to 97.
I choose to exclude Carroll from my summer life as much as I can responsibly can and devote my time to family relationships, reading, and being outdoors. Among my favorite “good reads” this year were the following:
Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
Paul Silvia’s How to Write a Lot.
Evan Kindley’s Questionnaire
Julie Lindsay’s The Global Educator
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Jeff VanderMer’s The Big Book of Science Fiction
Neal T. Jones’ A Book of Days for the Literary Year.
The Annotated Alice
Viet Than Nguyen’s The Sympathizer
Ayad Akhtar’s American Dervish
Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac
Sharon Guskin’s The Forgetting Time
Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky
Brian Crane’s 25 Years of Pickles
Ivan Doig’s Last Bus to Wisdom
I’ll be giving away all these books to interested students. What books would you recommend?
I also have seriously explored this summer some software tools to facilitate my goals for writing more and giving students opportunities to publish.
This will be an interesting transition year. A nationwide search for a new Carroll President; a Psychology Program Review; personal decisions. But for today, a few meetings and then still time to play at North Lake and continue learning from Leo the Great.
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, we four undergraduate research assistants in “Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood” have been familiarizing ourselves with several different learning tools described on Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List. As we read about and played with each tool, we wrote blog posts using WordPress to let the world know more about the features, benefits, tips, and drawbacks of each learning tool based upon our personal experiences. As these blogs were being published throughout the fall semester, Dr. Simpson suggested OURwriting our own book about how the tools can facilitate learning in the classroom and business world. We responded to this challenge with both trepidation and zeal!
We took each of the blog posts previously written and compiled them into one large Microsoft Word document. Then, over the course of about two months, we carefully went through each blog post. We improved the writing, further developed ideas, updated our learnings, corrected errors, added pictures, and temporarily removed hypertext links. We divided the learning tools we examined into 5 chapters: Video Editing Software, Social Network/Interactive Networking Tools, Note Taking Tools, Data Collecting Tools, and Presentation/Sharing Tools. We added screenshots for examples and created potential cover pages for the book. We decided upon a basic layout: an introduction at the beginning of each chapter, a reasonably detailed description of each learning tool, and an explanation of how the tool is useful in business and educational settings.
(Alison Lehman) Converting our short, to the point blog posts to a book format was no small task. Creating a book took a lot of planning, coordination between team members, additional investigation into the learning tools, and large amounts of time to create, write, coordinate and edit our thoughts and experiences. Initially our idea was “simply” to convert each WordPress blog onto Google Docs so that each team member had access to the book-in-progress no matter where they were. This decision was vital to a successful workflow of communication. We could leave notes for one another on the Google sheet, see what each other had been working on, and be aware of what still needed to be completed. When the WordPress blogs were converted into the Google Doc, I had naively assumed that a lot of the information we had previously written would be easily ported into the book. However, varying writing styles and incomplete information did not easily lend themselves to a smooth transition into a book. Consequently, we chose almost to completely scrap the original posts and start anew. In hindsight this decision was a blessing in disguise because it gave us an opportunity to rethink our ideas, add important details, include updated information and impose a common, improved format from the bottom up. Since we were not producing short blogs anymore, a lot more research went into investigating how to use the tools, what the tools were most useful for, and the utility of these learning tools in the classroom and business environments. Though the discussion of each learning tool examined was primarily written by one or two individuals together, but each was then edited and read and reread by each individual of the research team. Creating a book taught us all about proper planning, how essential clear communication is between members, how to incorporate the ideas and thoughts of each member, and how to establish and maintain a realistic timeline for completing a managable task. Our ideas were continually being improved and applied to better enhance the effectiveness of our collaborative first book-writing efforts. With the final product being steps away from completion, I am proud for all time, effort, and resources that were dedicated in creating a book of this kind. I look forward to the future projects and goals the research team will accomplish together. When a great group of minds come together, there is nothing that can stand in the way of their success and ambitions.
(Arianna) Until writing our own book, I had never appreciated the time and effort that goes into writing. The need to sit down and carefully read and reread and reread again every page trying not to miss a single typo or spelling error and making sure all of the tenses match up is daunting but necessary. However, after about ten proofreads and several edits to the document, we were able to publish our hard work.
(Lizzy) Well, writing this book was definitely an eye opening experience for myself. I had never once thought I would have the opportunity to write a book, much less publish one for others to enjoy. I did not know how much work goes into writing a book until we had to be a team and work together on creating this book. We had to combine all of our different writing styles together and blogs that were almost done to blogs that needed a lot more work. We had to write about applications that seemed so basic to us, but were actually a lot more detailed than we thought. I know while writing the Excel piece that I had no idea all that could be done with this learning tool until I started to use it for some of my classes and explore the different features it has to offer. I had no idea for more than half of these applications all that they could do. Personally, I now use some of these tools on a daily basis and i can envision singing them at work, at school, and for future purposes. I have gotten so much better at writing because of Alison and her helping me have a better writing style and teaching me to watch my grammar better. Also, I have never been so open and excited to learn about internet tools that are so useful and that everyone can have access to till I started working with Alison, Arianna, and Tia. We all have come together and given each other different perspectives on our idea of the book, how to write it, what to include, how these tools can benefit others and in what ways. It was such a great experience. It took a lot of time, but was most definitely worth it for the end result and the great feeling of accomplishment all of us get to share together, including Dr. Simpson. Without Dr. Simpson helping us as a team to give us the resources, the challenges, and the time to write these blogs and experience these tools, we never would have had this great opportunity. I have made closer friendships with these beautiful ladies because of writing this book together and getting to know each other. We all have such different ways of thinking and different perspectives on how we interrupt certain situations or applications and it is really cool how we can all combine our ideas together to make our first book and for us to grow as partners in the workplace and grow a friendship outside of it. This book I believe also improved our relationship with Dr. Simpson because of the collaborating we all needed to do to get to where we are now as a team. We can only grow from here and I can not wait to experience this journey with each of my teammates!
“What good books have you read this year?” recently asked my former student and fellow bibliophile, Susan Gusho recently on FaceBook. Susan, who like so many former students, continues to influence me in what I read and how I teach. Though I do not read as much or as widely as colleagues like Hugo Hartig, who since retiring, has often shared his annual reading list on FaceBook, I try to read books for pleasure on a regular basis.
Here are books I have read this year that were well worth my reading:
David Mitchell’s Slade House: A Novel
Lauren Groff’s Fate and Furies: A Novel
Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling) Career of Evil (Comoran Strike)
Carroll Colleague John Garrison’s Glass (Object Lessons)
Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. Alas, I must wait until August for the translation of the third part of this science fiction trilogy.
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
Steven Jarvis’ Death and Mr. Pickwick: A Novel
Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves: A Novel
Ann Morgan’s The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe
Naomi S. Baron’s Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World.
Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (Thank you, sister-in-law Becky O’Connor for giving this to me—and for instilling the love of reading in children and adults).
Kazuo Ishhiguro’s The Buried Giant
Sian Beilock’s How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel.
On my short list of books to read (or finish) over the holiday break—I don my invisibility cloak from Carroll on December 18 until January 19)—- are the following:
Brian Selznicks The Marvels
Mark R. Schwen’s Leading Lives that Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be.
Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Thank you, Davis Endries, for calling my attention to this book.)
Jonathan Franzen’s Purity: A Novel
Oliver Burkeman’s The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. (Thank you, David Lewis for alerting me to this gem).
Martin James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings. (Thank you, Susan Gusho, for sharing from Kansas your book recommendations. You know what I will like.)
Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time.
Roger Angell’s This Old Man: All in Pieces
Joan Hustace Walker’s Great Pyrenees (Complete Pet Owners Manuals) (Recommended by Leo The Great)
Recommend to me some good books and prove to me that I have a reader or two:)
Tomorrow I’ll doff my invisibility cloak for a few hours while listening to President Hastad’s opening remarks. Then I’ll attend a talk about changes in the higher education market and trends in strategic enrollment management. It is always good to reconnect with colleagues and other members of the Carroll community after a rejuvenating summer.
I read a number of interesting books this summer (As always, I hope to give them away to those who love to read).
Ann Morgan’s The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe could easily be a foundation for some of our global education courses. My bibliophile friends might enjoy her thoughtful reflections about books, reading, publishing, and the role of global/international literature. She writes well, thinks clearly, and raises important questions. (See also her marvelous blog documenting her ambitious project to read a book translated into English from each of 196+ countries in a year).
Naomi S. Baron’s Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. I published a PsycCritiques review of this marvelous book this summer.
Neal Stephenson’s seveneves.
Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.
Kazuo Ishhiguro’s The Buried Giant.
Cixin Liu’s first two translated books The Three Body Problem and
The Dark Forest of his three part science fiction trilogy.
Sian Beilock’s How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel. I have a review of this interesting book scheduled for publication in PsycCritiques later this year.
Too much stuff. An embarrassment of riches: Books; office supplies; projects; computers; planners for organizing my life:). Too much either wasted or neglected: space; knowledge unshared; time; opportunities; networking.
Inspired in part by the first chapter of Gretchen Rubin’s well written and thought provoking The Happiness Project and in part by my panicking that it is almost time to return to campus to teach, I’m focusing today on (again!) winnowing applications. I doubt that I can change my app-collecting habits (but, reflecting on Patrick Lindsay’s little book of self-help inspirational nudges It’s Never Too Late…172 simple acts to change your life,)—maybe I CAN change. It’s time to reconsider the ideas of “Essentialism“—with a grain of salt. I enjoy too much having many interests, many simultaneous projects, and continuous learning opportunities.
But do I REALLY need so many tools overlapping (or duplicative) in function that as a consequence of their sheer number or my changing interests I never master, I fail to update, or I forget that I possess?:)
Especially with the new Mac Operating system imminent, it’s time for some app-revisiting.