Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lists, Lists, Lists

I'll admit it before we go any further: I love lists!  I love checking items off lists one at a time.  I love organizing random collections into lists.  I love seeing lists grow smaller as I march through them with a sense of accomplishment. 

A book came out last year about checklists and how they help to maintain quality in processes from cooking to medicine.  I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.

A couple of years ago I found a site that I really love called Lists of Bests.  If you've ever thought about reading all of the Pulitzer prize winning books, or that pesky BBC list that's been making its way around Facebook, you can keep track here.  There are lists of movies and music too, in case you are an all-around culture-philiac.  You can even make your own lists, or edit someone else's.

One list that I found on Lists of Bests that I've been reading my way through is called The New Classics: Books from Entertainment Weekly.  It's a list of their top 100 books from the past 25 years (as of 2008).  I've made my way more than halfway through the list so far, and found some wonderful new titles and authors.

I've "adopted" more lists than I should have at the Lists of Bests site, so I'm going more slowly than I should.  But I've got the BBC lists (first hundred and second hundred), NPR's "100 Best Beach Books Ever" (including this one--really? for the beach?) and Mental Floss' list of the 25 most influential books of the past 25 years

All of these lists are plenty to keep me reading for the next several years, but they are dwarfed by the big-daddy of all my lists, my Library Thing to-read list, currently at 462 titles.  It's just a hazard of my job, that when I read reviews, I read them both to consider for purchase by the library, and also as possible candidates for my own list. 

Now I just need a reliable way to keep track of my lists (oh, wait, Lists of Bests has that too). 

p.s. The BBC book lists have many classic titles which are available for the kindle for free download. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sticks and Stones

There’s been a lot of tweeting about the controversy stirred up by victim-blaming Nir Rosen (regarding Lara Logan).  He’s apologized and resigned from his job over tweets that intimated that Lara’s attack might have been warranted.

Remember just a short time ago when the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords prompted calls for less incendiary rhetoric?  I’m disappointed in us, that only a month later a journalist’s attack could be used as fodder to make someone’s political point.

Why is it that we tend to feel so strongly about politics?  Why do we get (let’s admit it) angry when we strongly disagree with someone’s political stance?  Why do we agree with and applaud rhetoric that we would punish our children for—as long as it is for us and against our opponents?  Why do we repost incendiary articles that call names, sensationalize, quote out of context, and otherwise mislead?

I don’t know – but I’m making a commitment not to participate.  No matter how strong my feelings are (and they’re quite strong), I won’t:
  • Call names
  • Make ad hominem attacks
  • Quote out of context
  • Retweet or repost information that violates these guidelines
If I break these rules, call me to account.  Just don’t call me names.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meeting the Dragon

I’m facing doing something I really, truly don’t want to do.  I’ve had a few days to contemplate it, to go over it in my mind, to dwell on it, to play it out.  And there are no permutations of this that don’t end up badly.  Sometimes I fear things that have to do with my body, like a procedure that might hurt. But that kind of fear is easier.  You just get up, go through it, and come out the other side.  The kind of fear that involves situations with other people is worse.  Steve says that things always go better than I expect, but even if this goes better than I expect, I can’t see how it might go well.
For three full days now, I’ve been going everywhere with a heavy lump of something that feels a lot like doom in my gut.  Tomorrow, I’ll face the dragon.  At this point, though, I don’t know if the dragon is the situation or my fear about the situation. 
Here are my fears: I’ll be sick to my stomach.  I’ll get splotches.  I’ll get so distressed that I completely lose all my words.  I won’t be able to think clearly.  I’ll say something wrong.  I’ll get angry.  I’ll lose my breath and start to croak.  My voice will shake.
I’m pretty sure all of these things will happen.  My hands are shaking now, just thinking about it.  I suppose the easiest thing to do would be to just avoid the whole situation.  Somehow, though, I just know that’s not the right thing to do, so I’ll get up and go to meet it.
Those of you who pray, please pray for me tomorrow.  Those who don’t, I’m open to any and all words of wisdom.
Back to reading soon, I hope, once I can think about normal things again.