July 9, 2015

Recently Read

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.  This is a thought-provoking book. In general, I think I have already learned many of these principles through my work experience, but I could do better; and applying them to the personal side of life is a whole different ballgame. Basically, the idea is that we should all do less. Figure out what truly matters, and focus only on that. If you have too many priorities, it becomes too difficult to manage them and move any of them forward.
     There's a man I currently work with who fits this "Essentialist" model pretty well. At first, he drove me crazy, because he constantly declines meetings. He is not easy to engage. But after attending a couple meetings with him, I realized that he is a very active participant in the meetings he deems valuable and necessary for him to attend. He probably wasn't needed for all the others, and he saved himself time. I now respect him even more. Now I'm working to apply these concepts to my own life. What matters? And why am I spending time doing anything else?

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.  This book was recommended to me by several people who loved it. It's very good - the structure is captivating, the language is beautiful, the characters are rich. I have to admit, though...I didn't love it. Sometimes a book can be really good and still not make a connection with the reader.

Girl in a Band, by Kim Gordon. Much like this reviewer from the NY Times, I find myself in a "sweet spot" of being able to fully appreciate this memoir. I know of Kim Gordon and Sonic Youth and its place in musical history. I know of Kim Gordon the artist as well. And I'm always fascinated to learn more about the personality - the personal history - behind music and art. This book did not disappoint. Kim talks about her love of New York City, her move to western Massachusetts, her early days before the band, meeting Thurston Moore (her husband of 27 years, now divorced), her daughter and family life, connections made along the way...  I especially enjoyed glimpses of what it must have been like to be a mother and a rock star. Traveling the world on tour with your band, along with a daughter. Crazy for this traditional suburban mom to consider, but not crazy enough for me not to be able to appreciate it. Highly recommend.

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