books read: 2008

No surprise that I did not meet the 50 book challenge again this year, and considering how few books I read in the latter half of the year, I’m not surprised to discover that I read fewer than I did in 2007. Oh, well! I’ve come to accept that the goal will likely not be met, and is simply the carrot I dangle in front of my bookshelf face.

This year featured much more non-fiction than what is reflected in my TBR collection, since I ended up mostly reading books I was reviewing for publications, or in a few cases, books that I was discussing with others at work. I’ve been keeping track of my reading on GoodReads, and you can follow it in real time if you are so inclined.

  1. Open Your Heart With Geocaching by Jeannette Cézanne (non-fiction)
  2. Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships by Gina Daggett and Kathy Belge (non-fiction)
  3. Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between (fiction)
  4. The Purrfect Murder by Rita Mae Brown (fiction)
  5. Eccentric Cubicle by Kaden Harris (non-fiction)
  6. Stewards of the Flame by Sylvia Engdahl (fiction)
  7. Wikipedia: the Missing Manual by John Broughton (non-fiction)
  8. Star Ka’at by Andre Norton and Dorothy Madlee (fiction)
  9. How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation by Marc Bousquet (non-fiction)
  10. Scion’s Blood by Pat Nelson Childs (fiction)
  11. Dragon Harper by Anne & Todd McCaffrey (fiction)
  12. Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas (non-fiction)
  13. Everyday Cat Excuses: Why I Can’t Do What You Want by Molly Brandenburg (non-fiction)
  14. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (fiction) (re-read)
  15. Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov (fiction)
  16. Out Front With Stephen Abram: A Guide for Information Leaders by Judith A. Siess and Jonathan Lorig (non-fiction)
  17. The Starship Trap by Mel Gilden (fiction)
  18. The World Is Your Litter Box: A How-to Manual for Cats by Quasi, with Minor Help from Steve Fisher (non-fiction)
  19. A Year of Festivals by Lonely Planet Publications (non-fiction)
  20. Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty (fiction)
  21. Santa Clawed by Rita Mae Brown (fiction)
  22. slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte (non-fiction)
  23. Smart Blonde: Dolly Parton by Stephen Miller (non-fiction)

prince caspian

I saw the new Prince Caspian film last week, and thanks to a timely warning from my sister, I did not read the book beforehand. I recommend that anyone who hasn’t seen it yet do the same. The film adaptation is great fun and stays true to the message of the book, but it isn’t the same as the book. Personally, I think the changes they made with for the film make it a more interesting film than if they had simply taken the accounts of the book and put that on the screen.

Afterwards, I re-read the book for the first time in ages. It has been my second favorite of the Narnia books, tied with A Horse and His Boy and beat out by Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Reading it now, as an adult, I am not as entertained by the book as I once was.

podcasts

I bring you a list of my current favorite podcasts.

I got an iPod Nano for Christmas this year (whee!), but I have been listening to podcasts without it for a couple of months now. Here are a few of my favorites:

Rubyfruit Radio reminds me of my old college radio show, the Estrogen Nation. It’s an all female artist music program that runs from 30-45 minutes per episode. Host Heather Smith gets the music from the PodSafe Music Network and by permission directly from the artists.

Podcast Fondue is the creation of singer/songwriter and humorist Deirdre Flint. It’s filled with original songs and Deirdre randomness, and I love it! Deirdre is a current member of the touring group the Four Bitchin’ Babes.

The Coffee Geek is a review and opinion show produced by self-avowed coffee geek Mark Prince. Informative, but sometimes a bit over my head.

I’ll be adding more to my listening rotation. I should check out some of the librarian podcasts, too.

straight talk

Neocons will hate this book. Moderates will feel enlightened and emboldened. Liberals will enjoy the occasional pot-shots at Neocons and want more.

Straight Talk from the Heartland : Tough Talk, Common Sense, and Hope from a Former Conservative by Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz is conservative turned liberal talk radio host. His show is syndicated on over 30 affiliate stations in the United States and Canada. The cover of his book, Straight Talk From the Heartland, proclaims that his is the fastest growing talk radio show. Not being a talk radio listener, I missed out on the hoopla surrounding this guy. However, having read his book, I’m now interested in hearing what he has to say on a regular basis. In the midst of his at times bombastic ranting (a trademark of talk radio), Schultz displays a keen intellect and average-guy understanding of the socio-politic-economic realities of life in the 21st century world. Neocons will hate this book. Moderates will feel enlightened and emboldened. Liberals will enjoy the occasional pot-shots at Neocons and want more.

The book is divided into two parts. The first describes Schultz’s transformation from hard-line conservative to left-of-center talk radio host. He outlines the events that brought him to his current ideology and lays out criticism of leaders on the Left and the Right, but mainly the Right. The second part is Schultz’s vision of what holds us together as a country and how these “pillars” are becoming unstable. At the end of each pillar section, he reiterates his main points, making this a handy crib sheet for those who may not wish to read them in detail.

My copy of this book has a handful of paper scraps sticking out of the top, marking the pages that have a particularly insightful or amusing comment. Here are just a few:

On Homeland Security:
“Minnesota, which also shares a border with Canada, has two nuclear plants within thirty miles of Minneapolis. Do you know who lives in Minneapolis? Prince! I am willing to make some concessions for homeland security. I am not willing to sacrifice the funk.” p.73

On Corporate Malfeasance:
“We need Ashcroft to stop spying on the librarians of America, and start focusing on the criminals again. And I’m not talking about Martha Stewart. We need the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to grow some fangs, and start going after the big guns.” p.131

On Class Warfare:
“…I want to make it clear that I’m not advocating class warfare. Every good job I ever had was working for a rich man. Mr. Gates, I don’t mind the big paycheck, but could you at least give me a computer that works? Anytime any company dominates its industry like Microsoft does, there’s little motivation for the company to improve and give the public cheaper and better products.” p.135

On the “Liberal Media”:
“A journalist has to know enough about a topic to explain it to his audience. If he gets it wrong, people will know. So these people see the inner workings of government. They see the problems, they witness the disasters, and pretty soon their experiences tell them things need to change. A liberal is a compassionate proponent of change. So if journalists are liberals, maybe it’s reasonable to assume it was their life experiences that changed them. That’s how it worked for me.” p.201

On Talk Radio:
“Nowadays, it’s all too easy to get caught up in media frenzy. It feels like a new disaster is breaking every hour or so. I know this firsthand: I live, and work, in the bullet-point culture, too. My show is fast-paced. We paint in broad strokes. I provide solid information and opinions, but there’s no time for nuance — even if the President did nuance. So is talk radio the best place for in-depth news? Nah. It’s news delivered with equal helpings of entertainment, advocacy, and opinion, to help the medicine go down. Not all media is created equal.” p.220

Article first published as Straight Talk From the Heartland by Ed Schultz on Blogcritics.org