Monday, January 3, 2011

a book a week

Here's wishing you the most prosperous 2011 you can imagine!

In high school, I had a series of highly inspiring & truly fantastic teachers... one of them was Shane Thread. He's almost superhuman. He taught me chemistry and then biochemistry, and he somehow helped me actually love biochemistry.

More importantly, though, Shane Thread is one of most calculated, strong and intelligent athletes I've ever met. He uses his understanding of biochemistry to turn his body into a wildly efficient machine. He weighs his food and measures his activity. He competes in marathons & triathlons and climbs mountains frequently.

And on top of all of this, the guy uses his time more efficiently than anyone. He does all of his exercise, then grades papers and writes exams and labs and homework. He stays caught up with the news... and he reads an entire book every week.

This is so inspiring to me! I love reading and I have so many books I want to read, but it just takes me so long to get through them! The thought of reading 52 books every year is so thrilling, so every year I make an effort to read more than I did the year before, and since I've been in college, I've done much better than I did in high school. Over the past two years, I've averaged about fifteen books a year.

But I'm setting the bar a bit higher this year. My 2011 goal is to read 26 books— about 1 book every two weeks.

(Also, to be clear, I don't include books for school on this list. The point for me is to use my spare time reading.)

Here are some that are on my list:

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. In the intro to this book. Tolle makes it clear that the reader must be spiritually ready to make this shift in consciousness. About three years ago, I tried this book for the first time and clearly I wasn't ready— I never made it more than halfway through. Let's see if I'm there yet. (My parents are huge Eckhart Tolle fans.)

Emma by Jane Austen. Because I. love. Jane. Austen.

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. Maria loooooves Chelsea Handler's books, and I think she is hilarious. I have to join this bandwagon.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It's one of those classics I want to have read.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. Thomas Friedman's ideas have the power to change the world. I read The World is Flat when I was seventeen and I loved how he made economics understandable for me. I went to see him speak at my school a few months ago and it was awesome; totally revitalized my appreciation for his intelligence.

What are some books on your list?

p.s. please enjoy dave berry's input re: 2011 reading :)


  1. Thomas Friedman isn't my favorite economist...he and his views are well-known because of how readable his book (World is Flat) is, and how widely-marketed it was. Since you've already read Friedman, would you consider reading another book on a similar topic? I like Benjamin Barber, for a not-too-technical read:


    Also Francis Fukuyama:

    To be fair, both are a bit more technical but also prompt deeper questions and investigation. Friedman's a catchy, overbearing journalist who says things like, "Suck. On. This." in interviews. Chomsky doesn't like him, and on the other ideological side, the Cato Institute thinks he's juvenile.

    (I got a little worked up there - sorry! :-) Just maybe check out other reads to compare Friedman to, for some perspective?

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Shanti. In reality, I was merely "doing my job.". I love the part where I coerce students into becoming life learners by sharing my reading experiences. Tolle certainly promotes introspection. We must have coffee and discuss our reading!

  3. @Liz: Thanks for the input! My knowledge and understanding of economics is (as you know... haha) ever so limited. I'm definitely open to reading other economists for a deeper understanding. (And your suggestions give me somewhere to start...) Though I do think it's important to note that Thomas Friedman's being mainstream doesn't inherently devalue his work. He's fortunate enough to have media that works in his favor and money to market his work, but in my reading of his work, I think it's still solid reasoning. Another book I'm looking into is "The Road to Serfdom" by Friedrich von Hayek. A friend of mine has completely opposite views from me regarding fiscal politics, and has suggested I read that one for perspective... I am looking forward to having some new ideas to consider.

    @Shane: Thank YOU! ;) I've so far loved becoming a life learner. There's a real sense of satisfaction when I finish a book. I would LOVE to get together and discuss our reading! Stay in touch and I'll let you know when I'm in town with some time to spare!