Simple Rules

Beth Kanter mentioned the book Simple Rules and it sounded interesting so I checked it out of the library.

It is interesting but it’s a little dense and a little dry. Once I grokked the concept laid out in each chapter and mini-section of the chapter, I found myself skimming to see real life examples of the types of simple rules people (and animals/insects/etc) use. Those pieces were especially interesting.

I have spent a good bit of time thinking about bottlenecks and simple rules for them… I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving the process a try (or two) myself, very soon.

Lucky Boy

Ugh.

Lucky Boy, so depressing. SO depressing. Well written, good characters — so depressing.

Young woman, illegal immigrant gives birth to a baby — loves her baby, is doing a great job with him — gets picked up by police and then thrown into a detention center. She’s abused, she’s raped, she’s moved to another detention center, rinse and repeat. All she wants to do is get out and get her baby back.

Indian American couple in Berkley want a baby, can’t make/carry/deliver a baby and so… they foster. (Gah.)

Everyone loves the baby. Everyone wants what is best for him.

Painful story. Very painful.

The Happy Healthy Nonprofit

I should disclose a couple of things before I talk about The Happy Healthy Nonprofit so here goes:

1) I’m not really a believer in the whole work/life balance thing. It feels like just another way to tell women they’re doing it wrong or they’ll never be good enough. I have a similar feeling about “burnout.” (Though of course, I do understand the real science behind stress, work and health issues. Those are a thing — absolutely, I’m just not 100% sold on the issues as we talk about them NOW… it’s complicated.) This means that I’m probably bringing that baggage into how I feel about this book.
2) Beth Kanter is an old friend and BlogHer buddy and I love her — which means I’m probably bringing how I feel about Beth into how I feel about her book.

Having said that, I knew I wanted to read Beth’s book even before it was released. Because Beth, clearly. Must read. Also, Aliza Sherman, good grief. Could there be two smarter women? Nope. So after I watched Beth’s KICKASS Happy Healthy Nonprofit presentation at Cause Camp a few weeks ago, I decided it was definitely time to read the entire book. So I did.

Overall, I felt pretty good about the book. What I found myself agreeing to is that you can feel X way at work and at home, as a result of … things. In my experience, it’s not so much about over-work (and not taking down time) as it is about falling out of love with my job, my coworkers, my organization/company. It can also happen when I feel under-appreciated, under-respected, and when I’m not given an opportunity to grow or contribute in a meaningful way.

The tips and ideas in this book can help you with those issues. In fact, it includes many of things I’ve done in the past, when I was really unhappy with my job. Making changes about how I worked, how long I worked, when I worked and what I did when I wasn’t working made me so much happier than if I’d just kept grinding away.

I also believe that we’re all different, an environment where I thrive may be one where you struggle. Recognizing what works for me, is important for me (and for my team.) Recognizing what doesn’t work for others is just as important for me (and for my team.) Reading The Healthy, Happy Nonprofit can give you some framework for thinking about this and help you begin to make changes for yourself and support others.

If you are struggling with work/life balance, if you’re feeling burnt out, if you’re not burnt out but are just plain ole unhappy with your job or work environment — then I absolutely guarantee you that Beth and Aliza’s advice will help you.

Besides tips for the individual, there are tips and ideas that you can bring to your coworkers and your company/organization to help improve workplace culture. I enjoyed reading about what other organizations are doing and reflecting on the stuff my org is doing.

I’m still not completely on the work/life balance, take a real vacation, keep your phone out of your bedroom (impossible for ME!) wagon … but I’m definitely glad I read the book. I circled stuff (in PEN.) I’ll be referring back to it again in the future. (And, I really do need to get more exercise. Really.)

The Book Jumper

Well, The Book Jumper was a disappointment.

I’m a fan of book jumping stories, I LOVE THURSDAY NEXT, but this one was a mess from beginning to end. The plot was a muddle. The characters were pretty unlikable (except the real book characters.) The whole thing was just a let down, from start to finish. I had such high hopes — and maybe that was the problem?

Whatever.

Reading in April

LOL Just 13 books during a #readathon month? I have to remind myself that the count is low because I didn’t grab a stack of picture/early reader books from the Cybils shortlist, like I usually do. So 13 books is GOOD. It’s very good! Gah.

Non-fiction – 9
Graphic novels – 1
YA – 2
Queer – 1
Audio – 1

Oy.

Dragon Springs Road

(I actually read this about a week ago, I’m just way behind on book blogging. Again. Always.)

Dragon Springs Road was good. I really liked the Fox animal spirit who protected and guided Jialing (and other women in the house.) I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. I mean it was fine and expected because everyone wants a happy ending (except probably me, lol.)

#Readathon Books Five, Six & Seven: All Non-Fiction

First, the cookbook My Two Souths that Sassymonkey told me about. I liked it. TW was not as impressed with it, which is troubling since we thought she’d really like it. I really want the tomato pie/tart. That would be yummy right about now.

Next, Gardens of South Florida was fine. An over-sized book full of fancy gardens. If you like fancy tropical gardens, this is your book.

Last, but not least, The Art Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. To be honest, I’ve been reading this book for awhile. I just leave it open on the breakfast bar and read a couple of pages while I eat dinner or lunch or whatever. And then I finished off my readathon by reading the rest straight through. It’s a great book and I’m interested in the other books in the series. I’ll probably get some of those in the future. I might even like to own a few.

And that’s a wrap… seven books, mostly non-fiction, 17 hours of reading and a $50 donation to the #readathon charity. No great snacks and I have a messy kitchen and I didn’t take part in a single mini-challenge (except the opening survey), which was weird. I just wasn’t feeling it. BUT, I very much enjoyed my #readathon and am looking forward to the fall event. (I hope it’s not GHC/birthday weekend… gah.)

#Readathon Book Four: The Abyss Surrounds Us

Liz Henry talked about The Abyss Surrounds us a few weeks ago on Facebook and I decided we needed to read it. It was excellent! Totally awesome for #readathon. Trained killer sea creatures, a female pirate captain, a couple of lesbians. Really excellent. And, even better — it ended perfectly. I like that.

It’s getting late, I’m getting tired and since I don’t have a bunch of picture books and early readers this time around, it’s time to move to the world of cookbooks and over-sized coffee table books to carry me through the next couple of hours.

#Readathon Book Three: Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story

I bought Fire!! when I was in DC in February and saved it specially for #readathon. It was very good but it felt … rushed, maybe? I mean it’s hard to tell someone’s life story in the span of one relatively short graphic novel, I get that. But Hurston’s story is so… interesting. I almost felt let down. Almost. It’s still a great graphic novel and I highly recommend it. I just wanted MORE.

#Readathon Book Two: I Hate Everyone, Except You

I had to read I Hate Everyone, Except You because how could I not, with a title like that. Also, Clinton Kelly (WNTW), right?

And, it totally amused me. The first chapter horrified me and amused me, both at the same time. Many of the chapters horrified and amused me. It was awesome. lol

Also, do you think you can you outrun a raccoon?