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Thread: Mom's Book Thread ~ Week 27 (July 1st - July 7th)

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    Default Mom's Book Thread ~ Week 27 (July 1st - July 7th)

    everyone. Please share what you've been reading.

    I'm still catching up on reviews from books that I read while we were away. I haven't gotten much reading done in the past week. I've been far too busy and too tired.

    While on vacation, I read The Geography of Genius - 3 Stars - I read Eric Weiner’s “The Geography of Bliss” several years and loved it. In that book, he travels the world searching for places of happiness. “The Geography of Genius” follows the same formula. Here he searches for certain places and time periods of genius and innovation. Since I love travelogues, I enjoyed those parts most of all. He visited seven places where a genius golden age has flourished: Athens, Florence, Hangzhou, Edinburgh, Calcutta, Vienna, and Silicon Valley. I particularly enjoyed the Florence part, since we had just been there.



    I enjoy Weiner’s humor and conversational writing style, but all in all, this book wasn’t as compelling as I had hoped. I have to admit that genius doesn’t interest me that much. I think that it’s often overrated and there is more to life than mere genius. Yet it was certainly thought-provoking and led to some interesting conversations with my husband, things that may not interest you and that you may not agree with, but I thought to share anyway. We believe that everything we have is ultimately from God and that the source of all learning is the knowledge of God. We also believe that there are holy spirits and angels that inspire people to know and realize things and/or to create things. All these things are ultimately used for the benefit of mankind. We talked about how these geniuses were inspired by God whether they were aware of it or not, although we believe that most were aware of it. I know that Michelangelo was. The point is that they didn’t come up with all their genius on their own. Sorry for rambling a bit!

    My favorite take-home concept: A culture cultivates what it values. It makes me rather depressed about the country that I live in and what it values.

    Some of my favorite quotes. Sorry that there are so many.
    “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.”

    “This less-is-more phenomenon holds true not only for individuals but for entire nations. A good example is the “oil curse,” also known as the paradox of plenty. Nations rich in natural resources, especially oil, tend to stagnate culturally and intellectually, as even a brief visit to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait reveals. The citizens of these nations have everything so they create nothing.”

    “We are at our most creative when we have something to push against. Creativity does not require perfect conditions. In fact, it thrives in imperfect ones. The block of marble from which Michelangelo carved his masterpiece, the David, had been discarded by other artists. They considered it defective, and they were right. But Michelangelo saw that defect as a challenge, not a disqualifier.”

    “For the Greeks, Brady explains, virtue and genius were inseparable. You could be the greatest poet or architect in the world, but no one would consider you so if you were an arrogant jerk. I marvel at how that differs from our modern view of genius. Not only are we willing to overlook character flaws if the character in question produces brilliance, we have come to expect them from our geniuses. Think of Steve Jobs and his famously peevish personality. Only a true genius, we conclude, could get away with that. That’s not how the Greeks saw it. A man was judged not only by the quality of his work but also the content of his character.”

    “Great civilizations rise to greatness for different reasons but collapse for essentially the same reason: arrogance. No civilization, no matter how great, is immune to this “creeping vanity,” as professor of education Eugene Von Fange calls it. Here he is describing the decline of classical Athens, but his words could just as easily apply to any golden age that has begun to lose its bloom. “Soon, their sons, coddled in the use of all the great things their fathers and grandfathers had pioneered, became as helpless as newborn babes when faced with the harsh reality of an aggressive and changing world.
    It doesn’t take an Einstein to see signs of this creeping vanity in the Valley. Bling has reared its shiny head, and that is never a good sign. You’ll recall that this was the case in Athens, too; the city’s decline can be traced almost exactly to a concomitant rise in luxury, and a taste for gourmet food. When it comes to golden ages, bling is the canary in the coal mine.”

    “Some education is essential to creative genius, but beyond a certain point, more education does not increase the chances of genius and actually lowers it. The deadening effect of formal education manifests itself surprisingly early. Psychologists have identified the exact year when a child’s creative-thinking skills plateau: the fourth grade. This brings us to a remarkable finding. While the number of degrees conferred and scientific papers published has grown exponentially in the past fifty years, the “rate at which truly creative work emerges has remained relatively constant,” says sociologist J. Rogers Hollingsworth, writing in the journal Nature. We are experiencing a flood of expertise, and even talent, but no bump in creative breakthroughs.”

    “Socrates says. Recognizing your ignorance is the beginning of all wisdom.”

    “We may be inspired by nature—a walk in the woods, the sound of a waterfall—but something about an urban setting is especially conducive to creativity. If it takes a village to raise a child, as the African proverb goes, it takes a city to raise a genius.”

    “Many a genius has done his or her best thinking while walking. While working on ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens would walk fifteen or twenty miles through the back streets of London, turning over the plot in his mind, as the city slept. Mark Twain walked a lot, too, though he never got anywhere. He paced while he worked, as his daughter recalled: ‘Some of the time when dictating, Father walked the floor . . . then it always seemed as if a new spirit had flown into the room.’”

    “’People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and the challenge of the work itself—not by external pressures.’ She warns that many schools and corporations, by placing such emphasis on rewards and evaluation, are inadvertently suppressing creativity.”

    “The problem with paradise is that it is perfect and therefore requires no response. This is why wealthy people and places often stagnate.”



    MY RATING SYSTEM
    5 Stars
    Fantastic, couldn't put it down
    4 Stars
    Really Good
    3 Stars
    Enjoyable
    2 Stars
    Just Okay – nothing to write home about
    1 Star
    Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.
    Last edited by Negin; 07-01-2018 at 05:47 AM.
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

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    I finished Vermilion by Molly Tanzer. I'd say it's a "Weird West" book. It's a bit hard to categorize with a mix of supernatural, wild west, Chinese folk/mythology, & noir-ish mystery. Loved the main character Lou & some of the descriptions of psychopompery. Other parts were less enchanting but, overall, the story rolled along & kept my interest to the end. A beach read for people who hate typical beach reads & want something different. Though I was hoping for more based on the descriptions & cool cover art, I still found it a satisfying, solid, 3-star read.

    Still working on A Moment in the Sun (of course).

    Have also started the non-fiction book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. Really interesting so far.

    From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up.

    At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime . . . crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan’s most infamous yakuza boss—and the threat of death for him and his family—Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.

    In Tokyo Vice, Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter—who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor—to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head. With its vivid, visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, Tokyo Vice is a fascination, and an education, from first to last.

    (Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.)
    Celebrate your freedom to read! Read a banned book!

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    I finally finished my research project (as of yesterday--yay!), and wrapped up my "light" read last night (mentioned last week). So today I get a clean slate, and am hoping to start catching up on some of my summer reading! First up: The Layered Garden by David L. Culp. I love to garden, but this summer especially I've been a bit obsessed--it's been good therapy for me when my brain needs a rest. This book has a lot of great design ideas, and gorgeous pictures. I still have a long way to go with it, but I have a feeling this is one I'll be adding to my collection.

    For fiction, I'm going to start another one of my kindle reads--Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp.
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (11) & Madelyn (9).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia View Post
    Have also started the non-fiction book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein. Really interesting so far.
    Stacia, this one sounds very interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki P in VA View Post
    I finally finished my research project (as of yesterday--yay!), and wrapped up my "light" read last night (mentioned last week). So today I get a clean slate, and am hoping to start catching up on some of my summer reading! First up: The Layered Garden by David L. Culp. I love to garden, but this summer especially I've been a bit obsessed--it's been good therapy for me when my brain needs a rest. This book has a lot of great design ideas, and gorgeous pictures. I still have a long way to go with it, but I have a feeling this is one I'll be adding to my collection.
    For fiction, I'm going to start another one of my kindle reads--Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp.
    Vicki, that's wonderful that you finished your research project!
    "The Layered Garden" and all that gardening sound lovely. I wonder if my son would like it. I know that he would. He's recently been into gardening. I'm not sure if I should get it or not. Our climate here is different. If you ever hear or see any books that may be applicable to tropical gardening, do please let me know. Thanks so much!
    The Cluny Brown book looks delightful.
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

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    Vicki, somehow or other, I stumbled across Brittania Mews by Margery Sharp. I enjoyed it but didn’t know she’d written so much. I’m putting Cluny Brown on my list so I can remember to see if my library has any of her books.

    I finished Three Score and Ten by Angela Thirkell. Her books are definitely not exciting but they remind me of Miss Read, in that they are about village life and day to day happenings, which I find relaxing. No thinking involved.

    Now I’m finishing Snobs by Julian Fellowes which I had started and then put aside when a lot of books on hold came in.
    Wife to David, mom to 9, homeschooling Abby (15). Grammy to 6 granddaughters and 2 grandsons! Homeschooling since 1986, Rowing since 2000.

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    Wow, Negin, I would love to sit down with you and talk for hours about that book on genius - or the concepts from it. Fascinating. I really like what you said about "a culture cultivates what it values." Isn't that true? I'd have to disagree with the author's comment that "it takes a city to raise a genius," though. Not true at all - but maybe I have a different opinion of "genius" than he did.

    Still reading Prairie Fires. This is one of the best biographies I've ever read. I can see why it won many prizes. I would recommend it to anyone who has a serious interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder and already knows something about her life - her entire life, not just until she got married. The vast majority of the book is about her adulthood, and it goes into great detail on her relationship with her daughter, Rose. I have had such misgivings about this relationship for so many years - something didn't seem quite right about it, especially after I visited Mansfield, Missouri twice, went through the museum, and toured the two houses that LIW lived in there. Rose just grated more and more on my nerves the more I learned about her. Turns out that my intuition was sadly correct, according to this biographer's research. So anyway, this is fascinating to me, but I don't know how much it would appeal to someone with just a passing or childhood interest in LIW or her books.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 22 * artist dd 19 * motion-loving ds 16 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

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    I am currently reading: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (I'm not sure if I will finish this. It's typical suspense but badly written,) and The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah Harris (a mystery with a 13 yr old boy who is autistic and has synesthesia as the main character. I am only 60 pages in and already I am loving this book!
    Julia
    mom of 3 -- dd (18), ds (17) and dd (15)

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    Julia, glad to hear you are liking The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder -- I'm on the waitlist for this one from the library!

    (Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.)
    Celebrate your freedom to read! Read a banned book!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Wow, Negin, I would love to sit down with you and talk for hours about that book on genius - or the concepts from it. Fascinating. I really like what you said about "a culture cultivates what it values." Isn't that true? I'd have to disagree with the author's comment that "it takes a city to raise a genius," though. Not true at all - but maybe I have a different opinion of "genius" than he did.
    Rebe, you know that I would love to sit down and talk with you for hours regardless ! Like you, I don't fully agree about the city comment, but I think that he's talking about it in a historical perspective. It seems that it's usually been cities that have raised geniuses. The book defines and describes it all far better than I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joy in Alabama View Post
    Vicki, somehow or other, I stumbled across Brittania Mews by Margery Sharp. I enjoyed it but didn’t know she’d written so much. I’m putting Cluny Brown on my list so I can remember to see if my library has any of her books.
    I finished Three Score and Ten by Angela Thirkell. Her books are definitely not exciting but they remind me of Miss Read, in that they are about village life and day to day happenings, which I find relaxing. No thinking involved.
    Now I’m finishing Snobs by Julian Fellowes which I had started and then put aside when a lot of books on hold came in.
    Joy, I've tried to read "Snobs" a few times, but haven't been able to get into it yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by JuliaT View Post
    I am currently reading: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (I'm not sure if I will finish this. It's typical suspense but badly written,) and The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah Harris (a mystery with a 13 yr old boy who is autistic and has synesthesia as the main character. I am only 60 pages in and already I am loving this book!
    Julia, I'm going to look into "The Color of Bee".
    "There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment." - Tasha Tudor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post

    Still reading Prairie Fires. This is one of the best biographies I've ever read. I can see why it won many prizes. I would recommend it to anyone who has a serious interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder and already knows something about her life - her entire life, not just until she got married. The vast majority of the book is about her adulthood, and it goes into great detail on her relationship with her daughter, Rose. I have had such misgivings about this relationship for so many years - something didn't seem quite right about it, especially after I visited Mansfield, Missouri twice, went through the museum, and toured the two houses that LIW lived in there. Rose just grated more and more on my nerves the more I learned about her. Turns out that my intuition was sadly correct, according to this biographer's research. So anyway, this is fascinating to me, but I don't know how much it would appeal to someone with just a passing or childhood interest in LIW or her books.
    Oooooh, I want to read it!
    Wife to David, mom to 9, homeschooling Abby (15). Grammy to 6 granddaughters and 2 grandsons! Homeschooling since 1986, Rowing since 2000.

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