johnxlibris reads in 2023

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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johnxlibris reads in 2023

tammikuu 15, 9:38 pm

Welcome 2023! I've been lurking on Club Read for two years and I think I'm ready to commit to a thread. I'm an academic librarian in Los Angeles, CA and I've been on LT since 2007, but mostly as way to keep my books organized across moves (both from east coast to west coast and from one room of the house to the next). If I'm not reading, I'm working in my garden. I tend to gravitate toward science fiction, fantasy, postmodern, and cyberpunk literature, but as a reformed English graduate student, I occasionally like to pull out the "classics." (e.g., I finally read Dracula last year for the first time).

This year, I don't have a specific target or theme for my reading, but I plan to go in a general pattern:
1) Popular read (alternating fiction and non-fiction)
2) Something owned but unread
3) Poetry

Here are the books I read in 2022:

I, Robot / Isaac Asimov
I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World / Kai Cheng Thom
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself / Kristin Neff
White Fragility / Robin DiAngelo
1619 Project / Nikole Hannah-Jones
Wide Sargasso Sea / Jean Rhys
Braiding Sweetgrass / Robin Wall Kimerer
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell / Neal Stephenson
Subtle Acts of Exclusion / Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran
Maus / Art Spiegleman
Giles Goat Boy / John Barth
How to Raise an Antiracist / Ibram X. Kendi
Out of Office / Charlie Warzel & Anne Helen Petersen
You Feel It Just Below the Ribs / Jeffrey Cranor & Janina Matthewson
Four Thousand Weeks / Oliver Burkeman
On Poetry and Poets / T.S. Eliot (at least the “On Poetry” parts)
Dracula / Bram Stoker
168 Hours / Laura Vanderkam
Vineland / Thomas Pynchon
What If 2 / Randall Munroe
The Golden Compass / Philip Pullman
Five Dialogues / Plato (mostly)
Steppenwolf / Herman Hesse

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 14, 11:58 am

Currently Reading:

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 14, 11:59 am

Reading Log:

January 15: Appleseed: A Novel by Matt Bell - 4 stars
January 29: The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives - 4 stars
February 3: The Subtle Knife - 3.5 stars
February 16: Unraveling Faculty Burnout - 3.5 stars
March 11: Poetry Unbound: 50 Poem to Open Your World - 4 stars
March 17: In Praise of Walking - 3.5 stars
March 26: Children of Men - 4 stars
April 2: Given: Poems - 5 stars
April 22: Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock - 3.5 stars
May 2: Light from Uncommon Stars - 4 stars
May 5: Life on Mars: Poems - 5 stars
May 10: Distracted: Why Students Can't Focus and What You Can Do About It - 4 stars

Rating System:
5 stars: Would read it again in a heartbeat
4 stars: Loved it. Might read it again. Would recommend to others.
3 stars: I get it. It's OK but I won't likely come back to it.
2 stars: I did not enjoy it. Might be right for someone else.
1 star: I would not recommend anyone read this.

tammikuu 15, 9:39 pm

Reading Stats:

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 15, 10:38 pm

I wanted the first book I read in 2023 to be a work of fiction. I wanted to become immersed and nothing pulls me in faster than post-apocalyptic stories. Appleseed: A Novel by Matt Bell is a story that takes place across three timelines: one in the pre-industrial North American frontier, one in the near future following ecological collapse, and one in the far future after a continental-sized glacier has taken over North America. The characters that inhabit each of these stories are connected, not only by name, but seemingly also in spirit. Interwoven thematically (and sometimes literally) with their stories are the myths of Ancient Greece.

I found myself having to constantly slow down my reading. I wanted to speed through to see how it all ends: the plot driving above the speed limit. There are moments of wisdom throughout worth slowing down to catch. Each of the characters contemplating their place in nature, mirroring humanity's greater relationship with the environment. It is a profoundly sad book: there is loss, betrayal, and deep love. We watch as the sins of the fathers and mothers, from one Fall to the next, move humanity and its ecosystem toward its inevitable end, each still seeking for some way to regain paradise.

Rating: 4/5

tammikuu 15, 11:17 pm

Hi, John! Appleseed sound fitting indeed for this planet-sized Titanic we are on.

tammikuu 16, 12:20 am

Welcome to CR John. Enjoyed your review. I’ve read I think four from your 2022 list, including, last year, Braiding Sweetgrass. I never did figure out Thomas Pynchon or Vinland.

tammikuu 16, 1:09 am

>7 dchaikin: I certainly can't claim that I've figured Pynchon out either, but I enjoy reading him as though it were "an experience." =)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 8:29 am

>2 johnxlibris: I love O Tuama's podcast!

tammikuu 16, 12:09 pm

>9 ELiz_M: Me too! It's how I found out about the book. I pre-ordered it in November but it was backlogged and just arrived after the new year.

tammikuu 16, 1:57 pm

Welcome to Club Read, John. I'm glad you came out of lurker mode as you are reading some interesting things. I look forward to following along.

tammikuu 16, 3:18 pm

>5 johnxlibris: I’m a sucker for a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction too, but I’ve read too much of it over the last couple of years. Appleseed sounds good though.

helmikuu 3, 9:43 am

In The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives, Jonathan Malesic argues that burnout is a cultural phenomenon, not an individual one. Relying heavily on Christina Maslach's definition of burnout, as well as her psychological instrument for measuring burnout, Malesic explores the history of burnout as a diagnosis and the cultural impulses that create and foster burnout.

The first half of the book is dedicated to defining and delineating burnout as a concept and an experience. Briefly, the gap between our ideals about work and the actual experience of work is what leads to burnout. For many people, work is a path toward self-actualization; but combined with deteriorating working conditions, the persistence of the Protestant work ethic, the idea of work as "a calling," and the pull to always be "on the clock" mentally, work becomes a perfect recipe for burnout. It completely subsumes the self. 'Work occupies not only our time by our psyches, too. We have no way to understand ourselves, and now way to express our humanity, except through our jobs. Even before we burn out, we lose much of our identity and our ability to live a good life." (p. 132)

Malesic shows burnout to be a spectrum. He differentiates between those experiencing burnout without being "burned out" (i.e., they are still doing their job) and being fully burned out and incapable of work. The second half of the book explores remedies and introduces people who have found ways to escape the burnout cycle (spoiler: work less and stop rooting your self worth in your job).

It's been a while since I read a non-fiction book with so much enthusiasm. And while I'm sure much of its appeal was due to my own feelings of burnout, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in refining their understanding of the "burnout epidemic."

Rating: 4/5

helmikuu 3, 10:55 am

>13 johnxlibris: Nice review, John. I would encourage you to post it on the book's work page as there are no reviews posted yet.

helmikuu 3, 10:07 pm

>13 johnxlibris: this sounds like a book i need to read. Great post

helmikuu 4, 11:48 pm

>14 labfs39: Oh, right! Done. :)

helmikuu 5, 3:38 am

Work less play more has got to be good for the soul. Enjoyed your review.

helmikuu 5, 9:11 am

>17 baswood: Work less, read more. I like it.

helmikuu 19, 5:53 am

>13 johnxlibris: Sadly another one who can put their hand up to work burnout. It completely consumes you - so unpleasant. For that reason I'm not sure I'm keen to go back there in reading a book about it, but I very much enjoyed your review.

helmikuu 20, 11:17 pm

Last week I finished reading two books: The Subtle Knife and Unraveling Faculty Burnout. The former was for fun and the latter was for work, but also therapeutic. I'm reading the His Dark Materials series to my two kids a little each night. They are certainly into it (especially all the daemons), but I'm loving how it feels both contemporary and mid-twentieth century in its sci-fi-ness. I would not be surprised had the publication date been in the 1950s, but love that it's from within my lifetime.

The second book, on faculty burnout, I'm reading for research. Nonetheless, there are reflective questions throughout that I found particularly helpful in deconstructing my own burnout (which, I'm learning via Maslach's Burnout Inventory, is not something I should shrug off too quickly). If you're in academic, and you feel you have or may be approaching burnout levels, this book will certainly help you find some perspective.

helmikuu 21, 10:29 pm

>20 johnxlibris: I miss reading aloud with my daughter (she's nineteen now). Fortunately I now read to my two nieces almost daily, but they are still very young, so we're not yet reading things like the Pullman. Someday!

helmikuu 22, 12:16 am

I enjoyed His Dark Materials, but my kids never were interested. Unraveling Faculty Burnout sounds like an interesting title.