Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Books: The Jungle Book

One of my goals, or resolutions, for the new year is to read the books that I own but haven't read yet.

Today, I finished a book I started last year--The Jungle Book. This was written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894. It was a good book, but far from what thought it would be. It was more than what Disney's movie version was. The book was made up of short stories, followed by a song or poem related to the previous short story. Some stories were about Mowgli, but many were about different animals and people living in India or other similar parts of the world.

I recommend this book because it is a different style of writing than what we are used to nowadays. It's also a classic. I think it's good to know what the original book contains so that we understand any other interpretations and movies people make based on it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Becoming a Master Gardener

This fall, I signed up for the Oregon State University Master Gardener @ Night Class. This is something I've been interested in for a few years ever since I found out one of my former co-workers was a Master Gardener.

It used to be that the classes were only offered during the day, which totally doesn't work for a lot of us who work during the day. I had this image in my head that the class was mostly made up of people who were retired. So I put it on my bucket list. Then last year, my friend Britni sign up for the night class. She loved it! Now it's my turn.

I signed up to be a Master Gardener Volunteer in Training. That means I'll go through two terms of classes now through April, and then I need to complete 66 hours of volunteer work. After that, I'll be a certified Master Gardener Volunteer!

My textbook -- This book is huge!
Master Gardener Volunteers serve the public by providing information on gardening, either through the phone line, workshops, and other events. They also have other activities such as fundraisers and festivals, like the Fall Festival (pictures below).

Local Master Gardeners' best produce contest

So much garlic!

I volunteered at the book sale.

So far, in my classes I've learned about native plants, botany, weeds and soils. Some of the other topics I'll learn about this term are home composting, fertilizers and pruning. Each 2 1/2 hour class is led by a guest speaker, who is usually a Master Gardener volunteer and an expert on that night's topic. It's fascinating to see people who know so much about something as trivial as weeds. It feels like I'm back in school again without all the pressure of taking tests and being expected to memorize everything all at once. The program urges you to do the chapter readings and assignments, but the purpose is to teach you how to find the information you're looking for.

Notes from my first class
It does feel like information overload sometimes, but I'm glad I'm finally taking this first step to becoming a better gardener.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Reading: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Although this is a book that many adults read as children, for me, this was my first time reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

This is the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia. I really enjoyed reading it because by knowing the story from seeing two versions of the movie, it was a quick read. I also checked out the book on CD so I could listen to it in the car, which helped me finish the book faster. I think I'll try to do that with the other books in the series. I also like the author’s writing style because it’s very imaginative.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a nice, somewhat short story to read, even if it’s to your kids, and for anyone who wants to read the entire series.

Now I'm off to read The Horse and His Boy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Reading: Raising the Bar

Book Title: Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc.
Author: Gary Erickson

This story is about how a man saw a need and filled that need.

Gary Erickson, the founder of Clif Bar, tells how a long bike ride in his 30s led him to create the iconic, organic energy bars and other related products when there was really only one on the market at that time.

I enjoyed reading his short stories throughout the book about his mountain biking trips and other excursions he took with friends and how the lessons he learned from those trips apply to how he runs his business.

It's great to read about how some businesses owners, like Gary, stay true to their passions in their business instead of conforming to practices that compromise their values.

I recommend this book for anyone, especially businesses owners, outdoor enthusiasts and organic foodies.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Reading: Writing on the Wall

My book collection can sometimes be thought of as a garden. I collect books from time to time, just like I do plants. People recommend books to me, just like they do plants. And books are great to share with others, just like plants.

This summer, I've been sharing about some of the books that I've been reading, and maybe you might find your own copies to read at the library or your local bookstore.

I recently finished the book Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage. He is a New York Times bestselling author, and the book interested me, so I put it on my Christmas list. Yes, I just now got around to reading it.

This book talks about how social communication through media changed from the ancient Greeks to today. For example, I found it fascinating that in one culture, graffiti was not thought of at taboo. Instead, it was common for people to etch messages to each other in the sandstone walls outside people’s houses. And people would reply. In addition, this book covers how certain inventions like Morse Code, the telegraph, radio, television, etc. came to be.

I recommend it for anyone who is interested in history, communications, media and journalism.

Please let me know what books you're reading this summer!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Reading: Lean In

I loved this book!

Author Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, did an excellent job in her book Lean In describing some of the struggles she and other women face throughout their careers and why many women don’t strive to be leaders.

These include lack of self-esteem, feeling overlooked, being stereotyped, and much more.

She uses research and personal stories to make her arguments, and she reflects on how she is not perfect but strives to the best she can. She seeks to help women and men reach their full potential and learn to work as a team.

I recommend this book for women and men because we can all learn a lot from it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Reading: Producer--Lessons Shared from 30 Years in Television

My latest summer reading pick.

I really enjoyed reading the book Producer: Lessons Shared from 30 Years in Television because I work behind the scenes in the television industry and I identified with some of the same experiences the author, Wendy Walker went through.

In this book, Walker names the chapters after lessons she's learned. These include lessons like "freaking out is not an option" and "everything happens for a reason."

As the senior executive producer of Larry King Live, Walker illustrates these lessons with anecdotes about the famous people she's met and worked with and the challenges she's faced at her fast-paced job.

I also liked reading about her career path from college, to working at a clothing store, to working for the Kennedy family, and beyond.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes to read about interesting people and places and wants to learn lessons in the process.