Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rediscovering the Joy of Reading

Life is a balancing act, for sure, and for a while I inadvertently tilted a little too far towards handicrafts. When my son asked me to read some of the 400-page fantasy fiction books he loves so that we could discuss them more fully, I realized that apart from proofreading jobs and book club selections (books I had to finish), I really wasn't reading much. So I have started to put down the knitting from time to time, and really read some interesting books.
Wednesday was an especially rich reading day, because I finished two books, different as could be:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Mindset is a nonfiction, not-quite-business book, about why some people tend to sabotage themselves and how they can get over it by changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It speaks to the challenges we face as individuals, friends, romantic partners, teachers, coaches, and businesspeople, and I had picked it up based on its recommendation in a similar book, Adam Grant's fantastic Give and Take.
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby is the second installment of the Athenian Mysteries, a series set in Ancient Athens in the time of Pericles. I am reading the books in reverse order, since I picked number 4, The Marathon Conspiracy, off the New Fiction shelf at the Brooklyn Central Library a few months ago.
I studied Ancient Greek (history and language) in college, and traveled through the Pelopennese just prior, so I had a sense of how character and place names might sound, but I wondered if there was an audiobook, and to my good fortune, I was able to listen to both mystery number 3, Sacred Games, and The Ionia Sanction through the library's Overdrive system.
Gary Corby does an amazing job conveying the attitudes and preferences of the Ancient World, and I have shared selected parts with my kids, but unfortunately I can't recommend these books to anyone under 14 or so because certain scenes (both "romantic" and violent) are just too graphic. However, if you are of age and interested in Classical Times, the narrator, Nicolaos son of Sophroniscus, has met a parade of ancient luminaries, starting with Pericles, but including Queen Gorgo and King Pleistarchus of Sparta, the poet Pindar, and Themistocles, when he was in exile in Persia.
I have thanked my son numerous times for reminding me of the joy of reading and starting me back on the right track, and I can't wait to finish The House of Hades so that he and I can talk that over.

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