Sunday Salon 9-28-14

Rewind: September 2014 – My Reading

The totals: 4 for the month, one in progress but will be done by Tuesday; 47 for the year.

The books:

  1. The Silent Hour, the fourth and final so far Lincoln Perry, by Michael Koryta
  2.  The Abominable Man, the seventh of 10 in the Martin Beck series, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
  3. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris
  4.  Bones to Ashes, the 10th in the Bones/Temperance Brennan series, by Kathy Reichs

If ever a list looked like a Sesame Street staple of “Which one of these is not like the other?”…

I’ll start by talking the odd man out: the Dan Harris book. I came across this one on Overdrive at the Free Library of Philadelphia. I thought it would fit with my unofficial birthday month challenge of reading one self-help book a month. While it was good, in fact laugh out loud in parts, I didn’t feel like I learned much by the end of the book. I also am not sure I like Harris or could relate to his extroverted ways. That said, it was a good experiment on attempting to see the world from a different perspective, which often can be a good thing.

About the series

  1.  The Lincoln Perry series: I am sad that The Silent Hour was the last one in the series by Koryta, but at least he still is writing: standalones so I can continue enjoying his writing.
  2. The Martin Beck series, also called The Story of a Crime: The good thing about this series is that it only has 10 in the series, which started in 1965 and ended in 1975. The bad thing about this series is that it only has 10 in the series, which starteed in 1965 and ended in 1975. Again, this was a discovery from Overdrive, by way of Jo Nesbø, who wrote an introduction for one of the books. In a re-release of the series, each has an introduction by popular crime writers, including Nesbø and Michael Connelly, to name but a couple.
  3. The Bones/Temperance Brennan series: I am not as impressed with this series as the two aforementioned, but I like Temperance Brennan better in the books than the TV show of which I have watched a few seasons. Perhaps it is because Brennan is about the same age as Reichs, on whom the character is based, in the books.

I also am continuing to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey. I wrote about that briefly here last week, but might share further thoughts on it in my Thursday’s Thoughts post or in next week’s Sunday Salon.

On Tuesday, I’ll look back at the month of September in other areas of my life besides reading and look ahead to October in both reading and other areas of my life.

How was your reading for September? Anything that stood out for you? If so, what?

The Steadfast ReaderLast week’s Sunday Salon post was the most clicked on post at Spread The Love Linky Party 2.0, thanks to all the links from some of you.

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Flashback Friday 6: Roadwork done and going out with my wife

Each Friday, I use St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Examen to ask for what am I most grateful this past week? I also sometimes ask: For what am I least grateful this past week?

Least grateful for:

Ears ringing. Lately I’ve been dealing with a ringing in my ears, not constant but annoying still when I hear it, tinnitus of some kind. I’m going to see my family doctor on Monday for a six-month checkup and will get checked out then. I’ll keep you posted.

Most grateful for:

  1. Roadwork being over: The paving project near our house is over and the detour that was through our neighborhood. Enough said
  2. “Scheduling ourselves so that down time is worked into the equation”
  3. Having some down time tonight with my wife as we are going out to dinner and then to see a local band.

So what are you least grateful for and/or most grateful for this past week?

“Scheduling ourselves so down time is worked into the equation”

Business Calendar & Schedule
Photo via www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/ on Flickr

I can’t say simpler will always be better but it’s working, for now. Blogging is such an individual thing. I’ll hit on something that works for a while and then gradually it will cease to work for me. I guess most bloggers do that – get in a groove, lose it, reevaluate, try new things. I’m beginning to think blogging must constantly evolve. Too static and we get bored. Having said that, there also are definitely some benefits to scheduling ourselves so that down time is worked into the equation.

— Nancy of the blog Bookfoolery

That was a comment Nancy left on my Sunday Salon post in which I linked to one of her blog posts about simplifying her blog. I was especially struck by the last part of that comment, because I am finding that to be true in my own life.

On Monday, I continued reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey and I am working with a new app to put some of what I’ve learned so far into practice. The app is called My Effectiveness Habits and was developed with Covey’s book in mind.

The short of both is this: Set up goals each day in order of importance and urgency so that when you accomplish those goals, you can focus on the things that are important but not urgent. Also by setting those goals early in the day and week, you can have them off your mind so you can focus on thinking, working, and doing the things that matter. For example, I’ve been checking off things that I routinely do at work so that I will have more time to focus on spending time with my wife, books, and on my blog.

Whether this will be the case is still to be proven, but already I am feeling mentally better about having a plan, even if, and maybe especially because, it is a plan to relax. Knowing that I have down time coming helps me get through the up time. Also in terms of the blog, planning posts ahead, even only a few a week, helps me not feel stressed about those days I’m not posting. I know the posts will get here…when they need to get here: on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

I have had to tweak the app a bit, even simplify, which was, and is, my One Word for this year, so that I don’t get caught up in all the processes of how I do something. For example, instead of breaking down everything I do at work, I just put “Check for overdues” or “Check for ILL requests,” then I’m not so caught up with the processes as much as crossing them off the list and moving on to the next thing. Attention in this case is not in the details. That also helps me relax.

Now with this post drafted on Wednesday morning, I’m off to read for a couple of hours before heading into work later this afternoon.

The digital diary of Bryan G. Robinson, once known as Unfinished Person.