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What books have you read lately?

That was the title of a session at the conference I attended in June. Three people led it but just about every one of the 15 or so present was willing to talk about what they’d read recently. And as the session went on, people divulged their passion might be fantasy books or romance novels. There was a bonding as we admitted what we had on our bedside night stands. It was so much fun that a colleague and I submitted that topic for an upcoming conference.

So it was heartening to read an interview with the CEO of Delta Air Lines in the New York Times. (This was a link a friend sent me in late April and I found as I was cleaning out email yesterday, hence the time lag.) CEO Richard Anderson answers questions about what he looks for in job candidates. He asks people what are the last three or four books they’ve read and what they enjoyed about them. He says he’s looking for the human intangibles to gauge how people might fit the Delta culture. He’s looking for a person’s values, work ethic and communication skills. I’ll bet it doesn’t matter a great deal what you’ve read but how you answer the question.

So tell me, what books have you read lately?

I’ll start. I’m reading ‘The Painted Kiss’ by Elizabeth Hickey. It’s the author’s debut novel, about the artist Gustav Klimt and the woman whose name he uttered with his dying breath. (That’s what the dust jacket says.) I suppose you couldn’t even label it historic fiction but it’s an entertaining summer escape.

Last month I finished ‘Personal History’ by Katharine Graham. Fascinatingly good read for an autobiography. Long (625 pages). Graham’s father owned the Washington Post; she became publisher after her husband’s suicide. She was a woman in a man’s world during the Pentagon Papers, Watergate and some unbelievable union struggles. It’s on the list of the 100 best business books of all time. (I’m trying to read the individual books rather than the book about the 100 books, which I’m willing to admit is insane.)

A provocative book I read end of winter was ‘Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing Without Organizations’ by Clay Shirky. I have newfound respect for Wikipedia, understand how people Twitter to organize in political situations and even recognize the power law distribution when I see it.

The April 26 interview in the New York Times has way more insight that this bit I pulled out
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/business/26corner.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

It’s your turn to share what you’re reading….

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Recently read: "Wishful Drinking," by Carrie Fisher (memoir); "I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing," by Kyria Abrahams (memoir); "Friday Night Knitting Club" and "Knit Two" (sequel), by Kate Jacobs (fiction).

Among the books I'm currently reading: "The Hungry Cowboy: Service and Community in a Neighborhood Restaurant," by Karla A. Erickson; "Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith," by Shane Hipps' and "Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity" by Leigh H. Edwards.

Also -- I've read all four books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (the teenage vampire series), thanks to my daughter.

So what does this list say about me? Eclectic -- either that or just weird!

I just finished Jeffrey Zaslow's "The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty Year Friendship" and Vicki Myron and Bret Witter's "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World." Really liked both of them. Even asked my cousin Jan, a school teacher in Spencer, if she knew Dewey. She did. She confirmed that Dewey was a very special cat.

Zaslow's "The Last Lecture" is another favorite of mine. And now that I know there is a sequel to "The Friday Night Knitting Club," I'll be heading back to the library. Thanks Laura!

About two years ago, I started keeping a log of the books that I read...does anyone else do that?

I've read, cover-to-cover, and continue to study: The 2 hour garden, Clematis for all seasons, and Plants for problem places. Garden books inspire me and feed my interest in how to propagate plants. Also Opal sunset: selected poems, by Clive James, after reading "Windows is shutting down" on Writer's Almanac -- humor about our misuse of language. Often revisit Flying at Night by Ted Kooser, because his insight and everyday images give added meaning to much of my own experience, especially the poems, Birthday, and At the Cancer Clinic.

I've read, cover-to-cover, and continue to study: The 2 hour garden, Clematis for all seasons, and Plants for problem places. Garden books inspire me and feed my interest in how to propagate plants. Also Opal sunset: selected poems, by Clive James, after reading "Windows is shutting down" on Writer's Almanac -- humor about our misuse of language. Often revisit Flying at Night by Ted Kooser, because his insight and everyday images give added meaning to much of my own experience, especially the poems, Birthday, and At the Cancer Clinic.

My oldest son and I are re-reading Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince in anticipation of the movie this week. Fun to discuss books with a 12 yr old. Perspectives are very different.