Links I love

Today’s rainy day goals are 3 cups of coffee, two novels, and a little laundry. Focusing on the important things in life today, you know.

My favorite finds from around the web:

Why you should read books you hate. A giant YES to this. “Reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it’s a style, a story line or an argument.”

Organization made easy in the studio desk drawers. This kind of organization doesn’t come easily to me, so I thought these neatly filled baskets and bins were a thing of beauty.

10 books that will make you a better writer (and why). Writers will find the what to read helpful; readers will find the why to read interesting.

Smartphones are the new cigarettes.”It’s attention pollution when somebody else’s inability to focus or control themselves then interferes with the attention and focus of those around them.” Heads up, gentle readers: this is a thought-provoking read in a pretty crass package. Consider before you click. Or just ponder the title—it’s a good one, yes? (From the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***.)

A new podcast!

This month I headed down to our local radio station to record an episode of the Five Things podcast with Tara Anderson.

In each episode, Tara interviews a different person about five physical objects that represent their lives. I love her show because she asks terrific questions and has a gift for getting to the heart of the matter. She has a voice made for radio, and each episode is edited beautifully.

That episode went live this week. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

On the blog:

One year ago: 12 terrific books for tween girls.

Two years ago: Beautiful editions of Anne of Green Gables.

Three years ago: When you have a long runway.

Have a great weekend!

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  1. I have read books I’ve hated (Atlas Shrugged, 100 Years of Solitude, The World According to Garp, Satanic Verses, Skinny Legs and All, American Pastoral). Honestly, it wasn’t fun. There are some others that I started but gave up on, too irked by the trying-too-hard erudition of the authors (I think that’s what I disliked about the ones listed, too, but I felt pressured to finish them because they were being talked about).
    I read a similar article, also in the NYT, before that about how conservatives really honed their arguments in the liberal bastions of academia–basically the same argument as for reading books you hate.
    On the other hand, we must be careful about our blood pressure.

  2. Nancy Cohen says:

    Regarding “Smartphones are the cigarettes”, I was at a funeral yesterday where through the entire service people were constantly checking their phones, one woman even took a call!
    I do believe smartphones are interfering with our ability to focus. I’ve even noticed it in myself that it’s harder to sit down a read a book for a few hours without picking up my phone to check it. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to put the stupid thing down, leave it in my purse, even leave it in my car if I’m at dinner with my husband and family.

    • Alex says:

      ME. TOO. I really struggle with sitting down to read a book that’s not completely gripping if my phone is nearby. I don’t like it. I also make a conscious effort to leave my phone, and turn it off. But people make it a challenge, since they expect to be able to reach you. If I said I was going to meet you at 2, I’ll be there at 2.

  3. Allison says:

    Thank you for the list of books that will make you a better writer. I’m reading Stephen King’s now, and I’m adding the others to my list.

  4. amanda june says:

    I LOVE the smartphones-as-cigarettes article (despite the gratuitously crass and rude tone). I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things for a long time. Smartphone use is even more exaggerated here in China, if you can believe it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Stefanie says:

    The “Five Things” Podcast – LOVE. It’s cool to hear Anne’s own voice as a guest on a podcast. Towards the end Tara asks her what she learned from the activity. Anne goes into how her instinct first told her to bring things that represent her character values – Family, Faith, etc. but she decided that was overly sentimental. Instead focusing to find on items that are truly Anne, she was surprised by some of what she brought. That statement surprised me more than anything. The 5 things Anne brought speak to the Anne I know through her blog, SM and podcasts. As she presented each one I thought “So totally her – great choice” and enjoyed the stories that represent the work she does and the value I get from it. What a fun project and a great way to reach more people looking for a safe place that shares ways of expanding your views on the world. Great job Anne!

  6. Mary Kate says:

    On Writing is the best book about writing I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot. (I’d actually caution against reading too many since at some point all the advice starts to be too much, and some of it contradicts each other.)

    That NYT article on reading what you hate … not for me. I did plenty of that in school, when I was forced to read what the teacher told me to, and I know what I like and what I need by now. I barely have enough time to read what I love; why would I waste that already precious time on something I hate?

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