Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.
It is a beautiful fall day in New England. This is the view from my office window. It makes me thinks of Anne Shirley inviting Gilbert to go for one of their "old time rambles in the woods."
Life is hectic these days: a lot of working, but not much reading and even less blogging. It seems, however, that I am getting more books than ever. Here is what has arrived in one form or another over the past few weeks.
I've read more than one book in Jon Land's Caitlin Strong series. They are always a good read. This one came to me directly from the publisher.
Caitlin Strong is a fifth generation Texas Ranger as quick with her wits as she is with her gun. Over the years she's taken on all manner of criminals and miscreants, thwarting the plans of villains to do vast damage to the country and state she loves. But none of that has prepared Caitlin for an investigation that pits her against ruthless billionaire oilman Calum Dane, whose genetically engineered pesticide may have poisoned a large swath of the state.
How that poisoning is connected to the disappearance of thirty high school students from a Houston prep school, including the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters, presents Caitlin with the greatest and most desperate challenge of her career. As if that wasn't enough, she also has to deal with a crazed rancher whose entire herd of cattle has been picked clean to the bone by something science can't explain.
The common denominator between these apparently disparate events is a new and deadly enemy capable of destroying the US economy and killing millions, a foe it will take far more than bullets to bring down. There's yet another player in the deadly game Caitlin finds herself playing: Russian extremists prepared to seize an opportunity to win a war they never stopped fighting.
Caitlin's race to save the United States weaves through the present and the past, confronting her and Cort Wesley with the most powerful and dangerous enemies they've ever faced, human and otherwise. The Cold War hasn't just heated up; it's boiling over under the spill of a strong light only Caitlin can extinguish before it's too late.
This next one I picked up at the suggestion of a professional I met at a realtor's conference. Jan Hargrave spoke not only on how to detect if someone is lying, but also how to recognize personality differences. Not only was the information fascinating, Jan was hilarious.
Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success—but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals—personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
I borrowed the next two books from the library since I really am trying to read more on personal and professional development. Not sure when I will get to read them, but they are the next two books on my list.
Meatball Sundae is the definitive guide to the fourteen trends no marketer can afford to ignore. It explains what to do about the increasing power of stories, not facts; about shorter and shorter attention spans; and about the new math that says five thousand people who want to hear your message are more valuable than five million who don?t.
The winners aren't just annoying start-ups run by three teenagers who never had a real job. You'll also meet older companies that have adapted brilliantly, such as Blendtec, a thirty-year-old blender maker. It now produces: Will it blend? videos that demolish golf balls, Coke cans, iPhones, and much more. For a few hundred dollars, Blendtec reached more than ten million eager viewers on YouTube.
Godin doesn't pretend that it's easy to get your products, marketing messages, and internal systems in sync. But he'll convince you that it's worth the effort.
A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It's our nature.
Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they're enabling countless new tribes to be born—groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.
And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?
The Web can do amazing things, but it can't provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals—people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.
If you think leadership is for other people, think again—leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a "sheepwalker"—someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don't do very well these days.
Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers. . . . It's not easy, but it's easier than you think.
Also from the library, I picked up the sixth book in the Harry Potter series on CD.
When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens, the war against Voldemort has begun. The Wizarding world has split down the middle, and as the casualties mount, the effects even spill over onto the Muggles. Dumbledore is away from Hogwarts for long periods, and the Order of the Phoenix has suffered grievous losses. And yet, as in all wars, life goes on.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione, having passed their O.W.L. level exams, start on their specialist N.E.W.T. courses. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, losing a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry becomes captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, while Draco Malfoy pursues his own dark ends. And classes are as fascinating and confounding as ever, as Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
Most importantly, Dumbledore and Harry work together to uncover the full and complex story of a boy once named Tom Riddle-the boy who became Lord Voldemort. Like Harry, he was the son of one Muggle-born and one Wizarding parent, raised unloved, and a speaker of Parseltongue. But the similarities end there, as the teenaged Riddle became deeply interested in the Dark objects known as Horcruxes: objects in which a wizard can hide part of his soul, if he dares splinter that soul through murder.
Harry must use all the tools at his disposal to draw a final secret out of one of Riddle's teachers, the sly Potions professor Horace Slughorn. Finally Harry and Dumbledore hold the key to the Dark Lord's weaknesses... until a shocking reversal exposes Dumbledore's own vulnerabilities, and casts Harry's-and Hogwart's-future in shadow.
A friend of my donated some books to my church's tag sale, so I picked up the entire Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. Here is the first book in the series.
Sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron’s prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend—a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead—the deal starts to go sour. Trying to unravel the truth about a family’s tragedy, a woman’s secret, and a man’s lies, Myron is up against the dark side of his business—where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.
On Saturday, October 17, I attended the annual WriteAngles Conference at Mount Holyoke College. That's where I picked up the next two books.
Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out. Why are they dissatisfied? And what do they really want? These questions form the premise of this passionate, provocative, funny, searingly honest collection of original essays in which twenty-six women writers—ranging in age from twenty-four to sixty-five, single and childless or married with children or four times divorced—invite readers into their lives, minds, and bedrooms to talk about the choices they’ve made, what’s working, and what’s not.
With wit and humor, in prose as poetic and powerful as it is blunt and dead-on, these intriguing women offer details of their lives that they’ve never publicly revealed before, candidly sounding off on:
• The difficult decisions and compromises of living with lovers, marrying, staying single and having children
• The perpetual tug of war between love and work, family and career
• The struggle to simultaneously care for ailing parents and a young family
• The myth of co-parenting
• Dealing with helpless mates and needy toddlers
• The constrictions of traditional women’s roles as well as the cliches of feminism
• Anger at laid-back live-in lovers content to live off a hardworking woman’s checkbook
• Anger at being criticized for one’s weight
• Anger directed at their mothers, right and wrong
• And–well–more anger...
I was going to get the children's version of this year's market guide, but someone snagged the 2016 copy and I didn't want to buy the 2015 one because I couldn't remember if I had the 2014 or 2015 one at home. So, I snagged the Writer's Market 2016 instead. That's fine since I am writing more than just children's stuff these days.
Finally, this seasonal book arrived directly from the publisher with two Christmas tales from Nancy Thayer.
A Nantucket Christmas
The Yuletide season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. But the cheerful mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s first Christmas with her new husband. Yet, in the season of miracles, holiday joy has a way of coming to all, both naughty and nice.
An Island Christmas
It’s Christmas time and Felicia has returned to her family’s home on the island to marry her rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every snow-dusted street and twinkling light is picture-perfect for a dream wedding. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy. With the arrival of Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, fueling tensions, and the family careening toward a wedding disaster, an unexpected twist reminds everyone of the true meaning of the season.
What books have shown up in your mailbox lately?