I greatly enjoy the contextual life blog. I like the weekly roundup of links, which are serious, interesting, quirky, grammatical and topical.
In this weeks there was a link to the BookSmash Challenge. This is
Use imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books
Interesting stuff there, it’s really worth looking at the entries and voting. This is just the kind of thing we, as readers, need to be thinking about.
It struck a chord with me and the ethos of this blog. It did get me really thinking about How do I not pick a book?, I wondered if that would make a good idea for a book browsers (or not). “Book Look” has some features that are similar to my ethos, but doesn’t quite go far enough.
Perhaps a Blissfully Ignorant applicatioin could choose you random books against a profile (you’d need to be careful there) but I was thinking things like very broad categories in fiction, e.g. child/adult, new/old and possibly some more specific “absolutely nots” e.g. sci-fi, romance, historical fiction, violence (I quite like all of those btw). Probably the most important part would be the aspect that would cover “recommendations”, as I feel this is the key to success with this technique of Blissfully Ignorant reading (so you’d use some algorithm on ratings/number of ratings. For example, my new BIB has 4 1/2 stars from 211 reviews so that’s pretty convincingly good.
So a randomly selected good book would be chosen for you.
I should have entered!
So what do you think? It’d make a great mobile app too.
By the way, I’ve cracked! I’m still reading my non fiction book on body language but I had to get my fix of fiction. I just don’t seem to be able sustain my interest in non-fiction. I am interested but there’s always a bit that I want to skip and that make me feel uncomfortable. I will finish the body language book.
I’ve started reading I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes, this was a recommendation from a friend.
I haven’t read much, but it dives straight in. I’m pretty sure of the genre. There’s some unusual quirks to it. So it’s making a great first impression.
With my years of reading behind me, I smugly feel quite well read. I can normally find something I’ve read that applies and enriches what I am experiencing. so whilst contemplating this post I thought it would be easy to reel off a whole host of sage thoughts.
So I sat and thought, and thought. What about…no. Oh yeah…no. So I left it alone for a while. Unconciously tackling the problem. Only to find when I returned to it I drew a blank.
This made me think about what are my central beliefs and where did they come from? What are some of the beliefs I regularly use in daily life?
So here goes (I feel a bit vulnerable about this)
The truth will always come out, so don’t lie – that’s from Eastenders (a TV Programme – “You ain’t my muvva!”)
Do unto others as you would have done to you – that’s roughly from the Bible (a book!)
People will always get you back – that’s from a training course on Managing People
You get what you give – that’s from quite a few songs.
Be yourself wherever you are, people are just like you – that’s from my Dad.
We have more in common with strangers than differences – that may well be from reading, but I’m not sure of the source.
We’re not here for very long so wring out every bit of enjoyment from whatever situation you find yourself in – that, sadly, I’ve learnt myself from losing people and seeing people in pain.
Not really many books here are there? I think that is because media like TV and music and poetry are are distilled, they need to grab you instantly, so their messages are rapid burn to get your attention, easier to understand and remember. However, messages within books are much more slow burn, they creep into you gradually, layer upon layer of different books subtly building into a belief system. These form more nebulous or meta-beliefs like
humanism, tolerance, respect, honesty, self awareness, empathy
These are at the core of me (I hope) and in the same way they go in gradually by osmosis, they come out in subtler ways too.
I do have some things I’ve learnt from books, but they are much more focussed on the details.
walk with a straight back – Penelope’s Hat – Ronald Frame (this is the same as stand tall, it’s helped me get through some difficult situations at least looking confident, but as my friend told me it’s not much good if you’re considering suicide)
you’re not raising children, you’re raising adults – Raising Boys – Steve Biddulph ( fantastic and easy to read parentling, strongly recommended, but this particular quote really sticks with me and I constantly use it and tell other parents too).
So it’s hard to reveal the impact of books on you and your core beliefs. I do feel I have been created by books (I just hope I’ve thought about them enough to become the best person I can).