Friday, November 20, 2009

What We're Reading Now #1

Mindport’s staff is comprised of inveterate readers.  If you look in any staffer’s car, you are likely to spy a pile of library books and audiobooks stacked on the seat, threatening to slide off into the nether world of the vehicle floor.  We often make recommendations to one another or just share our excitement about a particular aspect of a text and how it relates, directly or tangentially or very tangentially, to our work at Mindport. 

KevinShop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford

If you’re old enough to have taken shop class as a junior high or high school student you may lament its passing.  Crawford (who has his own motorcycle repair shop and a doctorate in political philosophy) explains why it should be brought back, arguing that working with one’s hands is essential to mental well-being. 

Karen: Basho: The Complete Haiku by Matsuo Basho translated with an introduction, biography, and notes by Jane Reichhold

Karen says this book is so nice that she’s going to buy herself a copy as her Christmas present.  The poetry itself is transcendent, and the book also has beautiful ink drawings and interesting historical commentary.

This road 
No travelers pass along --
Autumn dusk. 
Matsuo Basho

Tallie: The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland

Vreeland provides a fictionalized but well-researched account of the life of British Columbian artist Emily Carr (1871-1945).  Based in part on Carr’s many journals, The Forest Lover inspired me to take another look at both Carr’s paintings and her life. 

Emily Carr: Tree in Autumn

Bill: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler

Kessler, a Harvard-educated pediatrician and former FDA head (who admits to having struggled with overeating) explains how the processed food industry has created combinations of foods that stimulate our brains to want more, more, and more!  Apparently, fat, sugar, and salt alone are not particularly potent, but in perfect combination they trigger the brain’s reward system and make moderation difficult.  The book makes for interesting reading as Kessler explores both the way the food industry engineers food, and the way our brains relate to that food.

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