TED talks and I’m listening

Are you familiar with TED talks? I know I wasn’t aware of them until one of the book podcasts I follow, Books on the Nightstand, mentioned them in connection with something bookish. That made the book nerd inside of me, finally look them up on the internet, and realize how much I was missing out on! TED is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design, and when the first conference was held in 1984 in Silicon Valley, those three areas were the basis for the talks and the conference, but things have changed a lot since then. TED’s scope is broader and more global now and since 2006 when free access to their videos became available online, there have been over 500 million views of these talks!

Quoting from their website, “The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). “

There really is something for everyone, and what I really appreciate is the time constraint put on the speaker. This forces them to be succinct and grab your attention quickly. Not an easy feat I’m sure, but one that forces them to make every word count.

Recently my daughter made me aware that they have an app. It worked perfectly for my last long flight up to Alaska, because I was able to download half a dozen talks and then watch them on my Ipad with no wifi connection.

One of my favorite book related talks is this one by book jacket designer Chip Kidd,

and one of the most popular talks was by author Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking,

But I think my favorite (so far) is this one by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy,

So, if you ever find yourself surfing the web and have 18 minutes or less to spare, you might just want to visit the TED site and see what they’re talking about!

Book Spine Poetry

I’m always the last one to the party, so if you’ve already heard about Book Spine Poetry just go back to surfing the web and I will enlighten the other lollygaggers!

Book Spine Poetry is exactly what it sounds like, poetry made from book titles found on your shelves.

“sweet clover, rose in bloom, a speckled bird~~our village”

I was listening to the Books on the Nightstand Podcast while walking Princess Jasmine and they were talking about this novel (pun intended) art form.  Ann and Michael, the two hosts of BOTNS, even offered up their submissions from books found on their own shelves, and they’ve set up a Yogile page for other podcast listeners to post their poetry.
When I got back from my walk I decided to take a crack at this seemingly simple task. Guess what? It’s not so simple! I have many reasons why I can’t seem to come up with a half way decent book spine poem. Too many old books, too many non-fiction books, my desire to rhyme and of course my total lack of skill!

“Give the Lady What She Wants!
Troubadours and Courts of Love, Homestead on the Hillside, The House on Tradd Street”

But I did really make an effort this evening and I have posted two of the best of the worst compositions 🙂

If you feel so inclined, I would love to see what you come up with… it really is a fun challenge!

Grimm Inspiration

Cover of "Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck Cent...

One of my New Year’s resolutions, (besides exercising more, eating less and being a better person), is to read more classic fiction. I was inspired by the challenge put forth my Ann and Michael from Books on the Nightstand. It’s called 12 in ’12 and the idea is to read 12 books in 2012. You may decide to read 12 sci-fi books, or maybe 12 books by a certain author, whatever tickles your fancy. I decided to pick 12 classics because it’s something I don’t usually read but feel like I should. This goes with that being a better person resolution….

I tend to gravitate to the new releases and there are so many of them I want to read. How can I possibly get off the new book merry-go-round and retreat back to the classics, especially when Goodreads, Bookpage and book bloggers keep tempting me with all those lovely, new titles!
This is funny logic coming from a person that has about 300 smelly, spine flaking, ancient books strewn all over the house. But it’s so comforting having all my old books surrounding me and I do manage to read a few of them a year, but the stack of new titles, hot off the presses seem to call my name just a tad louder.

As with most New Year’s resolutions, I promptly forgot about the challenge, and began hoarding and devouring piles of new books…I’m telling you it’s a sickness. But a program on TV reminded me of my resolution and my BOTN challenge. The show is called Grimm, and if you haven’t watched it you should. It’s a police procedural very loosely based on the fairy tales by the Grimm brothers. I too scoffed when I read about this show, especially since Once Upon a Time, another TV show based on fairy tales, came out this year, but it is terrific. Anyway, Friday’s show was based on the classic novel by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men and in a round about way, that is how I came to remember my resolution and the challenge and get back on track!  Convoluted but true!      

So, today I took a step toward keeping my challenge promise. I went to the library and checked out a copy of the Steinbeck classic, because of course, among my many piles of books I do not own a copy!