Book 11 – Zorba the Greek

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Title: Zorba the Greek

Date Completed: 11/27/09

Author(s): Nikos Kazantzakis

Copyright: 1946, Simon and Schuster

# pages: 311

Genre: Fiction

 I got the idea to read this book from Excuses Begone!, because the author referenced it, and I thought if Wayne Dyer likes it, I’m sure I’ll like it.

 Lesson learned…Wayne Dyer and I don’t always have the same taste in books.  The book was ok, but I think it must be one of those books where everything has a double meaning, and if you don’t get the double meaning, you don’t get the book. 

 It is a book about two guys in Greece in the late 1800s.  They are essentially gypsies who work in a mine to earn a living.  One of the guys (Zorba) is the kind of person who lives life to its fullest every day.  He finds everything he does to be new and exciting.  The other guy is the kind of person who lives his life through his books rather than actually experiencing it.  He spends his time in their hut reading about what life could be like.  However, even with this difference, they are best friends.  It is a Greek nineteenth century Odd Couple. 

 The book was made into a movie…and I think I might watch it to see if maybe I get something out of the movie that I missed in the book.  This could be a case where the movie is actually better than the book.  I don’t watch a lot of movies, so I can’t say that I’ll actually follow-through and watch it, but if I do, I’ll let you know what I think.

Why public access is so important

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  • The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print. Communities ranking high in achievement tests have several factors in common: an abundance of books in public libraries, easy access to books in the community at large and a large number of textbooks per student.
    • Newman, Sanford, et all. “Americans Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy”; Fight Crime; Invest in Kids, 2000.
  • Book 10 – Facebook, here we come!

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    Title: The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff

    Date Completed: 11/23/09

    Author(s): Clara Shih

    Copyright: 2009, Pearson Education, Inc

    # pages: 211

    Genre: Business/Marketing

    While I was waiting for my replacement copy of Zorba the Greek, I picked up this book.  I’m reading it, of course, to figure out how to get the word out about Building a Bookshelf.  I’m very new to Facebook – I’m not what you would call an early adopter – and so I feel like I need all the help I can get.

    This book really sparked a lot of ideas for me.  Not just ideas for Building a Bookshelf, but also ideas for businesses I’m starting or want to start, and even for my employer – a big corporate giant who doesn’t seem like the Facebook type.  If you own your own business, you need to put this book on your must read list.  It really outlines where business is going, and what you need to do to make sure you are onboard.

    The first part of the book talks about the history of the internet and how far we’ve come in such a short time.  Essentially, she is reminding you of how quickly the world has changed because of technology so that you can get the idea that it is all going to change again with social networking.

    She also talks a lot about why social networking has caught on as fast as it has.  I’ll be honest – I was one of the people saying ‘why do I care that my friends are on their way to the grocery store?’  But, since joining Facebook and reading this book, the light bulb has gone on for me.  Two of the aha moments I had:

    1. Today’s teenagers consider e-mail to be something ‘old people’ use.  Ok, folks…I remember life without e-mail, so to think that it has already become passé is just a little much for me.
    2. Social Networking allows you to maintain more relationships than you would otherwise because the level of effort of maintaining them is so much less.  Shih brings up the fact that kids who are in junior high today will have a roldex of everyone they’ve ever met when they are adults in the business world.  Why?  Because they will not need to spend any effort to maintain those relationships.  Once you add them to your social network, you maintain the relationship with very little effort.  Huh.  I think they are onto something!

    The book has a lot of very practical ‘how to’ steps.  You will see me put some of these to work on the Building a Bookshelf page over the next couple of weeks.

    We’ve applied to the IRS!

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    Put the application for 501(c)(3) status in the mail to the IRS yesterday.  That is the final big step in setting up the charity.  Our next big step is the launch party!

    Book 9 – We venture into religion

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    Title: The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

    Date Completed: 11/16/09

    Author(s): Timothy Keller

    Copyright: 2008, Penguin Group

    # pages: 240

    Genre: Religion

     Religion is a very personal, very emotional topic, so it is with eyes wide open that I venture into this topic.  My job is to share the books I read with you so that we can work together to raise money to provide kids with books.  That means that I have to be bold enough to share my reading choices, and you have to be bold enough to take the journey with me. 

     Having said that, I’m going to do my best to tell you what the book is about, not what my personal feelings are about the book.  In the spirit of full disclosure, this is not a book that I would normally select for myself.  It was given to me by a friend who thought I would find it interesting – and she was right.

     I would categorize this book as an academic look at God.  The author, a pastor at a Presbyterian Church in New York, is trying to build a case for why each of the reasons that people give for not believing in God is not valid.  He uses logic, history, and anecdotal evidence to provide an argument against each of the reasons.  Some of the topics he tackles are:

    • How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?
    • The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice
    • How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

     After addressing the common reasons against religion, he turns to the other side of the coin and makes the arguments for why you should believe in Christianity.  In this section he covers a lot of the basics of the Bible, building his case for the supporting evidence that God is real.

     Overall, I found the book very interesting.  It gave me a lot to think about and changed my mind on a couple of things.  I didn’t feel like I was being preached to – more like a case was being laid out for me and it is up to me to decide which side of the case to fall on.

    5 pages missing!

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    I’ve just got to share with you all that I’m on page 162 of Zorba the Greek, and have found that pages 163-167 have been torn out!  LOL.  This is a first for me.  I took it back to the library and told the woman at the counter to take it out of circulation.  They ordered another copy for me, so I guess I’ll have to pick it up in a couple of days.

    Help give 20,000 books to kids in your state!

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    On the Firstbook site, you can answer a trivia question and if you get it right, you can vote for your state to get a donation of 20,000 books for kids from Cherios.  It is fun and easy to do…so vote!

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