Lyse Links: Apple to Zumba


Angela Ascendant: Apple’s head of retail is re-imagining the Apple store. For one thing, Apple no longer calls their retail spaces “stores.” Instead, they imagine them as “modern-day town squares.” (I think there are better modern-day examples, like libraries.) Find out how the wildly successful Burberry executive ended up at a tech company, and why the tables in Apple stores are still the same.

Baltimore: A Record-Breaking City: Some sociological problems seem insurmountable. Those of us who want to make a difference, or just be good citizens, should, at the least, be learning about the complex issues facing our cities.

Houston’s Baseball Experiment: Hindsight is a glorious thing. In light of the Astros winning the World Series this year, revisit this 2014 article analyzing the team’s phoenix strategy (burn it down and rise anew). The intro is astonishing:

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The Story of a Very Old Wolf: Where do wolves fit in a country dominated by human rules?

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The Reckoning: How do we begin to discuss the onslaught of revelations about sexual assault in our society? This essay is a good place to start. [Obviously, includes sensitive topics and strong language.] 

How to Sleep: James Hamblin is my favorite health writer and sleep is one of my favorite topics. This is worth reading. And, dare I say, sleep habits make a good topic to consider for 2018’s resolutions.

Running is a Unique Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Isn’t that headline enough of an intro? Managing mental illness through activity is a fascinating idea to me.

I’ll Never Be Good at Running: Sometimes it is enough to just like a thing and not try to go faster or further.

Secrets from Tom Brady’s Personal Coach: Charlatan or magic-worker? (Also: a huge draw for his facility is surely because you can, as the author did, spot Gisele Bundchen and other celebrities during a session.)

From Chess Novice to Playing a Grand Master in 30 Days: Can a chess novice learn to beat one of the top masters in 30 days? I love challenges like this!

The Biggest Movie Star You’ve Never Heard Of: His name is unassuming, but his work is not.

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The Land Where Vendettas Go Forever: Blood feuds are part of life in Albania. This passage keeps poking me, talking about the deep code–unmoored from religion or government–that Albanians follow:

Before we hung up, Fox gently chastised me for using the word “lawless” to refer to contemporary Albania. “I’d be very careful using that term,” he said. “As long as people are following the Kanun, there is no lawlessness.”

The Brothers Who Bought South Africa: I don’t follow South African politics, so this caught my eye. Is an Indian family shadow-governing South Africa?

For Sale: Presented without comment.

Inside Zumba: I can’t help but feel the writer was just too skeptical to take Zumba seriously. I’ve never tried it, but it doesn’t seem worse than any of the other fitness “cults.” People found something they like, let them enjoy it. (For any of you marketing/business people: great read about brand building.)

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That’s it for this week! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.

Have thoughts about any of the stories I shared? Drop them in the comments! I’d love to talk.

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Lyse Links: Killers, Interrogation, and Paradise


Welcome to November! Lean into the coziness. These stories are a great way to occupy the cold darkness. (Also, light some candles. Or a fire. That helps.)

I didn’t sort today’s stories into sections. They read really well into each other and defy categorization. *shrug*

Pair Seven Days of Heroin Epidemic with A Prayer for Healing to get both a big-picture and very personal look at addiction.

The Sorrow and Shame of an Accidental Killer — How do you move past killing someone?

From Prison to PhD — Michelle Jones used her 20+ years in prison to become a respected scholar. Applying to graduate schools upon release, she’s sparked controversy at top universities. How should a person’s crimes affect public perception of them after they’ve served time? Is society unfairly prolonging their punishment?

The Newspaper That Bought a Bar — a great story of undercover journalism. Also an example of the type of shenanigans that I doubt would be successful in today’s tech-heavy world.

Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food — Many underdeveloped nations have gone from underweight to malnourished as food giants aggressively market unhealthy foods. How do you begin to fix a problem like this?

Pair The Scientists Persuading Terrorists to Spill Their Secrets with CIA Torture Black Sites for a look at changing opinions on interrogation techniques. Psychology tells us the first method is more likely to be effective, but it’s tough to change established patterns. The articles also deal with a fascinating aspect of interrogation–it’s extremely difficult for the interviewer. Traditional interrogation techniques are heavy on actions that make the imprisoning party feel good, but that’s effective for getting good information.

Golden State Warriors Revolution Starts with a Charcuterie Board — For something a bit lighter, the story of how Steve Kerr revolutionized the Warriors’ offense. I haven’t watched a single Warriors game and somehow I know more about them than any other basketball team.

Mattress Wars — You may not find this as interesting as I do, but it’s an intriguing business story. Are you inundated with podcast ads for Casper or Leesa? Behind the scenes is more complicated than you could imagine. (Also a good read if you’re interested in how bloggers/Internet influencers legally and successfully build brand relationships. It’s a changing world.)

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights — This is one of the scariest stories I’ve read in awhile. I’ll let this excerpt speak to why:

Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “crtgrdn,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.

The Paradise that Shouldn’t Exist — Cape Coral was built on lies. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. And it’s also one of the fastest-growing towns in America.

I felt oddly guilty reading this, because we moved to Florida this year. We’re smack-dab in the middle of a top-risk flood zone. But honestly, I’d think long and hard about leaving. People aren’t motivated by flood risks and ecological concerns. They’re drawn by this:

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Literally just my local park. There are half a dozen like it in 10 miles. 

The Mother of Forensic Science — Finally, the woman who introduced forensic science to police officers in the 1940s.

Let’s Talk!

What’s your favorite story? Do you disagree with any of them? Tell me in the comments.

October 2017 Reading Recap


January Recap | March Recap | April Recap | May Recap | June Recap | July Recap

2017 Goals

  • Total books read: 150
  • Pages: 60,000
  • 40 non-fiction
  • 10 classics
  • 10 translations
  • 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
  • 50 book reviews

Totals through October

  • 163 books (17 in October)
  • 54714 pages + 55 hours of audiobook
  • 27 non-fiction
  • 37 book reviews

Discussion

August and September were reading slump months, which is probably obvious from the lack of recaps. I don’t stress about reading slumps–my reading moods ebb and flow, so I don’t try to force anything. While I wasn’t reading, I explored new parks, visited my family, rode out a hurricane, and got a new kitten.

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In October, reading returned. I *finally* got a local library card (it was more complicated than it should have been) and immediately piled up a stack of stuff I was excited to read. Highlights include:

  • A Shadow Bright and Burning 
  • Crooked Kingdom
  • The Upside of Unrequited
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • The Four Tendencies
  • Tell Me Three Things
  • Once and For All
  • Draw the Line

And…um, I haven’t reviewed any of them yet. So that’s next on the list: actually review some books.

What else? I saw some authors. In the last month I saw both Leigh Bardugo and John Green speak. Author events are stressful for me, but I’m glad I went to both. Leigh, while immensely popular, is new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her talk about her work while I was just discovering SOC and CK.

I was a nerdy teenager in the years that John Green was becoming a force both in YouTube and YA literature, so it will come as no surprise that I am a fan. I’m a keen follower of the Green brothers’ digital media empire and I’m very excited to see John openly discuss his mental illness in Turtles All the Way Down. (I haven’t read it yet. It’s silly, but I think I’m waiting for the right time. It feels like…like I may need to treasure reading it for the first time. I distinctly remember feeling that after first reading TFIOS.)

I also started working part-time at a local used books store. I mostly do shelving and sorting, which is soothing in constantly surprising ways. It’s also growing my TBR in ridiculous ways. Most recently, I brought home Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater and Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott.

NaNoWriMo

Last year I made an unsuccessful attempt at NaNo that yielded a little over 10k of a book I don’t like much. This year, I’m not in a good mental place to write a book, so I’m not. I have an idea that’s brewing (has been for months, actually), so I may use the NaNo inspiration to do some outlining. Best of luck to all of you who are writing this month! I encourage you to be disciplined, but also be gentle with yourselves. Remember that first drafts are meant to be crappy, and any words are a triumph, even if they don’t add up to the number you want.

Published this month

I also joined ARCs Anonymous, a Goodreads group run by blogger friend Avalinah (I’m also a moderator, but she does all the work.) If you’re a book reviewer–especially one with unread ARCs–I encourage you to join us! November’s theme is your oldest ARC. We have competitions, support threads, and good fun!

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How was your month? Have any book recs for me?

Book Review: All the Crooked Saints


IMG_1796All the Crooked Saints
Maggie Stiefvater
Advanced copy provided by publisher

Summary

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect. Continue reading