Its been so long between posts, because its been busy. Between work, a conference paper, a journal article, school holidays and trying to organise our holiday to Central Australia, I haven’t had time to think. But its all done or booked now. So I’ll begin my catch up blogging by talking about what I’ve been reading of late.
I’ve been doing something that I have never really done before – reading a lot of non-fiction. I have always been a strictly fiction gal, with only the odd non-fiction title thrown in for good measure. They are very different styles to read. For me, non-fiction takes a lot more work and is a lot drier reading, whereas I can get lost in a good fiction book. On the otherhand, I will persist with a non-fiction book, but won’t with a fiction book if its not engaging me.
Anyway, after reading recommendations on blogs, websites, article and more, I decided to throw myself in to the world of popular culture and more, usually relating to the internet. Being a good librarian, I got them from my public library of course! Either from their collection or from the collection of one of the 13 other public library services in our ILMS consortia. So here’s what I’ve been reading, with a bit of a review and my thoughts on each title.
Purple cow: transform your business by being remarkable by Seth Godin
I have been following Seth Godin’s blog and although I don’t always find it interesting and relevant, there is the odd post which really catches my attention. Its also a good way to keep in touch with what’s happening in popular culture. So Purple cow talks about the things that businesses can go to make a real impact on customers – and its not about the right television ad or the best logo – its the things that you do that are really attention grabbing.
It was interesting to read it as a librarian, because we do remarkable things everyday – lend latest bestselling everything – FOR FREE! So how do we add to that remarkableness and how do we get people’s attention in the first place. Its short, full of great practical examples and it makes you think about marketing practices, so it was well worth the time invested in reading it.
Long tail: how endless choice is creating unlimited demand by Chris Anderson
The Long tail has been talked about around the blogosphere since it was published in 2006 and although I understood the concept of it, I wanted to know more of the details. Although libraries aren’t true representatives of the long tail, as a library user reminded me the other day, we do lend items that they can’t get through the shops anymore, so we have more of the tail than retail does. So it was interesting to read how the long tail works and to recognise libraries’ place on the graph.
Dancing barefoot : five short but true stories about life in the so-called space age and
Just a geek : unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton, of Stand by Me and Welsey Crusher on the Enterprise (Star Trek) fame, has become a noted blogger and popular culture commentator, as well as actor and now author. These books were stories from his life and were a hoot. He is an excellent writer, engaging, amusing and captivating. Both books were easy and enjoyable to read. As a result, I now follow his blog and am looking forward to seeing him in guest spots on TV shows.
The cult of the amateur : how today’s internet is killing our culture and assaulting our economy by Andrew Keen.
There was a bit of controversy over this one, mainly that author Keen was sensationalising everything. He does. He takes every story of how the internet is being used by the average person and takes it to the extreme. The only chapter I actually agreed with and got anything out of was the last chapter, which looked forward with a measure of caution. If you like getting frustrated, or need the background to be able to play devil’s advocate, then check it out.
Here comes everybody : the power of organisation without organisations by Clay Shirky
I’ve just finished with this one and its almost the opposite of Keen’s book. Shirky looks at how the internet is being used, with a lot more objective eye than Keen does, although he focuses more on the positive outcomes from the net. I got onto this one after seeing a short presentation of his on YouTube. A good look at how the internet is changing the world.
So that’s whats been keeping me busy when I haven’t been so busy. I still have a list of books I have on hold, so there will be more at another time. Hopefully I have motivated you to do some reading along these lines. Knowing what I’ve been reading, if there is any other titles you think should be on my must read list, please let me know.