After almost two weeks of vacation, I am back in my own home in my own town. We had a great time and, as usual, some of my favorite times were spent reading. When I go on vacation, I tend to focus on light reading and books a little bit outside my normal reading diet. Here are the ones I liked best:
On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Considering the amount of my time I spend writing, I have invested far too little time in reading books on the craft of writing. Zinsser’s is brilliant, though you will have to be willing to overlook his left-leaning ideologies (It’s time to get over George W. Bush!). Now in it’s 30th anniversary edition, On Writing Well contains hundreds of helpful lessons on being a better writer. I plan to return to it regularly.
Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly & Master Evernote by S.J. Scott. I am a committed Evernote user and use it with near-religious fervor to organize and archive much of the information I encounter and wish to retain. To improve my use of Evernote I read two books and found them both helpful. Master Evernote is well worth the $2.99 investment; Evernote Essentials is a bit more of a stretch at $12.99 but still reasonable value. The books are helpfully contradictory at certain points (e.g. Tag everything and don’t rely on notebooks versus rely on notebooks and don’t tag everything) which shows the freedom each of us has to make Evernote conform to our preferences. Both books conclude with helpful tips and suggestions on how to use Evernote well.
Die Empty by Todd Henry. From the author of The Accidental Creative comes Die Empty, a new book on “unleashing your best work every day.” This is an ideal book to pillage–to read with a view to grabbing and implementing some of its most important ideas. Henry’s purpose is simply to help the reader structure their life in such a way that they can go to bed each night content that they did their best work that day. It’s not written from a Christian perspective, but is simple enough to translate.
Manage Your Day-to-Day edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Are you noticing a theme here? Put together by the team at 99U, the book is meant to give you “a toolkit for tackling the new challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace.” Each chapter is by a different contributor and, not surprisingly, the quality varies a fair bit. But, again, this is a book that is ideal for pillaging for great ideas, and there are many of them in there.
Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales. On July 19, 1989, United Airlines flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, after a massive failure in its center engine. Twenty-five years later, Gonzales investigates the accident and speaks to many of the survivors. I found it fascinating, though Gonzales may have written a book that was just a little too long and that looked at a few too many of the survivors. Still, I enjoyed it and would happily commend it to people with a morbid interest in such topics.
Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin. This is the only explicitly Christian book I read in full while on vacation. Last week I shared a full review of it which you can read by clicking the link.