My Most Recent Reads - February 2015

February rolled on by with its collection of snowstorms and days off.  This helped for me to actually get in some more reading and finish three physical books and another 15 or so audiobooks and graphic novels.  Overall, it was a good month for reading for me.  I found a couple gems that I rather liked and want to share with people.


Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay

This is a book from the 1990s and one of my colleagues introduced me to it.  It's a book about an archaeologist thousands of years in the future who stumbles upon a building in his digging and begins to make sense of it as best he can.  What he has found is an old motel and he proceeds to explain all the different artifacts he finds.  I like how Macaulay makes the reader rethink how our world can be interpreted by strangers who are both from us and beyond us.  I am always a fan of a book that makes me look at the physical world around me in very different terms and this one certainly did.


Think Like a Freak by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt

The "Steves" are getting freaky once again.  However, this book more explores the how of what they do.  Like Macaulay's book above, their work helps the reader get outside himself/herself and their own biases (in so much as we can) and how to flex the mind around problems people encounter in their lives.  It's a great toolbox book that can help some think differently and if not solve a problem, then at least find different ways of thinking about and dealing with it.


Comic Book History of Comics by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

Book cover: Comic Book History of Comics - Fred Van Lente - Ryan Dunlavey.jpg
Ok, this is the book seems the logical next step from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.  A meaty volume on the history of comics in comics form.  Lente and Dunlavey put together a great history that doesn't necessarily cover everything but covers a heck of a lot of stuff since the dawn of comics.  They focus mainly on the US comic history but bringing Europe and Japan at relevant times to talk about how they influence the form.  They also do a bit of discussion around personalities within comic history.  Overall, well done and if I had one criticism it is that they never really touch upon the idea of comics scholarship and it's role in the last thirty years within and around comics.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

If there is one book I could recommend as a starting place for re-imagining and redirecting one's life--it would be this one.  In reading Dweck's research and findings, much of what she says makes sense to me in terms of where I have found successes and where I have found setbacks.  The premise of the book and the research she has done is that (and remember, this is boiled down), that a fixed view of things--particularly ourselves and others--limits people's potential.  It often keeps the person from feeling fulfilled and attaining success in the ways that they seek (or ultimately, don't seek).  An growth-oriented mindset gears people towards learning, experimenting and willing to fail in order to understand, appreciate and live richer lives.  I see this so much in my students, in my friends and colleagues, and most definitely in myself.  If you want a new paradigm for shifting your life, this book will help you get there.


Books

  • Teaching the iStudent: A Quick Guide to Using Mobile Devices and Social Media in the K-12 Classroom by Mark Barnes
  • Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College by Mark Carnes
  • Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay


Audiobooks

  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  • At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise by Michael Brooks
  • John Ball's In the Heat of the Night by Matt Pelfrey
  • Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt
  • Lives in Ruins: Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson
  • The Death of Captain America by Larry Hama
  • Andromache by Euripides
  • More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook by Jim Dwyer

Graphic Novels

  • Bad Blood by Jonathan Maberry
  • The Auteur: Book One - Presidents Day by Rick Spears
  • Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron by Steve Horton
  • Angel and Faith: Season Ten Volume 1: Where the River Meets the Sea by Victor Gischler
  • All-New X-Men, Vol. 5: One Down Brian Michael Bendis
  • Comic Book History of Comics by Fred Van Lente
  • The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

So what are you reading in the new year?




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