Posts Tagged Reading
|Nathaniel S. Butler /NBAE/Getty Images|
LeBron James, possibly the best basketball player in the world today, averaged about 18 points per game in the NBA Finals last season. This year he is averaging 29 points per game! What’s his secret?
In his commentary for ESPN, LeBron James, Open Book, Michael Wilbon discusses the media speculation over LeBrons very public reading habits over the last couple of months. Whether he was being sponsored by authors or publishers . . .
However, LeBron says he sought to simply find a calm place before each game from which to operate:
“It just slows my mind down. It gives me another outlet. Throughout the playoffs, all you think about is basketball. All you want to do is play basketball. But at the same time it can become a lot. It can [get] to a point where it’s overloading to the mind, and you think about it too much. It’s hard to get away from it because you’re playing every other day, you talk about it every single day, you prepare every single day. So the reading has given me an opportunity to, just for those couple hours of the day or those 20 minutes, 25 minutes before the game, an opportunity just to read and think about something else and get a sense of what else is going on besides the game of basketball. It’s made me comfortable. I’m not saying it’s the trick. It’s just something that I decided to do at the beginning of the postseason, and it’s worked for me.”
If LeBron is reading, then reading is cool. What a wonderful message from one of the world’s top sports people.
Source: Michael Wilbon, ESPN
Are you a fan of Garth Nix? If you have been waiting with excitement to get your hands on a copy of A Confusion Of Princes there here is a little treat courtesy of Harper. Click on the image to access the book via the FB page Pitch Dark.
So, the results are out, we know the winners, many of whom I think thoroughly deserve their prizes. If you, like I do, wonder how the judges reach their decisions you might want to check out the judges reports. This perhaps goes some way towards explaining how some books make the lists of the finalists, and why some of our students favored books don’t get a look in. Every year I am surprised by what the judges decide are the worthy winners and what I feel is a disconnect between them and the people who write the books that our students love. I often find myself wondering about the criteria used, how can some of these books which are chosen as the best and brightest shining lights in the NZ children’s literary world make the grade, over and above books which have real appeal to students. I often wonder about how well connected to actual children the judges are!
Yes, I know there is the children’s choice award – only the one, but given that that is hard to manage in a secondary school, and that because of that it is always going to be a picture book which wins that prize, it seems that if you allowed an online voting system as well you would get quite different results. As an aside I would say that in my school the overall winner this year is a huge success, you can see my review of it here!
Angela posted the link to the awesome Kate De Goldi interview on Kim Hill’s Saturday morning show on the listserv yesterday and also there is this one from Doris Mousdale which was on Kathryn Ryan’s show the other day.
People I really respect have been part of the judging panel, but I really wonder what goes on behind the scenes. I’m on our local Otago NZ Post Awards Committee, we spend our time organising events for children in our region using the author that we are given by NZ Post and as well arranging shows, workshops, competitions and activities which we feel will appeal to the children for whom the books are written. We are the only region where the committee is not part of a public library. We love taking authors out to schools and engaging children with books in lots of different ways. But, when large numbers of children seem to be really connecting with a particular book and that book is passed over – as happens very regularly – then one does wonder who exactly are the books selected appealing to?
I’m not disparaging any of the books in the competition I’m just really saying that if it is a competition based on what children’s books are the best in any given year, then why is it that so often the ones that really appeal to them, are not the winners? It makes for a hard discussion when faced with a bunch of enthusiastic readers who have read all the books I can tell you!
One day I’d love to hear the judges discuss this. I’m sure they have valid reasons for choosing one book over another but when every year it is disappointing to the children the books are written for you just have to ask why. I know that there are conspiracy theories and I do dismiss those but I have to say I’ve read some great NZ fiction this year and some of those books either can’t have been entered (why wouldn’t you enter the books?) or the judges found them to be faulty in some way. Does a book have to be ‘worthy’ for you to choose it? And what makes it so? I love having local books to show our students, and they love reading them, but they do have questions, as I do about what makes a good one and what doesn’t according to the judges.
Come on guys, get out there and really talk about why you choose the books you choose, and do it in a way which explains it to the children whose books you are judging.
Authors write the books for a particular audience, perhaps it isn’t a judging panel, perhaps the children need a bigger voice in the prizes. What do you think?
Colleen Dilenschneider has written an interesting post entitled How to Lead with Empathy: Read Fiction where she suggests that reading fiction has positively impacted on all the great change-makers and business leaders, saying
“readers make better leaders“
Here are her five reasons to read fiction and improve your leadership skills:
- fiction helps you understand other people’s emotions - readers of fiction score highly on tests of empathy and social reasoning, abilities which enable connections and engagement between people on an emotional level
- fiction increases social ability in that readers of fiction gain an ability to relate to people and groups in differing social situations by providing information on how and why people react, and it challenges the readers’ own perspectives
- fiction enriches brain functioning - we need to keep the brain nourished and stimulated as it a life-long learning organ, and reading is an active brain-enricher, rather than, for example, watching tv or a movie
- fiction makes you more creative in that the unexpected stimuli we encounter when reading fiction teaches our minds to think and act creatively, enhancing our problem-solving skills
- fiction makes you smarter - reading increases vocabulary and exposes the reader to different cultures and time periods
Source: Know Your Own Bone
Join Booksellers New Zealand and their winter reading challenge. A lovely dose of Jane Austen and her Middlemarch! It is a nice casual challenge, it is about participation rather than winning. You can sign up, get the starting dates and more details on the site. I’m a bit gutted as currently I’m plodding my way through Mansfield Park, should have chosen Middlemarch!
In a NZ Book Month special, a panel of book-mad 12 and 13-year-olds take over The Good Word for four weeks in March.
With only a little help from presenter Emily Perkins, they are the reviewing panel in their own mini series titled The Good Word jnr.
Sit down, turn up your sound, and watch yet another video, this time beautifully made, atmospheric and clever. Well done NZ Book Council! Share the love, let them know that you like it. Their Facebook Page is well worth joining and while you’re at it join Booksellers NZ’s Facebook page too.
The Listener lists always interest me and I often find new treasures to add to my Want List on there. If you are interested in finding out what lots of our literary luminaries were reading this year, head on over to The Listener pages here. I’m always a bit pleased when some of the books I read during the year show up on these lists. This is also a good way of finding out about local books which you may not have heard much hype about.
I love this time of year when you get to see what people have loved reading, make your wish lists for next year and have a browse at what will be in the bookshops here next year. I like to wind my students up a bit with promises of the good things coming and Kirkus Reviews are always a good place to browse. They have released their list of top books for 2011 and you can find them here, below is an image showing the lovely covers from part of the list. I am calling myself Very Excited.