Spreading Ideas and Seeds

Ideas, like seeds, need some way to spread.  Our local community garden now has both a seed library and a book nook.


The garden has borne the brunt of several vandal attacks, including a stolen car driven into a tree, arson attack on the shed that stored the tools, and the fences constantly defaced.

Despite all that, the group who tend to the garden have, like the plants, been remarkably resilient.  The community resolve was so strong that a new modern structure has arisen in place of the old shed, supported by an eye in the sky that keeps close watch.  Built almost entirely by the community that has banded together, the garden is now flourishing with all kinds of herbs, flowers and fruit,  masking any signs of the damage that some unthinking humans caused.

At the beginning of the month, a seed library and a book nook were installed.  A small number of good seeds and books ‘seeded’ this idea.  Within a few days, both have gained traction: today I think there were 3x the number of seeds and 2X the number of books.

[Link] How to make the world better, not perfect

Prof Max Bazerman’s book “Better, Not Perfect“:

Bazerman’s guiding light is the philosophy of utilitarianism, which teaches the goal of creating the greatest good for the greatest number of people. But he tempers that with the principle of “maximum sustainable goodness,” a term he coined based on the environmental concept of “maximal sustainable yield”—that is, the amount of goodness that a person can achieve over time without depleting their ability to do good in the future.

[Link] The Last Interview, & Other Conversations

Jesse Kornbluth’s Headbutler book recommendations are usually pretty on the money. This one, “RBG: The Last Interview & Other Conversations” going on my reading list.

She was a professor at Columbia University — the first time Columbia has chosen a woman for a full-time post higher than lecturer. She immediately noticed the university was firing 25 women who were working as maids, but had fired no men. “I went to the university vice-president, and told him that the university was violating Title VII.” He replied: “Professor Ginsburg, Columbia has excellent Wall Street lawyers representing them and would you like a cup of tea?” So she took her own employers to court. Eventually, Columbia decided in the end to fire no one. RBG: “Faced with the necessity of having to drop about 10 men before they reached the first woman, they found a way to avoid laying off anyone.”

Polemic: how readers will discover books in future, Charlie Stross [Article]

Charlie Stross paints a horrid picture for those who love to read – how readers will discover books in future.

Books are going to be like cockroaches, hiding and breeding in dark corners and keeping you awake at night with their chittering. There’s no need for you to go in search of them: rather, the problem will be how to keep them from overwhelming you.

Theodor Geisel’s book of art [Artivle]

Ted Geisel NYWTS 2 crop.jpgTheodor Seuss Geisel was well known as Dr. Seuss for his children’s picture books. He wasn’t as well known for his humorous story about n-u-d-i-s-t sisters, as Maria Popova helps us discover in the Atlantic. Take a look through “The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts concerning History’s barest family”. 

Marilyn Monroe’s library [Article]

Open Culture has an interesting article about Marilyn Monroe’s personal library – it was quite contrary to the “dumb blonde” image that may have been projected to the world. Of course, it is entirely plausible that the books in her library were a show-case item, never read.  The list of books that were auctioned off after her death  by Christies is catalogued at Library Thing

Wonder – a review by Kornbluth [Article]

Headbutler, connoiseur Jesse Kornbluth invites your attention to the protagonist of a book by RJ Palacio called “Wonder” that he read lately: “The main character in “Wonder” is an outsider. Auggie Pullman, now 11 and a fifth grader, was born with Treacher-Collins Syndrome, a rare stem cell condition that results in facial deformities — small jaws and cheekbones, distorted ears and poor hearing. Inside, he’s a kid. Outside, he’s a freak.”  The boy has had 27 surgeries, has always been home-schooled and knows his situation exactly: “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” A book is on my reading list.


How do you find books to read? John Lingan turned a chance encounter with his hero, a famous book critic, into a book-hunting date in an used bookstore. He writes “…you don’t get to be the best-read man in America by giving a damn about someone else’s taste. You buy and read books that entice you for small reasons like a good cover or an intelligent introduction, books that appeal to your eccentricities. “