In the past, I made the mistake of being silent as I learned. I'm now coming to recognize this to be a mistake and it's mainly a result of seeing it's negative effects. No doubt, anyone that knows me knows I love learning, but I've always been quiet about my thoughts and progress - I've missed great opportunities because of that. I thought a good way to prevent this from happening further is to write about the books I'm reading and give updates as I move along. Not only does it keep me motivated, it's a great way to share my journey.
1. On Writing Well - William Zinsser
Before this blog, I admit, I wasn't writing as much as I should have - it was only recently I discovered I enjoy it. I've taken many writing classes and curriculums but I was always told I had poor writing skills. I found myself confused since I thought writing was a matter of opinion. None of my teachers thought to tell me it's a really a puzzle - had I known that sooner, I might have published a book by now.
On Writing Well has opened my eyes to see writing as the technical skill it is. It covers everything from the basics of grammar to writing specifically about a person or place. Zinsser teaches how to incorporate humor and personal style, while still following guidelines. This is where I believe the fun and creativity lies - in capturing a reader's attention despite there being rules.
2. The Interpretation of Dreams - Sigmund Freud
About four years ago, I had a nightmare repeat itself thrice in one night. Each time I woke up struggling to breathe and in a state of panic. The following week, the same dream occurred once more. As you may imagine, I've taken an interest in dream interpretation since then. Though there are controversies within this topic, I find it only adds to the fun - I enjoy learning the many approaches to dream interpretation.
Dreams are very complicated and difficult to translate and perhaps that's why this book is so long. Freud goes in depth in explaining the problems with dreams (distortion, forgetting, etc.) as well as the methods to dream interpretation. I've learned that dream interpretation is so much more than taking the symbolic meanings of pictures and visuals but also remembering to pay attention to that person's day or even sleeping position. Sometimes dreams are stemmed from events that occurred as a child, sometimes it's just something bad you ate.
3. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
I've only read a few fictional books since I generally don't find them interesting. I want to know I'm getting something out of my reading, if not, I may as well be doing another activity. (This is debatable, I'm only expressing my opinion.) Since Ayn Rand incorporates her political beliefs into her fictional writings, I see value in reading this over other fictional writings. I've barely started reading this book but I'm curious to see where it goes. So far I find her writing is descriptive and flows nicely.
4. Moon Hunters - Jeffrey Kluger
I took a great interest in science (specifically astronomy) when I was in middle school. I read lots of books on the subject and it seemed I couldn't get enough of it. But as time went by, I started to explore other subjects and my knowledge of science started to fade. I regret letting that happen and I mainly picked up this book for the fun of reminiscing.
This book is about NASA's journey to discovering the moons of the solar system - our celestial home. It's written in story form and takes you through the up's and down's of their moon-hunting missions. There are some moments as you read this book, you feel as though you are there counting down with the NASA headquarters, each success and each fail they come across seems to be one of yours as well.
5. 1984 - George Orwell
Another fictional book. My family and I are reading this one together - every so often we sit down and read. I've heard many great things about George Orwell's writings and so far, I think there's a lot I can take from this book. I have a good feeling about it.
George Orwell published this book in 1949 and it was therefore written to be a futuristic novel. The story is set in a totalitarian world - individuality and freedom are now ideas of the past. Power that comes with an uncontrolled government is a large focus of the story and it's a bit disturbing. I'm curious to see how it ends.
Learning out loud is the process of publicly documenting or sharing the things you are learning - while you are still in the process of learning them. - TK Coleman