Bundle up this week with some festive podcasts, an examination of “best of year” book lists, an inspiring story, and a classic favorite.
On Your Kindle
The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” These inspiring words, spoken by Randy Pausch—computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, victim of pancreatic cancer, and author of this book—are important ones to remember. When life seems to get too busy and too stressful—as it often does this time of year—it’s important to take a minute to think about how we want to “play the hand” we’ve been dealt.
Pausch, whose delivery of a “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon coincided with the end of his life, spoke not about computers or science, but rather about how to achieve one’s childhood dreams. Though he faced death, he spoke, and subsequently wrote, about how to really live. If you’re feeling tired, restless, or unsuccessful, take a step back and read this inspiring story.
On Your Smartphone
Best of Year Books List Leaves Out Women, by Meg Waite Clayton
Ah, December: a time of carols, peppermint mochas, tartan scarves a-plenty, and a number of “best of” lists that celebrate the highlights of the fading year. Every year I look forward to the long lists of books compiled by esteemed literary reviewers, adding items to my Christmas gift list and personal reading list alike.
This article, however, prompted me to examine such compilations in a new light. Clayton points out that female authors are vastly underrepresented on such annual lists. She contemplates the reason for this, noting that women win accolades such as the Pulitzer and the Booker prizes frequently. What do you think might be responsible for the discrepancy between male and female writers whose works appear on these lists? Weigh in below!
On a Podcast
Christmas is less than two weeks away. If you love the holiday or love the season, check out this hub of Christmas-themed podcasts. Each clip, which streams directly from the site, is about an hour long and filled with tidbits about Christmas history and traditions as well as plenty of holiday music to keep you humming throughout the workday. Check out such merry subjects as “Christmas Romance,” “Sacred and Secular: The Evolution of Christmas,” and “The Legend of Santa Claus.”
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
As the days get shorter and colder, treat yourself to a burst of old-fashioned warmth with Alcott’s charming coming-of-age story about three sisters growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during the Civil War. Though the novel’s themes may seem heavy (poverty, war, sickness and death, unrequited love), Alcott peppers plenty of tender and humorous moments throughout her text, creating a different flavor for each “little woman’s” story and penning characters who truly come to life as they interact with one another on her page.
A plus: if you’re in the holiday spirit—as I clearly am—the opening pages of this story, which takes place on a snowy New England Christmas morning, will leave you feeling merry and bright.