Scioto Audubon metro park

Gorgeous – a real downtown treasure.
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Tinkers by Paul Harding

An excellent summation: “Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.” A difficult, gorgeous work with impressive craftsmanship that satisfies deeply when the story wanders and fragments.

Imagination in Place by Wendell Berry

A new collection of essays on how “we must cultivate our imaginations in order to exist harmoniously with our surroundings.” A few pieces seemed to belong to another collection, although none are weak. The appreciations of his literary influences are particularly good; some familiar figures and some not, and every one is on my list now.

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

Every Calvino story takes on a very different form, but they share the mastery of a brilliant storyteller. Maybe not quite as insightful as Invisible Cities, but a delightful fable, satisfying on many levels.

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky

How the web and specifically social media have changed the rules for forming groups. With the pace of social media development, Here Comes Everybody is nearly a classic of the field now rather than cutting edge, but still pretty good stuff. Good but now familiar examples: Wikipedia, Flickr, Meetup, Twitter. “We have lived in this world where little things are done for love and big things for money. Suddenly big things can be done for love.”

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

The Wodehouse of our meritocratic times? That’s a stretch, although I can see hints of that humor, tinged with a caustic blackness that doesn’t offer much room for redemption. Still, a very funny writer, and lead character Milo Burke is hard to ignore, with his “freewheeling wisdom of the loser”. Some pretty nasty stuff on the future of liberal arts education too; can it all hang together just a few more years before the collapse!?

Just west of Granville, 3pm

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Rework by 37signals

37signals makes really great software, and their Signal vs Noise blog is one of the best. Rework is the ‘byproduct” of their working process; a series of lessons about what has and hasn’t worked for them. Their model of reducing tools to their bare minimum set of necessary features will remind anyone of Apple’s i-stuff. The book is gathering raves from all over; I confess that as usual business books leave me underwhelmed with a lot of pretty obvious advice. I do like their emphasis on good writing as the fundamental skill for the new online era.

36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

“The funniest work of existential philosophy you’ll read all year.” Funny, smart, challenging; also confusing at times and a bit one sided (a more sympathetic defender of the faith might have made for a better climax – Marilynne Robinson?). Still, more ideas in 400 pages than most any 10 other books. Some compelling characters too; Jonas Elijah Klapper is a universe unto himself. The 36 Arguments Appendix is as concise an overview of the arguments for and against God as can be found.

Big sky country, north of Centerburg

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