All posts filed under: books

Enjoying Calliflower with Peter Senge

A recent live talk with Peter Senge through Calliflower introduced me both to this great tool for conference calls and webinars and Senge’s compelling new book, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals And Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World. Calliflower impressed me with sophisticated features for managing and participating in calls with an interface that’s elegant and easy to understand. (See below.) It can record calls as MP3 files to make available afterwards. And, it’s free. I found it through Facebook and was able to participate fully from the event page in the browser without having to launch Skype or pick up a phone. Talkshoe offers a similar service but was not nearly as seamless in my last experience (a while ago, worth revisiting). The only part I don’t understand is the business model. But it definitely shifted the quality of my listening, which dovetails perfectly into the the message in Peter Senge’s new book. You can download the talk with Peter Senge in mp3 format. (It’s free, but registration required). My notes …

Book Notes from New Zealand

On Monday, I visited the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington for a discussion on ‘first fictions’ with the writers of two of last year’s most highly praised debut novels here. Mary McCallum (The Blue ) and Susan Pearce (Acts of Love) explored the themes and process of creating their books with Kate Duignan, also a New Zealand novelist. They are all new to me, and I am intrigued to read The Blue, about life in an isolated whaling community on Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds in 1938. Kate asked great questions, stimulating a lively discussion. One interesting commonality she brought up was that both authors created protagonists that live in small, isolated communities who start out feeling as if they had already failed in life. That resonated as a theme I see recurring in the way New Zealand describes itself in its own media. Later that evening, McCallum won the Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction and the Readers’ Choice Award at the Montana New Zealand Book …

Saga Dawa at Mt Kailash, Tibet

Today you can see this photo I took of Robert Thurman standing in front of Mt. Kailash in the San Francisco Chronicle, accompanying a great interview with Robert by David Ian Miller, “Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman on Why the Dalai Lama Matters,” about his new book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters. In the picture, Robert stands near the Tarboche flagpole at the outset of our kora (circumambulation) around Mt Kailash. Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Bön traditions all revere Mt Kailash as the axis mundi – the center of the world. From it flows 4 major rivers that feed Asia: the Indus, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Karnali. Thousands of pilgrims arrive each May and June, but this year China has delayed the pilgrimage season and limited the number of participants, restricting all foreign visitors during the Olympic torch relay in that region. After four days trekking around the mountain and reaching an altitude of 18,600 ft, we arrived back here in time for the Saga Dawa festival, celebrating the birth and enlightenment of Sakyamuni Buddha. On this …

The Latest Issuu

Copenhagen-based ISSUU invites everyone to upload and turn their documents into beautiful turn-the-page magazine experiences for free. Once uploaded, people can bookmark, share and comment on it. Text is searchable so the document is easy to find. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of publications. Finally, you can also post and embed Issuu documents on any external site. Now actually, it’s still not a joy to quote, because you apparently can’t deep link in there, and you can’t copy and paste text and do all the things you could do with a standard webpage (or PDF for that matter). But it’s so close… you can almost taste it. And you can just embed the whole darn thing… In any case, this is a wonderful way to share the experience of a printed thing (without the waste and expense of printing and shipping). N.B. to those who like to tear, save and share the parts they like out of printed things… you’ll love Skitch.

links for 2008-02-19: Your Inner Fish

So looking forward to reading Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin, after these two fascinating articles on it today: Hiccups are Your Inner Fish Breathing Consider hiccups. These spasms in our diaphragms are triggered by electric signals generated in the brain stem, which we inherited from amphibian ancestors who emit similar signals to control their gills. Hiccups are the same phenomenon as gill breathing. What People Owe Fish: A Lot Our inner fish extends beyond physicality. New research reveals that many fish display a wide range of surprisingly sophisticated social behaviors, pursuing interpersonal, interfishal relationships that seem almost embarrassingly familiar. “Fish have some of the most complex social systems known,” Michael Taborsky, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, said. “You see fish helping each other. You see cooperation and forms of reciprocity.” (tags: NeilShubin YourInnerFish Hiccups Breathing Gills fish BrainStem amphibians evolution)

links for 2008-02-15

Photos from 18th Annual Tibet House Benefit Great photos by Kathryn Yu from a fantastic concert including Sufjan Stevens, Ray Davies, Tom Verlaine, Band of Horses, Nawang Khechog, monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery, Philip Glass, Phamie Gow, Ashley MacIsaac, and Marisa Monte (tags: concert photos tibethouse) Choose from over 180,000 new releases and classics to rent online! – BookSwim.com This looks like Netflix for books. Online book rental library club lending paperbacks and hardcovers directly without need to purchase. Free shipping both ways, read as long as you want. Purchase and keep ones you love. Looks good for my art book habit… (tags: rent service books book library booksellers)

Kenro Izu: Bhutan: The Sacred Within

Kenro Izu, “Druk #131”, Taksang Monastery, Paro, Bhutan 2003 Kenro Izu: Bhutan, the Sacred Within November 2, 2007–February 18, 2008 Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 What a treat to hear Kenro Izu talk with Owen Flanagan at the Rubin Museum of Art in conjunction with the opening of his exhibition of photographs, “Bhutan: The Sacred Within.” Kenro Izu’s been exploring and photographing sacred sites both natural and manmade for decades. To look at his landscapes of sacred places around the world is to enter them; you can almost smell and taste the air inside the image. In “The Sacred Within,” he turns his lens to the essential element that makes a place sacred: the people that revere it and hold it in their hearts. Out of all the places he has photographed, Bhutan has especially captivated him, drawing him back six times over six years. Izu writes in the introduction to his accompanying book, Bhutan, “Traveling many years, I have not yet seen a place as peaceful as …

The Principles of Uncertainty with Maira Kalman

Mocha cream cake from Maira Kalman’s mother’s bakery on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale, NY (see p.246-247), served at a celebration for the release of The Principles of Uncertainty at the NYPL. Do you engage with pleasure, curiosity, fun and celebration (with time for naps) in the face of the tragedy of the day? Do you want to? This is the book for you. Maira Kalman’s delightful new release, The Principles of Uncertainty, turns out to be a heavy book. Mostly physically. Kalman says it’s because the book is extensively inked: “all the colors are in there.” Even if you’ve been following this year-long illustrated journal at the New York Times, the high-resolution images of her gouache paintings are undeniably gorgeous in print. (Even more so in person at the Julie Saul Gallery through November 24, 2007.) Aside from the inherent pleasures of the portable printed format, the book offers a few bonuses to those already familiar with the images: A pull out “Map of the United States” by Kalman’s beautiful mother, Sara Berman, with instructions …

Deep Thoughts with Claire Nouvian

Recommended musical accompaniment: Deep Water (iTunes) by Seal Claire Nouvian sailing in Penobscot Bay for a session on “Oceans in Balance” at Pop!Tech, off the coast of Maine. (More photos from Pop!Tech 2007) Claire Nouvian, a documentary filmmaker, thinks really deep thoughts about the ocean and its inhabitants. She’s especially concerned about how we relate to ecosystems that are far removed from our own. Even though oceans represent about 99% of the planet, they have only been looked at in detail since the 1950’s, and we’ve only sampled about 0.5% of the surface. The ocean remains the last frontier. Nouvian’s journey began in 2001 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, where she was blown away by an exhibition of “Mysteries of the Deep.” She couldn’t believe the beautiful creatures she was seeing were real and not some computer generated 3D aliens. She set out to tell the world this stuff exists, making a documentary and book. Because the deep sea is remote both horizontally — you have to go over the continental shelf before …