2018: A Year in Reading

A reflection on the books I have read in 2018 along with links to published reviews and how I fared with my reading diversity goals. Also, some thoughts and goals for 2019 reading including a #2019AuthorReadingGoal project which you can join if you like. (let me know in the comments.) Here’s to a happy, productive reading year for all of us in 2019.

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Published: What Commands Your Behaviors? ‘On Rule Makers, Rule Breakers’ (PopMatters)

Gelfand's thesis is that a culture is shaped, primarily, by its perceptions of internal or external threat. The greater the sense of threat, the tighter it gets with rules and norms and vice versa. Threat-driven tight cultures seek order and unity and do not allow for the ambiguities or risk-taking that loose cultures revel in. Throughout, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, Gelfand gives many examples — both historical and contemporary — to prove how the customs that have shaped worldviews, behaviors, identities, and personal lives in any particular culture, have originated from underlying perceptions of threat. Whether a culture embraces diversity or division, its tolerance for norms deviation or permissiveness depends largely on whether it's a rule-making tight culture or a rule-breaking loose culture. (And within any given culture type there will also always be pockets of the opposite type.)

Published: But Let Us Cultivate Our Garden (The Millions)

An essay published at The Millions. I write about how Voltaire's Candide inspired both my physical garden and my literary one. Along the way, I share thoughts from Virginia Woolf, May Sarton, Diane Ackerman, Adam Gopnik and . . . The Martian (by Andy Weir.)