Category Archives: Uncategorized

Debut Success — Nails Crossing by Kris Lackey

The older I get, the more delighted I am to discover another writer I want to follow, especially when I get in on the ground floor with a debut book.

Kris Lackey has got it — that wonderful quality which lets a writer draw you totally into the world of the story so you can see and feel it while you are immediately attached to the main characters and swept up in the action. Nails Crossing has me hooked.

I want more by Kris Lackey and more with his characters Bill Maytubby and Jill Milton and Hannah Bond. Thank you, Blackstone Publishing.

Saving Paradise, by Mike Bond (Mandevilla Press, 2012) – 4 stars

I’m giving Mike Bond’s Saving Paradise 4 stars because it’s not just a decent novel but also is an exposé of the hoax wind energy companies (which are also oil companies) are perpetrating on us. I’ll rant about the hoax itself elsewhere and here say only that the disturbing details, on their own, make the book worth reading.

The plot is timely and suspenseful, pitting the wealthy and powerful against native Hawaiians and threatening the islands’ ecology and sacred spaces. Hawaiian Pono Hawkins, the book’s main character, is a Special Forces veteran and excellent hero material. His passion is surfing, his survival skills are finely honed, he keeps himself in excellent physical shape, and he knows the islands (and a number of beautiful women) intimately. His prison record and native status make him automatically suspect by the police, but he’s a good guy who took a fall for a friend (a disabled vet who once took a bullet for Pono) and he’s an habitual rescuer of damsels, animals, and friends in distress, compelled to take risks for good causes. He’s an interesting narrator, too, able to use native dialect naturally, but also so that it illuminates native customs, values, and settings in ways relevant to both character and plot.

I’ve ordered a copy for our library and recommended its purchase in digital form for our Overdrive Consortium. Here’s hoping Pono stars in many more Bond novels to come.

Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Recommended: warriorwriters.wordpress.com

Here’s another post worth reading from Kristin Lamb. This one’s about the sins (many) and virtures (few) of prologues in fiction.

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-prologues-3/

Actually, all Kristin’s posts are worth reading. If you’re a writer, follow her!

Five Stars for Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”

Daniel H. Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition) is well worth reading and thinking about. I hope readers — including librarians and teachers — will apply, with gusto, in all school and work environments, the fact “that enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on the project, is the strongest and most pervasive” (Kindle Location [hereafter KL] 324-325) motivator of good work performance. The more we all do that, the better work – and life – will be for all of us.

The concepts Pink discusses weren’t a surprise to me, and I’ve long supported his conclusions. I’ve been reading and thinking about human motivation for more years than I want to count – since high school, back in the dark ages when the Skinner Box was all the rage and theoretical battles were still waging hot and heavy between the Freudians and Jungians and between the psychoanalytic theorists and behaviorists. Acceptance of combinations of what Pink calls Motivation 1.0 (the drives to survive – food, shelter, procreation) and Motivation 2.0 (to seek reward and avoid punishment more broadly) was common; Maslow’s ideas about humanistic psychology were not universally accepted.

I remember debating Frederick Herzberg’s ideas about job motivation in both high school and college classes. In college, the Humanities and English profs, especially, came down on Herzberg’s side, citing their own careers as proof that motivation included both Herzberg’s extrinsic rewards (pay, working conditions, job security) and innumerable and to them more important intrinsic rewards. A good number of the psychology and sociology profs agreed, but about as many played semantic games to define all motives as still extrinsic. My own zig-zag through life proves to me how dominantly important intrinsic motivation is.

What did surprise me was Pink’s including Best Buy and Gap, as well as some government agencies, in its list of employers paying attention to the value of intrinsic motivation enough to become ROWE (results only work environment) organizations. It’s a move I did not expect anytime soon from any but tech companies, like WordPress (see my review of The Year Without Pants) and Netflix. As Pink says:

Too many organizations— not just companies, but governments and nonprofits as well —still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science. They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measures usually don’t work and often do harm. Worse, these practices have infiltrated our schools, where we ply our future workforce with iPods, cash, and pizza coupons to “incentivize” them to learn. – (KL 187-191).

I also was happy to learn more about the new types of corporations being developed. These include Vermont’s “low-profit limited liability company” or L3C, which does generate at least modest profits has the primary aim of offering significant social benefits.” (KL 339-342); Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ “social businesses” which replace the profit-maximization principle with the social-benefit principle;” and The Fourth Sector Network’s is promotion in the United States and Denmark of the for-benefit organization— both economically self-sustaining and animated by a public purpose, such as Mozilla (KL345-349); and the “B Corporation” designation requiring companies’ bylaws so that incentives favor long-term value and social impact instead of short-term economic gain (KL 350-352).

The trick, of course, is translating the general concepts into specific behaviors in our schools and organizations and businesses. We also need to be applying them at home, in the ways we raise children. Meanwhile, I’m feeling a bit smug about knowing I’ve been ahead of my time in at least a few ways that matter.

Taking Polls for the Library

I like all three of the free poll sites, and they all are easy to use, though I can’t get any of them to embed in the Val website at http:/libraries.ne.gov/valparaiso — but I have little confidence that they will get me the information I want because so many of our patrons don’t use the internet and few of those ever go to the website. They would rather stop by the library or phone us. This may change when our Facebook page is up. We’ll see.

The Straw Poll will work great if I  have a simple question with few possible answers. I doubt I will use it much.

PoLLCode I like better, simply because it allows more possible answers. The instant preview and posting links are nice, too. Once our Facebook page is up, we might use this one.

OtherwiseI think I like Easypolls best, probably just because of the way it looks.  A screenshot of that poll is at the bottom of this post.

I posted links to all three polls on the library website at http://libraries.ne.gov/valparaiso/?p=841

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