In my 7th year of participating in the 52 books meme, I read 183 various non-fiction, biography, fiction, craft, travel-themed, food-related and graphic design books, and graphic novels. 2011 was such a crazy busy year that the one thing I could still do that didn't take a lot of time was read. A 5-minute stretching break often involved calisthenics over a book, for example... Next year I hope to knit more, work less all-nighters, and just be a happier camper overall. Here's to 2012. Happy new year.
The titles in boldface were my favorites of the year.
The beach, Thanksgiving weekend.
I've been thinking about direction and focus lately. This year has been a particularly interesting one. In many ways I can't wait for it to be over, but then reality slaps me in the face because WAIT! You have projects due in January! You can't make the days go faster or you'll never make deadline!
One day at a time.
I went back to this post to see if I had made, and kept, any resolutions, and it appears I have. For trying something (almost) new, I attempted detestable bobbles on one project, and for improving on the old, I did some lo-fi cable technique on St Léger. Cables on a single-color background are easy-peasy, but cables on a striped, 3-color background in the round are absolutely FUN, not the least bit complicated, and I highly recommend that you try it for yourself. As for detestable bobbles, it popped up in my radar from the mental list of knitterly things I'd like to try. (Process knitter that I am.) So now that I was successful with this year's resolutions, I need to come up with another non-committal one for next year! Steeks, perhaps?
Anyway, on to reading material!
The first two books, Nerve by Taylor Clark and Extreme Fear by Jeff Wise, are related to each other. In both, the authors discuss the amygdala, that portion of the brain that governs the fear response. They cited many examples, even the same ones, most of them having to do with flight, wild animals, and nuclear destruction. All really interesting stuff (really, it *is* interesting), but the passages that drew me in where the ones about sport. It's fairly common knowledge that mental training is as important as physical training in any sport and at any level, but particularly for professional athletes and Olympians. The books examined the mental games of ball player Larry Bird (here's a snippet from the book) and speed skater Dan Jansen, among others, and how they and other athletes pushed (or failed to push) through the mental barrier. However, whereas Nerve and Extreme Fear just examined causes and examples, the last book offered solutions.
Lanny Bassham's With Winning In Mind is all about sport psychology; the name says it all. While I am neither an Olympian nor a pro climber, I think the techniques discussed in the book are highly relevant because they are all about overcoming mental barriers that keep people from succeeding in competitions physical and otherwise. (The otherwise part applies to every aspect of life, really. I mean, Lamaze breathing technique is all about calming the expectant mother and reducing panic, right?) What got me reading this book was my fear of falling: years ago I fell 20 feet from a route (the average 2-story building), and while I'm still climbing, that fear has never really left me. Routines and repetition are all good, yes, and I've been able to break through my fear to redpoint some f*cking hard routes. But once in a while the fear comes back, and that's where Bassham's book comes in handy. I highly recommend this to anyone who's hit a mental or physical wall.
Today two pallets landed on Alana's doorstep, which means Coastal Knits will soon be in your hands. (In mine, too!) Pre-orders are still open until midnight Friday, so if you're interested in the book, the yarn giveaway, or signings and trunk shows, I highly recommend you go here. And of course, there's a blog tour! I'll be blogging about my part of Coastal Knits, as its graphic designer, next Wednesday October 19. Do drop by the podcast and other blogs on the days scheduled below.
Saturday, October 15: Never Not Knitting Podcast hosted by Alana and Hannah
Monday, October 17: Kate Oates of Tot Toppers
Wednesday, October 19: Mary Joy Gumayagay, graphic designer
Friday, October 21: Romi Hill of Designs by Romi
Monday, October 24: Andrea Sanchez, adventures of a sample knitter
Wednesday, October 26: Kelbourne Woolens, distributors of The Fibre Company
Friday, October 28: Allegra Wermuth, of Petite Purls
Monday, October 31: Susan B. Anderson
Wednesday, November 2: Carrie Bostick Hoge, of Maddermade and Quince & Co.
Friday, November 4: Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic
Monday, November 7: Nicole Dupuis, sample knitter chronicle
Wednesday, November 9: Ariane Caron-Lacoste of Falling Stitches
Friday, November 11: Deirdre Kennedy, adventures of a sample knitter
Monday, November 14: Shannon Cook of Luvin the mommyhood
Wednesday, November 16: Anne Hanson of Knitspot
Friday, November 18: Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss
Monday, November 21: Margaux Hufnagel of tentenknits
Monday, November 28: Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops
Wednesday, November 30: Jaala Spiro of Knit Circus
Friday, December 2: Cecily Glowik MacDonald of Winged Knits
Monday, December 5: Veronika Jobe of Yarn on the House