I am continuing my quest to read a book each week during 2019. In order to keep myself accountable, (and interested readers informed), I’ve started a page that will be updated on an ongoing basis. It can be found as a submenu under Author’s Blog. The direct link is HERE.
All over the planet at this time of the year, people meet together to celebrate the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns. The event is called the Burn’s Supper, and is typically held on the anniversary of his birth, January 25th. Here in Saskatchewan, a Burn’s night was held in the small town (1500 population) of Carlyle last night. The date might have been off, but the spirits were high as almost 100 people gathered in the town theatre. There was piping, Celtic music, plenty of Haggis, Scottish beer and whiskey, and of course featured readings of poems by Burns.
I was honoured by the opportunity to serve as the featured speaker, giving the address known as “The Immortal Memory” and making the toast to Scotland’s most famous literary figure. Of course, for me it was an opportunity to wear my beloved highland outfit again, despite the -20c temperatures! The outfit is actually more than 35 years old now, it belonged to my late father, who was also a great Burns aficionado. In fact, in the inside pocket of the jacket, there still remains a program for a Burn’s Supper in Fort Augustus in 2002, at which my dad spoke, wearing this very outfit.
And so, the outfit was worn in honour of my Dad, as was his wedding ring and golden watch, a present from my late mum on their Golden Anniversary in 2001. And in my pocket was one of my grandfather’s world war one medals, to remember the Cunningham side of my heritage as well as the Kerr. And, that was fitting too, for it is through the Cunningham side that family tradition says I am related to Rabbie Burns… And like him, I too am now an author.
A couple of days ago, I had the chance to attend a book signing event in Yorkton by fellow Saskatchewan author Corliss Rassyle. Of course, I took the opportunity to chat for a moment “author-to-author” and at that point the organizer snapped the above photograph. You can learn more about Corliss at the link HERE.
It’s almost half way through the month of January already! Goodness, is time getting faster? Hmm, an interesting question to ponder, but not for today. Today, I’m well into reading my third book of the year, and as with the first two, there are aha moments to be had. Imagine my shock then, when someone asked me to recall the four major points of book two, and I was unable to think of them!
What? – didn’t see that coming! If she’d asked me the same question about four days earlier I’d have told her what they were. However, with my attention now firmly on book three, it seems the short-term memory had promptly forgotten the salient points of book two. Somehow that’s not the result I had in mind when I committed to reading 52 books this year.
So, to quote from my often-repeated reality statement, “Show me the lesson!”
Unless you are gifted with a photographic memory (which I am not), it’s unlikely that you will recall everything you expose your mind to. It was the same when you were in school and crammed at the last minute for an exam. The cramming might have got you through the exam, but a few days later the material was gone. I know this happens, and so do you, but somehow I failed to take it into account in approaching the reading of the first two books.
So what is the answer? The answer is “Interactive reading.” The simplest way to engage this concept when reading a book is to make notes. This can be done chapter by chapter as you read a book, or it can be deferred until the book is complete, in which case you can write yourself a short summary about what you got from the book, what you learned, and how it impacted you. I have chosen to take the latter approach, and have already been going back to the first two books to remind myself of the points that stood out for me.
Here’s the interesting thing, I actually incorporated this concept into This Book is the Perfect Gift. Every one of the 182 vignettes has space below it to write out what you think about what you just read. This is one of the most powerful, practical elements of the book’s concept and design. If you read the book and choose not to write notes, you’ll gain value, but not as much as if you take time to interact with the material. It’s for this reason that I have not published an e-book version, and at this stage have no plans to do so.
So, whatever you are reading today, I encourage you to consider engaging “Interactive Reading.” It will make all the difference in the world to your retention of the material, and the value it brings to your life.
Love and Light…
As an author, I love it when people read my books, it brings a sense of meaning to what I do, it fulfills an inner purpose. Well, if we live in a universe where balance is important, it means that I should also be willing to keep on reading the works of other writers, not just for my own education and edification, but also to give encouragement back to them. With this in mind, I’ve set myself an intention to read 52 books in the space of the 52 weeks of 2019. Furthermore, I’m using my facebook to be accountable to my audience, sharing what I’m reading as I begin each new book. Not every book will fall into the personal development genre, I’ll be exploring other interests of mine as well, and sometimes reading material that really stretches my mind with radical ideas.
So, how am I doing so far?
I began my reading program a few days into the year. My first choice was “Happiness Now” by Robert Holden. The book was completed within a week, and I found many aha moment revelations with its pages. I certainly would recommend it to readers of my own writings. Robert was also given a copy of my own “This Book is the Perfect Gift” by a mutual reader last year, so far I’ve been unable to contact him to see if he managed to spend any time with it.
During the first week of the year, I heard about “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz for the first time. Then in the space of 48 hours, three other people mentioned it. Then, as I walked into Chapters bookstore in Regina, Saskatchewan, there it was up front and center on a featured table at the entrance to the store. I figured somebody was trying to tell me something, so I bought it, and it was read within a day and a half, with even more powerful lessons being noted for my own life at this time. It truly is an amazing book.
So, today is only the 10th of January, and I am ahead of the game with two books down. So, I made the decision to dive into “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. In truth, I started reading it way back in 2009, but I only got half way through it before it was hitting away at pre-conceived beliefs I had. I put it down and did not get back to it until today. It will be very interesting to see how I respond to it this time around. I know I have changed my philosophies of life a lot in the last decade, so this book will put that notion to the test!
On top of these books, I grabbed a fresh hardback copy of “This Book is the Perfect Gift” out of my stock on January 1st, and as I advise others, I’m opening up a random vignette every day, but only writing notes on them every second day. I am loving how my own book ministers to me! How can it do this? It was written from my higher self, my connection to source. However, as with most people, I often live from my ego, my lower self. So, my own writing becomes a source of encouragement to me. I will grab a fresh copy every year, and allow the journals to keep track of my own spiritual growth too.
So, what are you reading today? I hope you are reading my book of course, but don’t read it in isolation. Read to inspire yourself, better yourself, expand your mind or challenge your long held assumptions. And for goodness sake, don’t just fill your mind with the newspapers! I say that as one who was a news reporter for six years!
Here is my reading journey so far this year in pictures. May this inspire you to be an avid reader.
Better late than never… My brand new “Encouragement Calendar 2019” came in today, and I wanted to wait to see the quality before I told you about it. It’s GORGEOUS!! It combines 12 of my very best photographs, with 12 of the most powerful quotes from the book. Available now, learn more, check out the preview slide show, and order at the link HERE (Or use the 2019 calendar menu item.)
We have gone back to the drawing board and re-designed the paperback book into Version 2. The 182 vignettes are exactly the same (so existing customers don’t have to buy it again), but we’ve moved the testimonials to the back cover, have eliminated the subject index, and have cut the introduction down from five pages to only two. The result is a more streamlined version that makes it easier for us to produce multiple editions for numerous international markets, and also for corporate clients.
The first big benefit to this re-design is that new paperback editions have now been released specifically for the US, Canadian, British, and Australian markets. Each edition has been created in the country-specific store on Lulu (our printer), and this means these editions have a fixed cover price in the local currency, and are no longer subject to variations based on exchange rates. The fixed cover price for the USA edition is $14.99 USD. The fixed cover price for the Canadian edition is $21.50 CDN. The fixed price of the British edition is £10.99. The fixed price of the Australian edition is $19.99 AUD. (All prices plus taxes and shipping of course). These prices will also be reflected on the redesigned back cover for each country-specific edition.
What’s also important is that USA editions (when ordered from the US store) are produced in and mailed from US printing facilities. The same goes for Canadian, British, and Australian editions. If you order from a specific country, using the specific country store, your books are priced in the country-specific currency, and then printed and shipped from a facility in that country. This initiative supports jobs in each local market, and should reduce both shipping costs and delivery times. We will be adding specific editions for other countries shortly, where Lulu has local production facilities in those countries.
The deluxe hardback edition is still available, and remains unchanged. It includes the expanded introduction with eight suggested ways of using the book, the subject index, and 18 additional vignettes bringing the total number to 200 vignettes in a case-wrapped, red linen hardback design. The hardback is priced in US dollars as it is manufactured in the USA, (although shipped internationally). The cost of the hardback is $24.99 USD (plus taxes and shipping).