Weekly Bookshelf

When I go into someone’s house or apartment for the first time, I find myself especially drawn to their bookshelves. I want to see the books that they read and the ones they have on display. I like to know which ones have mattered enough to keep, which ones are dogeared and worn, and which are on the stack to be read next.

some of the bookshelves in my bedroom.
some of the bookshelves in my bedroom.

Markdown for Writers by Gene Wilburn: Markdown is a relatively simple programming language that allows you to write in a plain text document and format as you go. I’m sure it also allows you to do a ton of other stuff, but I am a: just learning and b: not a programmer. This book is a an easy walkthrough teaching you the basics of the language. This particular volume is designed for folks who are interested in using Markdown to write ebooks. Since I am interested in it as a way to better design my blog, I found the approach of this book helpful. The book provides lots of visuals about how it should look while you’re writing and how it will look once you hit publish. Good stuff.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: This is the first book in the Odd Thomas series. Odd (his read name), in this book, is 20 years old and working as a fry cook in a diner in Pico Mundo. But Odd also has a gift: He sees ghosts and has a wicked sense of intuition that lets him know when crises might be coming. This book is both funny and quirky with a little bit of scary thrown in for good measure. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a good story and Odd is an interesting and likeable narrator. I’m definitely interested in reading more of the series.

Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly: This is all about breaking open Evernote and teaching you as much as you can learn. Really helpful. I learned all sorts of tips and tricks that I was able to put into use immediately. He takes you through how he uses Evernote, the best way to get started, things that you might use it for, etc. This is a book written with a lot of humor and not a lot of jargon. Definitely a good primer for someone wanting to get started with Evernote but not quite knowing how. Some of the stuff in here I already knew/had figured out by playing around, but there was a lot in here I hadn’t discovered yet and that was very helpful both in learning the program and in how I am organizing my work. I’m trying to use Evernote more and more (you can read more about that here) and this book was a nice kickstart to that. I’ve already implemented some of the features mentioned (the webclipper and emailing to Evernote to name two) and it has helped a lot. Especially with the gorgeous new ios7 update, Evernote is worth checking out!

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday: This was a fascinating book! It’s all about how social media is changing the way companies do marketing. Instead of spending a ton of money on ads, they instead figure out ways to incentivize the sharing of their products (that’s a simplified description, but that’s the basic gist). What I appreciated about this book is the way it made me think about how we spread the word about the work that we’re doing. I am particularly interested in how these ideas can be used in growing new churches. As a church we’re not selling a product, but we do rely on word of mouth in order to let people know that we exist. So are we making it both easy and attractive for people to tell their friends about our church? Are we building sharing into everything we do and send? It’s almost like gasp evangelism!
This book is a short one and a very easy read. A little bit of jargon but not enough to be overwhelming. Definitely thought provoking.