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Monday, April 20, 2009


An update on my Renaissance Mind self-challenge (Inspired by Ingrid Cumming's The Vigorous Mind):

1. Franklin Expedition: 5 books- which began with the novel The Terror by Dan Simmons. The others are all nonfiction: The Resolute, Frozen in Time, Talking to the Dead, and Exploring Other Worlds.

2. The Brain and It's Abilities: 6 books - The Intention Experiment, The Vigorous Mind, The Brain that Changes Itself, Blink, The Three-Pound Enigma, (completed) and How the Mind Works (in progress).

3. Biographies/Memoirs: 6 books - Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Galileo's Daughter, Marley & Me, The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Jane Austen, and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor.

4. Yoga Study: Chakra Yoga, Hatha Yoga Illustrated, (completed), and Yoga as Medicine (in progress).

I've reviewed all of the completed books here on the blog and provided links to each book with the posts.

5. Documentaries: 8 - Secrets of the Samurai Sword: Nova; The Bronte Sisters; The Orphan Trains; 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama; The Cats of Mirikatani; Arctic Passage: Nova; A Century of Quilts: America in Cloth; and Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion.

6. Magazines: The Smithsonian, Mental Floss, and Budget Travel.

The quality of my reading has improved drastically since January in both fiction and nonfiction (and a lot more nonfiction than last year) as a result of this self-challenge. I've been much more satisfied with my reading and have read better books for the most part, both fiction and nonfiction.

While I am making an effort to expand my reading horizons, I'll never give up my escape literature -- science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries. :) The only other reading challenge I'm participating in is Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge which encourages me to read one of my favorite genres.

Ingrid Cummings (The Vigorous Mind) has a blog. I stumbled on it inadvertently from one of those outdated Google Alerts and wondered how many people who have read the book have delineated a plan of action for themselves? I know Booklogged has been reading the book and Kim at Skybelle Arts was using Kaizen (although you've been so quiet lately, Kim!)


  1. That's great that you are keeping to your goals! I applaud you!

  2. That's an impressive set of goals and books, Jenclair, and I congratulate you on making such good progress toward getting there. You are really ambitious this year. :-)

  3. Wowee, Jenclair. I'm impressed!!!

  4. I love these posts that you do! I think I'm off to see if my library has The Vigorous Mind...

  5. I think this is such a wonderful self-challenge. While it's so fun to participate in other challenges I've been thinking of my personal goals. I've really been trying to expand my reading variety and at least I think I'm succeeding when it comes to short stories as I've been reading quite a few this year.

    You've probably mentioned this before but do you do yoga at home or do you go to a studio? If you do yoga at home do you use music and would you have any recommendations?

  6. You are amazing!! What a great year...and it's only April!

  7. You sure have lofty goals. Check my blog for a surprise.

  8. I'm really surprised at the direction my reading has taken lately. I had no doubt that by this time in the year almost all of what I would have read would be sci fi and then, because of the OUT Challenge, fantasy. And here I've read all kinds of books about books and now am reading a memoir and a book about presidential assassinations. Very odd, and yet fun, where our reading whims take us.

  9. Wow, great list!

  10. Whew! I've been away from the computer for a while and have much catching up to do!

    Kailana - Thanks!

    Sam - I've enjoyed this more varied reading approach and the documentaries.

    Bookfool - :) Thanks! About time I included some bread with my to speak.

    Eva - The Vigorous Mind reminded me of some of my interests and of how many topics I know nothing about. That, in itself, was a good thing!

    Iliana - Yes, you've been very diligent in your short story quest; I've picked up several good titles from you!

    I think I'll do a post on the yoga and answer there.

    Cathy - Thanks, Cathy!

  11. Violette - I thought they were pretty lofty goals, but it has turned out to be so much fun! Thanks for the "surprise"!

    Carl - Aren't the twists our reading itineraries take interesting?

    I especially love books about books and bet the book on presidential assassinations is fascinating!

    Blodeuedd - Oh, me, too! Escape lit is the best for relaxation and comfort reading!

    rumination - Thanks!

  12. JoAnn - How quickly this year is going! I've been surprised at how much more I've enjoyed my reading.

  13. I'll be looking forward to that yoga post :)

  14. I really like the idea of a self-challenge. I'm always so curious about so many things ;o). It sounds like you're having a great time with it!

  15. I love how that book had such a lingering affect on you! Your mind is becoming so vigorous!! LOL

  16. Iliana - Soon!

    Kristi - It has been both fun and educational--a great combination!

    Lisa - Oh, yes. It has provided a kind of self-generating curiosity and inspiration! I loaned my copy to my brother, but now I want to get it back and review some things.