Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Valvano and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry by John Feinstein

The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball RivalryThe Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry by John Feinstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Feinstein is my most favorite author of sports books, particularly those related to college basketball. He covers a thirty year basketball rivalry among Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Most of this book centers on the coaching rivalry between Dean Smith from North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski from Duke. After North Carolina State won the NCAA Tournament in 1983 under Jim Valvano, they have struggled to keep up with their other NC competitors. Valvano was the most interesting character of the three coaches and his struggle against cancer was heroic and inspiring.

I found the friendship between Valvano and Krzyzewski very interesting given their polar opposite personalities. There are a lot of great stories about the competition for recruits and the competition on the court. The ACC was my second favorite brand of basketball in the 1970s and early 80's. (My favorite was Big 5 basketball.)

This book is well researched and a pleasure to read if you like college basketball. Plenty of great stories.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Harsh Truth about Speed Reading by Simon Oxenham

I have questioned since my college days the benefits and flaws of speed reading. To me speed reading a book can be like wolfing down a meal. You get to finish fast but did you enjoy the food for thought or meal?

Below are some takeaways from the article...

Essentially, the speed readers had increased their ability to construct reasonably accurate inferences about text content on the basis of partial information and their preexisting knowledge.

Speed-reading often produces a confused understanding—in some cases, a completely fabricated one, the researchers reported. They quoted Woody Allen’s classic line: “I took a speed-reading course where you run your finger down the middle of the page and was able to read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It’s about Russia.

The best way to increase the speed of our reading is to practice reading itself, particularly different types of text with varied language. The more familiar we are with complex styles of written language, the easier it is to conduct the “elegantly choreographed dance” that is reading.

The take-home lesson from efforts to increase our reading speed is to question whether speed-reading is a healthy aspiration at all. Speed-readers don’t see what’s on the page; they read what they want to see, which perhaps explains why the practice continues to thrive. It must feel very good to devour a whole book in a few seconds and discover it only said what you already thought anyway. But that’s pretty much the opposite of learning. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Review: Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf

Our Souls at NightOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this novel in a couple of hours. I found the story very compelling and did not want to put the book down until I was finished. My guess is that readers younger than 50 might not have the same interest in the story as I did. Basically, two lonely people hook up, a widow and a widower in their 70s. Their relationship begins slowly, both taking small steps to see if this relationship would work and it does for most of the book. I guessed that as the book moved along that there would be some event or unforeseen occurrence that would ruin their happiness. I was right. Beautifully written story but very melancholy.

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