What I Am Reading Now During My Hiatus

What I am reading now in March 2021.

Did you see the announcement from the American Alpine Club about its new membership structure? Well, it used to be almost $100 to be a member for a year. I joined to receive the American Alpine Journal annually (in print) and have the privilege of borrowing books from the Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Library in Golden, Colorado; plus I only had to pay the return shipping!

Now the AAC includes the Library at the Supporter level for just $45. And if you want your copy of the AAJ, that is available at the Partner level, which starts at $65. Click here to learn more and see the other benefits.

So while I am on my six-month blog sabbatical, I have been reading things not on my personal climbing library shelves (well, not yet anyway,) and not even from the AAC Library. Here I have a book from a symposium I attended, a Christmas present, and a book Emily Candors from Penguin Random House’s Dutton publishing house asked me to review; since it was by Synnot, I couldn’t say no, even on my sabbatical! So here is what I am reading now:

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant (2008) — I attended (virtually) the New Strategies symposium out of Georgetown University last fall in my official role for my local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. There I met Leslie Crutchfield. She was there talking about the work in her newer book, How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t (2018). We had several copies of Forces for Good on our shelves. I had glanced at the chapter titled Advocate and Serve when I was lobbying in DC but hadn’t read the whole work. It’s more relevant to me now as a manager and not just as an advocate. Crutchfield wrote the book because for too long nonprofit consultants had been measuring nonprofits by for-profit business standards, and this book makes the point that that is wrong because successful nonprofits flout those “rules” and are considered success for for six other reasons, which she writes about with concrete examples.

The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest by Mark Synnott (2021) — Ordinarily, I wouldn’t read a book about climbing Everest after the 1990s, when the mountain became the setting for commercial expeditions and off-grid climbing was where the real action was. But publicist Emily Candor from Dutton reached out to me with another Synnott book and it was about looking for Sandy Irvine and his camera. The Lost Explorer by Conrad Anker and David Roberts (1999) was about the discovery of George Mallory’s remains, and it gave me a great blend of classical mountaineering when it was exploration and current-day Everest by contrast. I am a fifth into it and it has been very enjoyable, if not great. It is being released to the public on April 14th.

Golf’s Holy War: The Battle for The Soul of a Game in an Age of Science by Brett Cyrgalis (2020) — I play golf for fun and I dabble in following pro golfers and what organized clubs are up to, but I prefer ignoring that to just taking pleasure being outside and making the ball fly to where I envisioned it going. It’s thrilling! Still, I play and pay attention enough to see that is a movement toward technical perfection and efficiency in the golf swing. This book goes through the history of how that came to be, how instructors and computers play an increasingly larger role with a growing group of players, but how the — well, I’m not sure what else to call it — metaphysical side of the game, is still strong for a minority of golfers. I am still reading it, and set it aside to finish Synnott’s book, and have yet to see the whole story through. The first chapter was mesmerizing and I feel like Cyrgalis has me on a path and I am picking up new insights in each one about the game, and even what I prefer in the midst of all this noise with spirituality and technology.

Well, that’s it for now. Its going to be nice Saturday so I’m taking the family for a hike. I hope you get out too!

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