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SMART Reading Program – Forkover Friday Week 4


This last week, I gave to a cause that I love and have previously volunteered with: SMART — Start Making A Reader Today.

What is SMART?

The SMART program helps elementary students become confident readers by pairing them with volunteers for one-on-one attention. They also provide books for the kids to take home (and keep) on a frequent basis, which is really helpful as a lot of the kids in this program come from families that aren’t supporting them in this area already, so having new and fun books to take home as their own creates an excitement around learning and reading which is really fun to see.

How we can help:

1. Donate online to SMART.
2. Volunteer to be a reader.

Forkover Friday Week 4
Who it helps: students
What non-profit: SMART
Where: Portland, Oregon
Why: I volunteered with SMART as a reader and it was a wonderful experience to watch the kids progress and learn to love reading. Photo: mikefats

Where should I give next week?

Hemingway Crazy: 4 More Classics That I Had Never Read


the-alchemist-coelhoOK, I may have gone a little overboard on the Hemingway. After I finished the first five unread classics (including A Moveable Feast, that got me on the Hemingway bandwagon in the first place), I checked out three more! So yes, to recap… 4 of the 10 were Hemingway, and after For Whom The Bell Tolls, I was thoroughly depressed with war stories.

I really liked The Alchemist. I wouldn’t call it a life changer, but I very much enjoyed the “create your own destiny”, “follow your dreams”, and “live in the present” fable. It’s also full of good quotes! :)

The 2nd five classics:

  1. The Old Man and The Sea (Hemingway)
  2. A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway)
  3. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Hemingway)
  4. The Alchemist (Paul Coelho)
  5. The Invisible Man by (HG Wells)

The 1st five: Animal Farm (George Orwell), 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway), Slapstick or Lonesome No More (Kurt Vonnegut)

What have you been reading lately?

#58: Read 10 Classics That I’ve Never Read


a-moveable-feast-hemingwayI am now half done with #58!  I just finished Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast this weekend, and absolutely loved it. For being such a bookworm, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’d previously only ever read portions of Hemingway. So after finishing A Movable Feast I put holds on 5 more of his books at the library!

  1. Animal Farm by George Orwell – I checked this one off the list in 2007
  2. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – this was a slow read for me. It was good, not the greatest book ever, but I enjoyed it.
  3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – loved it — one of my new favorite books! Yes, it could be condensed (1200 pages!), but it’s a still an excellent read. After several recommendations, I finally checked it out at the library.
  4. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  5. Slapstick or Lonesome No More by Kurt Vonnegut – I typically enjoy Vonnegut, but this book just didn’t click with me. For whatever reason, it took me ages to finish as I kept reading other books in between!

OK, five classics down, and five to go. What should I read next?

#96: Volunteer with SMART Reading Program

newsboy-readingThis 101 Things in 1,001 Days goal was originally to volunteer with the Big Sister program, but the gist of the goal was just to volunteer. I ended up choosing S.M.A.R.T. — Start Making a Reader Today — based here in Portland. SMART partners with Oregon schools to help kids “discover the joy of reading.” It’s really a win-win program because it only takes an hour a week (and there are so many elementary school locations that it’s quite convenient). You read one-on-one for 30 minutes with two different kids. Depending on the age, or their comfort level, you might end up doing all the reading at first, but it’s so much fun to watch their progress over time.

My two little boys were 1st graders and they had the funniest little personalities. I think I might have been given a “problem child” because the notes in his reading file said he wasn’t cooperative and didn’t enjoy reading, but we got along just fine and he did an outstanding job. My favorite memory was when he interrupted me when I was reading and asked loudly, “Why are there so many old people here?” I quietly told him that there are many different ages and then he said “Why do they look soooo old?” and I said “Shhhhh… it’s not nice to say that about people.” To which he replied, “Well why do you have such smooth skin?” :) Priceless!

I joined SMART after I came back from Costa Rica in March, so I only caught the last 3 months of the program, but it was a really great program and I’ll definitely be volunteering next school year too. If you live in Oregon, check out their volunteer page for October 2009. (photo: foreverphoto)

#57: Read Seth Godin Books That I Haven’t Read


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#57 on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days List was to read all of Seth Godin’s books. I was already about halfway done, when I added this to my list, but then he just kept on writing books! Give a girl a break, and let me catch up! ;) If you’re unfamiliar with Godin, he’s a best-selling marketing and business author who writes “bite size” marketing books and a blog.

My favorite book of the 12 is Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. I like how this book is divided into alphabetized one page blurbs. While not all 183 are “remarkable” ideas, it’s a great way to bring you out of the details of getting things done on a day-to-day basis. It adds a little caffeine to your marketing day. This book is better listened to than read. I really enjoy listening to an audio book that’s narrated by the author, because it’s much more personal and you feel like you’re getting the right tone/inflections.

I just finished his last book, Tribes — We Need You to Lead Us.  As usual, it was a quick read and resonated with me in a Gandhi sort of way, “be the change you want to see in the world”.  This book isn’t on how to be a better leader, just about deciding to lead. I think my favorite thing was going to read the review on Amazon and finding this in the Editorial Review section:

“The advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn’t made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job.” –Publishers Weekly

Hilarious! Seth Godin, are you laughing?

My only critique with Godin’s writing is that he’s often too quick to dismiss stable and “boring” businesses. There’s a time and place for unconventional (that’s why it’s not called “conventional”). For example, I don’t want my toilet paper to be hip and clever– it’s just toilet paper. And it doesn’t matter how “outside the box” your company is if you’re still unprofitable. I am a huge fan of his books though, I just like to take everything with a grain of salt.  :)

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Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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