Thursday, December 30, 2010

Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2010

Below is my 6th annual list of favorite have fun, do good books that I read this year.  You can also check out my lists from 2005-2009:
Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2010(in alphabetical order)

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It
I always enjoy Anna Lappe's books.  She does a great job of being positive and practical.  You can listen to my interview with her about Diet for a Hot Planet on the Big Vision Podcast via iTunes, or read it on Have Fun, Do Good.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

We read Farm City as part of my virtual social change book club.  It inspired most of us (including me) to grow something, even if it was just one little tomato plant.

Farmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We Eat
I loved the range of women profiled in Farmer Jane and had many laughs interviewing the author, Temra Costa, for the Big Vision Podcast.  You can listen to our chat via iTunes, or read the interview on Have Fun, Do Good.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)
I can't say that I enjoyed reading Half the Sky.  It's the book that inspired me to start our virtual book club because I knew that I didn't want read about slavery, prostitution, rape, maternal mortality and female genital mutilation alone.  That said, it's an extremely important book that everyone should read.

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (Shambhala Library)
I mentioned Lovingkindness in a lot of my Reverb 10 posts this month.  I'd never had much luck with meditation until I read this book.  It has truly been life-changing. 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
Play is actually a repeat from my  2009 list.  I re-read it this year and underlined all over the place.  It has confirmed for me that having fun really is a key to doing good.  As Brown writes:
"The great benefits of play, as I've said, are the ability to become smarter, to learn more about the world than genes alone could ever teach, to adapt to a changing world."

"When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the law of entropy take over--things fall a part. . . . When we stop playing, we start dying."

Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer
Although I'm not crazy about some of things Susan G. Komen for the Cure does (see this HuffPo piece), I was engrossed by Promise Me's story of how Nancy Brinker, Susan G. Komen's sister, built an international movement, as well as by the history of breast cancer treatment and research.

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
Fascinating book about how leaderless circles of circles (the starfish), rather than hierarchical pyramids (the spider) can grow powerful companies and social movements.

Honorable Mention

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture

Radical Homemakers gets an honorable mention because I thought a lot about the ideas in the book after reading it (basically that we need to value homemaking over consumerism), but the tone was a bit too judgemental for me to add it to my list of favs.

What were some of your favorite have fun do good reads this year?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, Britt! Now I have more books to add to my reading list :)

    Read Half the Sky and I don't think anyone would enjoy reading that book. Such a tough read...made me cry so many times. Such a reality check and like you said, it's a book that everyone needs to read.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Very intriguing book list Britt! They definitely are going into my must read pile. Also, may I recommend another fantastic about entitled "The Story of Stuff" by Annie Leonard. If you're not familiar with it, this book is a sobering indictment of how our culture of mindless consumption is affecting the Earth. However Ms. Leonard provides hope by offering inspired strategies for positive change. It really made a Huge impact on me. Thanks for the wonderful work you do and I wish you continued success in the New Year!

  3. Oh, Justine, I wish you'd had someone to read Half the Sky with. It is definitely too sad to read alone.


    Thanks for the Story of Stuff recommendation! My book club read it this year. I think it is a super important book, but I thought it could have been written in a little more accessible way. The movie was so easy for people to relate to, I was surprised by how dense the book was.

  4. I don't think anyone would enjoy reading that book. Such a tough read...
    Play Call Of Duty


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