Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking  by Susan Cain

Being an introvert I found myself naturally drawn to this book (I know, some of you who have met me are saying, seriously? But yes, I am a hard core introvert at heart, and Mr Briggs Myers confirms this emphatically) Susan Cain describes introverts as the people who are quieter, the observers, self-contained, who recharge their batteries in and find their strength in being alone. Who don't like being over-stimulated. Who are more the listeners than the talkers in the world. We prefer to problem solve by ourselves than in a group. (Many writers are introverts, and like me never let anyone see our work until it is finished.) But in the modern world everything seems geared to the extroverts, the talkers, the movers and shakers. Workplaces are open plan, with their endless noise and interruption, supposedly for team play and cross pollination of ideas, hustle and bustle. Classrooms are organised for group learning. That socially we're expected to mingle, party, socialise, feel energised and love that environment. (I'm the one at noisy parties who goes outside to have a quiet, overwhelmed cry, before heading back in, and I'm always one of the first to leave) For an introvert, it's a tough prospect.

In this book Susan Cain talks about the strengths of the introverts . She uses the example of Steve Wozniack, co-founder of Apple, she talks about business people and leaders who are highly successful because they harness their strengths - observing, listening, being very considered before acting. She comes at it from a more cultural point of view, although she cites a lot of research and also looks at the physiological differences between extroverted and introverted people, and what it means for learning and working environments. It also had a very helpful section on what to consider if you have an introverted child.

I found it explained a lot about why I react like I do to certain situations, and how I've adapted to operate in all worlds. It's a great book for introverts, of course, but would also be helpful for extroverts trying to understand their introverted partners/ children/ work colleagues, and valuable for employers and managers in the work place. She doesn't put down extroverts, but rather recognises the difference and that the world definitely needs both. But the strengths of the introvert need to be recognised at many levels in society, from the country's leaders to the class room leaders, to the employers, and of course, by the introverts themselves!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Celebrating Reginald Hill

Celebrating Reginald Hill during the Crime Writers' Association's Crime Writing Month 2012 is a website dedicated to all things Reginald Hill, the fabulous British crime writer who died early this year. Hosts Margot Kinberg and Rhian Davies have pulled together a month's worth of posts from authors, bloggers and people who knew Hill as a commemoration of his impressive body of work. He is best known as the creator of the Dalziel and Pascoe books, but he also wrote thrillers, historic and science fiction. There has been a wonderful variety of posts so far, and plenty more to come.

Check out the website here

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bumming around for Bowel Cancer

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa is having a text fundraising campaign for the month of June. NZ folk can Text 'beat' to 4740 to donate $3.00. They asked us folk at the Claymore Swords Club if we'd pull on a pair of their 'don't sit on your symptoms' bum pants for the cause, and seeing as we're all pretty shameless, we said sure thing! It was great fun and a good way to give some exposure to a cancer we all seem too shy to talk about the symptoms of.

Fi gets me with a 'beat' attack

Just Bumming around for a good cause

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I thought Stellar was the best way to describe two recent events.

The most recent was, of course, the Transit of Venus today. After a very snowy night, we Dunedinites were delighted to have an icy but clear day to look to the skies and see the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. I'd purchased a family pack of viewing glasses so the boys could go off to school armed with a pair, and so I could follow its progress during the day. Very cool! I have also been reading Awa Press's wonderful little book The Transit of Venus, which is a series of articles by scientists and historians on the effect of the transit on the world. It also reminds us that Captain Cook was on his way to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus when he discovered New Zealand. It's a fab wee read.

The other stellar event was the fabulous Yarns in Barns festival in the Wairarapa. I had the pleasure of being part of the Yarns in Barns great debate, with the topic up for discusion 'The arts have a sporting chance in New Zealand - yeah right.' I was on the negative team with team captain Bernard Beckett and Catherine Robertson, and the affirmative had Captain Harry Ricketts, Marama Fox and Mark Reason. Gordon McLaughlan had to keep us under control. It was a great night out, and a lot of fun. I hadn't participated in a debate sine high school, so I was a bit nervous about it, but hey, our team rocked! And we won! Bernard Beckett was an awesome team captain, and Catherine and I made sure we flirted shamelessly with the audience and with Gordon. It worked.

I also did a talk at the Masterton Archive the next day. Yarns in Barns is organised by Hedleys Book Shop in Masterton, and it is fantastic that a small region like the Wairarapa can put on a full week of literature events to full houses. Awesome!