Required Reading: November 6, 2015

Required Reading: November 6, 2015

Image: Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with French Novels, 1887, The Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Required Reading” is an ongoing series, in which we write about what has captured our attention lately on and outside the web.

Happy weekend! We’re glad to be back with our Required Reading posts, in which we hope you find something moving, inspiring or interesting.

This week, Felix found Steelcase CEO Jim Keane’s blogpost for the Drucker Society Europe insightful. “He makes an important contribution to the discussion of meaning in the workplace,” Felix writes. “His three dimensions of meaning: meaningful work, meaningful connections and meaningful progress resonate deeply with me. At Books@Work we see that building meaningful connections through our literature seminars is extremely powerful. The head of engineering of a manufacturer recently told us that his team is so much more engaged since they got to know each other through Books@Work, and more able and willing to tackle difficult topics – together.  And while the younger generation pushes us to be mindful of meaning, I would argue that everyone – of every age – is so much more effective when finding deeper meaning in their work.”

Joaquín Torres García, América Invertida, 1943, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Joaquín Torres García, América Invertida, 1943, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Ann has taken the liberty of adding a required “viewing” to today’s post. She is “still reflecting on MoMA’s retrospective of the work of Joaquín Torres-García, the Uruguayan-Catalan artist whose drawings, paintings and sculptures take their rightful place among the works of the great early 20th-century European modernists. A friend of Picasso, Torres-García balances the abstract and the “concrete” (as he calls representational art) across multiple media. But his notebooks of drawings and watercolors left me breathless – as with a single wash or simple line, he evokes a place or time with an unusual blend of delicacy and power. It reminds me that this fertile artistic era left us so many legacies beyond the more well-known names – and that we are not finished exploring what the modernist artists challenged us to consider.”  

Capria recalls, after reading John Banville’s The Sea many years ago, having a “difficult conversation about memory, loss and the past that has stuck with me all this time. In the book, Banville writes, ‘The past beats inside me like a second heart.’ I have always been interested in the way the past lives inside of us and, yet, is other.  So present and so distant.  Banville seems to be equally compelled by this problem. In an interview I recently read, he says ‘The past fascinates me obsessively, I suppose, because it’s such a strange phenomenon. The past was the present at some point, and it was just as boring as the present. What makes it so important?’ Definitely worth a read.”

Because many of her friends are new parents, Jessica found herself interested in “the New York Times’ recent piece on the lives of working parents and its corresponding infographic. According to the article, almost half of all two-parent U.S. households have both parents working, a significant increase from the recent past. This trend has a powerful impact on parents’ sense of well-being and their ability to do well in their jobs and in their home lives.”

Elsewhere on the Internet:

The Literary Hub excerpts Lorrie Moore’s breathtaking introduction to 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories.

This short film evokes “the wonder of libraries.”

The title for this piece on social skills and the modern workforce is misleadingly simple–the article itself is worth a read.

A lovely graphic novel adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Slate brings us an annotated, interactive version of a Books@Work favorite: Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”

Further Reading: 

Books at Work: Hammer Head

How “Reading between the Lines” Helps at Work (and Everywhere Else)

Cecily Erin Hill

Cecily Erin Hill

Cecily Hill is the Project Director, NEH for All at the National Humanities Alliance and former member of the Books@Work team.