My Summer Reading List

I’ve seen other summer reading lists lately and thought it would be fun to put together my own list of books currently or recently on my nightstand. There’s quite a range here–management/leadership type titles, geek girl titles, and some challenging fiction. I’m not really one for light reading! And, there’s probably no way I can get through all of these in the summer, but I can certainly try. And of course in putting this list together I found even more new books, so I better get reading.

What is on your summer reading list?

Here is the list (with no spoilers!)–

Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century, by Mitchell Kowalski, American Bar Association, 2012.

Inspired by Richard Susskind’s The End of Lawyers?, Kowalski told this one in narrative format a la The Wealthy Barber. In it he gives a road map for law firms to succeed in the future. This one is meant to be a fast read with a solid message. Can’t wait to dive in!

Screw Business as Usual, by Richard Branson, Portfolio/Penguin, 2011.

I usually read the hard-core business books and rarely delve into the world of biography (I still haven’t read the Steve Jobs tome), but thought there are things I could learn from Branson ‘s attitude of reinvention and breaking from business mindsets.

Resonant Leadership, by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Harvard Business School Press, 2005.

This book gives a framework for leaders to create and sustain relationships with their teams and inside their organizations. Leaders have to take care not to burn out, and this book provides methods to counteract the stress and build in renewal.

The Flinch, by Julien Smith, The Domino Project, 2011.

From Smith’s website:

The Flinch was a collaboration between Julien Smith and Seth Godin’s Domino Project. It is a short examination of why our regular, everyday lives lack courage, along with an attempt at prescribing an antidote.

The book was an experimental release that was sent out by Kindle only. On its first day, it was downloaded 15,000 times, and since, over 100,000 times. It continues to be one of the most popular Kindle books out there (a print version is in the works).

Beyond this bit of hype, Smith is one of the smartest, most well-read people I know. His best-selling book Trust Agents written with Chris Brogan was excellent, and I try to keep up with his writing as much as I can, including his blog In Over Your Head.

Aligning People, Process and Technology in Knowledge Management, by Stephanie Barnes, Ark Group, 2011.

You’ve heard me mentioned fellow KM consultant Stephanie Barnes before. This is the book that sets out her methodologies that I frequently work with. It provides frameworks and a number of case studies, including that of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and their SharePoint implementation.

The New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management is Changing the Way We Do Business, by Carla O’Dell and Cindy Hubert, Wiley 2011.

O’Dell and Hubert are with APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) that have created methodologies in knowledge management (KM). This book looks at positioning KM in the future in organizations, determining the value proposition, and provide a framework for KM strategy development. I like that they have included social networking and other emerging areas. Also covered are some of my favourite topics of governance and measurement.

Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations, by Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell, updated edition, Capstone Publishing (Wiley), 2004.

A classic with some practical KM activities including learning while doing, learning from peers in peer assists, communities of practice and embedding the sharing of knowledge in organizations.

Cloud Computing for Lawyers, by Nicole Black, American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section, 2012.

Popular law practice writer Niki Black defines cloud computing for us, looks at the risks and benefits, privacy and security issues, and incorporating cloud computing into the practice. Also included is a chapter on the ethics of cloud computing in the law practice by Stephanie Kimbro.

Keyword Intelligence: Keyword Research for Search, Social and Beyond, by Ron Jones, Wiley, 2012.

Legal researchers are used to developing keyword lists for research in paper and online sources, but this is a different use of keywords. This is determining keywords to use for Internet search, use in website architecture, and in use in social networks. Author Ron Jones advocates the development of a set of keywords on the strategic level for use across the organization to help pull together content, improve ranking on Google for specific subject areas (also known as SEO or search engine optimization). This really gets into very detailed ins and outs of web taxonomy development.

The Accidental Taxonomist, by Heather Hedden, Information Today, 2010.

This is a great essential reference for anyone doing taxonomy or indexing work, whether novice or more advanced. You should see my copy–it is already full of notes and is well-thumbed.

Building Enterprise Taxonomies, by Darin L. Stewart, 2nd ed., Mokita Press, 2011.

I am curious to see how this compares to Hedden’s book above. It appears to cover some different ground including metadata schemes, XML, ontology and folksonomy. And I’m curious what “basic hygiene” for terms is.

Adding Value in Corporate Libraries and Information Services, by Constance Ard, Ark Group, 2012.

Ard has put together a report that looks at the robust range of activities taking place in corporate libraries, how they are adding value to corporations and other organizations, and the management of these. Disclaimer: I put together Chapter 8: Applying Social Media for Maximum Benefit. I can’t wait to read the rest.

Legal Information Specialists: A Guide to Launching and Building Your Career, General Editor Annette L. Demers, Canadian Association of Law Libraries and Lexis Nexis Canada, 2012.

This was a labour of love for many of Canada’s law library community. This reference work covers advice on getting started in the legal field as an information professional, the various career options available, and professional development tips. Disclaimer: I wrote Chapter 12: Working as a Consultant. I can’t wait to finish reading what everyone else put together! Note that royalties from the sale of this book are being donated to CALL’s Eunice Beeson Memorial Bursary.

Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators, by Steven Rosenbaum, McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Content and curation of that content are hot topics in the social media marketing world. I like to think of librarians as the original content curators, so I am curious to see this new perspective and what I can learn from it.

The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out, by Christopher Barger, McGraw-Hill, 2012.

This book looks to take the same approach I usually do to social media planning, working with strategy. What caught my eye in particular is the title of Chapter 7: “The First Thing We Do…Let’s Work With the Lawyers.”

Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, by Jeff Jarvis, Simon & Schuster, 2011.

Jarvis is a well-known professor and journalist who writes frequently about media, news, technology and business. I had the privilege of seeing him speak to the topics in this book when the book was first launched. He makes a convincing argument to giving up some of our privacy for greater benefits to society. For example, if we share health issues and data as a group, the aggregated information could be used in medical research.

The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives are Altering the World Around Us, by Nora Young, McClelland & Stewart, 2012.

CBC host Nora Young picks up where Jeff Jarvis leaves off, looking at the emerging culture of people tracking their personal data (weight loss, food eaten, exercise completed and the like). She examines why people self-track, the future of data mapping, how this connects to “big data” and where this is all heading.

Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, by Howard Rheingold, The MIT Press, 2012.

Is all this activity online too much? Influential writer, teacher and thinker Howard Rheingold looks at how our participation online is affecting our lives, including our minds. He advocates mindful use of the Internet as a way to becoming smarter.

The Torontonians, by Phyllis Brett Young, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.

As a former student of Canadian literature, I was surprised I had not previously heard of Phyllis Brett Young, a popular Toronto author who was prominent in the late 1950s/early 1960s. She seems to have slipped into obscurity, salvaged with this recent imprint of her best selling book. I found her story-telling and writing superb. It gave me a clear picture of suburban life in Toronto in the late 1950s. The anecdotes in this novel are highly amusing, but she also managed to maintain an intelligent, edgy tone throughout. Favourably comparable to the better-known Revolutionary Road. I would like to seek out her other works. Highly recommended.

1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel, Doubleday Canada, 2011.

Originally published in Japan as three novels, the English North American edition was published as one 925-page volume. I usually pick one big novel for the summer, and this was it–I just finished reading it today! It’s difficult to describe Murakami’s writing, but this is some of his best. One might categorize it as science fiction–this is certainly about alternative realities. Set in the year 1984–or its alternative 1Q84–some curious things are happening and the main characters have to figure it out and find each other after not having seen each other in 20 years. I read this one as an ebook, but the “dead tree” version has been designed quite beautifully and is a real work of art (see the last video in this blog post by Simon Fodden on book jacket designer Chip Kidd).

Fledgling, by Octavia Butler, Seven Stories Press, 2005.

This is the next pick for my book club. It crosses a number of categories including science fiction and vampire (“dark fantasy”) fiction. From the official description: “the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly unhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted-and still wants-to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself.” I haven’t read anything by Octavia Butler yet, but she is a multiple award-winning author. I suspect more of her books will be making their way into my reading list.

Touch, by Alexi Zentner, Vintage Canada, 2011.

This one caught my eye in the book store. It was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. It is about three generations of a pioneering family in a northern Canadian town. Something about the reviews make me think this is a gothic type tale, but I don’t know much else about it.


  1. That’s a great list, Connie! I wish I could realistically hope to get through half that many books this summer.

    Like you, I’ve got Legal Information Specialists, with thanks to CALL-ACBD and the 2012 conference.

    I’ve also got Legal Education in the Digital Age, edited by Edward Rubin, Cambridge University Press, 2012. This multi-author collection looks at the creation and distribution of digital materials in the law school classroom and library and their potential impact on curriculum.

    Something Fierce, Carmen Aguirre, Douglas & McIntyre, 2011 and Half-Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan, Thomas Allen, 2011 round out my list.

  2. Thanks, Kim! I will have to check them out. Half-Blood Blues is on my list somewhere too. I keep eyeing it in the bookstore.

    So many books, so little time!

  3. Emma Durand-Wood

    Connie – what a great list! I have added the keyword research title to my e-reading list, and am thrilled to learn about Legal Information Specialists; will perhaps blog about that soon :) Happy reading!

  4. That’s great, Emma! You will love the keyword book–it has a ton of tools and techniques. I’m about halfway through, had to take a break because it is so much to absorb.

  5. Connie,

    Thanks for including me on your summer reading list. Your contribution was a definite highlight in this report!


  6. Thanks, Constance. I am about halfway through reading it now. I am impressed with the scope of your research and have been adding to my “to read” list!

    And we haven’t mentioned it yet, but congratulations on going into a second printing with this report!