Summer has officially begun at our house. The kids are out of school, the pool is open, and burgers and hot dogs are on the grill. I enjoy the greens and blues of summer, watching my kids have fun together and with friends, taking walks in the evening with my wife and catching glimpses of bats at dusk. I spend the cold months yearning for the long, sun-filled summer days that fade into warm nights, and I’m glad they have now arrived.
3 things catching my attention this week are:
1) Book (set): The Ender Quintet
Several years ago, my oldest son read Ender’s Game by novelist Orson Scott Card, and for the next month or so, he read book after book in the Ender series. I had never heard much about Ender until the movie (starring Harrison Ford) was released, but I’ve still never seen the movie because my son said that it doesn’t do the book justice (of course).
My son has always told me that I should read the series, but honestly, I don’t read fiction well. When I read fiction, I feel like I am frittering away my time when I could be reading some productive non-fiction and learning something. But I have recently learned that reading fiction is good for my creative brain, so I’m more open to giving it time.
After some encouragement, I broke down one day and purchased The Ender Quintet on my Kindle. The Ender series consists of about a dozen separate books that occur all over time and space, and they are not necessarily chronological if you read them in the order they were written. The Ender Quintet is a boxed set (also in paperback version) put together by the publisher, and it is made up of five of the series in a sort of chronological fashion.
If you like science fiction, check out the Ender series. This quintet has been a nice way to jump into the series and get my feet wet with the characters and concepts. There is much heavy and deep thinking in these books, so you will ponder and process much as you read them.
The first book, Ender’s Game, was excellent, but Speaker for the Dead, the second book (and apparently the initial story that inspired Card to start writing about Ender), was very rich and had a whole different, warmer feel. I’m currently almost finished with the third book in this set, titled Xenocide. If you read this set and like it, there’s actually another quintet set version called the Ender’s Shadow Quintet that is another different set of books in their own chronological fashion. I plan to get to all of them eventually.
2) App & website: Pocket
I have used the Pocket app for many years, going back to when it was known as Read It Later. Pocket is an app for saving things to read, view and watch later. Many people use apps like Flipboard for keeping up with reading, and I’m fine with Flipboard, but I’m still very partial to Pocket. From pretty much any online source on computer or device, I can save any sort of reading to Pocket plus images and videos. I use the Pocket extension on my Chrome browser to push articles from the Web over to Pocket for later reading. Later, when I have time to read and slow down, I can easily sort through articles I want to read instead of wading through sites and stories in which I’m not interested. It’s also very easy to share articles, images and videos from Pocket to friends in multiple formats. Recently I’ve also discovered Pocket: Recommended that pushes online articles to me that I might not have seen before and typically enjoy.
“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, ‘Let’s go do that together.’” — Bob Goff from his must-read book Love Does