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Thursday, March 09, 2006

March is...

National Reading Month
Ethics Awareness Month
Humorists are Artists Month
Improve Management Skills Month
International Mirth Month
Listening Awareness Month
Women's History Month
National Craft Month
National Social Workers Month

Who knew it would be so busy?

After seeing that list, I thought it might make an interesting challenge to see whether I could come up with suggested reading material in tribute to each of those topics. It might be a fitting tribute to Reading Month.

So here’s a start, but I’d love to hear any additional suggestions from people reading this blog.

Ethics Awareness Month

While they were more theologians than teachers of ethics, I can’t help but think of Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis, who were careful apologists for ethical and moral behaviors. Both of them took the currently unpopular stance that there are moral absolutes.

Reading suggestions:
Creed or Chaos by Dorothy Sayers
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Practical Ethics by Peter Singer

Humorists are Artists Month

This one is almost too easy—except perhaps in truncating the list to be manageable. Who can’t help but think of Mark Twain or James Thurber? In fact, there is a James Thurber Prize for American Humor which has recognized such modern humorists as David Sedaris, The Onion staff, and Ian Frazier.

Crossing the ocean, there are such delightful authors as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Milan Kundera.

I’ll also always have an immense amount of respect for the very dark humor of Joseph Heller.

Reading suggestions:
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Eric by Terry Pratchett
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

Improve Management Skills Month

I’d be remiss if I didn’t top this list with Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey, two people who have revolutionized the way we think about management in the past couple decades. Both are authors and speakers who are almost a brand name in themselves for the ideas that they have taught about management and professional development.

Of course, there are no shortage of books on all aspects of management—either from specialty human resource publishing houses or on the shelves of the local Barnes & Noble.

Reading suggestions:
Built on Trust by Arky Ciancutti and Dr. Thomas Steding
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

International Mirth Month

Edith Wharton and the author of Ecclesiastes might frown on a month of mirth, but there is no shortage of others who will take up the banner for at least a day of dallying in frivolity and joyful laughter. For as long as there have been authors taking quill to paper, there has been the literature of mirth.

Reading Suggestions:
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet by Anne Marie MacDonald
Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth

Listening Awareness Month

In honor of listening awareness month, perhaps we should all go see a play. If we want, we can read the script either beforehand or afterward. If that simply isn’t an option, then perhaps indulging in an audiobook might be the way to celebrate.

Some of the most delightful audiobooks experiences I’ve had have been when authors who are also actors read their own stories. I was blown away by The Way the Crow Flies read by actress Anne Marie MacDonald.

Reading suggestions:
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen
by Patrick Marber
As the Crow Flies by Anne Marie MacDonald

Women's History Month

I don’t know how people pick a particular month to be the month that honors one thing or another. Perhaps March was chosen for women’s history because it is the month in which was born Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Janet Guthrie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bonnie Blair, Fannie Farmer, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Dortohy Height, Gloria Steinem, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sarah Vaughn, and Muriel Wright.

Perhaps it was because during this month in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the first American book to sell more than one million copies.

Perhaps it is because this month saw the organization of the National Council on Women of the U.S. (organized by Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton), Camp Fire Girls, and Girl Scouts.

Perhaps it was because during this month Virginia Woolf started Hogarth Press with her husband and women began Navy pilot training for the first time.
Whatever the reason, there is almost an endless reading list of books covering women’s history, certainly more than could be read in a single lifetime. But it’s worth picking up at least one this month and learning a tad more about women throughout history.

Reading suggestions:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
What Paul Really Said About Women by John Temple Bristow
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

National Craft Month

You’d think March would be my favorite month as it pays tribute to two of my passions: reading and crafting. I've had the good fortune over the past few years to attend a number of arts and craft shows as a vendor and am pleased to report that handiwork is alive and well in this country and a thriving art form.

Now, I’ll grant you that I rarely wander outside of yarn and crochet art, but I have long drooled over the beading and jewelry work done by my friend and fellow publisher, Lynn, at BeadingHelpWeb.

Suggested reading:
Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet
Ashley’s Book of Knots by Clifford Ashley
Bead on a Wire by Sharilyn Miller
Creating Wire and Beaded Jewelry by Linda Jones

National Social Workers Month
All right, I confess I’m stymied here. The part of me that indulges in irony began thinking of Tennesee Williams’ Glass Menagerie and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. However, social workers really do deserve a much more respectful tip of the hat.

So, any suggestions out there?

We could go on. There are other sources that say this month is kidney month, earthquake month, colorectal cancer awareness month, national nutrition month, national athletic training month, MS awareness month, Red Cross month, fraud awareness month, mindfulness month, and brain injury awareness month.

But we’ll just let it go at this for now.


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