Summer Reading

I’m loving the extra time I have to catch up on my pleasure reading. I love books and have been devouring them on my iPad. The iBook feature on my iPad is great. All of the NY Times list at my fingertips. I also love highlighting and adding notes to books. It has a nice feature of putting them all together at the end and it helps me reflect and consolidate my learning or opinions formed from my reading.

I really enjoy tennis – it is a great workout and good stress relief, plus it is a game I haven’t mastered yet. I enjoy the challenge of learning something new and hopefully with the new courts at our school, I play more next year.  I read Patrick McEnroe’s book, “Hardcourt Confidential.” I won’t go into the details of the book. My big take-aways are a better appreciation for the Davis Cup and some thoughts on pushing my children into tennis. McEnroe was the Captain of the US Davis Cup team for a long time and Nadia and I saw him when the US played Serbia. For a long time I wanted the Davis Cup to change to a Major or World Cup format by making it a two-week tourney with all teams coming together every other year for the World Championship of Tennis. It could be hosted by rotating countries and have a variety of surfaces each round. Because I live in Serbia, home of the defending champions, I prefer the current format because we get games in Serbia. I can’t wait for the semifinals against Argentina in September. McEnroe gives a good description of what is good about the Davis Cup.

The second item was his thoughts on what it takes to make it big in tennis. The game has changed to award physical athleticism instead of technique.Most professionals today are incredibly strong, quick, and can hit the ball with huge force. Many are big and I also learned one must hit with a top spin to attain the top speeds like Nadal and Nole.

My taller doppleganger - Former Czech Tennis Player Daniel Vacek

He also referred his famous brother’s best season when John went 82-3 for the season, the best winning percentage (96%) ever. Roger Federer came close in 2005 with an 81-4 record (95%). Novak Djokovic is on pace with a 48-1 record this year to beat it. (98%). Also in the book he mentioned playing against my “twin” Daniel Vacek. I remember looking at the guy, especially from the side, and he was a dead ringer for me. Strange watching someone who looks very similar to oneself playing on TV. He is much taller than me, but the resemblance is  striking.

In preparation for going to Vermont, I read Bill McKibben’s book, “Wandering Home.” He accurately described the lovely town of Burlington and the great state of Vermont. He highlighted all of the sustainable ways of living going on there. He is funny in observing that it is a “land of Saab-driving, goat-cheese eating Democrats.” My kind of place!

  • McKibben and also Deer Hunting With Jesus which I’ll blog about later, got me thinking about my choices and how we live. McKibben defined “hyperindividualism that thinks nothing of ruining everyone else’s view with a house four times too large for any conceivable purpose.”
  •  He also thinks outside the box, like the idea of “why does my floor have to be all one type of wood. Why can’t it be like the forest that surrounds us, which is roughly equal parts birch, beech, and maple?”
  • I didn’t know that Middlebury College in Vermont had famous language schools.
  • “Instead of working to afford certain pleasures, many maintained, they would find their pleasure in their work.”
  • He referred to two great environmental organizations, Earth First! and the Foundation For Deep Ecology. My beliefs fit in quite well with the mission and philosophy of these groups.
  • “A world where we could take our pleasure more in the woods than in the mall.”
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