What’s Your Reading Style

You already know that reading is good for your brain. You love to read. Whether you read fantasy or hard science fiction or horror or any other genre, you have a reading style. There are all kinds of way to define a reader’s style. Today we’re asking you a question: What’s your reading style? There are twelve possible styles in this post to inspire you when you describe your style.

Read aloud 

One reading style illustrated in this photo is a from the feet-up angle of a parent and child holding a Mother Goose book while sitting in a papa-san chair near a full bookshelf-what's your reading style?

Reading aloud is something you do if you’ve had children, babysat children, or are a grandmother. But sometimes the sound of the words fill you and spill out of your lips. Do you read aloud to yourself? Or to someone else?

Reading in Your Head

a man sitting in a window and reading

Most adults don’t read aloud. It’s awkward on a bus or a plane. Do you only read in your head? 

Reading through Audio Books

a man wearing headphones listening with his eyes closed

Some people claim it isn’t reading if you’re listening to an audio book. A book on audio can entertain, ignite imagination, and make you think. Isn’t that what reading does? (And it’s much safer to listen than read while in motion!)

Some people read along with the audio book.

a woman seated cross-legged reading a book while wearing headphones

Do you listen to audio books? So you like to read along with the audio?

Sitting and Reading 

A girl sitting against a tree and reading

There isn’t a plain way to sit and read. Sitting places and sitting style vary almost as much as reading styles. Scan the other pictures in this post and you’ll see a few different sitting and reading styles.

Reclining and Reading

a woman  reading while laying down with her head at the foot of the bed and her feet up on her pillows and headboard

Perhaps you prefer to recline when you read. Do you recline in bed, in a special chair, or a hammock?

Reading in Motion

Confess, have you been reading and bumped into some immovable object? Do you read on a treadmill or other motion machine? 

Reading and Eating

A woman seated on a bed under an attic window reading and drinking hot tea

Are you opposed to having any food or drink near your books? Or do you indulge in a snack or even a meal while reading?

Indoor Reader

Indoor reading can happen in almost any building or any room. What’s the most unusual place where you’ve been reading?

A woman taking a bubble bath while reading

Outdoor Reader (outdoor)

a young man reading under a tree

Does being outdoors enhance your reading pleasure? Or is that a big no for you?

Secret Reader

child reading by flashlight under the covers

Sometimes you might be a secret reader. Did you ever read by flashlight as a child? Do you do that as an adult?

Reading Day or Time

a woman sitting in bed, reading bedtime stories to her children

Perhaps you have set aside a specific day or time for reading? Are you a scheduled reader?

Reading Places

Some of you are lucky enough to have a dedicated reading spot. The choices of where to read are endless. Reading nooks, reading rooms, coffee shops, libraries, bedrooms, or on the floor, where do you read?

What's your reading style? Is it like this reading nook-a small recess in the wall with a bench and some pillows?
What's your reading style? Is it like this reading nook which is an old style library with bookshelves, wood paneling, and button tufted leather armchairs.

My Reading Style

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I need more time for reading. An eighth day of the week would work. Since I don’t have that, I don’t read at a specific day or time or place.

Typically, I sit with my feet up and read. I might have coffee or a soft drink and some pretzels or popcorn on hand. If the book captures me, I forget the food and drink exist. And, yes. I read under the covers by flashlight as a child. Not so much today as I usually work or read until I’m too tired to stay awake. 

I wish I had a reading nook. Some of them look inviting. But for now, I read in my comfortable living room or at my desk in my office.

What’s Your Reading Style?

Now, dear reader, it’s your turn. What’s your reading style? Please share your favorite reading habits in the comments below.

A Team of Awesome Women & the Nobel Prize

Strong women come in all sizes, colors, religions, and abilities. Today we celebrate two women who discovered one of the greatest breakthroughs in the biological sciences. Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry this week for their development of a groundbreaking method for editing DNA. They discovered the genetic scissors called CRISPR/Cas9. It’s a tool that allows scientists to “snip” the DNA of organisms, “allowing for easy and precise genetic modifications.” https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=31760 They are the sixth and seventh women in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the first pair of women to win the chemistry prize. This team of awesome women teamed up for a common goal, and the results are world changing.

Image of the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, where photos of this Team of Awesome Women will appear
The Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm, by Liridon, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives—choice, not chance, and determines your destiny.

Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier

Emmanuelle Charpentier was born on December 11, 1968 in Juvisy-sur-Orge, a commune in northern France, 18km south-east of Paris. 

Charpentier studied biochemistry, microbiology and genetics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. She received a research doctorate from the Institut Pasteur in 1995. She moved to the United States in 1997.

As a postdoctoral fellow at New York’s Rockefeller University, she helped show how Streptococcus pneumoniae develop vancomycin resistance. (Read more about S pneumonia a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis and other infections in the United States.)

Charpentier also worked at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine during her five-year stay in the U.S.

In 2002 her work took her to Vienna, then to Sweden, and to the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin.

Charpentier approached Jennifer Doudna at a research conference in 2011. And a team of awesome women formed.

Dr. Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Doudna was born in Washington, D.C. in 1964. She moved to Hawaii when she was seven years old. There, her educator parents encouraged her love of the biological sciences. 

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry and earned a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard Medical School in 1989.

From early in her career, Doudna studied RNA. At Yale in her group crystallized and solved the three-dimensional structure of the catalytic RNA. Her experiments with high powered x-ray diffraction at Berkley gained her further recognition. 

The list of awards and honors she has received is long.

In 2011, she met Charpentier at a research conference. After that, she cancelled all her other obligations to focus on researching CRISPR. 

CRISPR

Both Doudna and Charpentier studied Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Also known as Strep A, the DNA of this bacteria has segments that repeat. 

Other scientists had discovered fragments of genetic material from viruses attacking Strep A between the bacteria’s repeating DNA segments. They named these fragments ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats’ or CRISPR. CRISPR prevented those viruses from attacking the Strep A for a second time. But nobody was sure how the bacteria’s immune response worked.

Charpentier and her team discovered that the bacteria made a previously unknown form of RNA that recognized the genes of viruses if they attempted to attack the bacteria again.

Charpentier needed to collaborate with an expert on RNA. Doudna was her choice.

Two Awesome Women Team Up

They discovered that Strep A used an enzyme called Cas9 to slice up viral genetic material and incorporate it into its own DNA. They wondered if they could create a piece of RNA to target a specific point on any gene, not just a viral one.

In one year’s time, they successfully created a modified RNA segment. They called this segment CRISPR RNA. This segment “known as CRISPR RNA or crRNA, that guides the segment to the right place and then uses Cas9 to snip out a piece of DNA with extreme precision, in some cases as small as a single genetic letter.”

The Impact

Scientists around the world already use their discovery. Scientists are using CRISPR/Cas9 to develop cancer-fighting drugs, to create crops that can better withstand drought, to treat genetic diseases, and in many other applications. You may remember the article, Hope of a Cure for Sickle Cell, posted on this blog in July.

Typically, acceptance and common usage of breakthrough scientific discoveries takes a decade or more. And it’s at least a decade, often longer, before the discovering scientists get considered for a Nobel Prize.  

This technology has utterly transformed the way we do research in basic science,” asserts Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. “I am thrilled to see Crispr-Cas getting the recognition we have all been waiting for and seeing two women being recognized as Nobel Laureates.”

Ethical Questions

Both Doudna and Charpentier are aware of the potential for ethical issues related to their discovery.

In 2019, Chinese scientist He Jiankui said he had used CRISPR on two human embryos. His announcement caused a raging scientific scandal.

Doudna’s recent book A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, explores the ethic issues related to CRISPR. She cautions, “we as a community need to make sure we recognize we are taking charge of a very powerful technology.”

Congratulations and Cautions

In eight short years, Doudna’s and Charpentier’s discovery has changed scientific research. The world is teetering on the edge of breakthrough treatments and cures for many diseases. Their shared Nobel Prize is extraordinary and well deserved.

But their discovery also has the world balanced on the edge of a slippery slope. Genetically altered embryos to cure disease could end up with genetically designer babies. How far will we go? Many science fiction books explore what might happen when we can alter the genes of animals and humans. In my Fellowship Dystopia series, primitive genetic manipulation creates an army of assassins and a war.

So far, scientists are self-regulating. Will we someday need a global board for ethical review? And how some misuse that power? 

These two awesome women teamed up for a common goal, and the results are world changing. Who knows what the next team of women will achieve. Anything is possible.

How to Spot Your Strength When You Feel Powerless

Last week I talked about finding your joy, especially in these crazy days of 2020. This week let’s talk about how to spot your strength when you feel powerless.

There is lots of crappy stuff going on in 2020 that makes us feel helpless. But there are ways to take your power back.

silhouette of a woman with her fist raised and a quote from Christopher Reeve about a hero is an ordinary individual...spot your strength

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

– Christopher Reeve

Strength Can Be Learned

You have power over your mind– not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

– Marcus Aurelius

Yes, it can. Like a kid learning to walk or to ride a bike, it’s not a one-and-done deal. The first step is to train yourself to recognize the things that make you feel helpless. These are your triggers. Once you recognize them, train yourself to avoid them or to respond to them differently.

Sharpen Your Awareness

There are certain images or words or places that trigger a feeling of helplessness. Knowing what these are, avoiding them when you feel vulnerable are one way to take back your control.

Pay attention to your physical body. Do you feel shriveled up, closed, tight? Then those are negative things for you. If you feel open, breathing easy, relaxed—that’s where you are strong.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Focus on Your Self-Talk

young girl in a crowd wears a poster board front and back that reads "we can be heroes just for one day."

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Negative self-talk keeps you stuck, makes you feel  helpless. Psych central recommends you turn it around. Tell yourself things like, “What can I do to make this better? This is bad right now, but it won’t always be. I can get through this.”

Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.

– Joel Osteen

Focus On What You Can Control, Not What You Can’t

You can’t change the pandemic, nor someone else’s response to it. And honestly, it’s a rare day when you can change someone’s thinking–political or otherwise. You spend and waste your time if you focus on things you cannot control. Your strength comes from knowing what you can control. Spend your time and energy on the positives of what you can control and that will diminish the power of the negative things. 

Keep Trying

young girl riding a tricycle

Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.

– Chris Bradford

Be Kind to Yourself. Do something. Clarity comes from engagement not thought is one of Marie Forleo’s mantras. It’s true. Doom scrolling isn’t doing something. Get up—take a walk, a swim, play with the kids, clean house, take a shower. Or do one chore for ten minutes. Any or all of those activities can help you get clarity—to refocus on your strengths.

We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

— Buddha

If You Are Overwhelmed 

Talk to someone. Take care of yourself. Use the Crisis Text line. or SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Spot Your Strength

You are amazing. Despite all that you face personally and on a societal level, you keep on keeping on. I suspect you only needed to a reminder of how to spot your strength when you feel powerless. March on friends. March on.