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CCFB News» February 2024

Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure

Last year I tried to set some goals. I wrote them down. I tracked one or two of them. And to my surprise I reached my goal of reading 24 books.


In a moment of frivolity, I shared my achievement with my younger cousins. They were less than impressed. And their year-end reading totals schooled my barely finished before the New Year’s ball drop total of 24.


Now just a handful of days into 2024, I think it may be time to increase my reading goal. My non-overwhelming total includes professional, self-development, prospective book club reads, and personal reading. Here are some of the titles I have on my to be read list just waiting for their time to shine.


In terms of professional reading, Transformational Governance by Beth Gazley and Katha Kissman has sat on my shelf for several years. It’s a fairly intimidating read with chapters on influencing change within the board, getting the most from assessment and evaluation, and implementing change. But I’m tired of looking at it, so it’s getting read this year.


Also on the list is Financial Management Handbook for Associations and Nonprofits by Craig Stevens, Dawn Brown, Carol Barnard, Kathy Cuddapah, Laila Mitchell, and Rob Eby. For a non-financial, non-math individual this read will be a stretch. I openly struggled through college calculus, was less than impressed at statistics in both undergrad and graduate school, and loudly complained during Accounting I. But I finished and passed them all. Chapters include budgeting, financial reporting, and accounting systems. I may need a fresh batch of coffee with this read.


On my potential book club reading list is The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson. I ran across Ohlson while watching the agriculture and food documentary “Kiss the Ground” several years ago. This book explores the relationship between plants, soil microorganisms, and carbon. My farmer is anxiously awaiting the cliff notes version of this one.


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren tells the story of a young Minnesota child who is fascinated by science and biology. This New York Times Notable Book encourages readers to observe and protect the environment and for everyone to find the “scientist” in themself. Perhaps Lab Girl will be next year’s pick for Farm Bureau’s Zoom book club.


Falling into the category of personal improvement is Level Up by Alyson Van Hooser. Van Hooser spoke at a Farm Bureau conference several years ago and her story was both captivating and energizing. I’m looking forward to leveling up and being accountable to the grind.


Unlike one of my younger cousins, I’m not that adventurous with my personal reading. I’m a thriller. Horror. And crime kinda of gal. But I’m trying to branch out with Spare by Prince Harry. I’m absolutely fascinated by the British monarchy and continue to hear mixed reviews about it so it’s time that I take a listen. This one is on my Audible reading list.


Rounding out my personal reading list is Room for Rent by Noelle Ihli. This will be my third Ihli book and if it’s anything like the others it will be a quick and captivating read. I didn’t even read the synopsis before ordering it; as I finished Ihli’s Ask for Andrea, I realized that she had another book available, and I grabbed it.


My takeaway from this isn’t only that I need to up my reading game. More that it’s time for me to set and track goals. What’s on your 2024 reading list?

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