Monday, January 30, 2017

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

"What we don't know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others. As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we're prisoners of our history. We'll continue going through life on autopilot doing things that hurt and confuse ourselves and everyone around us. Eventually we become so accustomed to making the same mistakes over and over in our lives that they lull us to sleep. We need to wake up." --Brother Dave as quoted in The Road Back to You
The Enneagram says that there are nine distinct personality types and ways of how people see the world. In order to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable, we adapt ways of thinking, doing, and feeling. These adaptations are on a continuum of healthy and unhealthy.

The Road Back to You explains each Enneagram type and what it's like for each type to be in the world, in relationships, and at work. There is also a section describing what transformation for each type would look like.

An effective book because of its clear writing and also the personal stories included. If you're looking for a way to understand yourself better and those around you, this is a great introduction to the Enneagram.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Guest Post - The World According to Star Wars by Cass Sunstein

I visit my local library once a week. I love my library. Check out this bag that my mom gave me for Christmas! Now I use it to tote all of my books to and from the library.

Sometimes when I'm browsing at the library, I see a book that I think Boomer might like. Boomer only goes to the library about twice a month. So I check out books for him. Sometimes he likes them, sometimes he doesn't.
Boomer is a big Star Wars fan, so I thought he might like The World According to Star Wars. You can find out below! Please welcome today's guest blogger, Boomer!

Boomer says: 
So The World According to Star Wars is a clever book about two things.

The first, quite delightfully, is about some of the back story of how the very first Star Wars movie (Episode 4 A New Hope) came to be, including tidbits like how it wasn't expected to be very popular, and how movie theaters had to be coerced into showing it.

The latter part of the book is sort of a treatise on the theological, sociological, political and cultural viewpoints espoused by the movie(s). These range from how Star Wars promotes a Jeffersonian view of how periodic rebellion against monolithic government to how Star Wars is a proponent of feminism but only when viewed against the culture of the respective movie release dates, to how the Force is George Lucas' representation of a Universalist religious theology and that all religions point to the same thing. 

Mr. Sunstein, as a Harvard professor and lecturer, is undoubtedly well-versed in these various topics and while the points are well made in terms of both humor and content, it's honestly a bit dry. I enjoyed the first few chapters of Star Wars trivia and history. And while the latter part of the book is well done...I would probably have been fine just skipping it.  Sorry, Cass.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Without You, There Is No Us: by Suki Kim

This is the very first book that I've read about what life in North Korea is like. Suki Kim goes undercover as a journalist disguised as a missionary disguised as a teacher in order to work at a prestigious university educating the young men of North Korea (The subtitle of this book is: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite.)

Fascinating, despairing, and compassionate.

By the way, another way I get book recommendations is from an unlikely source, Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback. Even if you're not a football fan, there are some interesting titles on his list of holiday book recommendations. That's how I heard about Without You, There Is No Us.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

I've been a fan of George Stephanopoulos since his days in the Clinton administration. I liked his political memoir, All Too Human as well which was published back in 1999. Well, now I watch George most days on Good Morning, America. At the end of the year, all of the Good Morning, America anchors talked about their favorite books of the year, and Fool Me Once was George's pick. So I checked it out!

This is a super fast-paced story about Maya Stern, a former army pilot, who is grieving the recent murder of her husband. She installs a nanny cam in her living room so she can keep an eye on her daughter. While reviewing the recording, she sees her supposedly dead husband show up and play with her daughter. Maya investigates what's going on and there are lots of twists and turns to her investigation.

A page-turner. Thanks for the recommendation, George Stephanopoulos!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

All-of-a-Kind Family falls under my category of Gentle Reading. I am defining Gentle Reading as: books that nurture a warm, friendly, and uplifting view of the world, family, and friendships.

Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie are five sisters living with their parents in New York City. They have adventures in cleaning, going to the library and market, and observing Jewish holidays.

There is a cute, unexpected twist at the end which was so sweet. :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat

Ah, the horrors of middle school! Frazzled captures it all in story and pictures. However, only read this if you're willing to take that walk down Memory Lane to middle school.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

I was a fan of Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, so I was excited to read Today Will Be Different.

Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. It's a quirky story, but it just didn't come together for me as a cohesive story. I was hopeful that it would get better, but it just kept getting worse.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Happy new year!

I am looking forward to the books that I will read this year. I've always loved reading. As a kid, I would curl up in my parents' bed with a sleeve of Saltines and read for hours. Why in their bed? I didn't want cracker crumbs in MY bed!?

But there were periods of my life when I actually didn't read very much. There was a two-year stretch when I lived in Asia and couldn't concentrate enough on reading for fun. I was just trying to survive and make sure I had enough food to eat and keep my place clean and functional. And then, during grad school, there was just way too much required reading and writing that I didn't really have the time to read for fun.

So I am still enjoying post-school reading for fun. And that's when I started this blog!

Onto the first book of 2017! Yay, it's another graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. I'm a fan of Telgemeier's graphic novels, especially Smile.

Ghosts is about a family relocating to a northern California town because the youngest sister has cystic fibrosis and the sea air will help her. But Catrina, the older sister, had no idea that there are ghosts in this town!

I appreciate that Telgemeier uses her work and art to educate readers about culture and health issues. So neat.