Wow! I haven’t written any book reviews in a while and I’ve been a reading fool. This will be VERY high level – add comments if you want more input! Or better yet – if you’ve read these (or books YOU love) CHIME IN. Cmon, now, you can do it…
In reverse date order (from MONTHS ago):
Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth – probably one of the best so far this year. Great book on what we’re REALLY hungering for (and you KNOW it’s not the Snickers bar or chips). Well written, compassionate, funny – and addressing subjects that I think most women can relate to (hence the title)
A Clockwork Phoenix by Mary Mascari. An as-yet-unpublished steampunk novel by my friend Mary which I was fortunate enough to read in draft. If, like me, you didn’t know what steampunk is here’s the definition from Wikipedia: ” Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.” I’m quite certain this will be published and you’ll be lucky when YOU get to read it. Mary’s writing is crisp, the characters very well-developed and the plot totally entrancing with jaw-dropping surprises in each chapter. What a book!
Lessons in Truth by H. Emilie Cady. This is a standard text in my religious denomination (Unity) and while I appreciate the theology and ideas I found the turn-of-the-last-century writing style a little distancing at times. Our thoughts create our reality is the gist of this book. She was a real pioneer in Unity and I DO appreciate that as well.
The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters by Sarah Susanka. Along with Women, Food and God this is probably one of the best of the year. I could do a whole series on this book. Susanka, a visionary architect who wrote The Not So Big House during the height of the McMansion era, applies her unique way of thinking and visionary consciousness and sense of design to help readers design a life. I read a LOT of self-help/personal growth books (as you can see) and this was one of the best ever in that the approach was so non-therapist-like. It’s written by a thought-filled architect and that shows. LOVE this book!
Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity by Kathleen des Maison. This was very helpful to me this summer as I took myself off one of my last drugs of choice – sugar. Her writing is not preachy, but IS convincing – one of the things that stood out for me was a sentence to the effect that sugar is a drug and if it had to be approved by the FDA today it would fail – it’s really harmful to our bodies. Walking away from one of my life’s comforts has been a bit challenging at times so this was really helpful. Even if you don’t plan to walk away entirely you might want to get hip to what this is doing to your body (beyond just your waist and hips…).
A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough by Wayne Muller. Oh, I love Wayne Muller! I didn’t think this book lived up to one of his earlier books, Sabbath but it was still really good. The title says it all – we push ourselves mercilessly to DO! and MORE! and NOW! — Wayne suggests that who we are and how we are is really just fine.
In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want by Iyana Vanzant. Perfect segue to Wayne Muller’s book. Yeah, I know everyone else read it when it came out in 1998 or whenever – but it didn’t speak to me then. Picked it up for 50 cents or some such at the library book sale and it sat on my “To Be Read” book case for over a year and suddenly it was what i wanted to read. Just finished this one yesterday and it was better than I thought. The message I took away is that we need to do our work, be appreciative, accepting, patient and forgiving and trust the process – and then love will find us. It gave me hope 🙂
Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist by Tyler Cowen – I’m reading this now. One advantage of my 90-120 minutes of train time (depending on which trains I catch) is all the reading I’m getting in – already about 75 pages into this and I started it on the train this morning. He’s one of the guys who writes an econ blog I like – www.marginalrevolution and this book is quite delightful. Freakonomics made economics a bit more approachable, albeit kind of in a zany entertainment way. This book makes economics meaningful to our day-to-day lives. Like how to go through an art museum. What to do about boring meetings, etc. So far I’m finding it delightful. I really like Tyler – he’s way into culture as well as economics and I always learn from him.
That’s it folks – now you’re up to date on what I have been reading – but I still don’t know what YOU have been reading – so….. spill the beans!