As someone who aspires to write a memoir of his own one day, I found The Art of Memoir both engaging and encouraging. Writing a memoir requires more tAs someone who aspires to write a memoir of his own one day, I found The Art of Memoir both engaging and encouraging. Writing a memoir requires more than just journaling memories onto a page. The practice forces you to punch yourself in the gut multiple times as you uncover the ugliest and most personal truths about yourself. Mary Karr offers several sage pieces of advice on how to do just that, ranging from the importance of remaining truthful to the skill of always addressing your target audience. She uses a gamut of memoirs, including her own, to use as case studies for her arguments.
On a deeper level, I enjoyed Karr's emphasis on voice. Therapy and memoir-writing differ in that the latter pushes you to scrutinize yourself with unrelenting, often-painful precision, all so you can cultivate a style to call your own - the compassion can come later. Memoir may appear simple because it originates from the self. But the amount and intensity of self-exploration required to pen a solid memoir highlights the genre's complexity: you must search yourself, over and over again, for the truth. Then you must meld it into its most honest, readable form. One quote from Karr's book that captures this process:
"Carnality may determine whether a memoir's any good, but interiority - that kingdom the camera never captures - makes a book rereadable. By rereadable, translate: great. Your connection to most authors usually rests in how you identify with them. Mainly, the better memoirist organizes a life story around that aforementioned inner enemy - a psychic struggle against herself that works like a thread or plot engine."
Overall, a wonderful book I would recommend to anyone who likes reading memoirs or may want to write one of their own some day. Though some parts dragged a bit, Karr does an excellent job of dispensing advice while honoring her own unique voice....more
A thorough book about mindfulness and its applications to a variety of everyday issues. Ronald Siegel strikes a great balance between explaining coreA thorough book about mindfulness and its applications to a variety of everyday issues. Ronald Siegel strikes a great balance between explaining core concepts, offering different exercises, and discussing how to apply mindfulness to topics ranging from aging to relationships to chronic pain. His tone shows his knowledge of the subject while remaining casual and easy to comprehend.
I would recommend this book to those who want to get their feet wet with mindfulness. Siegel reveals several ways to incorporate mindfulness into one's busy day, such as through walking or eating meditation. Contemporary society often enforces the idea that we must make ourselves busy all the time, and this book - and mindfulness in general - highlights the benefits of taking a step back and accepting things as they arise. As an aspiring psychologist I will make sure to reference the many strategies included within The Mindfulness Solution....more
Pain and necessity often coexist. That statement exemplifies how I feel about this guide (in an over-dramatic way, I admit). I would recommen3.5 stars
Pain and necessity often coexist. That statement exemplifies how I feel about this guide (in an over-dramatic way, I admit). I would recommend attaining a copy of this book if you want to score high on the quantitative section of the GRE, as it contains a lot of practice problems provided by the test-makers themselves. The writers of the book split the questions into four types (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis) and they also include two mixed practice sets. The overview of the test and the appendix also come in handy for prepping for the exam.
A minor downside: the book only provides strategies ETS would approve of, which sometimes meant more raw complicated mathematical configurations than necessary, in particular if you employ strategies from sources like The Princeton Review. Still, I would recommend this one to anyone searching for more preparation for the quantitative section of the GRE. For the sake of full disclosure, using this guide and the aforementioned Princeton Review guide, I scored a 159 on this portion of the GRE....more
Slim enough for me to read and review within an hour and a half, A Thousand Mornings will appeal to fans of poetry about nature. Mary Oliver intertwinSlim enough for me to read and review within an hour and a half, A Thousand Mornings will appeal to fans of poetry about nature. Mary Oliver intertwines themes of appreciating the present and her faith in God within her incisive observations about the environment. Her poetry conveys a wise and understated joy; though I tuned out while reading a few of her poems, others stood out with clear and artful messages. I will end this brief review with one of my favorite pieces, "I Go Down to the Shore":
I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall- what should I do? and the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.
Oliver has written a couple of my favorite poems, though none appear in this collection. Her authentic sensitivity makes her words shine, and I would recommend her work to fans who find meaning in the natural environment....more
How do some of us wake up for 6 a.m. jogs every day? What leads people to develop gambling addictions? Why do people brush their teeth every day whileHow do some of us wake up for 6 a.m. jogs every day? What leads people to develop gambling addictions? Why do people brush their teeth every day while never remembering to wear sunscreen? Charles Duhigg answers these questions and more in The Power of Habit, a well-researched book on what motivates us to make the decisions we do in everyday life and in business.
Duhigg's background as a reporter shows in this book. He does a good job of stringing together a wide variety of topics to fit his thesis that revolves around habit, and for the most part he writes about the cue-routine-reward cycle. To illustrate how that pattern works and what we can do to change it, Duhigg explores ideas like smoking addiction, sleepwalking, Target tracking down pregnant women, and more. His writing shines when he compares the man who murdered his wife while asleep to the women who lost an enormous sum of money to compulsive gambling: I still find myself thinking about the neurological and moral implications of the distinction he presents.
However, the writing in this book faltered at times. In certain sections Duhigg would break up anecdotes and combine them in odd, confusing ways. Sometimes he selected scenarios that did not align too well with his arguments, like his exploration of how "Hey-Ya" became popular. The book as a whole veered more toward reporting than research, so bear that in mind if you decide to pick it up.
Overall, a decent read I wanted a little more from when I finished. Recommended to those who want to get their feet wet when it comes to habit formation or psychology that deals with motivation. I will end with a quote from The Power of Habit that stood out to me in a good way:
That, in some ways, is the point of this book. Perhaps a sleepwalking murderer can plausibly argue that he wasn't aware of his habit, and so he doesn't bear responsibility for his crime. But almost all the other patterns that exist in most people's lives - how we eat and sleep and talk to our kids, how we unthinkingly spend our time, attention, and money - those are habits that we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom - and the responsibility - to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work....more