Gretchen Rubin claims that everyone's happiness project is different. Her book is then one way to approach the study and cultivation of one's own happGretchen Rubin claims that everyone's happiness project is different. Her book is then one way to approach the study and cultivation of one's own happiness. I can't say I agree with every "splendid truth" or would recommend her methodical process of creating and tracking resolution, but I was inspired by her example of working towards greater happiness within your everyday life. The most meaningful quote (and there are many from some of Western society's greatest thinkers)came from C.K. Chesterton, "It's easy to be heavy; hard to be light." Essentially, you have to work at building your happiness everyday. Rubin offers several ways to think about that process even if you ultimately take a different path to happiness. And best of all, she gives you her reading list, which is sure to keep me busy on the subject of happiness for a while to come. ...more
Every time I think Jasper Fforde has done everything he can with this series, I find myself once again drawn into his wit, humor, and good old-fashionEvery time I think Jasper Fforde has done everything he can with this series, I find myself once again drawn into his wit, humor, and good old-fashioned narrative conventions. If you like books, imaginative storytelling, and good puns, then you should definitely check out the next installment of these wonderfully entertaining novels. ...more
If you love Jane Austen's novels, this book will validate that love and provoke you to see them in a new light. If you started reading Jane Austen andIf you love Jane Austen's novels, this book will validate that love and provoke you to see them in a new light. If you started reading Jane Austen and hated it or haven't tried because you think you will hate it, this book may inspire you to take a fresh approach.
Deresiewicz is an academic writing a sort-of memoir. The balance tends towards analysis of the novels, which is scholarly but highly approachable. He writes about the lessons Austen and her characters taught him and can teach any reader. The significance of the everyday, what it means to have a loving heart, the meaning of true friendship, and the importance of knowing yourself are all explored with aplomb and intelligence. If it doesn't leave you wanting to (re)read every Austen novel, at least you will have been taken on a complete journey through six of the most storied books in English literature. ...more
I have a distinct memory from my 6 month stint in Paris. I was riding through the city at night having the kind of conversation about life with my cabI have a distinct memory from my 6 month stint in Paris. I was riding through the city at night having the kind of conversation about life with my cabbie that seems only possible in France. It was then that I truly understood the meaning joie de vivre. It's not just a state of mind but a constant state of being. This book reconstructed that revelation and for a few delicious days I wrapped myself in all the anxieties and excitement of living in Paris. Bard skillfully balances the story of her relationship with the French between the novelties of a society that values quality over quantity and the limitations that exist in a culture with deep aristocratic roots. At times the book felt a bit cliche, but then cliches are formed from truth. And, I never get tired of taking a mental walk through Paris. ...more
Linda Gordon manages to balance a scholarly appraisal of Lange's career with stories from her private life. This is done without seeming too academicLinda Gordon manages to balance a scholarly appraisal of Lange's career with stories from her private life. This is done without seeming too academic or sensational. Gordon dubs Lange the "Photographer of Democracy" for her commitment to using documentary photography to communicate and promote American ideals through images of ordinary people. While exploring this the theme, Gordon paints a picture of a complex and sometimes contradictory woman who overcame disability in pursuit of her life's work. A great read for anyone who loves photography, biography, women's history, or early 20th century American history. ...more
Reading this book was a humbling yet inspiring experience. In a society where it is easy to get caught up in daily dramas and anxieties, this was a reReading this book was a humbling yet inspiring experience. In a society where it is easy to get caught up in daily dramas and anxieties, this was a refreshing reminder that bigger forces are at play in our lives and that in the grandest scale, we are inconsequential and powerless. Yet, it is also a reminder of the preciousness of life and reinstills a sense of wonder where it may have been lost. I recommend this book to any curious mind that enjoys pondering big questions.
This book is an attempt to answer the question, "How did we (life on Earth) get to where we are today?" With his characteristic wit and incisive approach to his subject, Bryson explores at once the incomprehensibly vast and infinitely small worlds that form this existence we know on Earth. One of his major themes is that we are all one, that life on this planet is at its elemental stage made of the same stuff and subject to the same conditions. He also points out the this planet is an incredibly fickle place, which has seen many cycles of life in its 4.54 billion year history. We are merely the most recent and relatively new evolution.
Bryson's biggest challenge is in acknowledging that his point of view on the evolution of our understanding of life is decidedly western. He writes of the men (and sometimes women) who have advanced our understanding of the universe and nature, and they are European or American in practically every case. No where did this bias bother me more than in the last chapter about extinction. In concluding that human life may be the most sophisticated yet destructive form of life to have lived on Earth, he almost exclusively recounts instances of European hegemony. A "Complete History of Everything" would be nearly impossible to write, but I wish he had at least framed his approach to the question "What is life" by saying this is one version.
A fascinating memoir and primer on life with autism. My favorite parts were Temple's stories of how living with autism distinguishes her from others aA fascinating memoir and primer on life with autism. My favorite parts were Temple's stories of how living with autism distinguishes her from others and enables her to see and understand the world in unique ways. The sections on the science, diagnosis, and treatment of autism provide a thorough understanding of what science and medicine know about autism. Definitely a great read for anyone who appreciates the ways we are different from one another. ...more
The success of a great work of children's literature is when it can inspire both child and adult. It has been more than 15 years since I last read thiThe success of a great work of children's literature is when it can inspire both child and adult. It has been more than 15 years since I last read this book, but the adventures seems as vidid now as they did then. Only this time I can appreciate the philosophy behind the story of Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace to a greater degree than I could at 12.
"We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal." ...more