How Underwear Got Under There: a brief history is a hilarious historical account of underwear written for older elementary school aged kids. Explainin...moreHow Underwear Got Under There: a brief history is a hilarious historical account of underwear written for older elementary school aged kids. Explaining and illustrating the personal and social reasons for underwear - from the cavemen's loincloths and their need for protection (and comically linking this to the "jock strap" of today) to the outrageous underwear of the late 1700's and concluding with the underwear of tomorrow!
The topic is deftly handled. Humorous, but also factual, How Underwear Got Under There doesn't shy away from what is under the underwear, but uses appropriate language such as "genitals" and "private area" - and does address how this might cause embarrassment (and has throughout history!)
I wish this book had been around when I got my first bra. It was such a traumatic and hush-hush experience that it would have been nice to put it into a historical context (what can I say, I was a nerdy kid back then too). The cartoon illustrations are also very amusing and are further enhanced by other "bubbles" of factoids and tidbits of trivia.(less)
Yet another great book that I discovered while watching the Daily Show (who says you can't learn from TV!)... Tal Ben-Shahar teaches the most popular...moreYet another great book that I discovered while watching the Daily Show (who says you can't learn from TV!)... Tal Ben-Shahar teaches the most popular class at Harvard... about Happiness. (Yes, happiness). While he does reference tenets of positive psychology and constructive goal setting, his book is remarkably forthright and notably original. While reading this all in one sitting would defeat the purpose of the suggested deeper reflection, it is a quick and compelling read.
When I was younger, I thought that being happy meant being oblivious to the problems around you and therefore it was more intellectual and, dare I say, superior, to be melancholy. Now that life is more vast and unknowable, and contains loved ones whose happiness in beautifully entwined with mine, I am abashed at my earlier foolishness. What really sunk in for me about this book and sells me on the concept is that Everyone can be happier. Even if you are happy, which these days I normally feel like I am, you can be happier and play an integral role in making that happen.
And best of all, Happiness has nothing to do with hiding from life or ignoring the world's challenges but everything to do with focusing on enjoying the journey of life, setting meaningful challenges for yourself and treasuring your loved ones. Tal Ben-Shahar offers "Time-In" sections for deeper reflection as well as more in-depth exercises to explore your thoughts as they arise during the reading.
Not at all heavy-handed or preachy, Ben-Sharar's examples have easy to understand and charming names like the hamburger principle, the lasagna principle, the drowning model and the love making model. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the meaning of happiness, the role of happiness in our lives and ways to increase it. Even if you don't agree with some of Ben-Shahar's ideas, the experience of stopping to consider happiness and its role in our lives is enlightening.
"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." - Anne Frank(less)
How to talk about books you haven't read is the most fascinating book I've read this year, and I don't say that lightly. Though heady with academic ja...moreHow to talk about books you haven't read is the most fascinating book I've read this year, and I don't say that lightly. Though heady with academic jargon and elaborate analytic references to obscure literature, the underlying message is wondrous and freeing for all readers. The terms "read" and "unread" are meaningless; one should speak of books in terms of Heard of, Skimmed, Forgotten, or Unknown. And, wonder of wonders, "to speak without shame about books we haven't read, we would thus do well to free ourselves of the oppressive image of cultural literacy without gaps... which tyrannizes us from within and prevents us from being ourselves."
Much as a mathematician can measure a splash, and without seeing the splash occur, can determine the size, weight and trajectory of the object that created it; one can know a book without reading it by observing the affect it has on society, listening (or reading) trusted opinions and probing its connection to other works you are familiar with. Talking about books is unrelated to reading books, which is unrelated to remembering the books that we have read. And here is the realization that alleviated years of unknown anxiety, no one has a perfect recollection of a book that they have read. You begin to forget even before you finish the page. And as each person is an organic entity and continues to change, even if you took meticulous notes, your interaction with a book today would be drastically different in one year, five years and in ten years.
What matters, then, about reading, is the book's effect on you, and it's impact on your internal library, those books that you carry with you in your heart and mind, either because you believe their importance in the cultural collective library or because of your personal connection with them. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone. I will admit that I skimmed that last three chapters, but I have never done so with such freedom and comfort. You also have to love a book with a whole chapter relating to Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.
"Reading is first and foremost non-reading. Even in the case of the most passionate lifelong readers, the act of picking up and opening a book masks the countergesture that occurs at the same time: the involuntary act of not picking up and not opening all the other books in the universe."(less)
Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library by Dan Borchert is a quick and compelling read detailing the day to day chaos of work...moreFree for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library by Dan Borchert is a quick and compelling read detailing the day to day chaos of working in a public library. As a public librarian myself, I could completely sympathize and relate to the stories told and they all rang remarkably true (and disturbingly familiar). I could even tell a few more that would turn your hair white. It is quite well written, and I laughed out loud in several places.
My only lingering question is whether someone who doesn't work in a public library would find this book entertaining or horribly dull. If anyone else reads it, I would love to hear what you thought. For librarians, this is a pretty entertaining read. The chapters are pithy and blithe and you can read several of them easily in one sitting.(less)