Last week I had the task of presenting to a group of people who had previously been given incorrect information about my project. Setting the record straight is never easy and it was a daunting task that left me nervous and sweaty right up until show time. It took me a good month to create the 30 minute presentation, which luckily, went off without a hitch. Many of the guests thanked me afterward and their smiles and friendly conversation were a sign that the presentation had hit its mark. When one of the guests asked for advice in her own similar campaign, I immediately recommended she read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. My entire presentation was guided loosely by the advice contained in this 80 year old book, starting with “Smile” and “Remember names”.
After I've finished a good book, I usually head over to Amazon to check out the reviews and see if there were any insights or interesting tidbits that I missed or see if anyone else felt a certain way about this character or that event. When skimming reviews for Percy Jackson, I was blown away by how many people felt Rick Riordan had followed a bit too closely in J.K Rowling's footsteps. This was interesting, because while reading the book, not once did I think "Wow..this is just like Harry Potter". After discussing with my favorite bibliophile, we both agreed the reviewers panning Percy Jackson as a Harry Potter knock off had done a lazy comparison of the two books.
If there is one type of book I can't resist, it's a good old fashioned self help book. I just can't help it. They're fun, easy to read and occasionally you'll find a gem in the heap of unconventional life advice. Self help book are like the flea market of literature. You never know what treasures you'll pull out of the pile. We're at the beach again this week and my trusty Kindle companion has been Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Prior to reading "The Doctor Is In", my knowledge of Dr. Ruth consisted of: cute little old lady with a funny accent giving sex advice. Post read, I want Dr. Ruth to be my spirit animal.
The Handmaid's Tale is big in my circle right now, with some reading the book and some watching the Hulu series. The common consensus: alarming, relevant, shocking. With the popularity of dystopian tales in recent cinema, it's surprising The Handmaid's Tale hadn't popped up before now. It's the perfect blend of religious fanaticism and government gone bad to control man-made environmental and population crisis. Think Divergent meets 1984 meets The Third Reich and you've got The Handmaid's Tale.
Of all the gifts I received over the years, there are several books that were literally life changing and would make fantastic graduation gifts. One of those books was How to Dress for Success by Edith Head. This book changed my entire approach to fashion, shopping, personal style and gently nudged me on the path towards minimalism.
We tend to think of materialism and a desire to hold on to and collect physical objects as a modern day enigma, one born of mass production and fast fashion. Imagine my surprise when this theme popped up unexpectedly in the strangest of places, the final chapters of The Little House on the Prairie. The book ends dramatically when the Ingalls family finds their homestead, along with a few of their neighbors, is unintentionally but illegally located on Indian Land. Rather than face the soldiers tasked with removing these settlers by force, Pa decides it's best for the family to move along before the soldiers arrive.
While waitlisted for the library’s copy of Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants”, I decided to check out Amy Poehler’s memoir, “Yes Please”. Poehler read her own book for the audio version, so I went into this book eager and excited to learn more about her, only to fall quickly into waiting for the good stuff. Throughout the seven hour audio book, Poehler droned endlessly through random haphazardly ordered stories and long (LONG) lists of all of the people she ever knew. Reading “Yes Please” was like reading a script while it’s still being written and simultaneously like meeting someone interesting at a party only to realize they’re incredibly boring and there’s no polite way to escape.
Spring time means spring cleaning! Everywhere you look lately, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo pops up. It’s been out for a little over 2 years now and still ranks in the Top 30 best sellers on Amazon. It was THE number one selling book on Amazon for quite a while, and no not just books on home organization or self help but number one best seller for the entire book category. Pinterest is on fire with Marie Kondo inspired checklists and tutorials. Bloggers are filling their posts with their own experiences with the method. I first came across the book on a friend’s blog and it wasn’t until after I’d read it and started googling more, that I realized this book was even a thing.
As the one year anniversary of my Grandma's passing creeps slowly closer, I've been drawn subconsciously to all things reminiscent of her. During the months after her passing, I found myself dialing her number on the way home from work to share a funny story or searching in a drawer for the perfect postcard to mail. Catching myself in these moments hurt deeply and I had to delete her phone number from my contacts using my laptop. It felt too intimate, too personal somehow to do this on the phone itself. While these moments have mercifully ceased, the other day, I found myself drawn to a section in the library that held all of the books my Grandma read with me as a little girl.
My absolute favorite children's book of all time is the 1936 classic, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. My grandmother read it to me as a child and I've read it to Huck as least 1000 times in the last few years. History has it that Leaf wrote the story in a single afternoon as a way to help his friend, Robert Lawson, showcase his artistic talent. The book was a hit, and at $1 per copy the 1938 sales topped those of the ever popular Gone with the Wind. The Story of Ferdinand has never been out of print despite the many political waves this little story has caused.