Now that summer is in full swing, a lot MORE of my time is spent with my nose buried in a book. Currently, I’m up to at least one a week – sometimes one and a half. Here’s what kept my attention pinned this month:
The Geography of Bliss: One’s Grumps Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
I really wanted to like this book. I really did. Even though it began with the author’s self-identification of being a member of the grump society, I expected that throughout his search for happiness he would shed this self-affirming label and realize all the goodness in the world. While he did (ever so slightly) accomplish this I think my trepidation towards this book is rooted in my own innate optimism. As he navigated the globe and interacted with others and their experiences of happiness, my frustration mounted as he would quickly explain away (or use rather insensitive humor at times) their “supposed” happiness. It took a lot for me to finish this book – its dryness and at times, bitterness, was a bit too much for me.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
I had not heard of Carrie Brownstein (or her band Sleater-Kinney) before reading this book. While I found the narrative of Carrie’s story quite interesting, I did find the entire book to be a bit meandering and hard to follow at times- much like the author herself, as I’ve come to realize. If your a fan of the author and/or her band (or her show Portlandia) than this book is likely worth the read.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
While I enjoyed this book, it became hard to follow at times – especially near the end. About half way through the story went from present tense to a cycle of flashbacks -without much lead in or explanation to the reader. Even though I was daunted by this type of narrative, I began to appreciate that, perhaps, it was done on purpose in order to give the reader a glimpse into the main character’s descent into mental illness. I can certainly see while this book is considered a literary classic.
Meditation: The Buddhist Way by Jinananda
I gave up on this book about half way through not because of the author’s writing but because I was listening to it via audio book and kept falling asleep. The author’s voice is like liquid velvet – SO relaxing!!! A perfect intro into the practice of meditation – but perhaps READING it would be a better way to go.
My Gentle Barn: A Place of Hope by Ellie Laks
This book was an emotional roller coaster for me. I had to stop reading it in public because I kept tearing up every time the author told stories of the unbelievable abuse each of her rescued animals had encountered – it really made me question the role we, as humans, are navigating when it comes to dominance over other creatures. That being said, there was also something about this book that didn’t sit well with me – more from the author’s point of view than anything else. I still can’t quite put my finger on it, and am very well aware that it is a result of some inner “stuff” I can’t exactly identify, but it tainted the way I viewed this book starting at about the half way mark. Nonetheless, this is still a very good read which stresses the need for more public awareness with regards to animal abuse and neglect, particularly within the farming industry.
Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them by Louise L. Hay
This is more of quick reference guide than a detailed exploratory look at the possible mental causes of physical illness. The author provides an extensive reference chart for a host of ailments and offers affirmations for each. It sparked my interest enough to give it my own personal exploration. We’ll see how it goes!