Thursday, December 31, 2015

Windows to the Light: Enriching Your Spirit with Haiku Meditation

Windows to the Light: Enriching Your Spirit with Haiku Meditation by Lynne D. Finney celebrates the beauty of nature and the human spirit through haiku and photography. Each haiku is carefully worded to draw a bridge that connects us to our place in nature. Finney creates a book that can be a quick, energizing, relaxing read or a slow, meditative read to savor over several days.

 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

How To Be a Hero by Nick Sharma

How To Be a Hero by Nick Sharma takes the reader on an adventure beside three young children wanting to become heroes by imitating heroes they've seen in movies. There's an element of fantasy to the story often leaving the reader wondering how much of what happens is the children's imagination and how much is real. Sharma examines how the imagination connects dots allowing us to see more in events than exists in a story sure to appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of being a hero. I often caught myself rooting for Shaneel and Karishma instead of Amith, the self-designated hero of the story. Sharma weaves the characteristics of heroic behavior between the attempts to appear heroic in an engaging and inspiring story that's sure to send the reader on a gamut of emotional reactions. How To Be a Hero pushes the reader to examine how best to be a hero when facing the realities of life.

 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks forced me to think about feminism in a different way. It pushed me to examine my attitudes toward equality in a new way. In many ways, Hooks ideas about feminism made more sense to me than other books and articles I've read. She brought into play the effect of class on the feminist movement. I grew up in a farming community where everyone worked in the fields and then the women also cooked and cleaned. I never thought that was fair, but it was the way life was. Hooks delves into the way the women's movement was based on people who were financially well off enough to not need to work rather than addressing the needs of all women including those who had always worked just to make ends meet but had been unpaid fairly and treated unfairly in the workplace. The more I read, the more I realized just how multifaceted the struggle for equality is. Hooks brings the reader into the lives of women of myriad classes, backgrounds, and cultures while pointing out how the movement has worked and how it has failed. She offers suggestions on how to be more cohesive and how to honor the experiences of all women. At times I cringed as I identified with some misconceptions and nodded as I identified with others. Feminist Theory shines a light on how sexism, racism, and class-ism are much more intertwined than most of us truly understand. Hooks deftly but unapologetically brings to light the idea that to address one of these, all must be addressed while never denying the complications created by the place where myriad inequalities intersect.

 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Collected Poems Sylvia Plath edited by Ted Hughes

I bought The Collected Poems Sylvia Plath because I wanted to explore Plath's work. I don't remember reading Plath's work before, but several of the poems had a familiar feel to them so I must have read her at some point. As I read, I often felt an eerie connection to the words on the page. At times they felt like they mirrored thoughts and feelings I'd had about experiences in my own life. At other times I struggled to even make sense of the poems, but even those poems had a haunting essence to them. Plath used life itself to paint emotions and feelings and observations on the words she chose to put on the page. This collection includes a section after the main book of poems she wrote when she was younger. Those poems had a naivete that offered an unexpected rawness in their more traditional form and choice of words. I highly recommend The Collected Poems Sylvia Plath for anyone who is interested in Plath's work or in poetry in general. The Collected Poems Sylvia Plath is a great read filled with thought-provoking, emotionally challenging, and overall engaging poetry.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Communication Catalyst by Mickey Connolly & Richard Rianoshek, Ph.D.

The Communication Catalyst: The Fast (But Not Stupid) Track to Value for Customers, Investors, and Employees by Mickey Connolly & Richard Rianoshek, Ph.D. landed in my to-be-read pile quite a while ago. I'm not sure why I hesitated so long to read it, but I finally did. It's well written and contains many interesting ideas related to communicating, but much of it felt like stuff I already knew. I particularly enjoyed the Rev Baker sections of the book where the authors used a real life example to illustrate their points. These sections made it easy to visualize the concepts applied while breaking up the more academic sections of the book with an engaging, ongoing story. The Communication Catalyst encouraged me to evaluate the way I communicate with others to figure out what's working and what isn't.