RSS

Tag Archives: books

Books

This morning, in an effort to whittle the pile down, I took one book off of the growing stack perched above my side of the bed, with the intention of returning it to the library from whence it came.

14 books remain, which is a number high enough to make anyone ponder my intentions for being able to make my way through them all.

In the mix sits the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Dharma of the Princess Bride, and two books by Bill Bryson.

Sometimes when I’m laying underneath the shelf that supports their hulking weight, I imagine being suddenly visited by them all, when the dark-stained rectangle of pine makes the well-timed, conscious decision to give up its thankless role as propper-upper of things and heaves them all off with one push of breath onto my head, chest, and stomach.

The book I am most actively reading, however, sits on the coffee table in the living room.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2018 in Everyday Practice

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We Are What We Read (to our kids)

Titles published from the Little Golden Book are a common staple to find among the shelves of most households sportin’ young children. Having started in the early 1940’s – and an instant hit on the market – people of all ages (in the U.S anyway) likely recall having read at least a few books in the Little Golden Book series, in their day. The one I’m holding in the pic above, was loaned to me by the 5-year-old I nanny for. He wanted me to borrow it for a few days, which I immediately saw as a great act of generosity, as not only is this book new to him but he LOVES Star Wars. So wanting me to borrow this book was on par with a kid – any kid – offering to share their candy. Wanting to support his kindness, I gratefully agreed to take it home.

I made sure to read it, of course. I mean, I have to be prepared should he ask me what my favorite part was. It’s also simply not kosher to borrow a book a 5-year-old insists on you taking and then not read the darn thing. That’s just not cool.

So…the thing is, this so-called “kids” book, is chockablock with violence and drama. There is a weapon, bad guy, and/or an explosion on every single page. Here are the trigger words peppered in:

Page 1/2: war, evil, captured, gangster
Page 3/4: capturing, captures, dungeon, attacks, crushes
Page 5/6: punish, sand monster, fight, henchmen, KA-BOOM!, explodes
Page 7/8: evil, battle, destroy, Dark Side, X-wing fighter
Page 9/10: destroy, Death Star, attack, strike team
Page 11/12: (has bad guys, weapons, and explosive action picture but no trigger words)
Page 13/14: strike team, captured, fight
Page 15/16: attack, Death Star, destroy, enemies, traps, destroy, Death Star
Page 17/18: Death Star, rage, dark side, fight, duel
Page 19/20: battle, destroyed, evil, Zzzaap!, Death Star, destroyed
Page 21/22: battle, TIE fighters, Death Star, BOOM!, collapse, Death Star, explodes
Page 23: evil, roars

And here are the sentences that especially stood out to me:

“To punish Luke and his friends, Jabba will feed them to the Sarlacc, a sand monster. It will digest them for a thousand years!”
“He shocks Luke with evil Force lightning from his fingers. Zzzaap!”
“With the last of his strength, he rises up and heaves the Emperor into a deep reactor shaft!”

What the heck Little Golden Book?! Did you guys actually write: heaves the Emperor into a deep reactor shaft?

Is it just me that finds the above trigger words and associating violence and drama on every page alarming? Did I mention Little Golden Books aim to target kids ages 5 and under?

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

To Read or Not To Read, That is the Question

So enthralled was I with A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, that I hopped online to purchase its sequel My Friend Leonard, as soon as I finished the book. Part of me believes in the potential merits of Ignorance is Bliss as a working life philosophy – and it’s this part of me that wishes I’d not stumbled upon the controversy encircling these books and their author.

I picked up A Million Little Pieces from one of those quaint little free libraries situated by the side of the road. And Oprah’s circular book club sticker adhering itself to the cover was almost enough of a deterrent to sway me away from taking it. While I realize, of course, that Oprah’s rubber stamp of approval would serve to inspire many people to pick it up – and in fact was what launched this particular book to stardom – it had the opposite effect on me, as Oprah’s massive branding of herself has always rubbed me the wrong way. Though, truth be told, I also sort of admire her for it, too.

After getting a few chapters in, I started to question as to whether I had the ability to finish the book. It was a gut-twisting, heart-rendering read. I felt as though I were being put through an emotional wood-chipper with every page. But I stuck with it, figuring since he had the wherewithal to tell his story of addiction and nefarious behaviors in such a raw and honest way, the least I could do was tag along and bear witness.

Once I figured out how to roll my eyes over his clunky and stylistic approach to the book, and compute with a growing semblance of understanding what is was he was trying to convey, I was able to immerse myself into his world and started thoroughly enjoying the read. I became invested in the people and plot line he was writing so starkly about. I looked forward to reading a new chapter each morning and was over-joyed when I discovered there was a sequel.

Mention of the controversy popped up as soon as I typed My Friend Leonard into the search bar on my laptop. Turns out, both books, while touted as memoirs, are not entirely true and accurate accounts of the author’s life. Artistic license was taken. Parts were fabricated. Big parts. And Oprah, needless to say, was not happy.

At first, the dude tried denying the accusations, brought forth by the investigative website The Smoking Gun. He even went so far as to say that his publisher had diligently fact-checked his book, which turned out not to be the case. Eventually the dude fessed up. He even went back on Oprah to be interviewed about the whole messy ordeal.

My Friend Leonard was gliding through the mail on its way to my doorstep as news of this controversy sifted into my consciousness. Knowing full well that I would not have given the first book a second glance, had I known it was either based or inspired by a true story, verses being a purely non-fiction read, I was off-put in light of this new information.

Does it really matter? I asked myself. I mean, you really liked the book.
Yeah, but I really liked it because I was under the assumption it was
his story – his true story. I countered.
Hmmm. Well, maybe
most of it is true. Would that help? I asked myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Creative Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Tao of Pooh

tao-of-pooh

Last week something strange happened. Well, something I think is strange, anyhow. It has to do with what I call the “mystery box” that is social media and the internet. For four years now I’ve been operating our sangha’s facebook page, Be Here Now Community. In those four years we’ve accumulated around 360 page likes. I post on it pretty much everyday – things regarding our sangha or mindfulness center, quotes I stumble upon, recommended books, mindfulness articles, nice pictures, and the like. Lately our posts reach about 100-200 people on average (so facebook tells me). We hardly ever receive comments or post “likes,” and it would be super rare that someone “share” one of our posts. So our page, while active with posts, has been small potatoes in the land of facebook, with very little activity by way of engagement of visitors.

Well, over the last week things have changed very rapidly with our (and my) first experience with a viral post. On April 14th I posted this on our sangha’s facebook page:

“Say, Pooh, why aren’t you busy?” I said.
“Because it’s a nice day,” said Pooh.
“Yes, but —”
“Why ruin it?” he said.
“But you could be doing something Important,” I said.
“I am, ” said Pooh.
“Oh? Doing what?”
“Listening,” he said.
“Listening to what?”
“To the birds. And that squirrel over there.”
“What are they saying?” I asked.
“That it’s a nice day,” said Pooh.
“But you know that already,” I said.
“Yes, but it’s always good to hear that somebody else thinks so, too,” he replied.

– From the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

What I thought was a nice, simple offering on our page turned out to awaken a LOT of people from all parts of the globe. As of  right now this post has reached 2,704,978 people. It’s been shared 24,387 times, has 2,189 comments, and over 42,000 have “liked’ or “loved” it. This post has also gained us 3,754 more page likes. Holy Toledo! I’ve never claimed to understand the magical workings of social media but this one really boggles my mind. It has been incredibly fascinating watching these numbers soar ever upwards over the last few days. It has me wondering: What is it about this post from the Tao of Pooh that has struck people so strongly?

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mindfulness as Medicine

61gm26s3nmL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

A few days ago I finished the book I had been reading (Find the Good, Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende).  Not knowing which book to start next, and having two of special interest that I recently purchased for our local mindfulness center library, I decided to do something I don’t usually do and started both books at the same time.  One of which is Sister Dang Nghiem’s book entitled Mindfulness as Medicine, the other is Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh, both of which have been published this year.

From Mindfulness as Medicine:

“As spiritual practitioners, we train our mind to anchor itself in our breath and body in our daily lives. Whenever a situation arises, however pleasant or unpleasant it is, we already have the capacity and skills to dwell in this awareness, which enables us to go through the process as peacefully and calmly as possible. This is the foundation for a healthy future. Thus, we see that pain is inevitable, but suffering is truly optional.”

http://www.parallax.org/mindfulness-as-medicine/

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Neighborhood Pocket Library

IMG_9968

Last weekend, while walking two kiddos I was doing childcare for to a local park, we went past a house that had a small free library in a nice little window doored box on a post in their front yard (pictured above).  It’s a simple concept that I phrase as: Wanna book?  Take a book!  Gotta book?  Leave a book!  Turns out that you can go to http://littlefreelibrary.org/ and learn all about these free libraries and even find out where there are ones in your community around the U.S.

Well, I was so drawn to this idea that I decided to make my own!  You can buy a kit on the website above or simply make it a do-it-yourself project.  So I went to our local home re-use center and found a $5 brown metal cabinet.  After some light sanding, primer, and paint I was ready to go!  I searched through my bookshelf for books to donate to kick it off and even threw in some DVD’s (I came up with 13 books, 9 dvd’s, and 3 kids books).  And around 9:00am this morning I set it up out front of our house on the curb and now it’s open for business!  My good friend Jennifer helped me to come up with names and my favorite was one of her suggestions: Books in the Hood :)

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Everyday Practice

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,