Our love for books has been well documented around here but the truth of the matter is that some of my absolute favorite books are children’s books. Shel Silverstein is such a lovely writer and the little poem above is a famous of his shared in one of his collections. Children’s books have a tendency to include little lessons and things that the author felt it would be important to teach them. Frequently ideas that are encouraging or inspirational and often in a way that is simplistic and accessible (effortless). I wonder if that isn’t exactly what adults need too. Because when I read this poem, it really does remind me that amazing things are possible.
Entries Tagged as 'Books'
Thursday, November 15, 2012
For the Love of Friday- Well Read
Friday, August 31, 2012
Usually in the summer I have lots of extra time on my hands so I get to read a ton of books. It is definitely one of my favorite things about the season. Somehow this summer that did not end up being the case. But I thought I could share some of the books I did read and/or started to read and what I thought in case anyone is looking for a recommendation.
~ A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway- I started this book some time after I finished reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which was phenomenal. A Moveable Feast was not published until after Hemingway’s death and consists of his memoirs from the same timeframe in which The Paris Wife was based. I thought it would be interesting to have two different perspectives on the same time period. Unfortunately, I never finished reading it because he wrote mostly about people he met on the street and his friends instead of discussing his relationship with his wife. I guess I just wasn’t that interested and he lost me. I am sure I will finish some day.
~ Game of Thrones- I started this as well but never gave myself enough time to get into it. The story is very complex with lots of groups of people and characters and I was always reading too many other books at the same time. I feel certain I will enjoy it once I am able to focus on it so I am pushing this to my Fall reading list.
~ The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - This is a beautiful but very sad story about the life of an 11 year old girl as the earth’s rotation starts to slow down. It was touching and written in a way that made each sentence feel special. It made me cry but the most important thing for me was that I felt moved.
~ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- I just started this book and I am already in love. I can tell this will be read quickly. On the second page of text there was a paragraph that hooked me completely and I knew I was in deep.
“You are amongst them, of course. Your curiosity got the better of you, as curiosity is wont to do. You stand in the fading light, the scarf around your neck pulled up against the chilly evening breeze, waiting to see for yourself exactly what kind of circus only opens once the sun sets.”
I love that she talks to the reader as if they are there in the story. Good paragraph, ya’ll.
~ Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness- This book is the sequel to one of my Halloween books from last year called A Discovery of Witches. While I liked A Discovery of Witches somewhat (was not in love), I am growing to despise this book. Maybe I am just at a boring part but it puts me to sleep everytime I open it. I am not giving up and will add it to my Halloween book list for this year.
~ Deadlocked by Charlene Harris- This is the 12th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, which HBO’s True Blood is based off of. They have all been light, easy and entertaining. Some more so than others. This one was pretty good and exactly what you would expect.
~ Replay by Ken Grimwood- This was about a man who re-lives his life over and over but each time he comes back he starts at a later point in his life. It is very interesting and thought-provoking and really made me think about the way we live our lives, the choices we make, and what is ultimately important. Highly recommended.
I have started a list of books that I would like to read or finish for Fall with a separate list of books to be read starting in September for my Halloween book tradition.
Halloween books for this year include:
~ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
~ Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (only 76 pgs)
~ Shadow of Night- may as well finish the dang thing.
~ Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith- Sure, why not.
~ Game of Thrones- finish it.
~ Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay- recommended by several friends but seems like it is going to be very sad.
Do ya’ll know of any books I need to add to my list?
Happy Friday!! Make sure to take some time to decompress and read a lovely book this weekend. Preferably in bed.
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To Kill A Mockingbird
Thursday, August 16, 2012
So I realize I am pretty late to the game on this one, but I recently finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. Initially, I had a little trouble getting into it but by about page 75 I was hooked. By the time I had finished it, it had pretty much knocked my socks off. I guess there is a reason it is a classic. Since finishing it, the story has continued to occupy my thoughts. Although it touches on many exceedingly relevant political and social issues, one of the main topics in the book is that of prejudice. Though I hate to say it, I have realized that we as a society are still plagued by many of the same issues that the characters in the book were dealing with in a story set in the 1930s. Despite coming ridiculously far since then in the areas of science and technology (We are pretty much the Jetsons), I am not sure we have made as much progress socially in overcoming prejudice and creating an environment where tolerance, kindness, and understanding are considered vital. The most interesting part about the book for me was that it was told from the perspective of a 6 year old. Her views on the events happening in her town and country and her reactions to statements made by the adults around her were very poignant to me. It made me think (although I am surely no authority on the workings of the human mind) that prejudice is something that is learned. We are taught by observation of actions and statements of people around us. Luckily for Scout, she had a role model like Atticus to teach her the importance of treating everyone equally despite what peers and other people in the town were saying. Unfortunately, not every child is so lucky and it is human nature to be easily influenced by stimuli around us.
Image credits 1 2 3 4
However, just thinking about the idea that each person is born as a clean slate free of prejudice makes me feel hopeful for the future. It has also made me thoughtful about my own prejudices and consider actions I have taken and statements I have made as a result. If you have not read this story in awhile, I highly recommend you read it again. It really is a wonderful book.
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Thoughts on Empathy
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The other day, I was having a discussion with my mom, as we often do, about how our weeks had been going. We both noted that, disappointingly, we had been having experiences with people who seemed to be lacking in their ability to empathize. She mentioned an article that she had recently read about how research shows that an overall decline in reading is a possible contributor in the decrease of people’s ability to empathize. I thought that this was very interesting and decided I wanted to do some research of my own. So I got to reading some articles and research studies on the topic and found that there could be some truth to this hypothesis. In summary, without going into a lot of technical information about neurology and how the human brain functions, research has found that by reading books (particularly fiction), people are able to learn and improve their ability to empathize. Our brain has a very comparable reaction to reading something as it would if we were going through the experiences ourselves. Along with this, reading has been shown to be the one true way we are actually able to experience the feelings and thoughts of others. This has been shown to be particularly relevant in the minds of preschoolers, where a correlation has been indicated between the amount of stories read to them and their ability to understand the intentions and emotions of others.
Another study done at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor show that almost 75% of students today rate themselves as being less empathetic than students did 30 years ago. Adding that to the fact that the number of adults who read for leisure has dipped below 50% for the first time in the past ten years, particularly in college age individuals.
As someone in the heathcare field, I know as well as anyone that research studies can be skewed in any number of ways and can often be unreliable. I also realize that as a great lover of books and reading, my opinion may be biased. But with the number of studies all pointing in the same direction, it definitely gives us something to think about.
What do ya’ll think? Do you think that reading could help teach us all to be a little more empathetic?
Some articles sourced include: