Tag Archives: literature

Revealed! Book Club Choices for July. Such Great Books.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

Have You Ever Read Anything That Made You Think, “I Must Change My Life”?

A friend showed me the poem “The Archaic Torso of Apollo” on her phone, and told me, “I read this, and I know I want to change my life.”

I read it, too. That last line! It swept me off my feet.

Have you ever read anything that made you think, “I must change my life”?

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

 

gleams in all its power. Otherwise

the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could

a smile run through the placid hips and thighs

to that dark center where procreation flared.

 

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced

beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders

and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

 

would not, from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place

that does not see you. You must change your life.

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

That final line! Rarely have I read a single line that was so powerful in its context.

Need a Spark of Creativity? Try Annie Dillard’s Method.

Of a period where she was working on a difficult book, writer Annie Dillard recalled:

“Some days I read part of any anthology’s index of first lines. The parallels sounded strong and suggestive. They could set me off, perhaps.”

–Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I thought this sounded like a great idea to spark creativity — loose associations, unexpected juxtapositions, suggestions of thoughts ready to be completed.

For instance, here are the entries under the letter “I” in the “Alphabetical List of Titles and First Lines” from English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology.

  • I arise from dreams of thee
  • I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers
  • I had a dream, which was not all a dream
  • I met a traveller from an antique land
  • Indian Serenade, The
  • In London, September 1802
  • In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy
  • Introduction (Songs of Experience)
  • Introduction (Songs of Innocence)
  • In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
  • Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil
  • I saw a chapel all of gold
  • It is an ancient Mariner
  • It keeps eternal whisperings around
  • I travelled among unknown men
  • It seems a day
  • I wandered lonely as a cloud
  • I wnated thro’ each charter’d street
  • I was angry with my friend
  • I weep for Adonais–he is dead!
  • I went to the Garden of Love

 

This list sent my mind racing — how about you?

For more idea for boosting creativity, here are 7 tips I use to spark my creativity.

What are some strategies you’ve found, to give yourself new, fresh ideas?

Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Excellent Books to Read in June.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British by Thomas Fuller

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder edited by William Anderson

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Terrific Books to Read in May.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore.

Or my favorite, visit the library! In fact, for my second episode of “A Little Happier” — the new 2-minute mini-episodes of my podcast I’m doing each week — I talked about how much I love going to the library. Listen here.

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais and Valerie White

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?