Monday, November 09, 2009

What I'm Reading... (Mini Reviews)

I'm going to do some larger book reviews coming up in the next few weeks, but just wanted to let you know what I'm reading or have read lately--

Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis
by Amy Ferris - I'm completely hooked on this book and am almost finished with it. The author is both honest and hilarious in her look at menopause and being in her 50's. Complete candor, she has no fear to say how she's feeling, what's annoying her, odd things her husband does, and just her thoughts on life in general.

She dropped the F-bomb throughout the book, so if you're a reader who dislikes that word you'll either get used to it by page 7 or be completely annoyed and put down the book (sort of like my mum did when I suggested she watch "Pulp Fiction" - dear God, what was I thinking with that recommendation?)

Anyway, fantastic book! I plan to devote a whole blog post to it because it has some things (such as font size, photos of cats, etc) that I haven't seen with memoirs that I want to discuss.

Final thoughts-- HIGHLY RECOMMEND (while women may like this more than men, I think men with a wife 45ish and up might appreciate having a look into what craziness happens -or may happen- during menopause)


In the world of poetry, I'm reading-

Sharp Stars (American Poets Continuum) by Sharon Bryan.

First a note of full disclosure- Sharon was my mentor at PLU for a year, but I have been a fan of her work for awhile now.

A remarkable collection of poetry full of well-crafted poems with humor, wordplay, and poignancy. Most collections have a couple "clunkers" in them, a poem that just doesn't feel as well-crafted or reworked, but all of Sharon's poems shine. You will not find extra words or anything in the poems that shouldn't be there.

Then, Something: Poems
by Patricia Fargnoli - Another collection of poetry that brings in nature and meditates on aging and life. I plan on doing a larger review on this book as it's one I've really loved reading this year.

Mister Skylight
by Ed Skoog- On the 12th, I'll have a full review of this book. I wasn't a reader of Ed's poetry, so his work and style is new to me. I have favored his shorter poems over the longer ones, so far, but I am not completely finished reading it, so full review to come soon.

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These final three I'm reading are just my kind of books. They are all non-fiction, include some sort of studies in them, and discuss the human thought process or our human experience in them. I love the weird facts they each include and they are what a friend called "edu-tainment" - educational stuff shared in an entertaining way. These are the books where I always learn something and understand myself or the world better because of them.

These make great Christmas presents because 1) you look smart giving them 2) people feel smart receiving them 3) they are gender-neutral - both men and women love them (though if I think I had to choose what gender would prefer them, in general, I might lean towards men- though I've had a few women friends read them and enjoy them greatly)


Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

Okay, I love this book. It has great information (including that the brain needs an afternoon nap- I knew this!) There are 12 principles on how the brain works and how we can improve our minds. While that sounds a little self-helpy (and maybe there is that), it's intriguing to learn these ideas on how our brain functions best.

Like the other 3 books, I'm in the early chapters, but really enjoying this. (Though for some reason, I spent the week referring to it as "Brainwise" and not BRAIN RULES - which tells you a lot about why I am reading this book...)

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Dan Ariely - I'm in the early stages of this book, but already am fascinated about how companies and restaurant market us knowing how humans make choices. Even we might choose a mate in bar (clue: always go to a bar with someone who is just a little less attractive than you, if you want to be picked up!)

This is a quick summary of how the brain works and as I said, I'm still in the early chapters of this book, but already loving it.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubnar - This book is currently receiving pretty poor marks on Amazon, which makes sense to me as it's the follow-up book to the fabulous Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.), a book I loved.

Had others not read Freakonomics first, I think they'd love or highly like this book, but because there is something to compare, it comes in second. I feel this would be a fair assessment so far (again, I'm still on the early chapters of this and I read one review that when the authors hit the chapters on global warming, the books goes off a cliff...), so I'll let you know.

So far though, I'm finding it quite interesting.

For Christmas gifts, start with Freakonomics and move to this for a follow-up birthday gift.

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  1. love hearing about what people are reading :) great list!

  2. Great blog...I love the mini reviews. Thanks for the book recommendations. It's sounds like you're really enjoying these books. I'm currently reading a funny satire about Christmas. It's called "Cancel Christmas" by Rocco Leonard Martino. The book is about how big business thinks that Christmas should be cancelled for economic reasons and starts pulling strings in government to make it happen. I'm really enjoying it!


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