Day 65 Question 65:
What are some of your favorite books/book reccommendations?
Throughout my life I have been the type of person to read excessively in spurts. I will read an insane amount of books in a short period of time (maybe 3-4 weeks) then I won’t read anything (with the exception of magazines or Internet articles) for months and months. I am trying to be better about this. I am so interested in a million different things (books, documentaries, exercise/fitness) that sometimes I just can’t seem to squeeze everything I want to do in one day. I do love my sleep so I am not going to give that up. ;0)
Fairly recently I went through a reading spell and I read some really incredible books. It inspired me to write this entry because I wanted to share these recommendations with my readers in hopes that they would return the favor. I am a sucker for a good book…a book that you could start and finish in one day (it doesn’t have to be that way but you know what I mean). I figured we could do some swapping of ideas. Below are some books I have read recently and some I have read quite a long time ago. I thought I would include a synopsis of every book so everyone could get an idea about the premise and decide if they wanted to jump in. Each book played with my heart strings in some way or another…they were/are all books that I didn’t want to put down once I picked them up. If you decide to read any or all of these books I would love to hear your take on them (especially The Power of Now and The Art of Happiness-these are my absolute 2 favorites-I am going to reread The Power of Now starting this weekend). I really want your book recommendations as well. I am really into sci-fi too much but if it is something that completely caught your attention then I am totally willing to check it out. I want to expand my horizons and potentially open another door to another world that someone else has introduced to me. Who knows, maybe I could find another new love or another new passion for a subject I never thought I would have interest in.
So here we go (in no set order):
1) Running with Scissors (The movie did not at all compare to the book) by: Augusten Burroughs-Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
2) Hunger Games Trilogy-Suzanne Collins(I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE FIRST MOVIE TO COME OUT)-The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of the current nations of North America, in a nation known as “Panem.” Panem consists of a rich Capitol, located in what used to be The Rockies of North America, and twelve (formerly thirteen) surrounding, poorer districts which cater to the Capitol’s needs. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol wherein twelve of the districts were defeated and the thirteenth destroyed, every year one boy and one girl from each of the remaining twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery and forced to participate in the “Hunger Games.” The Games are a televised event where the participants, called “tributes,” must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The winning tribute and his/her corresponding district is then rewarded handsomely.
3) Lord of the Flies-William Golding-In Lord of the Flies, British schoolboys are stranded on a tropical island. In an attempt to recreate the culture they left behind, they elect Ralph to lead, with the intellectual Piggy as counselor. But Jack wants to lead, too, and one-by-one, he lures the boys from civility and reason to the savage survivalism of primeval hunters. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding gives us a glimpse of the savagery that underlies even the most civilized human beings.
4) Being Zen-Ezra Bayda-We can use whatever life presents, Ezra Bayda teaches, to strengthen our spiritual practice—including the turmoil of daily life. What we need is the willingness to just be with our experiences—whether they are painful or pleasing—opening ourselves to the reality of our lives without trying to fix or change anything. But doing this requires that we confront our most deeply rooted fears and assumptions in order to gradually become free of the constrictions and suffering they create. Then we can awaken to the loving-kindness that is at the heart of our being. While many books aspire to bring meditation into everyday experience, Being Zen gives us practical ways to actually do it, introducing techniques that enable the reader to foster qualities essential to continued spiritual awakening.
5) The Art of Happiness-The Dalai Lama(This is my 2nd favorite book in the whole world)- “Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, the very purpose of our life is happiness, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” H.H. the Dalai Lama, from The Art of Happiness. So popular and so rarely understood, this Nobel Peace Prize winner and man of great inner peace brings to a general audience the key to a happy life. In collaboration with a Western psychiatrist, The Art of Happiness is the first inspirational book for a general audience by the Dalai Lama. Through meditations, stories, and the meeting of Buddhism and psychology, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood. He discusses relationships, health, family, and work to show us how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness crosses the boundaries of all traditions to help readers with the difficulties common to all human beings.
6) The Power of Now-Eckhart Tolle-There are four key themes in Tolle’s book, none of which is particularly revelatory in its own right, and all of which owe much to Buddhist, Zen and Taoist teachings: The ‘ego self’, or ‘mind’, is not the ‘true self’. We are all part of the Great Unity, or Ultimate Source, and to recognise this fact and drop the illusion of separateness and self is the key to enlightenment. Time is an illusion, and we should learn to live in the present or ‘eternal Now’. Our attempts to gain primary fulfilment from external pleasures – be they material possessions, political or work-related power, success and recognition, or even the perfect loving relationship – carry with them an equal likelihood of pain and disappointment. By contrast, real fulfilment is an inner ‘state of being’. However, the power of Tolle’s message lies in how he combines these traditional themes, and explains their implications without resorting to esoteric jargon or – by contrast to the apparent hypocrisy of many supposed gurus – allowing it to be obscured by the inflation of his own ego. To summarize, he suggests that our minds are conditioned to think in terms of past, present and future. This means that we are constantly preoccupied with looking both backwards and forwards – in fact anything rather than focus on the present, the here and now. So we focus on the past because this is what gives us our sense of identity, and what has led us to the life circumstances that we currently face. And we focus on the future because this is where all our dreams, hopes and fears will play out.
7) Oh, The Places You’ll Go-Dr. Seuss-This last book I thought I would just copy in so you can read it right here right now. Yes, it is a “children’s” book but once you read it you will realize that the message is really for all people. It is a book that reminds us how life really is and what we are all capable of. All of the children that I have been a nanny for have received this book as a gift from me and I plan to buy this book for any other children that become a significant part of my life.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by: Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!