Book Review

Book Review: Yoga for the Creative Soul

I have loved yoga since junior high. Not only does it make me feel better physically, but it’s also great for helping alleviate my anxiety. Yoga is something that I recommend to everyone, so I was pleased when I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Yoga for the Creative Soul: Exploring the Five Paths of Yoga to Reclaim Your Expressive Spirit by Erin Byron. Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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This was much different than I expected, but I really enjoyed it. It provided a very balanced approach to yoga, and I loved how it focused on more than the physical aspects of yoga. There are many additional exercises for the brain that broaden how yoga is viewed in terms of mental awareness and those psychological benefits of yoga. This book is definitely capable of helping a creative person tap into a deeper level of their creativity. My one criticism is that the ebook did not have any pictures, and I think that visual aids could help with some of the poses. Still, it was a very interesting read and I felt more empowered to do yoga and explore its many benefits.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for both a beginner to yoga as well as someone with more experience. It is much different than every other yoga book I’ve read because it really targets the mental aspect of yoga.

 

Book Review

Book Review: In the Kingdom of Ice 

I rarely review nonfiction, but recently my library book club read a really great nonfiction book: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides.

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Before reading this book, I had never heard about the USS Jeannette and I can’t say I was terribly interested in learning more, but I really loved this book and felt so invested in finding out what happened. This was both a tragic event and a demonstration of human strength an resilience. After their ship was irreparably damaged, the captain and crew forged ahead in an attempt to reach Russia and civilization.

The beginning of this book was very slow, and I found it hard to pay attention to the details about naval history and the designs of various ships. However, once the expedition actually started, I felt sucked in and really engaged with the arctic adventures of the captain and crew. Additionally, there are many examples of letters that the captain’s wife wrote during his journey. These added a great human element, and I enjoyed learning more about her as well.

I would definitely recommend this book to history lovers. It was informative and engaging and deals with an interesting historical event that I don’t think most people know much about.

Book Review

Book Review: Wordcatcher

I am such a nerd when it comes to books about words or the origin of words. I just love the English language. So, I loved Phil Cousineau’s book Wordcatcher.

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This book was a fascinating exploration of the origin of many common words. To be honest, a lot of books like this are kind of dry and have to be read slowly, but Cousineau does a great job at adding levity to this subject. His entries for each word are relatively short but contain a lot of fascinating information. Personally, I loved reading about the word origins for “fornicate” because I even learned some additional history from this entry.

I think that all word nerds will love this delightful book. It’s almost like candy – small bon bons of word knowledge instead of a really dense dessert that takes a month to get through. This book can be digested easily and quickly.

Book Review

Book Review: Manners

When I was in junior high, I checked out every book on etiquette that I could. I remember scouring that section of the library and checking out every Emily Post or Miss Manners book. I was take them home and read them and pretend that someday I would grow up to be one of those effortlessly chic women with tons of confidence and impeccable manners. I would go to a different dinner party or gala each weekend, and I would know exactly how to behave and what to wear. Now that I’m an adult – I can assure you that I did not become one of those women. I’m far too anxious and awkward. Still, a girl can dream.

I recently read the book Manners by Kate Spade, a phenomenal designer.

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I’ve always loved Kate Spade. She has the perfect blend of classic minimalism and exciting whimsy. Her designs are amazing, so I was so excited to read this book with a more personal flair. I was not disappointed. The book Manners was peppered with fantastic personal anecdotes while still giving lots of practical advice. There’s truly something in here for everyone. Even the most well-mannered etiquette expert would still enjoy fun facts interspersed in this book. Something about this book gave me hope that maybe the adult version of myself that I used to dream about could still come true someday with a little effort. We’ll have to see.

Book Review

Book Review: My Sweet Angel

I’ve been reading a lot of true crime books recently, and I came across this well-written book: My Sweet Angel by John Glatt.

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This book tells the true story of Lacey Spears, a woman convicted of murdering her son as she suffered from Munchhausen’s by Proxy. Glatt does an incredibly job at telling this story. Unlike many true crime books that start with the crime and reveal details as they were revealed during court, Glatt tells the story linearly. He begins by talking about Lacey in her pre-motherhood days and goes linearly through time until we reach her conviction. I thought this was a very effective way of showing us the progression of Lacey’s decline. She was clearly ill before she was even a mother – there is a lot of evidence that she was obsessed with and hurt other children – but things escalate after she has her own child.

Glatt’s research shows the many lies that Lacey told over the years. She seemed obsessed with being the center of attention, and she used social media to find bigger audiences. She manufactured tragedies to get more and more sympathy. Lacey is a truly fascinating person, and I’m still curious as to whether or not she believes her own lies. Unfortunately, she hurt people to get this attention, and her poor son died as a result of her actions. The evidence definitely shows that she murdered him deliberately. I will say that this book was very hard to get through because of the subject matter. I’m not even a mother and I found it emotionally devastating to read, so I imagine it would be even harder for most mothers to read. Still, Glatt is one of the best true crime writers out there, and I’d love to read more of his style.

Book Review

Review: The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

I love going to art galleries and museums, but sometimes I do feel truly baffled by some contemporary art. However, when my best friend found this book and suggested I give it a read, I found that it started to make a bit more sense. I think art lovers and those still on the fence will both enjoy The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson

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There was something really mesmerizing about this book. I think it was just fascinating to learn more about the business side of art which deals with people who are able to spend more on a piece of art than I will probably earn in my entire life. The book deals a lot with the difference of cost and worth and shows how marketing and jealousy can really work to a an artist’s advantage when selling art.

I can’t say that I will enjoy contemporary art more after reading this book, but I do have more of an understanding and appreciation for it on the whole.

 

Book Review

Book Review: Creating Magic

Have you ever been to a theme park run by Disney? If so, it was probably a pretty magical experience. I remember going to Disney World when I was seven and being just enamored by everything, and I’d love to go back some day.

Disney has thrived as a company for a very long time, and so I was intrigued when I saw a book called Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a  Life at Disney. This book was written by Lee Cockerell, a former executive at Disney, and it is an astounding read for anyone who works in a leadership position.

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This book contained some of the most practical advice about leadership that I’ve ever read. It was incredibly inspiring, and it helped me to feel a little better about my own situation because it helped to renew my focus of providing the best version of myself for my coworkers and customers. Work places are incredibly varied, but I believe that this book has a little something for everyone. It does contain some Disney-specific anecdotes, but there are many principles that can apply to anyone who leads any number of people in any context. I believe that even leaders in non-customer service-oriented industries can benefit from this book because it focuses so much on communication and employee treatment.

I appreciated how quick of a read this was. It didn’t get bogged down by jargon. Instead, it was very accessible and fast-paced. I also just really loved that the focus was people, customers, communication, and employee satisfaction instead of just the bottom line of profit. The book explains why top-down management just doesn’t work anymore, and it provides some excellent alternatives. I am not in management, but I do train people, so I still found that this book was very helpful even if I was not it’s target audience. If you have any sort of leadership role in your work and you’re feeling a bit flustered or stuck, I would definitely encourage you to read this book.