Category Archives: For The Love of Books


I’m between books right now. I’m out of town during the next two Book Club meetings so I don’t feel a pressing need to read those books; I’m going to Quebec for the first time and wanted to read about it but neither book I bought is terribly interesting; I was going to read Outlander because I’m enjoying the TV show so much, but then I heard the audiobook was amazing and now I’m waiting for it to arrive from the library. I have a stack of self-help books on my nightstand (one about losing weight and three about getting organized). I have stacks of books to read, maybe one of those organization books can give me some hints on how set up my reading list?

In the meantime, I will share this list of quotes about reading (after admitting I was drawn to it by the photo of a very young David Bowie reading a book) – Why We Read

And sign off with this quote from Haruki Murakami (and found on that article): If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.


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Visiting a Friend

April 9 – 10, 2009
Augie Odenkirk had a 1997 Datsun that still ran well in spite of high mileage, but gas was expensive, especially for a man with no job, and City Center was on the far side of town, so he decided to take the last bus of the night.

Starting a Stephen King novel is like settling in for a long visit with a dear, if slightly odd, friend.

What I think of this particular story should be irrelevant to others; I am a fan, have been since I read Carrie when I was still in my teens and after reading his book On Writing I became his #2 fan (I’m letting Annie Wilkes keep her claim on #1).

Mr. Mercedes does not have supernatural scares, but that is, in many ways, scarier than the stories that do. I was slow to commit to reading this book because of that, but when I learned that the next Stephen King novel will be something of a follow-up to this one, I knew I didn’t want to miss two in a row so I started over – and finished the 436 pages within a week.

Looking forward to my next visit.

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Shifting Gears

I started this blog with the idea that our book club (or are we a book group, note to self: figure out the difference) could use it to communicate, or at least to keep an up-to-date list of when and where future meetings are being held as well as what book we’re reading.

Hasn’t turned out that way.

I’ve considered abandoning the blog completely, but something keeps drawing me back; and every time I finish reading a book I think about what I want to write about it.

So I release myself from the responsibility to keep track of the Brooklyn Book Group (club?), rather an over-statement since no one but me gave me that responsibility, and, instead, I will write about what I’ve read, what I want to read, and noteworthy book related things I’ve seen.

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Can’t Make Today’s Meeting

Unfortunately, my situation changed and I won’t be able to attend today’s meeting. I spent yesterday with a sick 15-year-old, half the day at Urgent Care to attempt to make sure it was a stomach virus, not meningitis (someday I’ll write a book about my lifelong fears of meningitis and schizophrenia). Near the end of the visit, the dr. described my daughter as ‘very contagious.’ I don’t know yet if I’m stricken, but I won’t be exposing anyone until I have certainty I’m not.

A comment on the book, something I think I’d like to explore some time in the future. I really like the writing, but I’ve had a difficult time connecting/reading. Previously I gave up on about page 16 (far too early to give up on a book!), but I took it with me to Urgent Care yesterday and made it to 56. The feeling continues – I genuinely enjoy the writing, the people are interesting, I’m learning a little snippet of history I know nothing about (always a plus)… and, yet, I’m not driven to read it. Last night, when my daughter insisted I sit next to her while she slept on the couch (and we all know the days of that happening are very numbered), I chose to watch a series of movies instead of continuing to read (a silly romantic comedy, all 3 episodes of Masterpiece Classics’ The Bletchley Circle, and a Japanese film called Time Traveler).

I am very curious as to why the successful components do not add up to a compelling whole.

But that’s a question for another day, in the meantime, here is what I watched (except for the rom-com I won’t admit to):

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Time to Leave the Beautiful Singing in My State of Wonder

Finished reading Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto several days ago, yet the book still sits on my nightstand because I haven’t been ready to leave it behind.

After 310 pages immersed in the lives of Ms. Patchett’s characters, a mere seven pages was not enough time for me to prepare to leave.

I could see how many pages were left, it isn’t as though it was a movie where I hadn’t kept track of time and was completely surprised the ending was so near. But I still have that sense of sitting in the theater as the credits roll and I’m saying “…wait… I’m not ready…”

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Self Helpless?

Oh the allure of a siren’s promise to fix me just by reading a book… My shelves hold titles that seem to promise a healthier, happier, more organized, and better paid life – if only I read them and applied their message.

Not only do I already own many unread self-help books, I also regularly check them out from the library, usually in large groups on a single subject. Most recently I decided I only need more willpower to make everything right. A little searching (started at Amazon but quickly had so many books in my cart that I knew it was time to go to the library website and put some on hold to try before buying).

I started with Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy, at only 128 small pages, it’s a great length for a self-help book. The idea of concrete steps to improvement is promising – and the title is great. But by Rule 3 (Apply the 80/20 rule to everything), I was reading stuff I already know and remembered, I don’t need to know WHAT to do, I need to know HOW to make myself do it, which took me to:

Why Don’t I Do the Things I Know are Good For Me?: Taking Small Steps Toward Improving the Big Picture by BJ Gallagher. The first chapter instructs me to begin by noticing when I most struggle with I Should vs. I Want To. I’ve set the book aside to take the time to do that noticing. Which doesn’t make sense because I’ve been noticing this for years! It’s when I should be working but want to play Words of Wonder (forget Words With Friends, waiting on people to take their turn doesn’t work for me, and simply refuse to get entrapped by Candy Crush so I can continue to scoff at those who do) or when I should be going to bed but want to watch a little more mindless television. Knowing this, I suppose it is time to move to the second chapter? Quit procrastinating and eat the frog already?

Also waiting for my attention before they have to be returned to the library:
White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control by Daniel M. Wegner.

We Have Met the Enemy: Self Control in an Age of Excess by Daniel Akst. Described as A witty and wide-ranging investigation of the central problem of our time: how to save ourselves from what we want and starting with a quote from Camus. What’s not to love? But why was it re-released 11 months after its original publication date retitled Temptation: Self Control in an Age of Excess? And why does one have a picture of a donut-bomb and the other a cat eyeing a bird in a cage? Aren’t those two totally different messages?

Maybe I should stick with my original search:
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. instructor of the acclaimed Stanford University Course The Science of Willpower.


Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength: Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. Apparently Mr. Baumeister if a pioneering research psychologist and Mr. Tierney is a New York Times science writer and together the have collaborated to “revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted human virtue: self control.”

Search the word Willpower on Amazon and you’ll find many more equally fantastic titles. Maybe after I give up on these I’ll try Willpower: The Owner’s Manual – 12 Tools for Doing the Right Thing by Frank Martela, Ph.D., especially since I just bought it for my Kindle (it’s was $2.99, has 10 reviews that average 4.8 stars, and is only 111 pages – what more could I ask?).

Maybe I should I add to my earlier list that when I Should be reading the books I already have, I Want To shop (to purchase or check out) new titles.

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Revisiting Cloud Atlas

First I watched the movie and I was confused, yet curious.

Next I read the book which I thought was easier for having the illustrations of the movie. Although I did ask myself a few times “who is the Tom Hanks character in this one?”

Last week I watched the movie again (less than a month from the first time I watched it) and I am now confused about completely new things. The book is only obvious in its reincarnation theme on the comet birthmark – or is it that I only caught the obvious? Was the Hugh Grant character supposed to be the same person he played later in the film or is that movie-making license? And our first pair, Adam Ewing and Dr. Henry Goose, have they really “evolved” to be Zachry and Meronym?

I want to read the book again with pen and paper nearby and track clues to answer this question. Instead I am headed to the internet to see what others think.

My first stop:

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Filed under For The Love of Books, See The Movie, Read The Book