Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Library Loot April 13,2011

In the past when I went to the library I was like a kid in a candy store. I would grab off the shelves left and right- after all, they were "free!" Sadly, I would reutrn a good portion of those unread. Now I'm a little more sensible in how many I check out. While I still check out to many- they're "free!"- I am able to read nearly all I bring home BEFORE their due dates.

Library Loot is a weekly event co hosted byMarg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from the Captive Reader that encourages bloggers to show what great books they were able to check out from their local libraries. I love this event because I see books that I know are readily available now not something I will have to wait weeks for to come out.

Here's what I chose this week:

No drinking. No smoking. No cursing. No dancing. No R-rated movies. Kevin Roose wasn't used to rules like these. As a sophomore at Brown University, he spent his days drinking fair-trade coffee, singing in an acapella group, and generally fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional.

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just before her baptism, and just before going home to the husband that will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about...angels.

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parent's murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice's daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen- who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and to see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.

But then the state's attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself...and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from pop culture about how to be happier.

Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manners of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her-and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising-she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely: that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference-and they range from the practical to the profound.

Have you read any of these? Let me know honestly whether you liked them or not!

The Post in Which I Amend a Book Rating...

I am starting to realize it's not a good thing to write a review immediately after reading a book. Up until now that is what I have tried to do- write a review while it's still freshest in my mind. But I've come to the conclusion that like good chili, it's best if I let it simmer all day, bubbling around in my mind.

A week ago I wrote a review on Room by Emma Donoghue. I liked the book and I gave it a 3/5 star rating, but I fear I did it an injustice. Since reading the book I have not been able to quit thinking about it.

The longer I ruminate on Room the better I like it. It is a very thought provoking book. So thought provoking in fact that I decided to nominate it for our May book club read because I wanted to explore this novel with others and hear their opinions on it. Luckily it made it's way through the vote up against other great sounding reads so I will get the opportunity to hear what my fellow Bookies opinion of the book is.

My amended rating? I'm moving it from a 3 star book to a 4 star book. It didn't initially blow me away like a 5 star book needs to do, but it is definitely 4 star material.

I'm interested in your thoughts. Do you write posts on your books right away or do you let them brew for a while? And have you ever changed a rating either up or down on a book you've read or reviewed?