Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fresh Starts, New Beginnings

A Year of exploring interests, ways to change your life, cures for what ails...

A year of reading : a month-by-month guide to classics and crowd-pleasers by H. Elisabeth Ellington and Jane Freimiller
A reading guide, organized around the calendar year, offers descriptions of each book, discussion questions, information about the authors.

A Year of Reading Proust: a memoir in real time by Phyllis Rose
The author describes how Proust's novels led her to understand the art of writing an autobiography, and recounts her experiences as an author, a woman, and a person in midlife.

Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden
Draws on the words of wisdom from ten distinguished poets to explore such themes as the wisdom of dreams, the awakening of wonder, the longing for love, and the courage to live an authentic life.

Weekend to Change Your Life:find your authentic self after a lifetime of being all things to all people by Joan Anderson.
After years of focusing on the needs of others as a wife and mother, Anderson devoted a year to rediscovering herself and reinvigorating her dreams. The questions she asked herself and the insights she gained became the core of the popular weekend workshops she developed to help others like her. This book brings Anderson's techniques to women everywhere, providing a step-by-step path readers can follow at their own pace. Drawing on her own life and the experiences of the women she meets at her workshops, Anderson shows women how to move beyond the roles they play in relationship to others and reclaim their individuality.

Change your thoughts, change your life: living the wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer
Presents eighty-one essays discussing how to apply each verse of the Tao Te Ching to life in the twenty-first century.

Good design can change your life : beautiful rooms, inspiring stories by Ty Pennington
Shares practical design tips and inspirational behind-the-scenes stories from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," counseling readers on how to evaluate their houses from a fresh perspective and implement lasting improvements.

Take a nap! Change your life : the scientific plan to make you smarter, healthier, more productive by Sara C. Mednick with Mark Ehrman
Imagine a product that increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhances your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps you looking younger, aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood, and strengthens memory. Now imagine that this product is nontoxic, has no dangerous side effects, and, best of all, is absolutely free.
This miracle drug is, in fact, nothing more than the nap: the right nap at the right time.

What you wear can change your life by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine
Offers advice for dressing to correct physical flaws and boost self-esteem, discussing such topics as makeup, accessories, and looking one's best while pregnant.

The time paradox : the new psychology of time that will change your life by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd
Reveals how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you, interacting to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies. Calling Dr. Who...

The light of conscience : how a simple act can change your life by Bill Shore
An inspirational meditation on the broader effects of good deeds demonstrates how small acts of conscience or kindness can ultimately shift the balance between good and evil, discussing such topics as parenting, service-related careers, and the personal rewards of good acts.

The Dewey Color System : choose your colors, change your life by Dewey Sadka
What motivates you? What’s your favorite color? Believe it or not, these two questions are inherently linked. And using the groundbreaking, fun, and remarkably accurate personality test in this book, you’ll learn to fine-tune your career goals, improve your communication skills, and deepen your relationships with romantic partners, friends, family members, and coworkers—all based on your color choices.

The Core Program : fifteen minutes a day that can change your life by Peggy W. Brill with Gerald S. Couzens
Outlines an exercise program for women designed to develop and strengthen the body's core muscles, including the back, hip, and abdominal muscles; and to achieve general well-being.

Write it down, make it happen : knowing what you want-- and getting it! by Henriette Anne Klauser
Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D., explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them. Writing can even help you understand what you want. In this book, you will read stories about ordinary people who witnessed miracles large and small unfold in their lives after they performed the basic act of putting their dreams on paper. Klauser's down-to-earth tips and easy exercises are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

How Proust can change your life : not a novel by Alain de Botton
Presents a study of Marcel Proust that combines elements of literary biography, textual analysis, and self-help manual as it examines the French writer's thoughts on true love, vacations, dating, and other issues.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stories of forgiveness and healing

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.

Big Fish a Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace Edward Bloom is dying, and his son William does not truly know him, until William arrives at Edward's deathbed, but since Edward shows no interest in talking to him, William makes up stories that recreate his father's life in heroic proportions.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again.

The Gift by Richard Paul Evans Nathan Hurst hated Christmas. For the rest of the world it was a day of joy and celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight, and an unexpected meeting with a young mother and her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles.

Miracle by Danielle Steel It is New Year’s Eve when the storm of the century hits northern California. In a quiet neighborhood in San Francisco, amid the chaos of fallen trees and damaged homes, the lives of three strangers are about to collide. For Quinn Thompson, what happens in the storm’s wake will bring down a barrier he has built around himself since his wife’s death. For neighbor Maggie Dartman, it will spark friendship at a time when she needs it most. And for Jack Adams, a carpenter who will repair Quinn’s and Maggie’s homes, the storm brings an opportunity: to help two people and to be repaid with the greatest gift of all.

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better -- and to put that plan into action.
The idea that Trevor comes up with is so simple and so naïve that when others learn of it they are dismissive. Even Trevor himself begins to doubt when his "pay it forward" plan seems to founder on a combination of bad luck and the worst of human nature.
What is his idea? Trevor chooses three people for whom he will do a favor, and then when those people thank him and ask how they might pay him back, he will tell them that instead of paying him back, they should each "pay it forward" by choosing three people for whom they can do favors, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward. It's nothing less than a human chain letter of kindness and good will.

The present : the gift that makes you happy and successful at work and in life by Spencer Johnson The Present is an engaging story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a great old man. This Present, according to the old man, is “the best present a person can receive.”
Later, when the young boy becomes a young man, disillusioned with his work and his life, he returns to ask the old man, once again, to help him find The Present. The old man responds, “Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself.”

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler In 1965, the happy Bedloe family is living an ideal, apple-pie existence in Baltimore. Then, in the blink of an eye, a single tragic event occurs that will transform their lives forever--particularly that of seventeen-year-old Ian Bedloe, the youngest son, who blames himself for the sudden "accidental" death of his older brother.
Depressed and depleted, Ian is almost crushed under the weight of an unbearable, secret guilt. Then one crisp January evening, he catches sight of a window with glowing yellow neon, the CHURCH OF THE SECOND CHANCE. He enters and soon discovers that forgiveness must be earned, through a bit of sacrifice and a lot of love...A New York Times Notable Book

This Far by Faith Three tales of complicated mother-daughter relationships.
LaShun Tillman's many blessings haven't eased her pain at being abandoned as a baby. Fate has given her an opportunity to reveal to the world that her birth mother, former supermodel Sariah Langston, has an ugly past. But revenge is never simple—and neither is the truth.
Aspiring actress Jessica Drake lands a bit part in Broadway diva Diana Edmonds's latest show, only to find that her idol has feet of clay—plus a monumental ego. But their strained relationship is changed utterly when a reporter discovers that Jessica is really the daughter Diana thought had died long ago.
Beautiful Sienna St. James has spent her life being pushed into beauty pageants by her domineering, controlling mother, Sable. Now her blossoming relationship with a thoughtful young doctor has inspired her to live her life as she sees fit, even if it means losing everything she's known.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Family Traditions--Presents that are kept and given away

Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By

The daughter of baseball's great Jackie Robinson guides readers through the nine heart-felt, hard-won values that helped him achieve his goals: courage, determination, commitment, persistence, integrity, justice, teamwork, citizenship, and excellence.

Seventeen Traditions by Ralph Nader

One of America's most influential people reflects upon his upbringing in a small town in Connecticut, covering the seventeen "traditions" instilled in him and his siblings by loving but firm parents, which include listening, discipline, and civic duty.

Letters to Sam: a grandfather's lessons on love, loss, and the gifts of life by Daniel Gottlieb
When his grandson was born, Daniel Gottlieb began to write a series of heartfelt letters that he hoped Sam would read later in life. He planned to cover all the important topics—dealing with your parents, handling bullies, falling in love, coping with death—and what motivated him was the fear that he might not live long enough to see Sam reach adulthood. You see, Daniel Gottlieb is a quadriplegic—the result of a near-fatal automobile accident that occurred two decades ago—and he knows enough not to take anything for granted.
Then, when Sam was only 14 months old, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Develop-mental Disability, a form of autism, and suddenly everything changed. Now the grandfather and grandson were bound by something more: a disability—and Daniel Gottlieb’s special understanding of what that means became invaluable.
This lovingly written, emotionally gripping book offers unique—and universal—insights into what it means to be human.

10 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children by Shmuley Boteach
In this compelling book, Shmuley Boteach, passionate social commentator and outspoken relationship guru, walks you through the critical conversations, including: cherishing childhood; developing intellectual curiosity; knowing who you are and what you want to become; learning to forgive; realizing the importance of family and tradition; being fearless and courageous. As a father of eight, Rabbi Shmuley speaks from a wealth of experience.

Wisdom of our fathers : lessons and letters from daughters and sons [collected by] Tim Russert
After the publication of journalist Russert's book about his father, he received thousands of letters from people who wanted to tell him about their own fathers, ordinary men who were remembered and cherished for some of their best moments-of advice, tenderness, strength, honor, discipline, and occasional eccentricity. Most of these daughters and sons were eager to express the gratitude they had carried with them through the years. Others wanted to share lessons and memories and, most important, pass them down to their own children. This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and to understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child.

The treehouse : eccentric wisdom from my father on how to live, love, and see by Naomi Wolf

The book begins when Naomi asks Leonard to help build a treehouse for his granddaughter. Inspired by his dedication to her daughter's imaginative world, Naomi asks her father to walk her through the lessons of his popular poetry class and show her how he teaches people to liberate their creative selves. Drawn from Leonard's handwritten lecture notes, the chapters of The Treehouse remind us to "Be Still and Listen," "Use Your Imagination," "Do Nothing Without Passion," and that "Your Only Wage Will Be Joy," and "Mistakes Are Part of the Draft." More than an education in poetry writing, this is a journey of self-discovery in which the creative endeavor is paramount.

What Mama Taught Me by Tony Brown
Accrediting his mother's teaching through his own individual life lessons, the author introduces seven core values designed as a personal guide to achieving success, obtaining happiness, and enjoying prosperity.