Monday, March 28, 2011

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Happiness

Yesterday, during a conference call for the virtual book club I belong to, #truthchat, we discussed shortly about happiness and the one thing that makes us happy. On today I discovered Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychology professor, who studies happiness in people. He has two books of interest. I have added them to my to-be-read list: "Finding flow: The psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life" and "Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention." Do you know the one thing that makes you happy?

Now here is what you can do since you have read thus far!!! You can click on the link and order the book I have just shared with you. If you really enjoyed reading about this book, share this post on Twitter or Facebook. Don't forget to share you thoughts and comments below.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

As I Lay Dying By William Faulkner

This book can really be described in one simple word, "Wow!" Having never read a book by William Faulkner, I can now say I am a FAN!  Even though the book started off as a challenging read, I am happy to report that I enjoyed it until the very last page.

When I started the book, I didn't know what to expect. Being from North Mississippi and having visited Faulkner's home several times, I really wanted to see what all the "fuss" was about. I checked out the vintage version from my job's library.
"As I Lay Dying" details a journey of a family determined to bury Addie (the mother/wife) in a specific location based on a promise.  The journey to get Addie (which happens to be the name of one of my best friends) is unbelievable.  From the making of the coffin, the accident in the Mississippi River, the flying buzzards, the cement, to the fire, each page draws the reader deeper and deeper into the plot. Faulkner's imagery, similes, metaphors, and other literary elements "brings home" exactly what he wants the reader  to see and feel.  Even though the "N - word" is used within the text, the usage of the word adds to the setting of the story.  Also, thanks to my participation in the 4Ws Writing Institute  I have been taught and exposed to the fact that some writers during a certain time period, like Eudora Welty, used the "N-Word" to illustrate the setting of the plot. Ironically, the vintage edition I read had an Editor's note from Noel Polk, whom I met during the 4Ws Writing Institute.

Additionally, this book possesses so many realistic family issues that the reader connects with the character and begins thinking of family members, who are similar to characters in the book.  The life lessons and realistic issues bring you directly into feeling compassion, anger, and other emotions towards the characters. However, the frequent switching between characters and their point of views was a bit much when I started to book. After my brief vacation from the book, I was able to enjoy the journey of Faulkner's often complex writing style, Southern dialect, and usage of punctuation (or the lack thereof).

For the literary critic, this book is "literary theory heaven." Being a lover of psychoanalysis, I hope to find the time this summer to write a psychoanalysis on some of the characters. I am already thinking of the psychological theories I can use, especially to understand characters, like Addie and Cash.

Finishing this book was the best thing I could have done. Perhaps, my inspiration stemmed from reading "The War of Art" and fighting "resistance." Either way this book was well-worth the struggle through the complexity. I really didn't want it to end. Even the last page of the book felt like the climax and left me yearning for more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Yes, I know the title of this book. No, I did not make a mistake. No, the title should not be "The Art of War," even though that supposedly is a good book.

Thanks to @duchessdi (please follow her) I was able to read the book during my NO Spend Month. She let me borrow it via the Nook application. Technology is amazing. Want to know more about that? That's on my more personal blog. Check it out!

This book is about the control resistance takes when it comes to creativity and being a writer. Even though this book is specifically for helping writers overcome resistance and write their masterpiece, the principles laid throughout this book can be applied to ever day life.

One of the principles that I think of often since reading this book is "If I was the last person on Earth, would I still do it?" Applying this to everything you do can make you stop wasting time on things that truly don't matter. If you wouldn't do it if you were the last person on Earth, then why bother.

The defining principle of how resistance exists was profound. Thanks to reading this book, I  have conquered so much. Instead of looking at the task before hand and thinking I can't do it or won't succeed, I fight the resistance and plunge into it. That helped me complete the work that I desperately needed to finish today. It helped me conquered moving most of my belongings last week. This book helped me unpack several garbage bags and place several hundred books in designated areas. Slowly I will conquer more things and fight the true appearance of resistance.

I highly recommend this book for people, who struggle with procrastination, for people, who really have tasks to complete and the fear of not being able to complete it.  This book is amazing. I am glad that @Veron (a wonderful thinker on twitter) suggested this for our virtual book club #truthchat.  Can't wait for the next book. Oh yeah...make sure you follow him! :-)

What's one thing that you always wanted to do but have be afraid to even begin to work towards it? Post it as a comment on email it to me. I want to help you achieve it! I promise that you need to remember one thing: don't knock it until you try it!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Book Teaser... The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

After reading Literary Marie's Blogpost on Tuesday Teaser, I decided to participate.  Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I turned to page 73.  
Two teaser sentences include: 
"The scariest thing was telling his wife," recalled Onofrecuk. "I was afraid to go to her house by myself, so I asked Zaitsev to come with me."

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