Thursday, December 10, 2015

10% Happier, by Dan Harris, is a great report on meditation, and how it can actually be practiced without magical thinking, etc.  As a newsman, Mr. Harris is ever-skeptical, but his journey as described in this book is a very convincing endorsement for this practice.

Thankfully he reports scientific evidence, and interviews many practitioners of many faiths (debunking the mystical and religious association of "Enlightenment" as the goal) and really comes to describe a health measure of great benefit.  He even concludes the book with an appendix of no-nonsense guides to the practice, vetted by well-known meditation teachers.

The moral of this story is just to sit quietly and pay attention, to the breath, and to those thoughts that will arise, but not defeat us as we recognize them as just thoughts and part of our human "monkey minds" that are just going to think.  While Dan Harris explains how he began to tame his thinking patterns, and to derive greater focus, we also see how he can embrace this "peace-lovin' hippie" practice and not lose his edge as a successful and timely reporter, while gaining emotional resilience in light of the suffering of the world that it is his job to report.

I loved this book!  It was not annoying, and just funny at times and serious as well.  Although I do not try to convert folks to meditative practice, being not so good at it myself, I do believe that this is a right course for humanity as we all strive toward maturity and good sense.  Much gratitude to Dan Harris for writing this book, and for sharing an invaluable gift, without wrapping it up in a mysticism that detracts from this goal of simple self-care.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Read  a nice little book about unrequited love, An Unexpected Guest, by Anne Korkeakivi.  I just happened to see it on the book shelf at the library, and checked it out. 

Oh my goodness, if it is not satisfying to read about a love that meant so much, yet that those involved were able to move on and create meaningful lives despite the heartache.  Add to this the  intrigue of an ambassadorship and past political unrest, and there results a story that captures the attention as well as the heart.

Resolving the past is never an easy task, and this lovely story adorned with the pleasant details of arranging a state dinner, makes the journey a significant one.  Perhaps we are all this important, like statesmen and their families, as we create our lives that build upon the past by each meaningful day, with secret treasures of memory in our hearts.

This book does transition between past and present nicely, with all accompanying emotion.  The characters are interesting to say the least, and the involvement of the readers' emotions with the allure of mistakenly unrequited love is ever-entertaining, or at least I think so.  Some readers might not be interested, but I enjoyed it, and was glad to have read it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Well, I finally read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I'm so glad that I did.  It is one of those books that is full of surprises, as characters grow and develop, and life is incredibly difficult, as it is.  Ms. Moyes does have such a way of creating characters for whom the reader becomes incredibly concerned and emotionally attached.

By no means do I want to make this book any less exciting by explaining why and how the characters do what they do, as the element of surprise is crucial to the oddly life-affirming story that is also quite heart-wrenching.

Have not yet read the sequel, but am so much looking forward to it.  While the emotional investment in her novels is quite high, this is probably what makes them so endearing.  I love the fact that she draws very real-seeming people very precisely and true to the form that she invents.

So, yes, I do love emotional "chick-lit" and think that everyone should read it to warm the heart and grow as a human!