Thursday, June 8, 2017

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7 Books Stephen King Recommends

7 of Stephen King's Favorite Books



One Good Turn


Retired millionaire Jackson Brodie comes back in this book by Kate Atkinson, the events in the book are set two years after “Case Histories.” Brodie followed his girlfriend and former client to Edinburgh for the summer arts festival, where he witnesses a brutal attack in bumper to bumper traffic! Jackson is once again thrown into several mysteries that come together to one sinister scheme.



While this novel by Margaret Atwood is a love story, it is a sobering vision of what the future could hold. Snowman, or Jimmy before a horrendous plague overwhelms humankind, struggles to survive in a world where he could be the very last person alive. What will happen to Snowman, and all of humanity? Stephen King recommends you read this novel to find out!


The Yiddish Policemen’s Union


Michael Chabon gives us a great mystery, a love story, exploration of the mysteries of exile, and a call back to 1940s noir in this great book! It is about the Federal District of Sitka and the Jews that have created their own little proud haven. The story follows homicide detective Meyer Landsman. A murder is committed in the same shabby hotel Landsman is staying in, and a life of being a detective means that he has to get to the bottom of this murder, with it happening right under his nose.


In this Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Junot Diaz, we follow the story of Oscar. He dreams of being the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien, and most of all, to find love. But, the overweight and ghetto-nerd Oscar may never get what he desires because of the fukú, a curse that has been in his family for generations. Will Oscar write that book he dreams of? Will he find the love of his life? Mr. King says to read this book and find out!


American Gods






In this story from Neil Gaiman, we follow Shadow, a man with a past. He no longer wants anything more than to live out a quiet life with his wife. But, when Shadow finds out his wife is killed in a horrible accident, he flies home for the funeral and meets “Mr. Wednesday” on the plane. He knows more about Shadow than he possibly should. Shadow’s life is never the same after meeting Mr. Wednesday and is warned about the storm that is coming.


2666: A Novel 


 This book from Roberto Bolaño tracks a New York reporter, a widowed philosopher, and a police officer in love with an older woman, who are all in Santa Teresa searching for hundreds of women who have disappeared over the course of a decade. This novel has received huge praise from critics. Washington Post says that Bolaño joins the immortals with his writing in this book. It is an absolute must!


After looking at these books, and knowing that Stephen King recommends these books, I know what I’ll be reading for a while!
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

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5 Books to Improve Your Health

5 Books for improving your health

There are many things we can do to improve our health and feel better.  Here are a few books to help begin that journey, and get you on the road to a happier, healthier you!

Stress Management for Beginners


In this book, you’ll learn how to defeat negativity and overcome stress with simple exercises, techniques, and the power of meditation. It was written for any who would like to become the least stressful version of themselves. You can replace all that stress and negative, wasted energy from your mind with something active and purposeful. The book includes tips and tricks to manage and deal with your stress, which can be a fantastic first step to improving your health!


Breathe


This book by Belisa Vranich covers a 14-day program to improve your mental and physical health. Contemporary science confirms that breath awareness can turn on the body’s natural ability to prevent and cure illness. It talks about conscious control of breathing, and how it can increase energy, healing, improve cognitive skills and enhance mental balance. Would you like some way to increase energy, help lose weight, and feel calmer and happier? Just “Breathe”!


The Big Book of Health and Fitness


This book about taking control of your health and well-being by Philip Maffetone is essential for any age group seeking a way to become healthier and happier. It describes how to make healthy dietary choices, get the most nutrition out of real food, and how to learn to listen to your body. It includes surveys and step by step examples of each topic he discusses. This book is more for those that have already decided on a healthier life, but it talks about the negatives of intense workout and goes against that “no pain, no gain” attitude you see a lot. If you have already decided on a healthier and happier lifestyle, get this book!

Health: 37 Daily Habits


This book by Linda Westwood provides you with 37 different daily habits that can change your health and your life for the better! It explains these practices, and why they’re beneficial to your health, followed by a step-by-step action plan. With these habits, you can start living healthy, begin seeing massive positive changes in your health within days, and you’ll actually WANT to eat healthy foods. Include these habits in your daily life, and you will never feel exhausted and tired during your day!


Walking for Fitness



In this comprehensive guide by Faye Froome, you will learn how walking can improve your health and well being forever! This book contains a lot of tips and ideas to add a little bit of walking to your life. One of the things I do to get those extra steps in is to park at the back of the parking lot, not as close to the store as I can find, when I go out and about. Just those few extra steps during a busy day of errands can burn a lot of calories! Walking can have a positive effect on mood, improve heart health, and not to mention burn calories and increase the metabolism! So, pick up this book, and go out walking for a you that feels healthier and happier!
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Monday, February 20, 2017

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Famous Music Inspired by Books

Famous Music Inspired by Books



Tao Te Ching



In the song “The Inner Light” by the Beatles, George Harrison was inspired by the writings of Lao Tzu and took the lines “Without going out of my door, I can know the ways of Heaven” and wrote the song. The song includes sounds and lyrics inspired by the far east.





Faust



The song “The Small Print” by Muse takes the point of view of the devil from Goethe’s Faust. The original title of the song was “Action Faust,” and in the song, the Devil is referred to as “the priest God never paid.” We listen to the tale of the exchange for a soul manipulated by the Devil.





The Lord of the Rings



Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” is one of my absolute favorite songs, with direct references to the book throughout the song. The band has a few Tolkien references, but this song even includes the lines, “t’was in the darkest depths of Mordor” and “But Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her.” An amazing band with a love for an amazing author!



Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


In the song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, the references to the book are clear. The song includes the “hookah smoking caterpillar” and the red queen who’s “off with her head.” Lead singer Grace Slick says the song is about her observation that parents tell their children not to take psychedelic drugs, yet read them stories obviously influenced by drugs. Remember the dormouse that says “Feed your head.”



1984



David Bowie had planned to write a musical in the 70’s based off 1984 by George Orwell, but Orwell’s wife did not want that. But he did wind up writing a few songs inspired by the book, but the one influenced by the book most was the song with the same title. It’s believed the lyrics represent the main character of the book, Winston Smith, being questioned by the antagonist, O’Brien.



One Hundred Years of Solitude



The song by Radiohead called “Banana Co.” is about the book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and discusses the unfair treatment of the people and land in the town of Macondo by a banana plantation. The revolt by the workers is directly reflected in the lines “Everything’s burning down, We got to put it out somehow.”



The Grapes of Wrath




Bruce Springsteen’s song “The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a modern-day look at the novel by John Steinbeck, talking about the sorrows of Americans down on their luck. The song even includes some paraphrased lines from a famous speech made by Tom Joad, “Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air, Look for me mom I’ll be there.”



Perfume



The book, “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Suskind talks about a man born without odor, and his endeavor to find the perfect scent by murdering and preserving the scents of numerous women. This story has influenced heaps and heaps of songs, but the most famous one is “Scentless Apprentice” by Nirvana. A line is directly referencing the book and the main character, Grenouille says “His smell smelled like no other.”


If you love music as much as I personally do, you’ll be just as excited to give a try to these books! I’m always interested in what gets people inspired, and with these books, you can see what has appealed to some of our best musicians!

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Monday, January 30, 2017

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4 Books for Beginning a Healthy and Nutritious Lifestyle


Many people would like to begin eating healthy and nutritiously, but they are not sure where to start. There are a lot of good books out there to help in that endeavor! You can make it fun and delicious to start eating a healthier diet (and you can get the kids in on it too!), and these books will show you how.

Nutrition Healthy Diet: The Power of Healthy and Nutritious Eating


This book by Edwin Garret is a must! It explains in simple and easy-to-understand terms, a lot of those things that so many of us struggle to grasp. Understanding saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, and all of those fats is a huge step in the right direction. It also talks about how food interacts with your body, how to improve your gut health, and even includes six steps to maintain healthy living for long term results. This book will be a good place to begin, and get you started down the healthy living path!

Body Shout: A Kids Health Book About Why Eating Nutritious Food, Fitness, and Fun, Works Best for Everyone!


Would you like to get the kids involved in your quest to a nutritious and healthy lifestyle? This book is fantastic for just that! It’s written by P.C Butler and it’s entertaining and educational. It’s a quirky short story about those things you do everyday, and how they affect the body. The book shows kids the importance of making healthy food choices in a fun-for-kids style. Parents find this book amusing as well, so it makes a great beginning to your children’s nutrition!

Simple Clean Eating: 50 Favorite Whole Foods Recipes to Start Your Healthy & Nutritious Meals


Now that you understand some of those terms and ideas behind healthy eating, and your kids have learned more about it, you need some help in making the food, right? Look no further! This book by Emma Rose gives you a lot of recipes for some healthy cooking, and includes tips to help you create your own nutritious meals! It has a lot of vegan-based recipes in it that, even though I’m not a vegan, I love!

Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally Delicious and Nutritious Freezer-Friendly Recipes You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy at a Moment’s Notice



Something I love to do is to make sauces and parts of my meal in advance, so I can just put them together and prepare in a short time. This book can certainly help you with that! You can make very nutritious meals ahead of time, and simply reheat them, and serve! One of my favorite things to do in (that sneaks in so many veggies) is create a large amount of my own spaghetti sauce, and freeze a lot in jars. Tomatoes, onions, bell peppers in abundance, but without all those preservatives and extras that you don’t need in your food. You can even enlist the help of family to make dinner! Check this book by Michele Borboa out when you can, and begin your journey to healthier, more nutritious meals!


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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5 More Books to Spike Your Creativity

5 More Books to Spike Your Creativity


Creativity Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


This book by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Studios is a book for anyone who strives for originality. In it, he says the book is “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.” It is a book designed more for managers to help their teams strive for creative and new ideas, but it holds great ideas to spark your creativity, as well. The book also talks about Pixar’s rise, and how they started from humble beginnings. It’s a great book to get inspiration and ideas to tap into your creative side!


Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative



Austin Kleon says that you don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. This book has illustrations, examples, and exercises to put you directly in touch with your artistic and creative side. This book is filled with new ideas about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas and remix and re-imagine to discover your path. “Steal like an artist” just means that nothing is completely original. “All creative work builds on what came before.” One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Remember: even the Beatles started as a cover band.”


The Little Spark - 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity


This great book by Carrie Bloomston has some great ways to ignite your inner fire with engaging exercises, activities, images, and ideas! In it, you will find how to find your creative “Little Spark” and capture it. You can use this book as a spare-time reader, read it cover to cover, or even as a 30-day creative map! You can even use the book as a guide for creative activities, just to get those “sparks” going to a full fire of creativity! It’s filled with all sorts of nuggets of spark-fuel, so read it and go out and create!


Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind


This book by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire is based on Kaufman’s groundbreaking research and Gregoire’s famous article in the Huffington Post. It takes a glimpse into the “messy minds” of highly creative people. The book shows how embracing our own contradictions (mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play), we can tap into our deepest creativity! With insights from Picasso, Proust, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Edison, John Lennon, and more, this book is a must-read!


Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All


Sometimes, we all assume that creativity and invention are only in the “creative type” domain, but that is incorrect! Each and every one of us has that creativity inside, and Tom Kelley and David Kelley show us how in this book. The founder and partner brothers talk about how to unleash the creativity that lies within all of us that is just waiting to be tapped! If you struggle with creativity and innovation, this may be just the book you need to read.


In case you need more inspiration, be sure to check out the first post we wrote on this topic, about the first 5 titles that can assist you in growing your creativity: 5 Books to Spike Your Creativity.


Image credits: Pixabay
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Saturday, January 7, 2017

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8 Celebrities and Their Favorite Books



8 Celebrities and Their Favorite Books


We all love to watch the celebrities and keep up with all the gossip about them. One of my favorite actresses loves a book called “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” by David Foster Wallace. Zooey Deschanel loves the book because it talks about a cruise in the Caribbean and the irony of the lack of fun Wallace had on the cruise. So, I wondered what some other celebrities enjoy reading.

Anna Kendrick’s favorite books are “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, which talk about German soldiers stresses in WW1, and how they felt detached from civilian life upon their return home. Another is “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, a satirical novel about the experiences of WW2. The book describes living through the bombing of Dresden by the Allies during the war and surviving that event as a prisoner of war.

Jamie Chung’s favorite book is “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson. The book was written in 2012 and talks about identity and propaganda in North Korea. It’s written in two parts, The Biography of Jun Do and the Confessions of General Ga.

Jessica Biel loves the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Tender is the Night.” It’s the final book that Fitzgerald would complete. Biel says “It’s tragic, and I think tragedies might be good for you.” The book talks about a glamorous couple and a villa in southern France, and the troubles the couple has, and an affair with a movie star.

James Franco's favorite book


For those that love James Franco, his favorite book is “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner. His father gave him the book when he was in High School during a period that Franco was getting into trouble. He says the book is what caused him to love reading. The book describes the death of Addie Bundren and her family’s journey to take the body back to Addie’s hometown.

What does Daniel Radcliffe read?


Daniel Radcliffe was on Amazon.com and saw this book in a recommended section. “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov tells the story of the Devil visiting the very Atheist Soviet Union. The book is set in 1930’s Moscow, and the Jerusalem of Pontius Pilate. It is widely considered to be one of the best novels of the 20th century!

A 5th-grade teacher and long-time friend of Halle Berry suggested that Berry read “Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime” by J. California Cooper for advice. It became one of her favorite books. The book is a collection of fictions written by one of America’s most respected women writers.

I always wonder what actors and actresses like to read in their spare time when I watch them acting on the big screen. The story Franco tells of a time of trouble in his life, and how a book helped him through it is inspiring to me! I know for sure that I will be reading a few of these in the coming months.
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Friday, December 2, 2016

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Strange History, Bathroom Readers Institute (Review)

Strange History


This was one of the weirdest books I ever had the chance to read. I got it for free from Netgalley, but this isn't the whole point. The fact of the matter is that I didn't know what review I should have written about Strange History, in the end. It was a strange and sometimes disgusting collection of stories and anecdotes about certain famous characters who might have existed or not. At times, I wasn't sure whether or not I was reading something inspired by real events or if the stories were snippets of the imagination of the person who had put them together.

Was it worth it?

By all means, it was an entertaining read. However, I found that I needed something else at the same time because otherwise, I would have gone crazy. This isn't literature, so don't expect anything else than a rather large selection of strange facts and stories. The ones that I found to be most entertaining always involved animals, music, and sometimes robots. As you can tell from this short description, the book is somewhat diverse, and so you won't get to feel bored.

The only thing that I couldn't say I liked about it is that it took me approximately four months to finish reading. Sure, it's interesting, and I'll give it that. Nonetheless, I feel like it would have been a lot more reader-friendly if it had been published in two separate volumes. It's also not one of those books that you can take with you everywhere you go, especially if you make the mistake of buying the paperback or hardback. I was fortunate enough to receive a complimentary ebook, but I believe that the physical copy has to be around 500 pages long. Therefore, it's not particularly recommended for constant travelers unless they have the habit of taking their e-book readers with them.

Some stories are extraordinarily light whereas others are downright gripping. I must admit that I don't think I ever found such a mix in any other book. Even so, the greatest advantage of this book is that it has something for everyone out there. You just have to be fascinated by some story or the other.

This was my very short opinion about Strange History. I'm really sorry I've been MIA for a couple of months, but I was busy with my job. You know how life gets in the way of things and the same happened to me.
Continue reading Strange History, Bathroom Readers Institute (Review)