The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

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I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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What Should We be Teaching our Future Generations?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about some vital skills our future generations will need to survive on our planet.

 

Photo via Visual hunt

Our kids are going to inherit this messed up world we inhabit and they’ll inherit all the problems our greedy society has created in our quest for more. More money. More possessions. More power. More. More. More.

 

Photo via VisualHunt

The thing is we’re teaching our kids that striving for more is the only way to be. It’s not.  We need to teach our kids the concept of enough and the concept of balance.

 

Why?

 

Because being in Striver mode all the time is not good for our health.  If we continue in Striver mode and we continue to reproduce at the rate we are, we’ll soon be fighting over smaller and smaller space. We’ll be producing more trash and our landfills will overflow. This is a problem. By any chance did you see the movie “Wallie?” The Trailer is below.

 

 

In the movie, humans have to leave earth and move out into space into a floating world because earth is no longer able to sustain life. It’s covered in garbage and all the humans are too heavy to move or exercise. It’s an awesome movie and I’d recommend watching it with your kids if you get the chance.

That’s where our society is headed if we don’t start taking care of our planet and each other. Haven’t you heard? Obesity is an epidemic.

Photo credit: colros via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

We need to teach our kids to slow down and take care of themselves.  Because we’re in Striver mode, we eat fast food and processed food. We do this because it takes less time to prepare and gives us more time to work. What happens when we reach that pinnacle of success? We have more money than we ever dreamed of, but we can’t enjoy it because we don’t have our health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Sad.

We need to slow down and teach our children to garden and how to cook for themselves so they can control what they put in their mouths. By doing this, they control their health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

  We need to teach our kids to be fair. We can do this by teaching them to empathize with their fellow man. Empathy? How do you teach that?  By encouraging a love of reading.  By reading about different characters, our kids step into their worlds and learn about them.

 

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The more knowledge and tolerance they have for others, the better they’ll be at getting along with their peers. A vital skill when space is becoming smaller and smaller, wouldn’t you agree?

Reading you say? Yes reading. It’s also an awesome coping mechanism when you’re dealing with stress. Just an FYI. 🙂 Sadly, it isn’t a cure-all. We need to teach our kids how to communicate, using I messages so they can resolve conflict without a lot of negative feelings.

These Negotiation Skills will be in high demand in the future.

How can we teach this? By having our kids interact with their peers. Don’t let them play video games all day long. Don’t let them use their phones as their only means of communication.  Arrange play dates and get them outside, playing games, and solving their own conflicts.

Photo via Visualhunt

 

Last but not least. Teach them a love and respect for nature. Walking in nature is good for you. It’s called “Forest Bathing.” This practice originated in Japan, and there’s scientific proof it’s beneficial. Something I’ve known for a long time, but didn’t know there was actual proof of it.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

“A 2010 research review found that forest environments promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments. [6]

Forest environments have been found to be advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress.[7]

Nature isn’t just good for you, we as a species need the trees and the bees in order to survive. The bees are our biggest pollinators. Thirty percent of our food crop depend on them to grow and ninety percent of our wild plants depend on them to flourish. That’s a tall order for those tiny bees wouldn’t you agree?

Photo via Visualhunt

And trees? They provide oxygen. It takes TWENTY-TWO trees to provide enough oxygen for one person. There are 7.442 BILLION people on earth. That’s a lot of trees. Now do you see why it’s important to have a love and respect for nature?

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

So there you have it.  My view on some of the essential skills our kids will need to survive on a shrinking planet. Are there any vital skills I’ve missed? Share your thoughts!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of summer I used to love. However, I’m old now and the heat isn’t quite as much fun. Thank God for Air Conditioning! 🙂

It saddened me this week when I learned of Chester Bennington’s death. For any of you who haven’t heard, he was the lead singer of Linkin Park and he committed suicide this week.

 

It just breaks my heart that someone who gave so much to the world struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was further saddened when I found out that Chester was abused when he was a child by an older male.

I’ve done a little research on alcohol and drug abuse and it’s my opinion that the majority of addictions stem from abuse. Either emotional, physical, or sexual. I believe an addiction is a form of self-medication that has run amuck.

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Addiction is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So we as a society need to stop treating addiction like it’s something to be ashamed of. We need to support our addicts and help them get better. How do we do that?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Good question and I’m glad you asked. 🙂

We need to treat the underlying cause of the addiction. We need to get our loved one into therapy so he can deal with the abuse he has received. Once we give him coping mechanisms for that abuse, the need to self-medicate will disappear.

I know it sounds so easy, but we all know it’s not. Dealing with the shame, fear, and anxiety this abuse causes is extremely hard. Abusers are smart. They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to speak up and stop them. A fine example of this is the documentary, “The Keepers.” I know I’ve mentioned this one a number of times, but I’ve got to say I’m amazed by the outpouring of support the victims of Father Maskell have received. There are over one hundred thousand members in their Facebook group and the majority of members offer support to the victims who are willing to speak out about the abuse they’ve experienced.

Their goal is to get the Archdiocese to release their files on Father Maskell. They’ve got a petition going where they are asking the Bishop to release the files. If you’d like to sign the petition, click here:

Petition for The Archdiocese to Release Files on Father Maskell

They’ve got about forty thousand signatures and they’re hoping to reach fifty thousand.  This is a step in the right direction. The church needs to be held accountable for hiding the abuse and not turning the pedophiles into the authorities.

There are other forms of abuse that priests and other members of our society are involved in as well. I’m talking about human trafficking. Recently, I watched the documentary, “I am Jane Doe.”  Here’s the link to the trailer.

I am Jane Doe

Teens are being taken right off the streets and sold online. They are forced to have sex up to twenty times a day. It’s happening in every state in the US. It’s not just a problem overseas. How do we stop this?

By arresting the people who pay for this kind of thing. Once you eliminate the demand there’s no one to buy the product. I know easier said than done. (I think I’ll save this one for another blog post. It deserves its own.)

Photo credit: dualdflipflop via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is another form of abuse that will lead to addiction if these victims don’t get help. These victims did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, but our society engages in victim-blaming quite often. So not only are they dealing with trying to come to terms with what happened to them, they’ve got society pointing an accusing finger as well. So you see how easy it is to slip into self-medicating behavior?

Once we step forward and stop the victim-blaming, we’ll be able to provide these people with the counseling and help they need. This is a huge step, I know. There are so many abused people in the world today. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any ideas on what more we can do to stop this horrific abuse? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Parenting, Teen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Is Processed Food Poisoning Us?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the food we eat. I just watched a documentary titled, “What the Health.” It was eye-opening to say the least. To check out the documentary click the link below.

What the Health 

In this show, the producers claim it is the meat we eat that’s causing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They feel the public has been misinformed by all the health organizations who encourage us to eat meat. Their spin on the whole thing is these organizations accept donations from the meat industry and therefore, act as advertisers for it.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

I watched the documentary in its entirety and it did make me question whether or not their claims could be true. There were people interviewed on the show that were taking all kinds of medications for diabetes and heart disease and after two weeks of eating a plant based diet they were either off all medications or on their way there. They interviewed doctors who all claim that meat is the cause of many of our society’s sicknesses.  The popular theory is that all the pesticides and preservatives in our meat are causing these life changing illnesses.

The way our food is processed has come under attack before. In the documentary, “Fed Up,” it illustrated how sugar is added to our processed foods, like canned tomatoes and other vegetables (See the link to the trailer below).  It’s added to our soda and cereals as well.Now sugar is just empty calories, so if we’re adding empty calories to our diet, what happens? We store those calories as fat and now that we’re a more sedentary society, we don’t burn off those extra calories. Where does that lead us? Obesity. What happens when we’re overweight? We’re at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Trailer for “Fed Up”

 

Photo via Visualhunt

 

We are literally poisoning ourselves with the food we eat. How sad is that? So what’s the answer? Well according to the producers of “What the Health,” we need to eat a plant-based diet. But where will we get our protein you ask? From nuts and beans.

 

I’m going to try and eat a more plant-based diet and see how I feel. How about you? Do you feel the way our food is processed is making us sick? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

**** On a side note, there were some conflicting claims between the two documentaries so keep that in mind if you watch them. 🙂

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Have you Outgrown your Critique Group?

 

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’d like to talk about writing. I haven’t done a post on the craft in quite a while and I know it’s time.  In this post, I’m discussing critique groups. Are they beneficial to writers?

 

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A good group is invaluable to a fledgling writer as long as they’re offering constructive criticism. Unfortunately, not everyone offers that. There’s always one person in the group whose main purpose is to just criticize. If they tell you your writing stinks but can offer no advice on how to improve it, then ignore them. Remember there’s always one 😉

What happens when you’ve gone to the group for a while and the only feedback they can give you is your story is good. This is awesome to hear, but it’s not constructive to improving your writing. Now, maybe your story is that good.

Or maybe, you’ve outgrown the group. They can’t move you beyond your current skill level. This happens and it’s not a bad thing, but if you want to continue improving you need to move on. It’s hard because you’ve developed relationships with these people and some have even become friends, but in order to grow, you must join a new group or find an expert who can tell you where your story is weak.

The question is, how do you tell when you’re ready to move on?

Here are some guidelines. The first one we’ve already discussed, but it bears repeating.

  1. When you get positive feedback, but you feel there’s still something missing in your story.

 

  1. When you leave the group meeting, frustrated because you didn’t receive any valuable feedback and this has been going on for quite some time.

 

  1. Your skill level has grown so much that you’ve become the expert in the group. Remember the old saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room. You’re in the wrong room.” That applies to writing groups as well.

 

The second one is the biggest indicator. When you’re feeling frustrated, it’s time to move on. Now I know your next question is move on but where to? That’s when I’d make my way to social media and search for some experts. One that I’ve found to be invaluable is Kristen Lamb. The link to her blog is below.

http://authorkristenlamb.com/

Kristen Lamb — Photo

 

Check her out, I’ve found her classes to be helpful as well as her advice.

In a few words, Kristen Lamb delivers.

 

There are other experts who can help you as well. Follow the hashtags #amwriting or #ontheporch on twitter and you’ll meet all kinds of experts who you’ll be able to establish a relationship with and go on from there.

Another expert who comes to mind is Angela Ackerman. Check out her website.

http://writershelpingwriters.net/

 

 

She offers all kinds of advice on the craft of writing and she’s frequently on Twitter chatting with writers. These people will help you hone your craft and if they can’t, they’ll be able to direct you to a person who can.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any advice for writers trying to improve their craft? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Making Connections with Social Media

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m going to talk about making connections, but first, I want to let you know I finished my novel!! Whoo! Hoo! (Wipes Sweat from Brow) Now to get it off to my Beta reader to see what she thinks. Hopefully, she likes it (crosses fingers).

Photo credit: discoodoni via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

 

But enough about that. Let’s get back on track and talk about connections. In this day and age of social media, we’re able to connect with people we haven’t actually met. Our circle of influence has grown exponentially. This is a good thing, especially if you’re trying to make a name for yourself whether you’re a writer, or trying to become a social media personality.

Photo credit: Visual Content via Visual hunt / CC BY

          When I say social media personality, I think of Kim Kardashian. Before she was a social media personality, she didn’t produce anything. After she became famous, she developed her own clothing line and I believe she has a makeup line as well. So how did she become famous? Her mother strategically leaked a sex video of her and an old boyfriend on social media. Instant Fame.

Another example of this is Logan Paul. He’s a video personality who became famous by making short clips on the social media site, Vine. He has over twelve million Instagram followers and has now branched out into acting. He’s in the movies “The Thinning” and “Chainsaw.” It would’ve taken him much longer to break into acting if it hadn’t been for social media. Click the link below to check him out.

Logan Paul’s Official Youtube Site

 

Social media is changing the climate of our world. It’s bringing us closer to people we would’ve never met. It’s closing the gap between celebrities and the common man, by turning the common man into a celebrity.

It’s also allowing people to come together for a cause. Now, we’ve always had this ability, but with social media people from all over the world can communicate about something they all believe in. For example, after the documentary “The Keepers” aired, their Facebook Group exploded. In fact, they had to shut down the group for a few days. It’s back up and has over ninety thousand members, all of them expressing their horror over the murder of Sister Cathy and the abuse that occurred at the school. There are people from all over the world in the group. Without social media, there’s no way they would all be able to get together and share their theories and show their support for the victims.

Image result for the keepers

          So, you’re asking, what is the point you’re trying to make, Lisa?

A fair and good question. My point is, social media is a way to garner power. That’s right.  I’ll use “The Keepers” as an example. One of the investigators posted in the group a request to write a letter to the Archdiocese asking them to release the files on Father Maskell (the priest who’s accused of abusing students).  Now, it’s hard for the Archdiocese to ignore letters from ninety thousand people. Can you imagine getting that many letters making the same request? Even if only half of them sent letters, that’s still forty-five thousand letters.

Photo via Visualhunt

          They can’t ignore them. For the first time in a long time, the common man has a tool to fight against people and institutions who hold power. This is incredible and I’m following “The Keepers” to see where this all goes.

Social Media, when used properly, is a tool that can help keep those in power in check. It can also help an introvert become famous, but  just like any other tool, it can cause damage as well. So use your tools for good and not evil.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about Social Media and the Trends that are happening in our world? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

Posted in Parenting, social media | Tagged , , , , , , | 49 Comments

My Summer TBR Pile

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. My first week of my summer break has flown by. I finished my WIP and I’ve been through one phase of editing. I’m going to give it one more read through before I send it to my Beta reader.

 

I am so excited about this story!

 

But enough of that. 🙂 I’ve put together my TBR Pile for the summer. Squeee!

The downside of that is I won’t have time for housework. Sigh.

I’ll have to find a way to live with that. Somehow. (Places hand over heart and wears a sad expression…for about three seconds!)  😉

So here it is! Dun…dun…dun….

 

Lisa’s Summer TBR Pile

 

The Heretic’s Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel by [Kent, Kathleen]

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family’s deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

 

Winter Garden

 Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

 Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

The Tiger’s Wife

 The Tiger's Wife: A Novel by [Obreht, Téa]

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Bookand the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

 

Rush Home Road

Rush Home Road: A Novel by [Lansens, Lori]

 

When 5-year old Sharla Cody is dumped on the doorstep of Addy Shadd, a 70-year old woman living in a trailer park, Addy does not know how completely her life is about to change. She’s hardly used to company and the troubled Sharla is not the sweet, beautiful angel she had envisioned. Over time, Addy and Sharla form a bond that neither of them expected-and Sharla begins to undergo a transformation under Addy’s patient and loving care. But much to Addy’s surprise and dismay, Sharla’s presence brings back memories of her own tumultuous childhood. As she reminisces about her days growing up in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid 1800s, she remembers her family and her first love and confronts the painful experience that drove her away from home, never to return.Brillia ntly structured and achingly lyrical, this beautiful first novel by the award-winning author of The Girls tells the story of two unlikely people thrown together who transform each other’s lives forever.

 

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by [Kingsolver, Barbara]

 

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters—the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

 

 

The Kitchen House

 The Kitchen House: A Novel by [Grissom, Kathleen]

In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic: A Novel by [Hoffman, Alice]

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

 

 

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

 

When Breath Becomes Air by [Kalanithi, Paul]

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE WASHINGTON POST • THE NEW YORK TIMES • NPR

BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD FINALIST

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

 

Girl in Pieces

Girl in Pieces by [Glasgow, Kathleen]

Fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places will love the New York Times bestselling novel Girl in Pieces.

A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

 

Touching the Wire

 

TOUCHING THE WIRE: Auschwitz:1944 A Jewish nurse steps from a cattle wagon into the heart of a young doctor, but can he save her? 70yrs later, his granddaughter tries to keep the promise he made. by [Bryn, Rebecca]

 

“He had no way to tell her he had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope.”
A fictional story of every man and woman interred in Nazi death camps throughout the Second World War, this novel is based on real events.
Part One – In the Shadow of the Wolf
In a death camp in 1940’s Poland, a young doctor and one of his nurses struggle to save lives and relieve the suffering of hundreds of women. As their relationship blossoms, amid the death and deprivation, they join the camp resistance and, despite the danger of betrayal, he steals damning evidence of war-crimes. Afraid of repercussions, and for the sake of his post-war family, he hides the evidence but hard truths and terrible choices haunt him, as does an unkept promise to his lost love.

Part Two – Though the Heavens should Fall
In present-day England, his granddaughter seeks to answer the questions posed by her grandfather’s enigmatic carving. Her own relationship in tatters, she meets a modern historian who, intrigued by the carving, agrees to help her discover its purpose. As her grandfather’s past seeps into the present, she betrays the man she loves and is forced to confront her own guilt in order to be able to forgive the unforgivable and keep her grandfather’s promise.

 

So there you have it! My TBR Pile for this summer. I’m hoping between my writing and my family, I’ll be able to get them all read. I just finished one that’s not on this list because I’ve read it already. 😉  It was very good. 🙂 It’s titled “The Sugar Men.” If you like WWII stories, then this one’s for you! 🙂

 

How about you? Do you have any books you just can’t wait to read? Share them with me! I’m always looking for a good story! Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

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