Saturday, May 16, 2015

I just wish this was one of your books and you could re-write the ending.

Shifting away from fiction today!


Shadows at Dawn by Karl Jacoby
The subtitle to this is "A borderlands massacre and the violence of history." It tells the story of an attack on Apache Indians on the border between Arizona and Mexico. What was extremely interesting about this book is how Jacoby set it up by telling the stories of the four different populations that lived in the area and how unbiased he was as he explained each groups' actions and motivations. It felt like a very well-documented, not sensationalized portrayal of a terrible event.

But it was extremely difficult for me to read. I don't think I had the necessary mental capacity at the time, but it also was pretty dry.

I recommend it with major reservations.

Quiet by Susan Cain
Cain writes about introverts and how they interact in the world around them. This is particularly important because as she sets it up, she explains how our American society is "The cult of the extrovert" where extroverts are praised and lauded and held up as the model of how you should be. She explains the research and findings and some concrete things that introverts need to do in order to manage their activities in the world around them. One is to make deals with yourself -- like ok, I will do two social things every week, and then when you have met that quota you get to stay home and recharge by reading/cooking/whatever. And I realized, I already do that! Rocks in the jar! I am awesome.

This was a great read. Very easy and clear and informative.

I highly recommend it.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Re-read. Just as awesome the second (or is it third?) time. Everyone should read this book. Let's change the world!

Everything Changes by Kairol Rosenthal
Subtitle: The insider's guide to cancer in your 20s and 30s.

Rosenthal was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 27, and that launched her into a project to interview other 20 and 30 somethings (anyone from 20-39) who had been diagnosed with cancer and who were dealing with the treatment and life that comes after the diagnosis.

It's hard for me to write a review of this that separates the book from my personal experience over the last four months. And the last eight years, really.

So for me, very personally, this was a hard-hitting book. In the interviews, all of the cancer patients expressed my feelings. I finally felt like someone gets it, and that I'm not alone in feeling this way about so many different aspects of life.

I also ended by wanting everyone to read this book, selfishly because I want there to be more empathy in the world, and caringly because I want young people to take any symptoms seriously and get screened early. Rosenthal's fact is that 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year, and they are far more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer because often their symptoms aren't taken seriously by medical professionals who don't think they could have cancer that young, or because they don't have enough access to doctors.

I highly recommend this book. Especially if you or a young loved one has cancer.

Anticancer by David Servan-Schreiber
Continuing a theme: Dr. Servan-Schreiber is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 30. His book has two premises: 1. Everyone has microtumors that develop in their bodies. We want to keep those from turning into cancer. We can do it by taking care of our "terrain." 2. If we've been diagnosed with cancer, we need to take care of our "terrain" to make the treatments most effective and to prevent a relapse.

As a doctor and scientist, this book is very grounded in scientific studies and does a very good job of explaining them clearly. In the first half of the book, I got very very upset about how we are destroying our planet, how we have ruined our food supply, and how clearly that connects to all of our illnesses (not just cancer). But as he moves into the second half, he has very clear and direct instructions on how to best take care of our bodies, even in the world we live in.

I highly recommend it. Even if you haven't been diagnosed with cancer. It's mostly a treatise on how to live healthfully.

There's still more! Stay tuned. 
Tracks by Robyn Davidson
I am Malala by Malala Yousafazai
Two or Three Things I know for Sure by Dorothy Allison

How to Expand Love by the Dalai Lama
Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron
No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron

The Eight by Katherine Neville
Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
The Song of the Lioness Series (Numbers 1-4) by Tamora Pierce
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Emily of New Moon by LM Montgomery
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne
The Look of Love by Sarah Jio
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

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