Health, Mind & Body

10/19/2011 - 8:16am
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I decided to read this book because I’ve always been interested in the Dalai Lama. I really thought The Art of Happiness would be more focused on understanding Buddhist principles; instead, it’s a peculiar mix of Eastern religion meets Western medicine.

Co-author Dr. Howard Cutler is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Phoenix, and the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist monk. It’s amusing to see two very different approaches to achieving happiness. The Dalai Lama’s approach to achieving happiness is more of a holistic, spiritual system that focuses on improving oneself using the power of the mind. Dr. Howard Cutler takes more of a back-seat approach in which he listens to the Dalai Lama’s suggestions and gives input about modern psychological approaches used in the United States.

08/24/2011 - 7:14am

Most people know David Byrne as a musician, with the Talking Heads and as a solo artist. In his three-decade career, Byrne always managed to incorporate a diverse collection of international influences in his sound.  In Bicycle Diaries, he has found an equally engaging role as a worldwide cultural critic. The book is much more than a travelogue though. It is a grand celebration of how people live, observed from the seat of a two-wheeler as it whisks through city streets worldwide. It is made up of meditations on art, politics, architecture, and so much more.

When biking through a city, one is more agile than a car, faster than a pedestrian, and taller than anything that isn't a Hum-Vee or on horseback. You see details that others can not, providing a wholly unique perspective of how this particular city works.

03/08/2011 - 3:31am
The Disappearing Spoon

Chemistry appears to be the coldest, most sterile field of science, breaking down all the values that we as humans hold most dear. When we look close enough, these basic drives of ours, love, money, entertainment, courage, are just the combinations of different elements. Thanks chemistry, for sucking the fun out of the party.

But Sam Kean’s new book, The Disappearing Spoon, manages to take the history of the periodic table of elements, that impenetrable fortress from your high school chemistry class, and relate some of the most amazing, unbelievable, hilarious stories that have ever existed.

Almost episodic in nature, the crux of each story is often how a particular element was discovered, and then how humankind has chosen to put it to use. Sometimes it is for public welfare (copper is used on doorknobs and stair railings because most bacteria that land on it die with in a matter of hours), other times for warfare (high demand for the metals used to construct cell phones have contributed to five million deaths in war-torn central Africa since the mid-90’s).

01/07/2011 - 8:27am
If you like The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.  Available for adults, teens, and kids.

If you liked The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, you may also like:

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
This inspirational fable...has been a runaway bestseller....The charming tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who dreams of seeing the world, is compelling in its own right, but gains resonance through the many lessons Santiago learns during his adventures. He journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where a fateful encounter with an alchemist brings him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment. The story has the comic charm, dramatic tension and psychological intensity of a fairy tale, but it's full of specific wisdom as well, about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams. The cumulative effect is
like hearing a wonderful bedtime story from an inspirational psychiatrist. (from Publishers Weekly)

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, by Fannie Flagg
Octogenarian Elner Shimfissle falls off a ladder after accidentally disturbing a hornets' nest while picking figs. After she dies at the hospital, the novel's bite-size chapters alternate between funny and touching vignettes showing how Elner's death and life has affected dozens of people in town, interspersed with scenes of Elner's laugh-out-loud assent into the hereafter. From there, the plot offers readers a series of delightful surprises...Flagg is an expert at balancing pathos with plenty of Southern sass, and this could very well be the feel-good read of the summer. (Publishers Weekly)

01/06/2011 - 12:04pm
Slim Calm Sexy Yoga by Tara Stiles

Tara Stiles' Slim Calm Sexy Yoga is full of easy-to-follow 15-minute routines that target specific fitness goals and health issues.

In her introduction Stiles states: "My approach is based on harnessing the healing power of yoga and applying it in the most targeted way possible - fixing whatever hurts you, stresses you, or makes you sad, in less time than it takes to wash and dry your hair."

Stiles begins by discussing the concept of 15-minute yoga and three essential yoga principles: breathing, meditation and body alignment. She goes on to cover the essential yoga poses that she'll combine into the various 15-minute routines. You'll find lots of large explanatory pictures in this section. From there the book is divided into chapters focusing on "Slim," "Calm," "Sexy," "Fit," "Gorgeous," and "Healthy" yoga, each offering several routines (with pictures) that address each issue. The book wraps up with tips and advice on making yoga more a part of your life, mainly through attending classes.

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