Health, Mind & Body
I recently had to get 12 stitches in my leg. It was mesmerizing to watch! But for some reason, nobody wanted to see the pictures I took of the bloody gash or the resulting row of neat black stitches.
I grew up with a nurse mom and a nuclear physicist dad, so our dinnertime conversations were often scientific discourse about what happened in surgery or the emergency room. I didn't realize that this wasn't normal until I horrified some of my playmates with stories they found unbearably gruesome.
In college, I was a serials check-in clerk for the medical library and was fascinated by some of the medical journals. I couldn't wait to look at the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report!
If you find medical history fascinating, look at some of the books on my Medical Mysteries and Maladies booklist.
After graduating with honors from Emory University, Christopher Johnson McCandless left his suburban home in Annandale, Virginia, behind to pursue an odyssey to the Stampede Trail in Alaska.
McCandless gave up his $25,000 college grant to charity and began traveling across the Western United States. To the disappointment of his family back home, he ceased all communication with them and abandoned his 1982 Datsun after a flash flood somewhere in the Midwest.
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches: how Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week; how to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want; how blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs; how to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist; how to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent "mini-retirements." (catalog summary)
Balancing the Big Life: Finding Happiness in Work, Family & Life by Miriam Liss
We can obtain happiness for ourselves through a better evaluation of what we want from ourselves, our families, our jobs, and each other. Determining a 50/50 division of labor around the house may not be the thing that works for everyone. Working from home or not at all may not be the thing to bring us satisfaction, but learning what studies show and how to feel balanced and make those decisions to bring balance is crucial. The authors argue that people can find balance in their roles by doing things in moderation. Although being engaged in both parenting and work is good for well-being, people can avoid the pitfalls of over-parenting and over-working. They show that balance can come from a meaningful consideration of what happiness and contentedness mean to us as individuals, and how best to achieve our goals within the limitations of our current circumstances. They illustrate that balance is not simply an individual problem. Social issues such as the lack of parental leave, flexible work schedules, and affordable, high quality child care make balance difficult. With attention now on the issue, they argue that it’s time men and women advocate for better services and better opportunities to achieve balance, happiness, and success in all their roles. (catalog summary)
Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau
Through inspiring stories of those who have successfully landed their dream career, as well as actionable tools, exercises, and thought experiments, he'll guide you through today's vast menu of career options to discover the work perfectly suited to your unique interests, skills, and experiences. (catalog summary)
This readalike is in response to a customer'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. You can browse the book matches here.
Drop City by T.C. Boyle
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune has decided to relocate to the last frontier--the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska--in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. The novel opposes two groups of characters: Sess Harder, his wife Pamela, and other young Alaskans who are already homesteading in the wilderness and the brothers and sisters of Drop City, who, despite their devotion to peace, free love, and the simple life, find their commune riven by tensions. As these two communities collide, their alliances shift and unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment, and a roof over one's head. (catalog summary)
If you like Drop City, you may also find these stories of folks living outside of society are appealing:
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Follows the fortunes of Bit and the commune his parents helped to create. A group of like-minded folks comes together to create a utopia in Arcadia. Despite everyone’s best intentions, the commune falls apart under the strain of privation and a self-serving leader who can’t live up to his own ideals. Bit is ill-prepared for the real world, but manages to make his way until a flu pandemic threatens the human race. (catalog summary)
Boonville by Robert Mailer Anderson
Surrounded by misfits, rednecks, and counterculture burnouts, John Gibson--the reluctant heir of an alcoholic grandmother--and Sarah McKay--a commune-reared "hippie-by-association"--search for self and community in the hole-of-a-town Boonville. As they try to assemble from the late-twentieth-century jumble of life the facts of sexuality, love, and death, and face the possibility of an existence without God, John and Sarah learn what happens when they dare to try to make art from their lives. (catalog summary)
This readalike is in response to a customer'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. You can browse other book matches here.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. "You are the teacher?" he asks incredulously. "I am the teacher," the gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. It is a story that extends backward and forward over the lifespan of the earth from the birth of time to a future there is still time save. Like all great teachers, Ishmael refuses to make the lesson easy; he demands the final illumination to come from within ourselves. Is it man's destiny to rule the world? Or is it a higher destiny possible for him-- one more wonderful than he has ever imagined? (catalog summary)
If you like Ishmael, try these other titles:
The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen takes no prisoners in "The Culture of Make Believe," his brilliant and eagerly awaited follow-up to his powerful and lyrical "A Language Older Than Words," What begins as an exploration of the lines of thought and experience that run between the massive lynchings in early twentieth-century America to today's death squads in South America soon explodes into an examination of the very heart of our civilization. "The Culture of Make Believe" is a book that is as impeccably researched as it is moving, with conclusions as far-reaching as they are shocking. (catalog summary)
Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston by Ernest Callenbach
A novel both timely and prophetic, Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia is a hopeful antidote to the environmental concerns of today, set in an ecologically sound future society. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as the "newest name after Wells, Verne, Huxley, and Orwell," Callenbach offers a visionary blueprint for the survival of our planet . . . and our future. (catalog summary)
“We need to have a meeting to discuss your child’s behavior.”
Those words on a note from school can be the start of parenting on a different level, and it’s something that happens frequently. According to the CDC, it is estimated that 11% of students ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Given that the diagnosis rate has increased substantially from year to year—and that data is from 2011—it may be higher yet.
Pamela J. Toler’s Heroines of Mercy Street is the true history behind the popular PBS series set in occupied Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. Caveat here: I did read the book before watching a single episode. I found Toler’s narrative to be engaging and an excellent window to the time. With wildly varying levels of training (many, such as Louisa May Alcott, had only nursed family patients while another trained with celebrated British nurse Florence Nightingale), they all had a sense of duty and enthusiasm for the job that did not wane as the war ground on—though it did exhaust them and occasionally kill them.
This readalike is in response to a customer'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. You can browse the book matches here.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. (catalog summary)
There have been some wonderful books with the theme of self-discovery through travel, as in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Their journeys have been life-changing for them and perhaps also for the reader.
If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, then you may also like these titles:
Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez
Set amidst the shimmering seas of Northern ice, Arctic Dreams leads readers on a journey of the mind and heart into a place that grips the imagination and invigorates the soul. Part adventure tale and part meditation on the art of exploration, this magical book dazzles with the wonder of the aurora borealis; the awesome power of polar bears and killer whales; the monumental grandeur of migrating icebergs; and the beauty and nobility of the Arctic's indigenous people. Evocative and everlasting, Arctic Dreams is a classic. (catalog summary)
Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world. Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. (catalog summary)
For many people, the day after Halloween is the official kick-off of the holiday season. Lights are out in front of the mall, the stores put their holiday wares front and center, cookie recipes are dusted off, and children pull out a fresh sheets of paper for their wish lists. The season heats up even more on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as people start stressing out over gift lists, school events, and merry-making to-do lists.
For many other people, however, the holiday season is one of a different kind of stress. There is worry about the colder months and the heating bill, about not having enough money for gifts, or getting through the season without a loved one. This season, instead of perusing the “Hot Toys of 2015” lists, why not set a personal or family goal to make it truly a season of giving, rather than receiving?
An alarming number of Americans have diabetes, a potentially life-threatening condition, without even knowing it. This serious disease often goes undiagnosed in seniors because many of the symptoms seem harmless and are mistaken for “old age” problems.