Health, Mind & Body

06/06/2012 - 8:45am
Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff

“I’ll be happy when…I win the lottery. Snag my dream job. Lose that last ten pounds.” Does that sound familiar? Marci Shimoff in Happy for No Reason points out the flaws in this type of thinking and presents practical advice for living a life of happiness, regardless of your circumstances.  Shimoff herself thought she had achieved the American Dream as a successful, published author married to a loving husband and living in a beautiful home. But she, too, felt something was missing from her life. Through her research and her interviews of the “Happy 100,” Shimoff discovers that happiness is derived from within and offers the following seven steps to creating your own happiness:

1. Take Ownership of Your Happiness
2. Don’t Believe Everything You Think
3. Let Love Lead
4. Make Your Cells Happy
5. Plug Yourself Into Spirit
6. Live a Life Inspired by Purpose
7. Cultivate Nourishing Relationships

So, why should you read this book now that I’ve given away Shimoff’s seven steps? Because although these steps are the basics of Shimoff’s plan, her explanations and advice are well worth reading, to the point where I wanted to dog-ear the book’s pages (as it was a library book, I did not).  Even the new-age concept of the Law of Attraction had me thinking “what if it is true?” and “what do I have to lose?”

10/08/2015 - 9:30am
SeniorNavigator website

Have you and your loved ones made your healthcare end of life decisions yet?  Have you drafted an Advance Directive to communicate your end of life choices in writing? Monday, April 16th marks the Fifth Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.  Consider setting aside some time in your busy schedule to learn more about end of life care options and possible medical decisions  that can arise during a health crisis.

To learn more about Advance Directives and other information about end of life decisions, please visit the  “Advance Directive” section of the SeniorNavigator website

You will find Virginia Advance Directive forms here to complete, as well as a link to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Advance Health Care Directive Registry, where you can securely store your medical power-of-attorney, do-not-resusitate orders, and other health care wishes. 

SeniorNavigator is the go-to website for Virginians who need information on services for our citizens of "a certain age!"  Caregiving, housing and long term care, transportation, and legal and financial information for the aging can be found at

03/30/2012 - 8:39am
Cultivating Community: Web Resources

"Cultivating Community" is a community-wide program designed to share information in the Fredericksburg region about farm-to-table and sustainable food communities. These web sites support those goals by exploring how you can assess the sustainability of your community and your home, finding locally grown foods or growing your own, cooking, and sustainable gardening.

Community Sustainability Assessment:
A comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. While it requires good knowledge of the life-styles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about three hours for an individual to complete, or a series of sessions if done as a group experience by community members.

03/13/2012 - 3:31am
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, seeks to determine through investigative journalism exactly what goes into deciding what we should eat. Pollan explains that as omnivores, humans have such a vast variety of foods that they are able to eat—plant, animal, and even fungi--that it creates a problem within the human mind. Other species such as the koala bear only have one choice for dinner, eucalyptus leaves; because humans have so many choices, deciding what to eat can take up a large part of humans' time. 
In order to investigate exactly how we have come to use the supermarkets and the industrial-style meal preparations today, Pollan looks at all of the ways in which people are able to feed themselves. He analyzes first the industrial-style food change, which starts with large farms in other parts of the country—or, in some cases, other parts of the world—and consists mostly of corn products, which leads to a meal served at your local McDonald's. Then he looks into the organic phenomena that we're seeing today, which stemmed out of early ideas about better ways to manufacture food that does not contain hormones and antibiotics that other industrial food chains add. Next, he looks at some alternative food production models, such as grass feed farms. The one that he examines most thoroughly is Polyface Farm, which is located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Lastly, Pollan looks at the most traditional way of food production—food foraging—with which he produces an entire meal using his own skills in Berkley, California.

02/23/2012 - 8:53pm
Senior Navigator Logo

Senior citizens, their families, and caregivers looking for accurate healthcare information on the Internet will probably tell you it’s a mess.  There are a tangle of sites for the various federal, state, and local government healthcare agencies, not to mention sites for hospitals, private care facilities, medical information sites like WebMD, and a quagmire of others floating around out there.  Each site has its own navigation scheme and design that  will make even the savviest of the web-savvy shake a fist skyward in frustration when trying to figure them out. seeks to make the information gathering experience for senior citizens easy and anxiety-free. At the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, we want to help you use this tool to find the best information and advice to make your lives easier. 

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.

07/22/2015 - 3:48pm

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.

07/22/2015 - 3:38pm
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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