Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Catching Up.....4 Reviews...

What can I say without starting a huge political debate? The only thing, I guess, is to say that there is really not much here that can start a debate. Barack Obama is so clear on one thing: We are all Americans, we all have a right to our opinions, and if we all really listened to each other, we might learn something. He does, obviously, share his opinions on things - but all the while pointing out what the "other guys" think that has some value and validity. Yes, you'll feel like you know a bit more about his platform if you read his book. But it really is about hope. Do you want to stop feeling hopeless about this country and get back that feeling that we really can survive. Yeah. Well, read this then. Even if you're a Republican. Seriously.

Ah, yes. I think the thing I liked best about this book was the cursive writing on the cover. Love it! The remainder .... not so enthusiastic. It is a book based in Argentina at the time of civil unrest. I wasn't all that interested in the characters. Even the relationships seemed unreal to me for some reason. Note that I did like it enough to finish it, so I guess that says something, but I wouldn't read it again knowing what I know now. If you're really interested in Argentina, though, go for it!

I loved "Amy and Isabelle", Elizabeth Strout's first book. We read it year's ago in my book club and I remember loving it. So I was pretty excited to read her latest. I liked it, too, sailed right through it. But it's another in a genre that I've kind of exhausted lately (Gilead, Be Near Me), that of the secret lives of priests and ministers. This one is a lot less heavy than Be Near Me. I loved the characters and thought it really portrayed small town church life very well. Worth reading, especially if you read at stop lights! (That was for you, Jay Are!)

Ah, finally I read Byron Katie. Years ago I heard about her, and I recommended this book for my mom. But I never read it!! In fact, I resisted reading it because I thought it was cognitive-behavioral. (As a therapist, I'm not cognitive-behavioral. I don't like the thought that changing our thoughts changes our mood. While I think that's probably true, I find this approach in therapy largely ignores emotions and I don't like to do that).

Well, I read her. And I don't think it's some 1-2-3 way to ignore your emotions. It's not CBT. It's more like Buddhism. It's total acceptance. It's taking responsibility. Even more, it's taking responsibility and being happy about it! Here's some of her quotes that I love:
  • No one can hurt me; that's my job.
  • Would you rather be right, or free?
  • When I argue with reality, I lose -- but only 100% of the time
  • I am the cause of my own suffering -- but only all of it.
Oh, do read it. Read it, please!


jay are said...

My hubbie just finished Obama's book and I can't tell you how many times he said "Wow. That was awesome." He read me passage after passage and was extremely impressed with Obama's intelligence, vision, empathy, compassion. I'm not a non-fiction fan but it sounds like there's a lot of good stuff here.

And Abide With Me (that's the name of it, right?) is definitely a good stop light book. :) Hey! A new genre: StopLight Books. It could even be the name of a bookstore or a book website. Hmmm. Anyway, I liked it too---not to heavy, interesting, somewhat original.

And the third sounds interesting too. Good picks!

jay are said...

and that would be "not toO heavy..." I DO know the difference between "to" and "too". Just wanted to make that clear. :)

raych said...

I have heard such great things about both Elizabeth Strout and Loving What Is. Love the quotes you put in, it sounds really helpful and not just Band-Aid-y.