All posts filed under: Good Reading

Imaginary Tea Party

In my memory, a significant part of my childhood was spent in imaginary play.  From a quick review of photographs, I spent a lot of time in a leotard with a tutu.  I was either dressing for the job I wanted or I just liked the fancy feeling that comes along with wearing anything tulle.  Since it is also itchy, my guess is that I REALLY wanted to be a ballerina.  I also liked to have tea parties.  This week, for bibliotherapy Friday (if you read my blog regularly, you will soon realize that there is never just one day of the week to enjoy book therapy), I’d like to invoke both my imagination and the spirit of planning parties I will likely never host.  Will you be my guest?  Better yet, I highly recommend checking out these cookbooks and planning your own imaginary feast. The ultimate tea party cake is most definitely the Coconut Princess Birthday Cake with Almond Filling, a 3-layer cake that looks like something I’d LOVE for you to bring over …

Unicorn in the Sky and Other Magic

Hello there dear!  It’s Bibliotherapy Saturday  and I decided to start today’s exploration with a magazine I don’t usually read.  Ever.  I decided to start with February 2018 issue of Astronomy magazine.  Why you might ask?  Good question!  It’s because there was a hook on the cover that suggested that I could “TOUR Monoceros the Unicorn” on page 60.  I love unicorns.  How could I resist?  Monoceros the Unicorn is the 35th largest constellation out of the 88 constellations and the figure lies within the “Winter Triangle: the stars Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon.”  The short article then has some pictures of and features of the area around the constellation and notes what is special that you can see either with the naked eye under a dark sky or what kind of telescopic enlargement is required.  This kind of night sky exploration is what I had been hoping for when I signed up for a basic astronomy class in college.  Instead, I got a whole lot of physics and math that I didn’t have the background …

Hiding in Public

It is only recently that I have learned that I am an introvert.  More precisely, I am an extroverted introvert.  I don’t not like being around other people and do not have trouble in crowds or social situations.  I can introduce myself to strangers and make friends with relative ease.  But, being with other people doesn’t nourish me the way that being alone is soothing and refreshing.  I don’t just LIKE being by myself……I NEED to be by myself, probably a lot more than many other people do.  I have no fear of loneliness as the idea of being all by myself is rather enticing.  But, as an extroverted introvert (or is it introverted extrovert?), my favorite place to be all by myself is the library.  It’s how I go and be all alone with others.  Perhaps it is because I grew up in an urban environment, but I like to have people “around”, but not engaging with them.  Combine being alone in public with unlimited access to books?  Heaven.  Perfection!  And so,  every Tuesday …

Mountain Poems

Recently, I have been engaging in translations of Chinese poetry about mountains.  I love sacred mountains and poetry, so poems about mountains represent some of my favorite contemplative poems.  It seems to me that reading them reminds me that I am on earth and as I read and re-read the lines, I am reminded of the limitations of a cerebral experience of life.  I spend so much time in my logic mind sorting through details (lunch boxes, coats, swim lessons, babysitters, teaching, schedules, blah blah blah) that it is hard to remember the infinite possibilities.  These poems revive me.  If you are curious, I can’t recommend the collection of translations by David Hinton, “Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China”.  Published by Counterpoint (2002). Partridge Sky by Su Tung-p’o (1037-1101) Forests end in mountain light, and bamboo hides walls. A confusion of cicada cries, dry grasses, a small pond. An occasional bird wings white through empty sky, and delicate in scent, waterlilies shine across water. Out beyond the village, along ancient city walls, I’ll …

Cheerful Books

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.” ~Beverly Sills I’ve got to be honest……this winter has been rough.  Between shoveling and ice and school cancellations and snow days and trying to drive on dangerously slippery roads, it’s been hard to stay cheerful.  Quite understandably, my children have cabin fever and long for the days when shooting hoops outdoors for hours and frolicking on somewhat dangerous playground equipment is possible. On my own, left with enough chai tea, good books, yarn and a yoga mat, I can survive for quite a while through a snowy winter.  But, the addition of having to keep two wee ones occupied and not go insane with cabin fever makes it really difficult to truly release into winter.  I can’t really dive into a juicy novel for hours of uninterrupted joy.  Imagine my great delight at finding these two books that offer little treats in doses that even I …

A Few of My Favorite Things

Right now, I’m trying some new to me books and products and want to share what I am loving right now with you: Body and Beauty Love Your Face Cream Original Formula by Indian Meadow Herbals I bought mine at the East End Food Co-op in Pittsburgh and you should ask for this amazing product at your local health food store. The cream is pretty thick and oily and a little goes a long way.  The best is to put it on your face when it is still wet and then it absorbs really quickly leaving your face super duper soft and lovely. Yoga and Meditation Balm by Badger Balm I, again, bought mine at the East End Food Co-op in Pittsburgh, but Badger Balm is everywhere you look these days (yes, Walgreens…..).  I’m not a big fan of orange scented anything.  It’s supposed to lift your spirits, but it usually just smells too sweet for my taste and I feel kind of nauseated.  But, this has orange and cedar and I love to rub …

Good Reads for Kids

So far, I’ve limited my “good reads”* list to books for adults.  But,, as my 5-6 year old son has started to expand his capacity for narrative, we’ve been reading longer books and we’ve recently found a few true gems.  I’m inspired to offer my dear readers some lovely books to share with a child.  Even if it is just your “inner child”……ENJOY! *Please note that ALL of my “good reads” can be found at the Carnegie Public Library of Pittsburgh.  I know because that is where I found them!  I just provide some links below to Amazon so you can find out more about the book (you know, I’m friends with a lot of librarians so I know how important an ISBN number can be to some people…….).  I’m not suggesting that you buy the books, but I imagine these would make wonderful gifts for a child in your life. 1. The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke and illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell This was a really amazing book to read outloud to …

On the Dark Side of Good

My dear readers, I have suggested in the past that a truly “good read” can’t be all that serious, but I have just read, perhaps, one of the finest books I have ever read and it is, by all definition, a truly dark book.  But, since I feel so strongly that it is a beautiful piece of literature that, as dark as it is, ultimately affirms life, so I’m going to recommend it as a “Good Read” anyway.   You have been warned! Title: Stone Upon Stone Author: Wieslaw Mysliwski Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston Reviews can be found here. This next recommendation is dark, but the tone of the writing is comedic and it does not feel as heavy as Stone Upon Stone (no pun intended).  But, it also stretches the limits of darkness allowable for a truly “good read” and I don’t recommend it for anyone who is sad or currently in a therapeutic process of any sort.  No reason to torture yourself, even for a truly excellent novel. Title: The Hottest …

Good Reads

Neither of these books are, well, fabulous.  But, both of them are good reads.  What makes a good read? 1) A good read isn’t life altering.  It’s just a book.  The characters won’t drive you crazy, you won’t cry as you try to fall asleep, you won’t quiver in your pajamas. 2) A good read has enough of a well-developed plot that you want to finish the book and feel engaged, but you aren’t going to take a sick day to plough through it. 3) A good read is well crafted without being so well written that you need to keep a dictionary next to you at all times so that you can figure out what is going on.  Interesting without being intellectual. Engaging without being complicated. I hope that these authors don’t find this personal definition of a “good read” discouraging or negative in any way.  The truth is that I love to read and I need as many good reads in my life as possible.  My life is demanding and between the kids …

Reading to Prepare for the Storm

Knowing that I will most likely not have the opportunity to read for pleasure for about a year (maybe more?), I have been taking advantage of the absolutely wonderful public library system here in Pittsburgh and reading everything I can get my hands on.  For those of you who are expecting your first child, you may not understand why I would think that I wouldn’t have time to read for pleasure in the coming year. Expectant parents read the baby books that indicate that babies sleep for 14-18 hours per day of 24 and they think that they will have those 18-hours to themselves.  HA!  For those of you who have ever parented an infant, you know that I am one smart cookie! Honestly, I may be preparing for the storm that never comes and I may actually get a chance to read a few books this coming year.  Who knows?  In the meantime, bring on the storm my wee one——I’ve filled my head with enough fiction for at least two years! When I read …

Language and Love

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu This is a fabulous novel, a great read and especially recommended for anyone with specific interest in language and identity and the role of language in our relationships.  For anyone who has played the part of the “expat”, the “native” or the “alien”, this novel will both remind and revise how you think language may have played a role in your experiences. This book is recommended by Sharon Fennimore Rudyk, an avid reader and independent yoga instructor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Find out more about her classes and teacher training programs online https://www.yogamatrika.com/.

Good Reading

Ever since I could read, I’ve taken great joy in the process.  From the selection of the book to finishing the last page, I’m just happiest when I am reading.  I tend to read for the sake of reading and am not particularly attached to any one genre.  This being said, I take great pleasure in reading novels.  There’s something divine about becoming absorbed in the relationships, experiences and processes of other people when you don’t have to worry about the reality of it all. In both of these novels that I recommend below, the characters struggle with considerable problems and negotiate complicated relationships, but neither are tragic.  What I mean to say is, these are not upbeat or funny novels, but they aren’t going to have you crying into your pillow as you fall asleep either.  Perhaps that is what makes them perfect reading  for this transition from the dark of winter to the lush potential of spring. I’ve recently checked-out and read two good books from the Carnegie Library here in Pittsburgh (I’m …