The Book Review: My Wishlist by Grégoire Delacourt

“Jo [her husband] and I are happy, I say, my voice unsteady. We’ve had our ups and downs like all couples, but we’ve managed to get over the bad times. We have two lovely children, a pretty little house, friends, we go on holiday twice a year. The shop is doing very well…”

The semester ended and it feels so good to read for pleasure again. Books had been piling up at my house since I of course spent a lot of time working at my favorite bookstore Black Squirrel Books. Needless to say, there was always a “book reward purchase” at the end, sigh! 

For our recent journey to Germany, I took Murakami’s novella “South of the Border, West of the Sun” that I finished in a couple of hours on the plane.  A book review will follow soon. [Murakami’s writing style is just so great and keeps me reading without realizing where I was – on the plane with a three year-old who “reads” next to me or watches “Finding Nemo” or “Finding Dory” on repeat!] 

My mom and I can talk about books for hours too since we share the same passion/addiction for reading. She read a bunch of great book recently and kept a pile of her favorites nicely piled up for me. Grégroire Delacourt was one of them among Bodo Kirchhoff who is a German author I never heard of. I started “My Wish List” simply because it is a little novella that I wanted to finish in one night due to being up because of jet leg and Petit Joel’s cough. 

In a nutshell: What a quaint, thought-provoking, amazing novella indeed that made me think about my own life, choices and decisions at 3 am in the morning. The main protagonists of the book kept me focused throughout the entire reading and I somehow could even relate to Jocelyne as well as her husband in some ways. The book just has a wonderful plot. 

The plot (no spoilers): A woman, married, writer of a blog and passionate knitter at a small company she owned and two kids, wins a large sum of money on the lottery. Nothing too crazy, yet indeed something that is nice and many secretly desire. Who doesn’t want to win the lottery? What will happen next? I expected a somewhat light-hearted story of her telling the family about her win, traveling the world and spending the money happily but wisely on things they/she always dreamt about. With this sum of money, all her wishes could come true, or couldn’t they? Jocelyne, the main protagonist, who had been touched by tragedy many times already is however very strong and manages to just keep on going and to focus on the good things in life. However, what she cannot change is her fear of losing the man she loves. 

What I enjoyed about the book was that the main protagonist Jocelyne never doubted her life or decisions. However, is it okay to want more for yourself or of life?  Or the main question, if this amount of money could ruin whatever one has right now in life – even if your life seems so ordinary? Is it possible that this money can buy you a happier, better or even new life? 

Additionally, I love to read when authors refer to other great works of literature or writers. Delacourt referred to Albert Cohen’s Belle de Seigneur who Jocelyne loved to read. The author mentioned several characters of this particular book throughout his writings that makes it interesting to pick up Seigneur next. Many idea from the book stay with me ever since and make me reflect on life differently. 

Do you still need a Christmas gift for someone or for yourself? Purchase this beautiful gem of a novella. It will make you think about what is really important in life. 

Interested? Click here for the English and here for the German copy of the book. Happy reading!

The Book Review: I’ll Take you There by Wally Lamb.

Thanks to HarperCollinsCanada and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I have read “We are Water” and “She’s Come Undone” by the author which attracted me to Lamb’s latest book “I’ll Take You There”. This does not affect my opinion of the content or the book in my review.

“I step out of the scene and onto the stage, relived to exit that confusing an difficult day – to relegate it one again to my past” – Wally Lamb 

Wally Lamb has created a sometimes fun and thoughtful novel that is very different from his other works. Felix Funicello (introduced in the Lamb’s novellas Wishin‘ and Hopin‘) is the main character in I’ll Take You There. Funicello is divorced, a father and a film scholar who explores the relationships with the women in his life and how they all shaped him in a certain way to who he is today. The novel has been written very lighthearted but at some points even surprisingly deep about women and how they have effected him. What I did indeed like about the story was that it provides a look into the different choices women make in life and the consequences they face – which is also depicted throughout Funicello’s family history along with strength, resilience and power of women. 

The main plot without spoilers: Felix Funicello, a film scholar, who runs a Monday night movie club at a theater is setting up a film one evening in his film booth and is confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber who is a director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois, the ghost, invites Felix to revisit or relive some scenes from his past – and they are projected is some way onto the movie theater’s big screen.

In addition, the reader will learn about family secrets, politics, feminine ideals while the author even touches upon Hollywood iconography. Further, it becomes clear how Felix will be enlightened while he understands at the same time what some of the women really close to him had to go through in their life. 

“I’ll Take You There” is a very light-hearted, somewhat humorous book while there is still a bit of darkness, confusion and despair noticeable at points. If you liked his previous novels, you will dive right into a wonderful tale of reconciliation, love and of course forgiveness. 

Bookstore Bucket List: Black Squirrel Books in Old Ottawa South.

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

If you followed my blog for some time, you might have realized that I am obsessed with reading and books. Also, I am at my “happy” [What is happiness?] place when I enter a bookstore; especially independent ones. When I moved to Ottawa not too long ago, Petit Joel and I discovered our new neighborhood and I was delighted and in awe when I walked into Black Squirrel Books. What a gem of a bookstore. With my never ending list of books that I want to read, it comes in pretty handy to find so many second-hand editions while browsing through the shelves upon shelves of amazingness.  

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The bookstore specializes in academic non-fiction, in buying and selling used books of merit but there are many different genres available. You will find books on History, Art, Biographies, Fiction, Sociology, Children’s books, Manga’s, Psychology, Philosophy and so much more. 

I love the unique and cozy setup by only somewhat separating the books and the café area. Comfortable arm seat reading chairs located close to the entrance/window area let you take advantage of reading close to a bookshelf (to simply grab another book) and people watch while sipping a cup of latte. This simplicity yet the pretty array of decorations found throughout the bookstore make it feel like I am at home and just give this comfortable feeling to stay here forever and never leave. 

The food menu is kept to just a couple of simple items which I prefer. [Try the latte and the little tarts that they warm up for you! – also the brownies!] Other than that you might enjoy an Espresso, a cup of Kushmi Tea, Iced Coffee or tea. 

Black Squirrel Books is an independent store, and prices reflect that. You will find first editions or signed copies of books significantly under the normal market price. So if you are in search of a screaming deal on books, you know where to go now. Also, you basically select your books of a seemingly sheer volume of used books. Oh, this awesome smell of used books [nerd talk]. You can easily lose yourself in all the books, which is basically exactly how I like to spend a day/rainy day/snowy day/every day. It is a great place to study and write as well. [I am actually sitting in the bookstore now while I am typing this and I was able to write two papers for University earlier!] 

Weather permitting, there is also a dollar cart outside the bookstore to pick up a great copy and browse even more. Being a somewhat regular here I have to say that it is very easy to approach the book-loving staff and get a great book recommendation or have a little philosophical chat. 

I am a fan of supporting local businesses, especially those who are about literature and education rather than buying my beloved books in “big-name bookstores” or online. I love that, these little independent bookstores are just very personal and not commercial. 

Basically, this is just my idea of the perfect sanctuary – tons of cheap books in a comfortable environment. Enjoy some more pictures if you would like. 

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Opening Hours

Monday – Friday: 8 am -9 pm

Saturday: 9 am – 9 pm

Sunday: 9 am – 7 pm

1037 Bank Street,  K1S 3W9

Call (613) 422-9050

Happy reading, everyone! Stay connected with Squirrel Bookstore on their Facebook Page. Check out the homepage here. Do you know of any other independent bookstores in the Ottawa area that you can recommend? I would love to hear from you. 

Books. My Top Five Picks for Autumn.

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Hello there.

I have to study a lot. The picture above is the library at my University where I spent many hours every day. This Master in Linguistics Program is no joke; however, I mentioned earlier that I will always find time to read for pleasure  just because I love books so much. And even though I am sometimes only able to read “for pleasure” for about half an hour or so before I go to bed, but it is worth it. A separate post on all the independent bookstores where I find most of my gems will follow soon. Today, I just want to share what I am currently reading and the books that are already patiently waiting on my nightstand/office desk. I also have to announce that I will officially review books for HarperCollinsCanada. How awesome is that? I was really excited when they contacted me I have to say.

Autumn officially starts on September 23rd, which means we are slowly spending more time inside with tea, books and reading, candles, cookies and all that good stuff. You need something good to read? Here are my top five picks for Autumn. Enjoy!

Emma Donoghue. The Wonder.  

“A village in 1850s Ireland is baffled by Anna O’Donnell’s fast. A little girl appears to be thriving after months without food, and the story of this ‘wonder’ has reached fever pitch. Tourists flock in droves to the O’Donnell family’s modest cabin, and an international journalist is sent to cover the sensational story. Enter Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, who is hired to keep watch for two weeks and determine whether or not Anna is a fraud. As Anna deteriorates, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child, but for getting to the root of why the child may actually be the victim of murder in slow motion. A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made ROOM a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels—as a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.” We all remember Emma Donoghue from the “Room”!!! 

Walk Through Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramovic. 

“I had experienced absolute freedom—I had felt that my body was without boundaries, limitless; that pain didn’t matter, that nothing mattered at all—and it intoxicated me.” In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate with her nonverbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature. The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor—all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe—a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China. Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.

[I have met her in 2010 at the MOMA so it is especially awesome to read this amazing book by Marina Abramovic. Check out this video, too!] 

The Gaslight. Steven Price. 

“London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.”

Brain on Fire. Susannah Cahalan. 

“An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.”

On Writers and Writing. Margaret Atwood.

“A brilliant, ambitious, insightful inquiry into the art of writing from the legendary Margaret Atwood. What do we mean when we say that someone is a writer? Is he or she an entertainer? A high priest of the god of Art? An improver of readers’ minds and morals? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood addresses the riddle of her own art. Her wide-ranging reference to other writers, living and dead, is accompanied by personal anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer. The lightness of her touch is offset by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing. Wise, candid, informative, and engaging, On Writers and Writing provides an insider’s view of the writer’s universe, written by one of the most celebrated writers of our time.” 

Since I moved to Canada, I want to read as much CanLit as possible but these days I am stuck with Margaret Atwood. What an amazing writer. 

What are you reading or recommending? I would love to hear from you. 

The Book Review – What Petit Joel Reads: They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel.

 

Hey out there. I try to keep my initial blog schedule alive and Sunday I usually wrote a book review. I have read tons of books lately; however, I would like to share what Petit Joel reads these days because I think this book is very cute and special. Reading to Petit Joel is so important to me that no matter what happened throughout the day, I read to him in the evening. And even if it is just a short story because it is already late. He loves it so much, curls up next to me and usually gets his favorite book out of the bookshelf when he realized it is getting dark outside. My sweet boy. 

So while discovering and exploring my new neighborhood, I found an amazing bookstore for kids. Kaleidoscope Kids Books.  I am working on a blog post just about all the independent bookstores I found in Ottawa so far, so stay tuned for that – especially if you are from around here and love to read. I literally go to all these places, take pictures, talk to the owner or sales person to find out as much as possible about this particular bookstore. My dream is still to own one myself so why not do a bunch of research while I can, right. 

At Kaleidoscope Kids Books I found They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. What an amazing book, especially because these days I try to get Petit Joel to see things from other people’s perspectives. “You have to be quiet in a library or café,” I will tell him. “Maybe people had a rough day and just come here to relax.” Honestly, he has a hard time understanding this because he is still so tiny. 

I just love Brendan Wenzel’s new book, They All Saw a Cat. It is all about a cat, it’s walks through the world  and how other creatures perceive it differently. A child sees a cat differently than a fish while leering eyes though the fishbowl. Or a flea that just sees a pile of fur. I think it is really done in a clever child friendly way to show the power of perspective. 

If you got inspired and want to purchase this book you can do so at a local independent bookstore you choose or here. 

Honestly, I don’t feel like ordering anything online since I am in Canada. I love to go to all the places and discover. And I alway prefer physically going to a bookstore (oh that smell) than ordering online. This is just my opinion. Have  a great week. 

The Book Review: Heule Eule by Paul Friester and Philippe Goossens.

Hello and Happy Sunday!

A couple of days ago, I visited a friend who has the most amazing book collection for her children. She reads to them every night as I do. Petit Joel and I have this little routine and he even asks me to read to him when he goes to bed and usually picks out the book he would like to hear. I think reading to children is so important. I started to read to my son when he was four months old. 

So my friends’s son came out with Owl Howl (Heule Eule) and this got me inspired to start a little series on the blog. What Petit Joel reads/likes/eats/loves and such. We sat down on the ground in the garden and my friend started reading Owl Howl. My son, who played a bit further away, stopped everything he did and joined us to listen. We actually purchased the book the next day because he talked about it constantly all day long. He wants to hear it twice every night and takes it to bed with him to “read” it again with his flashlight. 

What is this cute book about? 

The animals in the wood hear a loud crying sound but don’t know what it exactly is. They are frightened. They try to see where the noise comes from while they look through some bushes and try to see what goes on behind trees. “Maybe it is they wolf, ” they think and the bravest of the animals, a tiny hedgehog, walks through the bushes to see where the noise comes from. There, behind the bushes, the hedgehog sees a tiny owl who cries and cries and won’t stop. All the animals try to make the tiny Owl Howl stop crying but nothing works. A raven gave her beautiful, colorful rocks to play with, a beetle screamed at her to make her stop crying and a squirrel fed her some nuts because she might be hungry. Also, whatever the other animals did, the tiny owl kept crying. Until, in the end, the tiny owl flew back to her mom who took her in her arms and she instantly stopped. 

Owl Howl is a beautiful, imaginative, cute illustrated book for babies and toddlers. I think it is a lovely little story, even though why didn’t dad owl try to make baby owl stop crying, hah!? Well, this is how it usually works anyway, so stick to the mom owl for comfort, right.

I like the warm colors of the paintings that are not loaded with tons of details. All animals are easy to recognize and Petit Joel’s favorite are the beetle and the mole. Whenever I read this book to him it makes him comfortable in a way. He asks questions why the little owl is sad and so much more. He feels safe and secure, curls up to me and listens. What a nice way to end a crazy toddler day!

Sometimes it is just a lot of crying over nothing. Mom owl asked in the end,“What`s wrong, baby owl? Why are you howling like that“. Anticipation. What is the baby owl going to say? All the other animals wait desperately to find out why she finally stopped crying. She sniffed a little and then cheeped quietly: “I forgot”. 

I would recommend this book for babies and toddlers from 2 years-old to 5. 

 Get a copy here in English or in German. Enjoy and have a great week! 

The Book Review: The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron.

Hello and Happy Sunday!

“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.”

I finished Nora Ephron’s The Most of Nora Ephron a couple of days ago and loved it so much that I have to write a quick review about it right away while it is all still fresh in my mind. I bet you watched one of her movies and loved it. When Harry met Sally; Sleepless in Seattle (I mean, c’moooon! Who does not like this movie?) or You have got mail (Meg Ryan in any movie is fantastic!). In Ephron’s book you will find many scripts, essays, early works, short stories and so much more. When I read the script on How Harry Met Sally, I felt like time-traveling when I sat at Kat’s Delicatessen with le husband. 

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

I am a huge fan of all her food writing and I read Heartburn twice. Ephron was an awesome (screen)writer, director, feminist, full of classic jokes, funny, a beautiful person inside and out who lived an unenviable life. It seemed like she had it all. Except perfect health. She died in 2012 of cancer and left many in shock because almost nobody knew of her illness. She also wrote articles for the “New York Post“, “Esquire” and many more. Online, you can find good stuff on her early reporting about journalism and politics. I love those famous quotes of her: 

“If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters.”

“Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

Overall, it was one of the best books I have ever read and I think Nora Ephron was a great writer and alway so positive. This book is definitely worth going back to and to re-read certain passages. Great read! 

The movie Everything Is Copy is on my to-watch list for a while now. Watch the trailer if you would like. Enjoy and have a great week. 

The Book Review: The Cider House Rules by James Irving.

Hello and Happy Sunday!

“What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once mattered the most to us wind up in parentheses. “Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.”

The Cider House Rules was my first novel by John Irving and kept me speechless when I finished it. I love those times when a book keeps my interest and makes me stay up all night to discover more or even finish it. At points I was totally immersed in Homer Wells’s world because of the very persuasive tone Irving used. 

Dr. Wilbur Larch is a physician and director at St. Cloud’s Orphanage in Maine and raised Homer Wells from birth. I first could not believe everything Irving talked about when he explained about orphans, adoption, abortions and certain rules in those times that did apply to troubled mothers who were in need of help – help with illegal abortions, deliveries or giving the babies away to the orphanage for adoption right after birth. Homer Wells, who received his name by Dr. Larch, has been places with families several times; however, something always went wrong and they brought him back to the orphanage. Either he cried to little, cried too much – he ended up back with Dr. Wilbur Larch. 

“Being afraid you’ll look like a coward is the worst reason for doing anything.”

As Homer grew older, Dr. Larch meticulously trained and made him his assistant. Homer learned and understood more and more about pregnancies, which made him eventually stop helping Dr. Larch with abortions. Homer left  the orphanage when a young couple came to visit Dr. Larch to determinate their unexpected pregnancy. They told him about an apple orchard where they work and enjoy life close by the ocean. Initially, Homer wants to stay for a week or two to learn about orchard work and life. He stayed longer to discover himself and the world. [I thought this was odd for Homer to leave with this couple just like that. They just met each other.] Whatever Dr. Larch told him about life in a very old-fashioned way,  did not turn out to be true after all. Homer discovers that there is a lot of evil and tons of temptations and so much more to learn. He figured that Dickens’s Great Expectations, David Copperfield (for the boys) and Jane Eyre (for the girls); the books he used to read to the orphans every night, was the real world. 

Homer discovers love at the orchard and a lot more which makes him stay longer and work at the orchard. When he finds out that the orphanage plans to replace Dr. Larch, who is addicted to ether and is getting too old to perform surgeries, Homer thinks about going back to work as a doctor. What will happens next and will he eventually return to the orphanage? 

Overall, this book is phenomenally written, beautiful, superb, sad at points, moving, tragic and satisfying with extraordinary powerful imagery. I love how Irving makes all the characters interact with each other, how they describe their experiences, reflect, love and discover. 

Get the book here. Not in the mood to read the book? Watch the trailer to the movie if you would like. The movie is fantastic as well. Enjoy and have a great week. 

The Book Review: How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can by Amy B. Scher

Hello and Happy Sunday! 

“Everything about well-being sits firmly on this very simple rule I have learned: You must become who you really are. You must bet the real you. That means to love, accept, and be yourself no matter what. I truly believe that straying away from and separating from your inner being, or who you really are, is the root of discontent. You are not in need of self-help; you are in need of self-love. The only thing yo need to do is find yourself, and stay there.” 

Just a quick Hi from me, late on Sunday to finish this week with a couple of lines about an interesting book I read a while ago. First of all, the Reiki Seminar I attended blew my mind and was way better than expected. I learned so much about myself, about how to deal with certain situations better and how to mentally grow. Thank you le husband for this amazing gift for my upcoming birthday. It was slightly different than getting earrings or perfume and such [I am not so crazy about those things anyway!] and worth so much for me. If you are new to the whole Reiki thing but interested, I would suggest you get in touch with me and I will tell you how to connect with SEHES in Rödental/Germany. I cannot say too much about the seminar because there are no words for how fantastic this experience was. One has to feel and learn for themselves when ready. Thank you again, Martina and Uwe! 

When I was totally new to energy healing and Reiki I searched for books and explanations. Throughout this search I found Amy B. Scher’s book How to Heal Yourself When NO One Else Can – A Total Self-Healing Approach for Mind, Body & Spirit. Again, if you want to familiarize yourself a little idea about this topic, this book is a great start. Be Happy, Be Free, Be YOU! You learn a bit about energy, as well as self -and body healing. Also what it means to surrender, accept and flow when it comes to a true healing process. It is important to identify blockages that might be there and search for answers in the subconscious mind. Another chapter I enjoyed was to learn the language of my body. [The SEHES in-depth seminar covers all this a lot better and so much more!] 

It is and was important for me to change my relationship with stress and certain experiences that have been ingrained in my life. Also, according to Scher to “transform unhealthy emotional patterns and address fear”. You will learn many insights and encouragements while creating your unique map for healing. This book offers lots of solid information with many helpful exercises written in a clear, understandable language. 

Isn’t it great to eventually come into alignment with who you really are one step at a time? I love to discover new things – especially when it comes to my own person – and to figure out who I really am. 

Order your copy here. Below is a great thought-provoking video by Amy B. Scher if you would like to see. Enjoy and have a great week! 

The Book Review: Half Empty by David Rakoff.

“We are disclosing animals, wired for unburdening. It’s what we do as a species. When I am being told, I listen, mindful of the honor, remembering all the while that the shore would be mistaken to believe that the waves lap up against him because he is so beautiful.” 

Hello and Happy Sunday! 

I re-read David Rakoff’s Half Empty a while ago and I am a huge fan. My glass is usually half full but it is interesting to read about people who prefer their glass half empty and like to be on the negative side of the pond most of the time. I am a huge David Sedaris fan and David Rakoff is right up his alley. Rakoff’s theory is that “…all research is Me-search” and I like to reflect on how annoying and at the same time right-on he can be. 

Great entertainment in ten essays make you find out about the power of negative thinking with a pretty sweet pace of challenging sentences or as Rakoff puts it “my ideas move like cold honey”. Throughout the book, Rakoff refers to being Jewish, Canadian, gay and “freakishly small” and I was pleasantly surprised by the content. With this series of autobiographical essays that are mostly based on disappointment, failure and pessimism, Rakoff’s holds up a mirror to society, all with this amazingly dry humor that I love. Sometimes his writing style is pretty dense and some people might be put off. There are just many tangents he goes off on and I also had to re-read certain passages but I love challenges. 

“There will be peaks of great joy from which to crow and vales of tears out of which to climb. When and why they will happen, no one can say, but they will happen. To all of us. We will all go back and forth from one to the other countless times during a lifetime. This is not some call to bipartisanship between inimical sides. The Happy and the Sad are the same population.”

While Rakoff wrote Half Empty, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor and began chemotherapy. Unfortunately he passed away in August, 2012. In his essay “Another Shoe” is a little twist of his usual humorous take on negativity. He describes how he felt when his cancer came back and that he is struggling through it with hope and this strong belief that it does not really matter what goes on with your life, you must hang on and keep moving forward. The book is just an amazing mix of laugh-out-loud moments and funny images that he described in such a way that some would stay with me for days. 

“My room is cheerfully located between the sixth-floor elevators. The springs of my bed wheeze. The elevator dings. The ice machine right outside my door rumbles forth its icy bounty, a steady tattoo that beats “Stay up! Stay up!” I am in a canvas that Edward Hopper never felt bummed out enough to paint.”

Sarcastic, funny, thought-provoking, sometimes sad, sometimes very funny, delightful and brilliant. For David Rackoff or David Sedaris fans a must-read! Enjoy! 

Order the book here. Also, watch this interesting video below if you would like. Have a great week.