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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2018/08/14 Permalink
    Tags: nonfiction, treat yo self   

    10 Books That Prove People Are Getting Serious About Happiness 

    When we find ourselves in unsettled times, we turn to books for insight and guidance. And we aren’t the only ones: more people than ever are looking to books about wellness, self-improvement, and self-care, in search of advice on how to tackle stress and self-defeating behaviors head on. The best of these books have a fierce new attitude: today’s self-help isn’t about taking baby steps, it’s about grabbing life by the lapels and shaking it until happiness falls out of its pockets. Here are ten of the best books knocking us out of our rut and helping us make the move toward true growth.

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson
    This just might be the bible of the new self-help generation. Where the old-school approach treated happiness as a prize everyone deserves, Manson argues—forcibly and with a lot of sharp wit—that it’s better to be honest about your own limitations, and seek to adjust how you approach life instead of deciding life should be adjusted to suit your needs. Bracing and sometimes alarming, this book is a dash of cold water to the face that so many of us need. You will be happier for having read it, because the best way to start changing your life for the better is to start seeing it with clear eyes.

    Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis
    Hollis, founder of TheChicSite.com, writes a funny and warmhearted book imploring women to stop comparing themselves to each other and feeling like no amount of achievement will ever be enough. Hollis is up front about her own failings, relating a childhood in which she learned that accomplishments got praise, leading to a life spent living in a pressure cooker. These tendencies spilled into her love life, and Hollis, now a happily married mother of four, is brutally honest about her own missteps with her future husband. The end result is a book that will get women to take a step back, take a breath, and think hard about what they want instead of what’s expected of them.

    You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
    Sincero’s bracing book offers an honest and personal system for achieving your goals, in which the focus is on getting over yourself. We all have dreams, and we all have limitations. Getting past the latter to achieve the former is often a matter of seeing reality and charting a path. Sincero offers advice drawn from her own often hilarious fails to help you put together a vision of the future you want and to get past the many, many ways you will try to self-sabotage. Sincero’s fun and edgy guidebook is essential reading for everyone fighting their own worst enemy—themselves.

    12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B. Peterson
    The greatest threat to happiness is lack of control, the sense that the world is swirling around you and things are happening without your permission. That chaotic energy can wear you down and make you want to give up, but renowned psychologist Peterson offers an off-center way of looking at the world that tames those wild currents and shows you how to bring order to the chaos. What’s new and great about his approach is how he lets his wide-ranging curiosity and broad knowledge inform the discussion, offering a series of fascinating lectures that go from ancient Egypt to skate parks around the world—because the new approach to self-help isn’t about boring theory, it’s about real knowledge applied to real problems with energy and intelligence.

    Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    “Mindfulness”: it’s a term you hear all the time, an omnipresent buzzwords with vaguely New Age connotations. But mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools, and Kabat-Zinn’s book not only explains what, exactly, meditation is and how to go about it, it also explains why it’s worth pursuing. For anyone uncertain how meditation can help them take control of their lives and be happier, the answer is simple—it’s all about paying attention, shedding the distractions, and getting to the core of everything. In plain, honest language, Kabat-Zinn walks you through why it’s worth it.

    Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Monica Sweeney
    Today’s happiness seekers aren’t the quiet spiritualists of the past—they’re warriors. Sweeney offers the ideal mindfulness book for folks who have to balance their rage and sarcasm with their sincere desire for centeredness and happiness. Putting aside all frippery and spacey proclamations, this book channels your butt-kicking, take-no-prisoners attitude and funnels it into a mindful and hopeful guide that’s as funny and fierce as you are. For anyone who has rejected meditation or yoga as not for them, this is the book that will get you to zen.

    The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu, by Katja Pantzar
    Today’s self-helpers aren’t content to sit around waiting for knowledge to be delivered—they go out and get it for themselves. After reading that the Finns are the happiest people in the world, Pantzar moved to Finland to find out why. Her discoveries about the “Finnish Way” are remarkable in their power. Insights including the way that exercise outside the gym is powerful medicine, or how nature is healing and energizing, or how personal courage and grit can be a sustaining force within ourselves will offer solace to her fellow happiness seekers.

    The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer
    Singer asks a powerful question that gets straight to the point: who are we? What makes us us? The answer is obvious once you think about it: it’s out consciousness, our thinking, observing, intuitive self. Singer goes on to discuss how developing our consciousness and our sense of self—our control over ourselves—can help us to heal from anything, get over anything, achieve anything. Singer takes the reader on a journey into themselves to identify and tap into the incredible power we all carry within ourselves, then takes us back outside to show us how to use it once we have it in our hands. Forget exterior forces—you already have everything you need to be better.

    Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life, by Monica Sweeney
    Everyone knows the combination of sweet and sour that comes with holding a grudge, or picking at a scab, emotional or physical. Sweeney knows how debilitating holding onto negativity can be, and has some profane and irreverent—but powerful—ideas on how you can let go of all that drags you down through journaling and related exercises. This journal will encourage you to rage onto the page, and experience the power of exorcising your own demons your own damn self.

    Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, by Gary John Bishop
    Many people know that feeling of weight, of unhappiness, of being so twisted up you can’t even figure out what the first step toward fixing everything should be. The difference today is, people aren’t willing to accept it any more. Bishop has a refreshingly simple reason that we feel this way:  we’re in our own way, and all we have to do is stop talking down to and insulting ourselves. For anyone who has called themselves names and experienced self-hate, Bishop has seven powerful assertions that will help untwist your thoughts and offer true clarity so you can begin being the better version of yourself.

    The post 10 Books That Prove People Are Getting Serious About Happiness appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2018/06/28 Permalink
    Tags: an astronaut's guide to life on earth, chris hadfield, earthrise: my adventures as an apollo 14 astronaut, edgar mitchell, endurance: a year in space a lifetime of discovery, floating 'round my tin can, flying to the moon: an astronaut's story, , , nonfiction, sally ride, scott kelly, to space and back   

    Books in Space: 5 Great Astronaut Memoirs 

    There’s just no cooler resume line item in the world than “astronaut.” You can take your actors, your rock stars, your Nobel Prize winners. Yeah, sure they made art and connected with millions, but the one thing none of those people ever did was leave the Earth in a marvel of science and engineering and visit outer space.

    Blasting off to the infinity and beyond (or at the least the moon, or Earth’s orbit) is something only a few hundred people in history have ever done. And until consumer space flights and Mars colonization become a thing, being an astronaut is such a unique and fascinating experience that we’ll have to look to the thoughts and recollections of others to get even a taste of what it’s actually like to gaze at Earth from above. Here are six astronauts who went to space, returned, and then wrote about it.

    Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery, by Scott Kelly
    For some, going to space is a once- or twice-in-a-career occurrence. For Scott Kelly, going to space is his career. This dude has spent about as much time in space as you’ve spent in an office. He’s been on four different space flights and no American has ever spent more time in space. He’s the perfect guinea pig—and now literary expert—on the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body, brain, and spirit. He writes unflinchingly about being in space, and the difficulty of returning to civilian life. Especially interesting is Kelly’s report of a fascinating experiment in which he took part. To study exactly what space does to the body, NASA studied his earthbound twin brother and compared his aging process to that of Kelly…who spent an entire year in the outer limits.

    An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield
    Not only is Chris Hadfield an astronaut with more than 4,000 space hours to his credit, he’s an unabashedly joyful and welcoming ambassador (and fan) of space programs. He revived widespread interest in space travel with his dispatches from space, satellite hookups to classrooms, and viral video of himself singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station. In his book, the perpetually-wonder-filled Hadfield details his journey from an Ontario corn farm to the world’s most famous modern-day spaceman. He’s also remarkably frank—and fantastically detailed—about the process of going into space, and the day-to-day, moment-to-moment realities of living in space.

    Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut’s Story, by Michael Collins
    Of the three men to successfully reach the moon for the first time in July 1969—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—only Collins didn’t get to actually set foot on that sweet, sweet green cheese surface. As the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Collins dropped off Armstrong and Aldrin in their Lunar Module and then he orbited the moon. That means Collins was the only one of the historic trio to spend time in space alone, placing him in the embedded observer role on the NASA moon mission. He was uniquely qualified, then, to give this fascinating, first-hand, well-measured journalistic account on what it was like to go to the moon and back.

    To Space and Back, by Sally Ride
    It’s a memoir in the form of a coffee table book…for kids! The extra-large full-color format allows for tons of remarkable photos taken in space, adding an extra dimension (and something to contemplate) while one reads the words and memories of Ride, the first American woman in space. The copy is geared towards children, and the questions they’d have about space, such as how it feels to be weightless, the unique strangeness of blasting off, and what (and how) astronauts on the Space Shuttle eat.

    Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut, by Edgar Mitchell
    Mitchell was part of the Apollo 14 crew in 1971, one of NASA’s final moonshots and one that was relatively (but not completely) uneventful when compared to Apollo 11 (the first one that landed on the moon) and Apollo 13 (which was so notably disastrous they made a movie about it). Mitchell covers the nerve-wracking experience that is flying to the moon, but that’s just part of this The Right Stuff-esque account of a man who was a career astronaut and who had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. For example, he spent a great deal of time in Roswell, New Mexico—when the government was conducting nuclear testing, and when a UFO supposedly crashed there—and served as a Navy fighter pilot. Mitchell isn’t afraid to get profound either, waxing poetic as he does about looking down on one’s own home planet.

    What astronaut memoirs would you recommend?

    The post Books in Space: 5 Great Astronaut Memoirs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Brian Boone 2:30 pm on 2018/03/30 Permalink
    Tags: drawn from life, , nonfiction   

    10 Essential Nonfiction Graphic Novels 

    The graphic novel has emerged as a major storytelling medium over the last few decades thanks to visionary artists and writers like Alan Moore and Craig Thompson. But it’s such a sensitive, intimate form that by its visual nature allows for so much visceral detail that it’s become a tool for authors and artists to tell their stories—either their life stories, family stories, or world events that shaped them. Here are 10 of the most profound and fascinating nonfiction graphic novels.

    The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography, by Tetsu Saiwai
    The man we all know as the Dalai Lama, because he’s been the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists around the world for more than 75 years, was once just a toddler named Llamo Thondup. Then he took on the name Tenzin Gyatso and became the fourteenth Dalai Lama. While he’s been a world and religious leader for longer than most of us have been alive, his life remains shrouded in mystery, in part because he lives in exile in India because of the Chinese takeover of Tibet. The 14th Dalai Lama’s amazing and fascinating life story, which runs concurrently with some of the biggest events in 20th and 21st century Asian history, has never been told better than in Tetsu Saiwai’s graphic tale, The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography. Saiwai presents the story in the traditional Japanese manga style, befitting this almost unbelievable true life tale of cultural heroism.

    Tetris: The Games People Play, by Box Brown
    As great as many of them turn out to be, most video games don’t have that interesting of an origin story—somebody at a software company gets an idea, 100 people develop it, millions are entertained. The story of the classic puzzle game Tetris is far more interesting…and harrowing. Created by a Russian computer scientist named Alexey Pajiitnov during the Soviet era, the story of Tetris is one of corporate manipulation and government interference behind the Iron Curtain. Author and artist Box Brown also fits his style to the material, drawing in a boxy, blocky style, suggesting the endless shapes of Tetris itself.

    Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman
    Maus is the Citizen Kane or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band of graphic novels—it pioneered the form, and rarely have others that came after have come close to doing what Art Spiegelman did. In 1992, it became the first ever graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s the autobiographical tale of Spiegelman coming to grips with his father’s haunting and devastating memories of enduring the Holocaust as a European Jew. Spiegelman depicts those scenes as a literal cat-and-mouse game: Cats are cast as Nazis, and mice as Jewish people. That sounds flippant, but it’s anything but—Maus sensitively humanizes the Jewish war experience. Readers will be chilled and forever changed by what deceptively looks like Sylvester and Tweety Bird.

    Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Alison Bechdel is a veteran cartoonist probably best known for the “Bechdel Test.” A viral idea taken from a 1985 strip, a movie successfully passes the test, and is deemed less sexist than the usual Hollywood fare, if two women are shown having a conversation about something besides a man. Bechdel is also the author of, to date, the only graphic novel ever turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical. Her 2007 memoir Fun Home grapples with lots of Big Issues, including family, sexuality, and death. Bechdel grew up in a rural Pennsylvania funeral home her father operated. Throughout the book, Bechdel replays multiple incidents from her childhood as she tries to make sense as to why her father stayed a closeted homosexual for so long, as well as why he made a tragic decision that changed her world.

    Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, by Guy Delisle
    Great journalists observe first and then report, making sense of their subject along the way. In that regard Guy Delisle is a journalist and a cartoonist, providing de facto reports about what daily life is like in the far-flung locals where he travels with his wife, a physician with Doctors Without Borders. In addition to works about Myanmar (Burma Chronicles) and China (Shenzen: A Travelogue from China) is Delisle’s most revelatory work: Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. He’s the right man for the job: Delisle wasn’t allowed to use a camera or smuggle out photos, but he could draw his experiences there and bring back to the West to demonstrate what life is really like for regular people in the closed-off nation.

    Muhammad Ali, by Sybille Titeux and Amazing Ameziane 
    Okay, this one does kind of feel like a comic book, if only because it’s about a guy who was the closest thing this planet ever got to Superman. Sybille Titeux and Amazing Ameziane use striking panel art to tell the complete life story—the good parts and the bad parts—of “The Greatest,” boxer and Civil Rights activist Muhammad Ali. Sometimes graphic novels are a great way to get reluctant readers (kids especially) to pick up a book, and this one might do the trick, providing plenty of context to show not only how Ali was great but why he was so great.

    Smile, by Raina Telegemeier
    Nonfictional graphic novels are a great way to learn about the world around us, but they’re also a source for relatable, “small” tales of an individual’s experience. Smile is that kind of story, and it’s also the story of how its cartoonist became a cartoonist. Raina Telegemeier suffered terrible mouth injury as a child, and it required extensive surgeries. Smile details that harrowing journey, as well as the verbal abuse she suffered at the hands of her classmates, all of which led her on an inward journey into the world of…sequential storytelling. (It also includes a very visceral, you-are-there retelling of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.)

    The Beats: A Graphic History, by Harvey Pekar
    With his long-running American Splendor series, irascible crank and cartoonist Harvey Pekar was a major proponent of biographical cartooning. He’s one of many who worked on this animated textbook about an equally important American artistic movement: the Beats. A group that included people as artistically disruptive and often strange as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg need to have their stories told through an unconventional means. A thoroughly honest self-made outsider like Pekar is the one to tell them.

    Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi 
    This graphic novel is both a history book as well as a memoir, which makes it more impactful as essential examples of both genres. Author Marjane Satrapi was born to a middle-class family in Tehran, Iran, in the ‘60s, and this two-volume recollection shows what life was like before, during, and after that country’s Islamic Revolution. It’s a tale of broad change, but also small change, and how big movements can affect one’s very perception of themselves.

    The Elements of Style (Illustrated), by William Strunk, E.B. White, and Maria Kalman
    As important as it is, and as many times as we’ve all consulted it, let’s be honest: The Elements of Style is a real slog. It’s a grammar and punctuation textbook, which is just going to be dry, no matter how it’s approached. Or…not? The arcane and arbitrary rules of the English come alive when illustrator Maria Kalman applies her warm, classic, and even funny artwork to the words of original authors William Strunk and E.B. White. The result is what any great book, fiction or nonfiction, all-words or graphic-based should do: Make the reader understand.

    What’s your favorite nonfiction graphic noel?

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  • Jeff Somers 5:30 pm on 2018/03/21 Permalink
    Tags: must lists, nonfiction, ,   

    The Best New and Recent True Crime Books 

    If your sole experience with true crime books was reading In Cold Blood in school, you might be unaware we’re living through a Golden Age for the genre. While TV events like Making a Murderer and podcasts like Serial have dominated the headlines, some of the best true crime stories of all time have been told in books published over the last few years. Here are ten true crime neo-classics offering all the tense thrills of an expert mystery, using only the facts of a real-world case.

    Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
    Considering how important they were in shaping the modern age, the Osage Indian murders of the 1920s are remarkably little-known today. When the Nation became incredibly wealthy after oil was discovered on their land, more than 20 of its members of were murdered between 1921 and 1926. As public outrage grew, the federal government was pressured into putting the obscure Bureau of Investigation, led by a young Herbert Hoover, in charge of the case. Hoover used the notoriety of these awful crimes to establish what would soon be known as the FBI, which became the nation’s preeminent investigative body, with himself as its all-powerful chief. Grann, of The Lost City of Z fame, does a marvelous job catching you up on vital history that’s been nearly forgotten.

    The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
    This intensely powerful book is more than just a clinical investigation into a crime—it’s a personal journey through anger, shame, and the legal system. As a child, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was abused by her grandfather. Her parents intervened when the abuse was discovered, but never said anything about it. Years later, while working an internship during law school, she viewed the taped confession of Ricky Langley, a man accused of molesting and murdering a six-year old boy, and was surprised at the intense hatred she felt for the man—despite being opposed to the death penalty, she found herself wishing he would die for his crimes. She begins an investigation into Langley’s case, finding in it parallels to her own horrific experience, and leading her to questions of blame, responsibility, and punishment. By bringing herself into the story with such brutal honesty, Marzano-Lesnevich transforms the true crime genre into something new.

    Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime, by Ben Blum
    In 2006, Alex Blum (the author’s cousin) was arrested as part of a four-man team that robbed a bank in Tacoma, Washington. What made the crime unusual was that Alex was an active-duty Army Ranger, and the crime was planned by higher-ranking Ranger Luke Sommer. Alex claimed he believed the heist was part of a special training course, opening up a national conversation about the military mindset, training techniques that often involve brutal psychological attacks, and what exactly our soldiers are being trained to do. Ben Blum explores this complicated case with incredible skill, sifting through the mind games and bringing a fair-handed sympathy to all involved.

    The Black Hand, by Stephan Talty
    Talty tells the story of Joseph Petrosino, one of the first Italian-American police officers in New York City, whose extraordinary memory and investigative skills earned him the nick name “the Italian Sherlock Holmes,” and his crusade against The Black Hand, a precursor of the mafia that plagued Italian communities in both Italy and immigrant-crowded New York. Starting in 1883, when a young Petrosino joins the force, and ending in 1909, when he was assassinated while following leads in Sicily, Talty takes a big-picture approach, not focusing on one specific event, but relating the totality of evil imposed on a city by a shadowy organization. The Black Hand served to reinforce negative stereotypes of Italians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Petrosino was celebrated as a hero by his community for bringing them law and order when the bulk of the city’s government didn’t care to.

    American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin
    Toobin’s book is an examination of the curious case of Patty Hearst, kidnapped and held for ransom by perhaps the least-organized and most-dimwitted revolutionaries to emerge from the 1970s  radical left, only to undergo the most famous case of Stockholm Syndrome in recorded history. Seeing Hearst wielding a semiautomatic rifle during a bank robbery shocked the nation, as did hearing her voice as she declared her allegiance to her one-time kidnappers. Toobin fleshes out the characters who made up the small, bumbling Symbonese Liberation Army, and offers insights into Hearst’s own psychological issues. It’s the sort of story that would be criticized as unbelievable in a work of fiction, and offers a fascinating assessment of a modern world where incompetents can leverage the media to make an outsized mark—something that still happens today.

    A False Report, by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
    Miller and Armstrong expand their award-winning reporting on misogyny and rape culture across the U.S. into a book that focuses in on a single, horrifying story. A woman named Marie had just left foster care to live on her own for the first time at the age of 18 when a man broke into her apartment and raped her. The police—and her former foster parents—doubted her story, and Marie was slowly convinced that she had imagined the assault. Years later, an investigation into a separate crime turned up evidence that demonstrated Marie had, in fact, been raped. This story seems unbelievable until you put it into the context of the current #MeToo moment, and Miller and Armstrong begin to paint a portrait of an entire culture that’s turned blind to violence toward women. It’s one of the most important, timely true crime books of recent years.

    The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. Tyson
    The horrific 1955 murder of a young African-American boy named Emmett Till by a white lynch mob, and the trial that followed—which resulted in acquittal from an all-male, all-white jury—remains one of the most shocking crimes of 20th century American history. Tyson doesn’t simply reexamine the facts of the case, but investigates the people involved in every facet of it. He sketches the relationships between families and neighbors, between the accused, the victim, and law enforcement, and between witnesses and other actors. He uncovers the people behind the names, slowly sifting through details to study the humanity of each, and consider the steps that led to such a disgusting act of brutality and injustice. The end result isn’t reassuring when it comes to human nature, but it is one of the most essential, educational books you’ll read this year.

    Truevine, by Beth Macy
    In 1899 two brothers—10-year old black albino children named Willie and George Muse—were kidnapped from a tobacco field. For more than a decade, they were displayed as a part of traveling freak shows, represented as missionaries from Africa, genetic oddities, and even Martians. Their mother’s tireless efforts to locate and reclaim them finally succeeded in 1927, but the brothers returned to the freak show circuit, this time as slightly-better treated contract performers. The idea that this story could happen in the 20th century is a chilling reminder that we haven’t come as far as we think in terms of race relations—or human relations.

    The Good Nurse, by Charles Graeber
    Charles Cullen is suspected of having killed upwards of 300 people under his care while he worked as a nurse in New Jersey. Graeber takes a classic approach, remaining at a neutral distance as he relates Cullen’s horrifying childhood, offering neither exoneration or damnation and letting the facts speak for themselves. There’s less sympathy for the various hospital administrators who knew enough about Cullen’s activities to push him out of jobs but never went further, and never warned other hospitals of their suspicions or made any effort to stop him. Alternately chilling and terrifying, this new true crime classic serves as a reminder that serial killers aren’t always the obvious psychos of movies and TV shows.

    The Midnight Assassin, by Skip Hollandsworth
    Despite our collective fascination with serial killers, the story of what might be the very first example of one operating in the United States remains obscure. Hollandsworth tells the amazing story of the Midnight Assassin, who terrorized Austin, Texas in the late 1800s, murdering women from all social strata. The crimes were brutal and violent, and the murderer seemed to almost be supernatural, killing at will and disappearing. The authorities were completely clueless regarding how to deal with such incessant and sociopathic violence, which in turn ratcheted up the terror even as racist attitudes saw them pursue several pointless leads. In the end, 10 people died, no one was ever caught, and several prominent people saw their careers and lives destroyed as a result. This is an important look at one of the earliest serial killings in the country, and the peculiarly American response to them.

    What true crime stories do you recommend?

    The post The Best New and Recent True Crime Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 6:45 pm on 2018/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: , heal thyself, nonfiction,   

    7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books 

    Self-help is a nearly ten-billion-dollar industry. By adding a healthy dose of humor and a fresh perspective from today’s real world, these authors make the case for guidelines that stick—just don’t be fooled by their light-hearted, easy-to-read style. Irreverent self-help books are packed with powerful, relevant concepts and ideas that just might change your life. At the very least, they’ll make you laugh, and some days that’s the best medicine of all.

    Adulting, by Kelly Williams Brown
    The funny, helpful nuggets of advice in Adulting are geared toward twenty-somethings and run the gauntlet from cooking/hosting (“How to make a dope cheese plate,” “Do not fear the puff pastry”) to socializing (“The small-talk bell curve”) to employment (“Do not steal more than three dollars’ worth of office supplies per quarter.”) A self-help book with a little something for everyone.

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
    Little Golden Books have been around since 1942, and The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, remains the top-selling children’s book of all time. Who better than Diane Muldrow, the longtime editorial director at Golden Books, to curate the best pieces of wisdom from these classic kids’ stories? Timeless, charming illustrations byRichard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, and Gertrude Elliott make every page a nostalgic delight, while Muldrow suggests that the tenets of a full life include, “Be open to making new friends, even if you’re very, very shy”; “Go ahead and make a big deal over your birthday”; and “Give in to a good cry. You’ll feel better afterward!”

    Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Gary Greenberg
    There are approximately one zillion books for new moms and considerably fewer for dads, so Greenberg’s Boy Scout–themed guidebook is not only a necessity, it’s one of the most fun, entertaining, and creative parenting books out there. Need to baby-proof a hotel room, find activities baby and dad will both enjoy, or create a decoy drawer for baby to explore, so he’ll leave your good stuff alone? What about rigging an emergency diaper in the dead of night? (Hint: duct tape, sock, and a towel.) It’s all in there, plus illustrations and asides written in a positive, pragmatic, and non-alarmist manner—exactly what all parents deserve.

    How to Be a Person in the World, by Heather Havrilesky
    Practical, illuminating, and always relatable, Havrilesky’s book (based in part on her advice column at New York magazine’s The Cut) reads like a combination of Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed, and The Vine at Tomato Nation.  As Havrilesky puts it, “Part of what I like about giving people advice is that I never f*cking know how I’m going to pull it off. I’m not some kind of swami or guru.” Using relentless empathy, Havrilesky underscores her points by sharing personal anecdotes, which serve to remind readers they’re never alone. “This is your life, and it’s going to be big and bright and beautiful.”

    You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
    If you’re into the idea of using positive thinking to attract certain energies from the universe, you’ll find a lot to inspire you here; Badass is The Secret in a cocktail dress, albeit with a more down to earth approach. (“Feed your fear a suck-it sandwich.” “Give painful people the heave-ho.”) Sincero has a knack for reconfiguring familiar concepts into specific, helpful “aha” moments.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
    An accomplished artist aged “between 80 and 100,” with a bundle of kids and grandkids and a lifetime of travel behind her, Swedish author Magnusson has enjoyed—and continues to enjoy—a full, robust life. This gem of a book teaches readers to “remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet.” It’s perfect for older relatives who’d like to downsize, or anyone who wants more control and less clutter in their home, regardless of age. Though Magnusson has a wicked sense of humor, there’s very little sugar-coating here. She means it when she says, “If it was your secret, keep it that way,” i.e., don’t burden your loved ones with embarrassing box-loads of private items. In Magnusson’s words, “Save your favorite [sex toy]—but throw away the other fifteen.”

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    A popular blogger-turned-author, Manson holds the view that into each life a little rain must fall—sometimes a lotof rain—that’s neither fair nor deserved, and pretending everything’s  “for the best” can sometimes do more harm than good. Since we all have problems, Manson challenges us to ask ourselves to take control of them: What kind of problems do you want? (After all, the pain of hard work and living our values isn’t easy, but does bring fulfillment.) In other words, it’s not that you won’t give a f*ck about anything, it’s that you’ll give your f*cks selectively, prioritizing and paying attention to what matters most to you and letting the rest go.

    The post 7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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