Hellenic Immortal Blog Tour May 3rd

Watch for the upcoming visit from the Hellenic Immortal Blog Tour on May 3rd!!!!!

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Stephen King and… JFK?

Well, I finally finished Stephen King’s 11/22/63.  All 849 pages of it. I’m pretty sure my biceps are buffer than when I started. That is one bigass book.

Size aside, this is not typical King fare, so if you are looking to be scared to go to the bathroom during the night or not let any of your limbs dangle over the side of the bed, this book won’t do it. Sure, there’s some hinky stuff in there, but this isn’t horror. This is about time travel, the butterfly effect, fate, and what really could happen if someone could go back to the past and right a wrong. Will it make things better? Well, Mr. King has a way with words and he kept me asking that question for 849 pages. And I have to say that every page was worth it because the man is one hell of a writer.

Don’t read this if you are looking for the next “IT”. But read it if you enjoy reading.

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Shock Wave by John Sandford


The latest Virgil Flowers (aka “that f*ckin’ Flowers) novel from John Sandford is awesome. Yes, I said it. Awesome. I have found that I like Virgil Flowers even more than Lucas Davenport from the author’s Prey series. The laid-back, unorthodox detective faces the challenge of finding out who is trying to keep a large megastore (think Walmart) from being built in a small town via bombings. Virgil is unorthodox and appealing. I highly suggest crime thriller lovers read this one!!!

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Todd Keisling – A Life Transparent Book Club Interview

Last Thursday, Todd Keisling, author of A Life Transparent, was brave enough to meet (via technology) with my book club, the Pageturners. Skype failed us, but luckily my iPhone on speaker worked out just fine. My group not only liked the book, they were hassling Todd for previews of the sequels!

On the surface A Life Transparent might not look like a book club book. It kind of seems like a creepy, scary, very un-book club-like tale. But once you begin, you find that it is more fable than fear. As is my custom, I will not spoil the book for you, but trust me, if  you and your group look beyond the superficial, you may just find A LOT to talk about. Oh, and Todd’s publisher even provided a reader’s guide!

As for Todd, he was charming, forthcoming, and honest. He answered every question, no matter how personal or probing, with kindness and humility. We, as a group, highly recommend ALT as a book club selection or an independent read… Of course if all you ever read is non-fiction you may find yourself in the Monochrome…

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A Discovery of Witches – Mini-Spoiler-Free Review

I finally finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s a long one and tough to read over the holidays when things are really busy. This book was highly praised and touted as “Harry Potter for adults”. I disagree.

The story was good, for the most part, with witches, vampires, and daemons. The problem was that the author apparently felt the need to not only capitalize on the HP success, but Twilight as well. A big romantic entanglement is the stimulus for many of the events in the book.

Basically, and without spoiling anything, a witch who has denied her powers must learn to use them when she discovers a book that has been hidden. She also has to deal with falling in love outside of her species.

It ends with a cliffhanger, so if you aren’t ready to commit to a series, avoid it. If you don’t mind an

HP/Twilight hybrid, this may be right for you.

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Mindfulness – DBT Books

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or similar conditions (I do), you may find Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to be helpful. There are many books available on the subject, many from Shambhala Publications. I recommend The Mindfulness Revolution, The Five Keys to a Mindful Communication, and Awake in the World.

Mindfulness is the key to DBT and is truly helpful. Awake in the World also incorporates balancing life and using meditation and yoga. I LOVE yoga! In fact, Shambhala also has Yoga for Emotional Balance, which I also find to be very interesting and helpful.

While these books are informative and interesting, they will not replace the need for therapy or medication in severe cases of depression and/or anxiety. Think of them as a supplemental resource. Mindfulness can change your mind… and your life.

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DBT – Books I Never Thought Would Help Me

Within the next few days I will be posting information about some books I have read recently about Dialectical Behavior Therapy and its use in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression. I have a read several books and if you suffer from any of these problems, this may just be a post you don’t want to miss.

 

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Can We Talk Shakespeare?

I can. My son is reading Hamlet for English and can’t make any sense of it. He haltingly read a brief passage aloud and slammed the book shut with frustration. I took it from him, and in my most regal voices with fake English accents, read the passage he just had. And with a little prodding, he “got it”.

He planned to resort to a modern translation, which would work if tests, essays, and homework could rely on the translated copy. But they won’t. And thus, he must read the Bard’s words.

Sometimes all it takes is reading aloud with some inflection and the appropriate dialectical sounds to clarify meaning. I’ve always loved reading aloud, especially accents – my kids were particularly fond of my “Hagrid” – so it seems that I will be reading Hamlet with him, aloud. We will discuss it… and he will hopefully gain some understanding and respect for Shakespeare and I will get to relive the glorious days when my children enjoyed being read to….

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Time Out for Some Classics and Self Help

Did I mention that I was reading with my kids? They’re teens, so it’s less and less often that our reading lists cross paths, but I decided to read what they were reading in school with them last month.

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None was brilliant. Imagine having the ability to have ten people on an island and ALL of them end up murdered. Who is the murderer? You’ll have to read it yourself. This is mystery writing at its best.

My other son read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. His summary? It’s about a guy with a really crappy life. Very good assessment. But also incredibly written. The writing simply pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. This is how it’s done, folks. It’s a classic, and there’s a reason. Just start it and try to tell me that you can put it down and not find out how Ethan became the man he is…

I also took the time to check out a nonfiction book: Just One Thing by Rick Hanson, PhD. Based on the principles of simplicity derived from ancient wisdom (Buddha, anyone?), Dr. Hanson offers small way to enrich your life. Rather than being either a dry, research journal or a pep rally of inane advise, Just One Thing combines meditative techniques and neuro research to rewire your brain towards positive thinking. Anybody can handle these small changes, and everyone will benefit from them.

I’m currently trying to find time to read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. This is a long one, but it reminds me of Harry Potter a bit, so I’m thinking I’ll stick with it.

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How Cool Would This Be?

I’ve signed up to hopefully obtain a review copy of Christopher Moore’s latest book. I love his sense of humor. I’ve read all of his books and even bought some of the merchandise that has his logos and benefits MS research. I’ll include some of his Facebook gems and some links…. cross your fingers for me.

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