Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction Books’ Category

 

WILDReviewed by Katie Lou

Everyone is reading this book. This is THE book of the moment! It was required summer reading for my high school age son, and it is an Oprah book. Additionally, a friend’s son is raising funds to walk the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) this spring. It seemed timely that I take the time read it myself.

I’m not sure where to begin.  There are two distinct stories here.  I loved one and forced myself to read the other.  So … this twenty year old decides since her life is a mess  (her mom died, her marriage imploded, she and her boyfriend used drugs, her job was at a dead end, her step-father moved on to another woman, and her siblings stopped talking to each other) to walk the PCT.  Throughout the entire book, we read about her crumbling life which in my opinion was an emotional gut-wrenching too much to want to know about any one person story.

The other half of the book is about her decision to hike the Pacific Coast Trail.  She saw a book about it in a store and a few months later she was on her way to California.  Her decision was impulsive, made without any prior knowledge of what it’s like to take a long walk.  Correction: take a long walk while carrying everything you’ll need on your back.  She was alone, inexperienced, and unprepared. This part of the book was fascinating.  I was amazed at her description of her first week on the trail.  Her backpack, nicknamed Monster, was so heavy she couldn’t lift it.  Rather than finding out ways to make it lighter she figured out a way to put it on by rolling into it.  I loved the description of the Trail’s terrain and weather conditions.  Almost immediately she walks from 100 degree weather into snow.  In the summertime!

Despite the interruptions of the flashbacks, I enjoyed her tale about losing her boot, burning her books each night as she read, dealing with Monster & boots that were too small, deciding to bypass sections of the Trail, meeting fellow hikers and still deciding to walk alone.   I thoroughly enjoyed the story regarding the hike, but didn’t want to read about her dysfunctional life.

 

E SQUAREDReviewed by BA Dillon

Pam Grout’s E Squared is simply a lab manual with quick and easy experiments that may prove you shape your life with your mind. This is my favorite non-fiction find of 2013, and I am happily recommending this one to EVERYONE!! E Squared is easy to read, and experiments are actually a lot of fun to perform and reflect on the results! What sets this book apart from others like it is that all the ideas are scientifically supported and credible. I have one very important piece of advice while reading this book. E Squared needs to be read in small doses. There’s a lot to think about after each experiment, and reflection really is the key. All readers will soon learn, perspective is everything. Pam’s writing is clear and concise and actually very entertaining! This difference between E Squared and The Secret and Grow Rich is Pam shows here readers HOW shaping your own reality can be done. This is a great easy read, that also has an uplifting message. I now wake up everyday prepared to be amazed by how much my thoughts shape my reality! Here’s how some of the experiments worked for me:

Experiment #1 The Dude Abides Principle

I had moved my blog to wordpress in early October, and had been feeling more than disappointed by a lack of followers. Within in 48 hours of reading over experiment #1, my twitter following increased from 63 followers to 169. Within 60 days I had over 500 followers. Additionally my posts have been reblogged by other bloggers on other wordpress blogs countless times now!

Experiment #4 The Abracadabra

I asked for something very specific. Within 3 days of starting this experiment, I had contact with two of my favorite authors. I won a contest on one of their blogs, and another offered to read my own manuscript when I finish it.

Experiment #5 The Dear Abby

I asked God and my angels for guidance. Should I keep writing? My actual paying job seems to be getting in the way:)     I now have a column appearing in one paper, and I’ve sent query letters to two other papers. As of January 2014, I am being paid to write!  YES!

SpiritualChocolate

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I LOVE this book!  After years of spiritual seeking and experiencing what many have called impossible miracles in my life, someone told me about this book and I had to have it.  I had to do the experiments!  What I discovered in the doing of the exercises was profound — not simply because they work, but because what I discovered about myself in the process is that I don’t see the blessings around me in my daily life.

Pam Grout’s writing is easy and funny and she says what I often think:  “I hate to break it to ya, FP (Field of all Possibilities, what I commonly refer to as God), but folks are starting to talk.  They’re starting to wonder, ‘Is this guy for real?’  I mean, really, like it’d be so much skin off your chin to come down here and call off this crazy hide-and-seek thing you’ve…

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move your stuffThis book is a quick and easy to read that I would happily recommend to a beginner feng shui practitioner. Proper feng shui is a term borrowed from the Chinese that is used to purposefully arrange ALL YOUR STUFF around you to gain positive results. Everything that happens in your life is part of nine categories or situations (prosperity, fame and reputation, relationships and love, family, health, creativity and children, skills and knowledge, career, and helpful people and travel), and these can be spatially represented into NINE sections in your living quarters. These areas are called gua and the guas put together is called a bagua. Move Your Stuff just gets down to business with a lot of humor, and a great deal of information. I admit I have lots of accumulated clutter to clear before I can think about arranging my work and living quarters for optimum prosperity and well being. However, it will be easy with each chapter as a guide. Clearing clutter is the key!! This book takes all the typical questions about what Feng Shui is with regards to arranging your space and answers them! Each chapter takes you step by step through each part of the house and gives specific examples of applying the art of Feng Shui to clean up your house and your life! There are many diagrams (maps) that explain in very simple steps what to do in each area. There are also quick fixes as well. As I begin “my next chapter” with an empty nest (FINALLY!!), I will be clearing and donating all that STUFF I no longer need or want. I’m ready to “move my stuff AND CHANGE MY LIFE!!”

the barefoot sisters southboundReviewed by Katie Lou

My best friend has walked the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, a small portion of the Appalachian Trail and I am green with envy.  It’s been my dream since high school to at a minimum take a short jaunt on the Trail, looking for the white blaze marks or to sit for a spell in a lean-to.  The next best option for me is to read about others who have spent a part of their life hiking the trail. Sisters Lucy & Susan, aka Isis and jackrabbit made the choice to put their life on hold for a couple months while they thru hike…barefoot…from Maine to Georgia.  This book is about gaining tough feet and a tough determination.  The women share their experiences with us in a very honest way, whether it’s about overpacking their backpacks, looking for water, meeting fellow travelers who walk their slow barefoot pace, their safety concerns, stealth camping, families wearing kilts, and twisted ankles. The sisters take turns writing chapters, their writing styles differ but flow together beautifully.  These women became my friends and I rejoiced with their successes and was nearly as disappointed with their failures.  Their friends were my friends and I was sad to say good bye to them. This book made me wonder if I could do it; if I had what it would take to carry everything I would need on my back, hike 10-20 miles a day, walk a mile off the path to fetch water,  trust the strangers I would meet daily, all while being ‘nice’ to my hiking companion.  I honestly hope I could but I don’t know.  I know I would like to try.  These women made me think that even I could do it.

 

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman

Posted: October 28, 2013 by BA Dillon in Non-Fiction Books

spiritual lawsReview by BA Dillon

I have read almost all of Deepak Chopra’s books and this one … this one changed my way of thinking drastically. His philosophy guides the reader through SEVEN practical tenets for achieving goals and being satisfied with life. The first law: the Law of Pure Potentiality is met through silence, meditation, and non-judgment. This is the law I have put into practice daily. There is so much NOISE in the world that sometimes we fail to just be with our own thoughts. I found simply driving to or from work in SILENCE gave me the time to just BE. What happens when you experience silence? You start to notice sounds in nature, beauty, relationships, and fragrances – in essence the world around us. Along with the Law of Pure Potentiality, the remaining principles: the Law of Giving, the Law of Karma, the Law of Least Effort, the Law of Intention and Desire, the Law of Detachment, and the Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life are described in SEVEN short chapters. At the end of each chapter is a two-page guide on how to apply that principle. This book is 111 pages, but I believe is not meant to be read in one sitting. Instead, I read one chapter at a time, and then practiced using the application guide for several days. This book is about growing spiritually and creatively. I’m a pretty successful person – I’m happily married, have two great GROWN CHILDREN (YES!!), a career I love, and a wealth of friends. But I have a desire to do more, and this book simply helped me wake my creative side AND ACTUALLY DO MORE. I started this blog and I’m writing a book – need I say more?

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman

Posted: October 22, 2013 by BA Dillon in Non-Fiction Books

FIVE LOVE LANGUAGESReviewed by BA Dillon

I have this book on my original iPod as an audiobook. I have on my Kindle, and now I’ve purchased TWO paperback copies to present to my children … someday … if they ever decide to marry. It will be required reading before I agree to host a reception or rehearsal dinner. The author shares his advice, which is based on more than 30 years of counseling. He has determined that people give and receive love in FIVE basic ways: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Giving Gifts. So exactly HOW do you determine your love language – your partner’s love language? Chapman’s short questionnaires are one way to learn. Throughout the book, he also includes application questions that can be answered more extensively. This book resonated with me so deeply – it was like someone FINALLY explained my husband of ALMOST 30 years to me. He loves me through Acts of Service, which is why I always get the full laundry list of EVERYTHING he’s accomplished when he’s off work. A question to ask frequently is “HOW FULL IS YOUR LOVE TANK?”  If it’s empty, read this book and you’ll find a way to communicate your needs to your significant other. This book is a game changer – life changer – marriage changer. If you’re relationship needs a boost, this book may help give you a new perspective on how to love your partner!

teammates matterHOME RUN!

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“Fellas, enjoy going to the gym… enjoy working hard… enjoy all there is to enjoy about the game we love because one day no matter who you are- no matter how many points you score or how good of a career you have… one day, the ball will stop bouncing.”

Whether your passion is sport, business, family, or whatever, this book is a real life guide for how to accept challenges, to persevere through the tough times, and how to make each second count.  I first read this book as an educator as a suggestion from my mother.  I then re-read this book as a coach and shared it with my high school basketball team.  I have passed it on to friends who have taken it to share with friends at work.  If you have ever been a member of a team, then you cannot help but relate to this book.  From high school superstar to college walk-on who has to fight tooth and nail just to be on the team, Alan Williams recalls his real life story of challenges and perseverance that transcends the basketball court and gives us all a lesson in life.  I dare you not to LOVE IT!

mankindHOME RUN!

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750 of some of the most entertaining pages I’ve ever read.  Hardcore professional wrestling legend Mick Foley writes his first book and it’s FANTASTIC! The son of two school teachers had plans to become a priest, but that gave way to his dreams of flying through the air like his boyhood hero Superfly Jimmy Snuka.  Throughout this page-turner, I laughed until I cried.  I was awe-struck by his real life adventures inside and outside the ring.  This man’s story is a hit with wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans alike.  As WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross puts it, “I guess in some ways this is a love story.  The story of one man’s love of his life.  A life worth living.”