Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

I saw the book The Girl on the Train by Paul Hawkins a while back and it sounded interesting.  Then the previews for the movie came out and I wanted to read this book so that I could see the movie.  I haven't seen it yet, but can't wait to see if it follows the book.  The book was great.  It had a twist and was reminiscent of Gillian Flynn's novels.  I would definitely recommend reading it and hope that the movie follows the book closely.  I can't wait to see it.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby

I picked up "A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby a while back and it was sitting in my To Be Read stack.  I saw that the movie was on Netflix and didn't know how long it was going to be on there.  So I decided to pick this one up and read it so that I could watch the movie.

The book was good.  It was an interesting story and interesting read.  Except for the same basic intro concept, the movie wasn't as good as the book.  The plot line even was slightly different.  I'd definitely recommend the book as a summer read (you still have a few weeks before Labor Day).

Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they’ve reached the end of the line.
In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi

I first read about Dr. Paul Kalanithi in a NPR article.  Paul was a neurosurgeon at the end of his residency program when he found out he had cancer spread throughout his body.  Paul had also always wanted to be a writer, even pursuing this in college as well.

When Paul found out he had cancer, he wrote about his experience as a doctor giving help and hope to cancer patients who are dealing with it or dying from it.  But he was also about to write about his experience on the other side, as a patient receiving treatment.

I knew when I finished this article that I had to pick up his book "When Breath Becomes Air." This book was great.  It was a quick read and very insightful and meaningful.

Overview from Barnes & Noble's website:

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a na├»ve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo

I had read so much about "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo in several magazines.  I picked this up much earlier this year as I wanted help getting my house organized.  I was hoping that this would be the book that would completely change my mindset and my life.

I didn't get as much out of this book as I would have liked.  There were a few things that I did like about her tips.  I did like how Kondo talked about letting go of the sentimental value of things that are cluttering up your life.  She also talked about not stocking up on too many things since they take up valuable space.  This is hard for me since I like to coupon and get items on sale and/or free when I can.  Kondo also wants you to ask yourself if an item brings you joy when you are deciding whether or not to keep it.  This helped me recently when I was moving and wanted to purge some of my decor items, clothing, and housewives that I didn't want to pack and move.

I would recommend this book to someone who is wanting to break away from the psychological part of clutter an decluttering.  If you are looking for someone to tell you how to organize your stuff, there are several other books out there that are better than this one.

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Ghost Boy" by Martin Pistorius

When I was working out at the gym one night, I saw an interview on CNN with Martin Pistorius.  At the age of 12, he became ill and slowly his body degenerated to the point he could not speak or communicate and he became a quadriplegic.  He was in this state for 10 years, the entire time, fully conscious of what was going on outside of him and how he was being treated.  It wasn't until a caregiver noticed him starting to respond and recommended that his parents take him to get tested to check to see if he was responsive.

Today, Martin owns his own business, is married, and uses a computer and word board to communicate (don't want to spoil anything, but this info is on the cover.  He wrote Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body.  The interview was so fascinating, I knew that I had to know more about how he went from a healthy child to ending up as a quadriplegic and how he learned how to communicate with the world again.  I went straight out and picked up the book.

It was a great book.  I would recommend it to everyone.  A lot of times, people in wheelchairs are passed by on the street without a glance, or with a negative glance, or with no one considering that they have thoughts/feelings/etc and can hear.  This book reminds us to be kind to everyone, no matter their circumstances.  It also reminds you that anything is possible if you work hard for it.

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.