Kathleen M.

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham and the Science of Success

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Matthew Syed
I love athletics.  I especially love to watch young people participate in sporting contests.  And one of the things that fascinates me the most is why some kids are better than others...were they born under a lucky star?  Did they win the "gene pool," that somehow predetermines who is the best of the best?
 
Well, not according to Matthew Syed.  In Bounce he goes to great lengths to prove his theory that talent is a myth and only practice breeds perfection.  He writes, "What does all this tell us?  It tells us that if you want to bend it like Beckham or fade it like Tiger, you have to work like crazy, regardless of your genes, background, creed or color.  There is no shortcut, even if child prodigies bewitch us into thinking there is."
 
This is very interesting stuff, and, if like me, you believe there is at least a bit of science to every success story, I would highly recommend Bounce!
 

Kathleen M., Administration

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Sherlock Holmes (DVD)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I must confess.  I have never read any Sherlock Holmes' mysteries and I don't have a desire to do so.  The only reason I wanted to see the movie Sherlock Holmes was because one of my favorite actors was cast in the lead role.  All I have to say about this movie is "Woo Hoo!!"

It is a rollicking, rolling, reckless portrayal of life in London in the mid to late 1800's (I'm not exactly sure of the year) led by the amazing Robert Downey, Jr.  Whomever cast this movie deserves an Academy Award because the chemistry between Jude Law (as Watson) and Downey is an absolute joy to watch.

Loved it and can't wait for the sequel! 

Kathleen M, Administration

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Women, Food and God

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Geneen Roth

I've been a fan of author Geneen Roth since back in the days when she wrote a monthly article for Prevention Magazine.  She writes easily and practically about our collective compulsion with food.  One of my favorite topics! 

This is not a "diet book," nor is it a solution to overeating.  But it does offer a substantial helping of "food for thought."  She devotes more than one chapter to what she calls "The Voice," that is the way we talk to ourselves and the fact that most of us believe it!  For them to make a difference, the lessons here need to be practiced, and practiced and practiced again (like yoga). 

I love this quote from the book, "Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are.  It's about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you.  What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can't have it."  It seems to me as though this advice can be applied to many aspects of life.


I cautiously recommend this book, and, for me, it was worth reading.


Kathleen M., Administration

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The Help

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Kathryn Stockett

This book is like putting on slippers after you've danced the night away in heels that pinched just a little.  First time novelist, Kathryn Stockett, hit a home run when she wrote The Help.  The story revolves around the relationships among different women and their domestic help during the early years of the 1960's in Mississippi, arguably the poster child for poor race relations in the United States.  It is not always easy to read, and I sometimes found myself embarrassed that these events (or something like them) happened during my lifetime in this country.  Ms. Stockett called upon her own experiences growing up in the deep South and writes with amazing realism, humor and heart.

I loved, loved, loved this book!  Put it on hold and wait as long as you have to to get it (hopefully it won't be too long!)  It is so very worth reading.

Kathleen M., Administration

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Old School

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tobias Wolff

I should have liked this book better – because I love the idea of it.The story takes place in a New England prep school during 1960.The narrator wants desperately to fit in with the other boys that attend this prestigious school and he accomplishes this by telling as little about himself and his life as possible.He is ashamed of his life outside of school.The school prides itself on its “literary connections,” and holds a contest each year for a meeting with a famous visiting author.Many of the boys aspire to write, and our narrator is desperate to win the final contest before his graduation and meet his hero, Ernest Hemingway.

I finished the book because I was curious about where our narrator ultimately might end up.It was quite a zig zag, as life often is.This book was definitely worth reading, but I must confess, left me somewhat disappointed.

Kathleen M., Administration

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How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci: Seven Steps to Genius Everyday

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Michael Gelb

Oddly enough, I picked upHow to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci: Seven Steps to Genius Everyday by Michael Gelbbecause it was referenced in an article I read in the paper about creatively budgeting money.The author of the article said that after years of failed budgets, she was able to apply the DaVinci principals to her personal finances.What???I couldn’t help myself; I had to check out this book.And you know what I found out?There are lots of ways to apply the DaVinci principals to the problems of everyday life.When I was reading the book, I kept thinking “Hey, I used to do that…”But you all know how it goes.You get busy, you have to make dinner every night and take your kids to birthday parties and swim practice and pretty soon you feel like the least creative person in the world.The questions posed in the book really made me think (like Leonardo DaVinci?)…and it was fun!I’ve even started keeping a journal again for the first time in many years.If you’re in a rut try How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci - it’s a breath of fresh air.

Kathleen M., Administration

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The Glass Castle

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Jeanette Walls

Initially, I was horrified as I read the account of Jeannette’s highly dysfunctional family. Neither of her parents were willing to hold a job for any length of time (although her mother was a college graduate with a teaching degree) and the deplorable conditions of the numerous shacks the Walls children called home made my skin crawl. They were almost always hungry (to the point of regularly searching through the trash of others for food) and, as they made their way east across the U.S., spent many freezing days and nights. There is a particularly memorable scene in the book as Jeannette describes a very rare trip to the laundry mat where she and her sisters and brother huddle around the dryers to try to warm themselves. What I can’t deny is that three of the four Walls children amazingly became hard-working, very creative and useful members of society. The three oldest children are as close a family as any I’ve ever heard of, and their personal triumphs made my soul sing. This book is a testament to the resilience of children, and an inspiration to those of us who did not come from a “storybook” background. Loved it.

Kathleen M., Administration

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The Book Thief

Monday, January 28, 2008
Markus Zusak

When I started reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I couldn’t help but feel that no matter the specifics, all of the characters were ultimately doomed.Add it up:Germans, Jews, early 1940’s.It’s even narrated by Death itself.It couldn’t really end any other way.As hard as it was to read at times, this book is something truly special.As Death states on the final page:“I wanted to explain that I’m constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it.I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Kathleen M., Administration

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Veronica Mars (DVD)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Considering the writer’s strike and the abysmal choices on television right now, my almost-14-year-old daughter and I have a new guilty pleasure: Season 1 of the now extinct television show Veronica Mars. I admit it: I love Kristen Bell’s portrayal of a modern day Nancy Drew at the often cruel but always entertaining Neptune High School. Aside from every episode’s own mini-mystery, Veronica is also working on the mysterious murder of her best friend, Lily Kane, that runs throughout Season 1. Veronica Mars is a savvy portrayal of high school in the new millennium, and it is just plain fun to watch (especially with your favorite teenager). Can’t wait to see what she is up to in Season 2.

Kathleen M., Administration

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God Went to Beauty School

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cynthia Rylant
I’m going to ‘fess right up and say that I am not much of a poetry reader, but I stumbled upon this book of poems by Cynthia Rylant. They make me smile. That’s it. I truly do not have any judgment on the reverence or irreverence of the subject matter – I simply liked the poems. With titles like, “God Got a Dog,” and “God Found Some Fudge,” these poems made my day a bit brighter. Incidentally, I rarely buy books (after all, I do work at the Public Library) but I did recently buy three copies of this book – one for my mother, one for my daughter and one for my priest. It’s hard to believe that I found one book that I believe all three of those people will like...go figure.

Kathleen M., Administration

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