When Breath Becomes Air, A Really Good Day, Battleworn, The Liar’s Club, Hillbilly Elegy- With few exceptions, the memoir genre has always struck me as self-serving and redemptive, especially when written by someone in the prime of life. Here are some of the exceptions that are worth your time....by Susan Gerhart
A good time to reflect on things we would like to improve
by Celine Cooper
With a new year fresh at our backs, it is a good time to reflect on things that are going well for us, as well as things we would like to improve upon. While there are many avenues for self improvement, and various multi-billion dollar industries which depend on people wanting to improve themselves, I’ve found several books that don’t require us to buy into anything, but instead focus on acts of radical self love, acceptance and transformation.
One of these books is by researcher, author and prolific TED talk-er Brené Brown, entitled Daring Greatly. In this palatable yet profound book, Brown encourages us to face, name and ultimately combat shame; while allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and “change the way we live, love, parent and lead”. In her 20+ years of research, Brown has identified why and how shame enters into our lives, and tools for overcoming it and living ‘wholeheartedly’.
She identifies vulnerability as “the first thing I look for in you, but the last thing I’m willing to show you”, and offers tips and advice for practicing vulnerability and how it can transform and improve your life. While the content may be heavy and even a bit scary for some, her message is ultimately rewarding and heartwarming. If you are a parent, spouse, sibling, or just a person looking for ways to improve yourself or relationships this year, Daring Greatly is a wonderful place to start.
Another book on our shelves that I came across last year is called You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. While Sincero’s language is admittedly geared towards 20-something year-old readers, her advice for practicing meditation, following your intuition, and loving yourself truly and deeply, will ring true for anyone. Plus, with quotes such as “When we’re happy and in love with ourselves, we can’t be bothered with the bullsh** (our own or other people’s).”, this book is not only moving, but it’s funny and keeps the topics light enough to feel conversational and not overbearing.
Now here’s a scenario: you have a job interview, or an important meeting, or are about to have a difficult conversation- how are you standing? Yes, standing. Are you slouched, fidgety, pacing back and forth? What if someone told you that by “power posing” you could raise your testosterone, lower your cortisol, and appear not only more relaxed, but also more confident, trustworthy and competent? Does it sound like a bunch of hooey?
Well, Amy Cuddy (author, Harvard Business School professor, and speaker with the second most viewed TED talk in history), is here with hard evidence that practicing a power pose can help to “bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges”. In her book, Presence, she outlines years of research and anecdotes from various studies on presence, power posing, ‘self-nudging’ and more. When we are present, and feel powerful in our bodies, we not only change our own mentality, but also how others see and react to us. Power posing for up to two minutes can change people’s perceptions of us, and combat ‘imposter syndrome’ by essentially faking it till you make it. Self nudging, then, is a set of small, almost imperceptible changes a person can make in their daily routine, lives and habits that eventually lead to big long-lasting change.
Whether your resolutions or goals for this year are personal, professional or health-based, the library is sure to have something for everyone. Also, with your Nederland Library card you can access Lynda.com and Mango languages to learn new skills and languages-for free!
Celine Cooper is the Children and Youth Services Coordinator for the Nederland Community Library. Friday, January 20 at 3:30 pm, CU Science Discovery will present “Muggle Magic: The Science of Harry Potter” at NCL. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303)-258-101 to register. For Grades 3-7.