Favorite books of 2018

This year I read or listened to an average of a book a week. So I had over 50 books to choose from as my favorites for 2018. The following recommendations are the cream of the crop from my perspective.

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E.P. Seligman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was filled with tests. I found it valuable to think about my level of happiness and signature strengths. I thought about what virtues I have and which ones I might want to place more focus upon in the future. I wish I had read the chapter on raising children when my kids were little. I understand more about how I can achieve more lasting happiness. And what I like most about the book is its hopeful and optimistic nature. It was very inspiring and I have recommended it many people.

 
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Outstanding! I have been recommending this book right and left to young and older people alike. I found the power posture concept invaluable. The imposter syndrome rang true for me at times in my life. The book is filled with gems and I know I will read it again and soak in even more of its valuable content.

 

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Meaningful End-of-Life Books

I never thought I would enjoy reading books about death. I participate in a virtual book group entitled A Year of Reading Dangerously-Exploring Death and The Afterlife Through Books (we do not meet in person). Each month we read a book that has something to do with dying, death, the afterlife, grief and other related aspects of the end-of-life. At the end of the month, the moderator interviews the author and listeners have a chance to ask questions. Recordings of the interview remain accessible to those who missed the call. There is also a Facebook group associated with the book club. [Read more…]

Tips for Writing Book Reviews

It is a gift to authors when you write positive, honest book reviews. A bad review stings as well. Be thoughtful in what you say in your review. If you only slam the book, that does not help the author improve. If there is one thing you can praise even if you did not like the book, be sure to mention it.

In writing a positive review, here are some tips:

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book? Be specific; vague statements of praise are rarely helpful to discerning, prospective readers.

Make sure you review more than one author or Amazon will think you are biased. I know two people who were banned for life from writing future reviews on Amazon because they had not written reviews for more than one particular person. Share the love!

Most reviews can be kept to 2-5 sentences, which does not take much time. You can write a much longer review, but it may not be necessary and be considered a rant. [Read more…]

Favorite Books of 2017

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2017. Many friends have asked if I would share my favorites of the year. This is a challenging task, but I will attempt to narrow it down to my 2017 best reads for you. To see all my reviews, be sure and see my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and connect with me there for ongoing reviews.

Favorites in Fiction:

A Gentleman in Moscow

What a treasure! I was enchanted from the beginning and fully engaged all the way through. The reader on Audible is delightful and brought the character to life. It made driving a pleasure even in heavy traffic to hear the voice of the narrator and the story unfold. [Read more…]

How to Write a Book Review

Authors, including myself, appreciate honest and positive reviews for their books. You have probably told a friend about a movie that you enjoyed or a restaurant you just discovered. If you take the time to write a review on a book you liked, you are providing a gift to the writer.

Here are some ideas and ways to write a review. I will use my latest book, A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent as an example, but the principles can be applied to any book.

First, draft on paper or type on your computer your review. Give it a short title that captures the essence of the book.

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book?

You will be asked to give it a star rating, 5 being the best on most platforms. Choose that rating when on the review site.

If possible, post the review on two or more sites/platforms in case it is lost, hidden or rejected on one for some reason.

Here are a few choices for my book as examples:

If you have never written a review on one of those platforms, you may have to establish a brief profile.

You do not have purchase on that platform to write a review. However, the platform might reject your review if they think it is overly biased from a friend. You can state that you bought the book at a live event, book signing, etc. Posting the review in more than one place might also ensure it gets posted to at least one. You may want to check back on the site to see if it appears.

Be sure to write reviews for more than one author. Spread the love! You will definitely be considered biased if you only write reviews for one person.

On Amazon, you will see need to scroll down the page until you see the other reviews. You should find a button that says, “Write a customer review”. Click on that and proceed to the end being sure you “submit” or save when finished.

Other ways you can support the author: [Read more…]

Spirited Woman Book List

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent is now featured on Spirited Woman Top 12 Book Pick List.

Check out the many quality books featured on the list!

Spirited Woman connects spirited women everywhere. [Read more…]

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent

My latest book is available on Amazon! Also Barnes and Noble!

Gold Winner in “Aging Family” and Honorable Mention in “Life Journey” Human Relations Indie Book Awards, 2017. Bronze Winner in “Mature Living/Aging” Living Now Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Health: Aging/50+” Best Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Death and Dying” National Indie Excellence Awards, 2017.

~

Throughout the years, Lisa and her dad had a tenuous relationship. In her youth, she was disappointed and angered by his behavior, distancing herself from him and blaming him for the sudden end to their intact comfortable family life. As a young adult and after her father’s sudden heart attack, Lisa was given a second chance to heal their relationship. Over the next three decades they became closer, enjoying time together, including travel. When her dad entered his eighties, and while still raising her own children, Lisa found herself unprepared for his steady health decline. Suddenly, she was thrust into the role of overseeing his care as he began to experience increasing disability and the beginnings of dementia.

Not having prepared for or anticipated such a role, Lisa floundered as she attempted to address his ever-changing situation. The closeness and healing they had achieved was challenged as her father resisted conversations about his failing health and his care, exacerbated by a western medical system that fell short to prepare them for the end of his life.

A moving tribute to a remarkable man and a daughter’s experience of losing her dad, A Chance to Say Goodbye gives rise to reflections about what is important in living and dying.

Purchase online Amazon

Purchase online Barnes and Noble

Praise for A Chance to Say Goodbye:

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Forgiveness

As a human being on this planet, I have ample opportunities to practice forgiveness. Every time I drive my car, I may encounter someone who cuts me off, fails to use their turn signal or drives slowly in the passing lane. Each time I dine out, there is the potential for slow service, a forgotten request or an error in the check. When I email, text or even talk to someone, my words might be taken in a different way than I intended. A stranger or a friend might snap at me because they are going through a rough time and their nerves are frayed.

I recently read the book, The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard. The author advocates forgiveness as perhaps the most important thing we can do while we inhabit this place we call Earth. Renard states, “It’s just as important to forgive the little things as the apparently big things. Anything that disturbs your peace of mind is disturbing your peace of mind, and that’s not the peace of God. You have to be willing to forgive everything equally.”

Now when I drive and another driver irritates me, I say, “I forgive you.” I immediately feel better and soon completely forget the incident. It is a relief to let that sort of trivial event go quickly! I also realize that I too have cut people off, forgotten to indicate a turn, butted in line and driven slowly when someone wanted to pass me. I am not a perfect driver!

Today’s political scene is the most polarized climate I ever recall. Blame and anger are predominating the media and conversations on both sides. Many people are throwing their arms up in exasperation and confusion of what to do or think during these unsettling times. When the world seems crazy to me, I narrow it down to my own life and see what I can do differently. Renard states, “The people of the world will never live in peace until the people of the world have inner peace.” [Read more…]

Oneness

A person only needs to browse the newsfeed of Facebook on Election Day or Inauguration Day to see hatred flung at each other. In fairness, I also see some posts that are classy and positive on both sides of the political pendulum. But I see more mud slinging than I have ever seen before. It feels to me like our country is in civil war. Not north vs. south. All corners of our country seem to be dividing.

One of the reasons that I am an independent in terms of politics is the two sides repel me with negativism and intolerance. From the book Oneness, “The systems on which your society is based will, most likely, experience a fundamental breakdown as they are built on a foundation of diminished vibration that cannot sustain itself under conditions that continue to accelerate.”

So what do we do now? We have a new president. My answer is to look at myself first. How do I behave, think and feel? And how do I express my values to the world? How do I interact within my family, with my friends, in my community and with each and every interaction of my day?

Again an excerpt from Oneness, “For your world situation is no more than a magnified reflection of the energy of the collective consciousness. You are part of that group dynamic. And the only way to shift the worldview is to shift the thrust of what you project upon it. Each of you. One conflict at a time. [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2016

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2016. Yes, that is a lot but some were short and many were on Audible while I drove to and from Breckenridge and Denver. I love books and find them as necessary as food. It is challenging to pick the winners of a year. I am going to pick 4 non-fiction books to highlight.

Oneness

Not only did Oneness make the top of my list for 2016, it is in the top 5 of my lifetime. It is very spiritual and requires deep contemplation. It is not for everyone. For those seeking to understand the complexity of your life patterns, why things happen in your life and the big picture, this book will be profound.

Love Warrior

This memoir is brutally honest, real and empowering. I listened to it on Audible and the author did an incredible job describing the story of her life. Some will find uncomfortable because she dares to share what is often hidden. [Read more…]