Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: All These Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown Catherine Burns, editor

Review: All These Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown
Catherine Burns, editor
Crown Archetype
2017

A forward by Neil Gaiman?  I half expected stories from the beyond from this collection.  You know those campfire stories that give you chills and haunt you forever.  There are stories here that may stay with you for a long time and you can’t say you weren’t warned.  
Front Cover 
The happy part is that these stories leave you believing that maybe there just might be some good left here and there in this world.  I sampled various stories just so I’d have some left to read after I put up this review.  I wanted them for those days that land you once in a while when you need to hear something positive.  And that is why I recommend this one to you.  The authors of the individual stories tell their own tale in their way.  Some of them are tough reads, but ones that showed me even in those situations there’s still hope, that the strength to go on can be had, if I choose.  Others are the kind that make you smile.  Some have you cheering.  It’s just a good book to have around.  

And The Moth continues their work at https://themoth.org/  ,and through podcasts and other means if you want more or think you’d like to contribute your own story.  “The Moth's mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.”  I think they achieved their mission with this set of stories.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters Emily Esfahani Smith



The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
Emily Esfahani Smith
Crown
2017


The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That MattersSmith has put together an interesting array of material to point her reader toward a life that matters, borrowing from her title.  Through her research work she finds several common factors that in the end become necessary to living a life that a person can claim as important in some way whether its feeding giraffes, turning a well-honed illicit drug business into a legitimate business venture, or surviving a concentration camp.  Yes, she covers that much ground in this short book.  And it is all to illustrate how meaning and a satisfying life emerge.

The worth of this book isn’t necessarily that Smith has found some new silver bullet approach, but it’s readability.  The ease with which she leads a person through the various discussions helps the reader relax and absorb what she says.  Change doesn’t come easy for any of us so a soft, gentle approach cushions the ride.  I’d say anyone that is even remotely questioning meaning, purpose, or how to make their life matter this would be a good first read.  And re-read.  There’s plenty of wisdom built into this book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.