Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Reads

I have been making a greater effort to READ MORE lately, and I thought I'd pass these great book recommendations on to you.  I loved each and every one of these books!

Quiet by Susan Cain

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

book description found here

Thank you to Felicia from My Boring Life
for recommending this book to me!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

[Full disclosure: I thought this book sounded stupid, and I hated the title and the cover.  But I ended up LOVING the book.  So there.]

book description found here

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Fifteen years ago Francesca Lia Block made a dazzling entrance into the literary scene with what would become one of the most talked-about books of the decade: Weetzie Bat. This poetic roller coaster swoop has a sleek new design to match its new sister and brother books, Goat Girls and Beautiful Boys. Rediscover the magic of Weetzie Bat, Ms. Blocks sophisticated, slinkster-cool love song to L.A.the book that shattered the standard, captivated readers of all generations, and made Francesca Lia Block one of the most heralded authors of the last decade. 

book description found here

Thank you to the Instagram folks (including Diana from our city lights and Xindy Holliday from Life's Little Extras) that recommended this book to me after I posted a pic of Oki Dog

Tenth of December by George Saunders

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”

description above found here

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

THERE IS NO WAY TO PROPERLY DESCRIBE THIS BOOK!  But I think it is a must read!!!! 

Thank you to Claire from Bicoastally for recommending this book to me!

[Full disclosure: possibly the ugliest book cover I HAVE EVER SEEN. Nevertheless, it is one of the most unique, bizarre, hilarious and entertaining books that I have ever read!]

I think I have over 200 more books at home to read (ACK!!!!), but if you have any fab book recommendations, please let me know!


Jen Vallette said...

Thank you -thank you. I needed new book recommendations. I just read "Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar" Honestly? It was mehhh...she was funny and all but I kept thinking I had better life stories than this shit. And then I'm on the wait-list
(yes,I still use the library) for the new Sedaris book "Let's Talk Owls With Diabetes" LUUUUV him very-very much.

Elle Sees said...

i'm an introvert all the way, so i found that interesting! and i've heard a lot about the second book.

diane said...

The last one looks like my kind of book, thanks for the recommendation!
I read a book years ago called The Fan Man, which was hilarious (don't remember the author, sorry). Also, the novel The First Wives Club was really good, as was This and That (Bette Davis' last book).

sohbet said...

and a friend while keeping the insurance on the back burner and bring it up only when it seemed appropriate and be their solution. You want them to come to you because they like and trust you and then you can sell them becau

Courtney B said...

Perfect timing to find your blog! I've been on the hunt for new books to read... I've only read ONE book this year so far. I would be more ashamed if I didn't have my sweet baby to blame. Now that I've kinda got this mom thing figured out, I'm ready to dive back into the world of reading!

SabinePsynopsis said...

That's a great list. I had heard about the Introverts book and really want to read is... Problem is, I've been stuck in the Game of Thrones series for YEARS now. Guess when I'm finished with book #5 the sixth will come out...