Scoffing No More

February 9, 2014 at 4:43 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

codependent_no_moreTitle: Codependent No More

Author: Melody Beattie

Publisher: Hazelden

Genre: Self Help/ Addiction & Recovery

Length: 250 pages

When I worked in the bookstore full time, shelving, there was a brief few months that I ran the psychology section.  I had become territorial over the fiction/literature section – my dream job if I’m to be honest with the world, despite the simplicity that infers – and this was an exercise my boss had to help me let go.  To learn something out of my comfort zone.  The psychology section was waaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.

Being raised a Christian, there were some very un-Christ-like biases and stigmas surrounding that section.  These biases were mostly self-righteous scoffing.  Especially towards titles exactly like Codependent No More.  I remember thinking, people should just stop being selfish whores and everything would be fine in the world.

Pretty sure, in hindsight, this was some very codependent thinking.

Whether you are a traditional codependent tied to a substance abuser in some way, an author looking for some insight into people and character development, or simply a breathing human – this book should be read.  It opens your eyes to problems you might not know you have.  It opens your eyes to problems I’m sure someone you know has – even if that someone is a psycho you wrote off ages ago.

Whatever your situation, whoever your person, this book is about peace.  This book is about calming the anxiety and the panic and the anger issues.  I wish I had read it much sooner rather than scoffing at it on the shelf.

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Not So Surprised by the Joy of Lewis

September 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

joyTitle: Surprised by Joy

Author: C.S. Lewis

I don’t remember when C.S. Lewis was not a part of my life.  Really, I don’t.  I am sure at one point in time, possibly even recently, I may have remembered that first moment that I discovered the world beyond the wardrobe – but I can no longer recall it’s newness.  I only have the strong sense of having always been to Narnia before.  I can only remember various occasions that I visited, like a beloved vacation spot that has become home.

But now I am a grown up, and often when I have a longing for Lewis and his darling brain, I dive into his grown up things.  It started with The Screwtape Letters, which I read for the first time in high school or so.  Then I moved onto Til We Have Faces, kudos to a fellow named Brian Franklin, who somehow got that into my hands although I don’t recall by what means.  Then, finally, most recently, I really started to grow up… and I started reading his nonfiction.

In my mid-twenties I picked up Mere Christianity.  Something I wanted to read together as a family.  I think I was newly pregnant.  I recall being pregnant, maybe, but I don’t recall the big-as-a-house-belly.  (After all, when you are pregnant, you are a house – literally – for the tiny human you are growing.)  Either way, we read most of it aloud together, I think I ended up finishing the last half on my own, impatient for a conclusion.  Now that I’m thinking of it, perhaps I wasn’t pregnant yet at all.  Perhaps I just have a hard time imagining life without our little person, even in the memories she wasn’t present for…

Image from Jesse Furey

Image from Jesse Furey

So now, during a month of what Holly Golightly would refer to as The Mean Reds… during the stress of true adulthood… during moments when my brain (as the brain of the ‘creative’ is wont to do) attempts to dive into a deep melancholy… I have picked up Surprised By Joy: The Shape of My Early Life.

Am I suddenly ecstatic? Does Lewis propel me into a sanguine excitement, heart all a flutter with happiness? No.  Not even close.  But Lewis has reminded me what a lack of joy can really look like.  He has reminded me that my joy is never truly gone – even when I don’t feel it.

Sitting here in the wee hours of dawn, because I couldn’t sleep, debating how soon I should brew my coffee while the sun just barely peeks up into the tree branches and a haze of Houston smog, I am with Lewis.  I am with him at Wyvern and Chartres.  I am with his father.  I am with his atheistic sadness and in turn his Christian philosophies.  I am with his love for fantasy, satyrs, heroes, and mythologies.  I am with him in his distaste for other children and his desire to be alone, except for one good friend.

What I am not with? My own bad mood, which I like to call The Funk.  Apparently, Holly, we all have silly names for it and I stopped borrowing yours long ago.  Am I surprised that Lewis can scoop me from my mood, at least temporarily, with such ease? No.  (Although I admit he had the aid of my daily endorphin dose… the morning kick of pushups and crunches…)  Would I do almost anything for the most gorgeous set of leather bound C.S. Lewis books for sale at Good Books in the Woods? Probably, but if I had the money there would probably be a throw down for it in the parking lot between me and my Emily, but at least I know she’d share if she managed to win.


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For Women Only – A Review

July 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: For Women Only

Author: London Tracy

Publisher: New Hope Books

Genre: Self-Help, Health, Homeopathic

Length: 85 pages

I have to admit when I first saw the cover, a bit of dread came over me.  A self-help title on depression.  Give me memoirs about manic depressive women and I’m riveted, self-help, not so much.  But it was 80-some-odd pages, no biggie, easy cheesy.  I was tempted to procrastinate, the author didn’t expect me to post a review immediately after all, just within 3 weeks as per my Review Policy.  I am SO GLAD I didn’t put this book off!

For Women Only: A Novel Approach to Depression in Women is short, sweet, wonderfully concise and to the point.  London Tracy tells you what you need to know and who to talk to to get more information.  Having had bouts of depression and fatigue myself, I appreciated that Tracy wrote this book specifically for the person suffering from the problems being addressed.  While suffering from depression, one isn’t very likely to commit themselves to a lengthy and overly wordy explanation of how to deal with their issues.  They want an answer.  They want that answer now.  A listless person can only handle reading chapters a page and a half long in an 85 page book.  Tracy’s work is perfect.

Even if you don’t think you suffer from depression, this report is worth 30-45 minutes of your time.  It is very informative and may prepare you for issues you might not otherwise know might be coming up in your future.  I called my sister twice to share factoids and lists with her that I came across while reading, just little things that every woman should be made aware.

This is a quick women’s health guide for ladies from their 20’s on through menopause.  When I open a Kung Fu studio (hopefully, one day, in my perfect dream world) there will be a member’s library, where resources and reference material both on health and martial arts will be available for students to browse.  I plan to keep this book in that library.  It could help someone in a major way one day.

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