A self-help book recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2mVCZPw.
The thickly bound format is ideally read in bed. This is just the kind of book to shut out the world with a sense of Scandinavian comfort.
Book description from Google Books:
The Sunday Times bestseller The New York Times bestseller The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right. Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. The Little Book of Hygge will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge: how to pick the right lighting, organise a dinner party and even how to dress hygge, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. This year live more like a Dane, embrace hygge and become happier.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 14216 ratings. See 1660 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mKHIa1.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s6nyGu.

A self-help book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 408 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A self-help book recommendation: You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice by Tom Vanderbilt

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2cAmBRp.
After reading You May Also Like, it may be tougher to trust any likes at all. But Vanderbilt does not aim at challenging readers’ tastes; he simply aims at explaining “the way we come to have the tastes we do.” In so doing, he teaches us that we often like – and dislike – for arbitrary, irrational or superficial reasons.
Book description from Google Books:
Why do we get so embarrassed when a colleague wears the same shirt? Why do we eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but seek out novelty at lunch and dinner? How has streaming changed the way Netflix makes recommendations? Why do people think the music of their youth is the best? How can you spot a fake review on Yelp? Our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces – especially in the digital age with its nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars.” Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic, explains why we like the things we like, why we hate the things we hate, and what all this tell us about ourselves.   With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.
The book is rated 3.31/5 at goodreads.com, from 597 ratings. See 127 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2d5PDFN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2seobhe.

A self-help book recommendation: The Middlepause: On Turning Fifty by Marina Benjamin (2016-06-09) by Marina Benjamin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2pGQJis.
The Middlepause is a restrained but wonderful guide to the convulsive changes of 50 and over. Whether it is Benjamin’s observation that it’s “the nouns that go” in post-menopausal word blight or her evocation of the “old fever” of conventional ambition, this is a book that yields valuable insights on almost every page.
Book description from Google Books:
In a society obsessed with living longer and looking younger, what does middle age nowadays mean? How should a fifty-something be in a world ceaselessly redefining ageing, youth, and experience? The Middlepause offers hope, and heart. Cutting through society’s clamorous demands to work longer and stay young, it delivers a clear-eyed account of midlife’s challenges. Spurred by her own brutal propulsion into menopause, Marina Benjamin weighs the losses, joys and opportunities of our middle years, taking inspiration from literature and philosophical example. She uncovers the secret misogynistic history of HRT, and tells us why a dose of Jung is better than a trip to the gym. Attending to ageing parents, the shock of bereavement, parenting a teenager, and her own health woes, she emerges into a new definition of herself as daughter, mother, citizen and woman. Marina Benjamin suggests there’s comfort and guidance in memory, milestones and margins, and offers an inspired and expanded vision of how to be middle-aged happily and harmoniously, without sentiment or delusion, making The Middlepause a companion, and a friend.
The book is rated 3.62/5 at goodreads.com, from 81 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2oZgKeZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wyiSdR.

A self-help book recommendation: Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2g9VuLJ.
I can’t help but cling, however, to the old-fashioned notion that it is easier to retain information integrated into an overarching story line…That said, if “Feminist Fight Club” is on the right track in its presentation style, it has performed a huge service not just to its target audience but to the businesses they will be joining.
Book description from Google Books:
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2016 BY:Chicago Tribune, Refinery 29, Forbes, Bust, CEO ReadsPart manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club is a hilarious yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women.It was a fight club—but without the fighting and without the men. Every month, the women would huddle in a friend’s apartment to share sexist job frustrations and trade tips for how best to tackle them. Once upon a time, you might have called them a consciousness-raising group. But the problems of today’s working world are more subtle, less pronounced, harder to identify—and harder to prove—than those of their foremothers. These women weren’t just there to vent. They needed battle tactics. And so the fight club was born. Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday—such as the Manterrupter who talks over female colleagues in meetings or the Himitator who appropriates their ideas—and provides practical hacks for navigating other gender landmines in today’s working world. With original illustrations, Feminist Mad Libs, a Negotiation Cheat Sheet, and fascinating historical research, Feminist Fight Club tackles both the external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviors that plague women in the workplace—as well as the system that perpetuates them.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 2644 ratings. See 404 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ga36hi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xcZMxn.

A self-help book recommendation: The Middlepause: On Turning Fifty by Marina Benjamin (2016-06-09) by Marina Benjamin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2pGQJis.
The Middlepause is a restrained but wonderful guide to the convulsive changes of 50 and over. Whether it is Benjamin’s observation that it’s “the nouns that go” in post-menopausal word blight or her evocation of the “old fever” of conventional ambition, this is a book that yields valuable insights on almost every page.
Book description from Google Books:
In a society obsessed with living longer and looking younger, what does middle age nowadays mean? How should a fifty-something be in a world ceaselessly redefining ageing, youth, and experience? The Middlepause offers hope, and heart. Cutting through society’s clamorous demands to work longer and stay young, it delivers a clear-eyed account of midlife’s challenges. Spurred by her own brutal propulsion into menopause, Marina Benjamin weighs the losses, joys and opportunities of our middle years, taking inspiration from literature and philosophical example. She uncovers the secret misogynistic history of HRT, and tells us why a dose of Jung is better than a trip to the gym. Attending to ageing parents, the shock of bereavement, parenting a teenager, and her own health woes, she emerges into a new definition of herself as daughter, mother, citizen and woman. Marina Benjamin suggests there’s comfort and guidance in memory, milestones and margins, and offers an inspired and expanded vision of how to be middle-aged happily and harmoniously, without sentiment or delusion, making The Middlepause a companion, and a friend.
The book is rated 3.62/5 at goodreads.com, from 81 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2oZgKeZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wyiSdR.

A self-help book recommendation: Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2ad2nIO.
“Unseen City” is a modern classic of nature writing, but also a moving story about learning to be a parent.
Book description from Google Books:
It all started with Nathanael Johnson’s decision to teach his daughter, Josephine, the names of every tree they passed as they walked up the hill to daycare in San Francisco, CA. it was a ridiculous project, not just because she couldn’t even say the word "tree" yet, but also because he couldn’t name a single one of them. When confronted with the futility of his mission, his instinctive response was to expand it, Don Quixote-style, until its audacity obscured its stupidity. And so the project expanded to include an expertise in city-dwelling birds (the raptors, the shockingly shrewd crows, the gulls, the misunderstood pigeons), rodents (raccoons, rats, squirrels), and tiny crawling things (the superpowers of snails, the vast intercontinental warfare of ants).There’s an unseen world all around us. There are wonders that we walk past every day without noticing. Johnson has written a book that will widen the pinhole through which we see the world. What does the world look like through the eyes of a peregrine falcon, or a raccoon, or an ant? What does a sidewalk Gingko balboa "see?" What would you learn each morning if you understood how to speak pigeon? If we look closely enough, Johnson believes that the walk to the subway can be just as entrancing as a walk through the forest.Follow along as the author and his family search for the beauty and meaning of nature in an urban jungle.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 756 ratings. See 112 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ad2hBe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tDG2TB.
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A self-help book recommendation: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2evdijx.
The material is thick with jokes, landing effortlessly from someone you can easily imagine as your good vulgar friend, filling you in on the mundane and the sordid details of her life.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 New York Times Bestseller “Amy Schumer’s book will make you love her even more. For a comedian of unbridled (and generally hilarious) causticity, Schumer has written a probing, confessional, unguarded, and, yes, majorly humanizing non-memoir, a book that trades less on sarcasm, and more on emotional resonance.” —Vogue “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is an alternatingly meditative, sexually explicit, side-splittingly hilarious, heart-wrenching, disturbing, passionately political, and always staggeringly authentic ride through the highs and lows of the comedic powerhouse’s life to date.” —Harper’s Bazaar “This is your happy hour with Amy Schumer…It’s Bossypants meets Trainwreck meets your long weekend.” —TheSkimm “Amy’s got your back. She’s in your corner. She’s an honesty bomb. And she’s coming for you.” —Actress Tilda Swinton and Trainwreck co-star The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over.
The book is rated 3.76/5 at goodreads.com, from 55964 ratings. See 5980 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eve7Jm.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2x9SPNJ.

A self-help book recommendation: They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cLpba9.
It’s the kind of slim, unassuming memoir that hits you deep in the gut, leaving you bruised and thoughtful long after its last page.
Book description from Google Books:
Winner of the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize Winner of the 2016 Forest of Reading� Evergreen Award(tm)  After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents–first for their senile father,  and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother–author Plum Johnson  and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when  their mother, the surviving parent, dies. Now they must empty and sell the beloved  family home, which hasn’t been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three  rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving  but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a  handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated,  extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes  her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. Items from childhood trigger  memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake  Ontario in the 1950s and 60s. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her  reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were  and what they valued.   They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving  family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the  future.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 2049 ratings. See 415 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cLq6Ye.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tJxg5y.

A self-help book recommendation: The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life by Natalie Goldberg

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2ewziuy.
When she returns to the city where it all began, her talks are sure to enliven and enlighten, and I feel confident that at both events she’ll hear the sound of two hands clapping.
Book description from Google Books:
What does it take to have a long writing life? Drawing her years of writing, teaching, and practicing Zen, Natalie Goldberg shares the experiences that have opened her to new ways of being alive–experiences that point the way forward in our lives and our writing. The “great spring” of this book title refers to the great rush of energy that arrives when you think no life will ever come again–the early yellow flowering forsythia, for example. It also refers to enlightenment: obstructions shatter, pain cracks open, previously resisted truth releases, an acceptance of transiency flows through. Natalie Goldberg shares the moments that have sprung from her own life of writing, teaching, and Zen practice–moments of searching, wandering, zigzagging, losing, and leaping where she has found herself and her voice. In these pages, we watch as Natalie “makes positive effort for the good”–one of the guiding rules of her writing life–and we see that if we can stay attentive in our lives, even in the middle of the ruins, “we can hear the sound of a songbird in a Paris chestnut tree.” Whether we know if the song comes from inside us or out doesn’t matter. Thirteen of the twenty-two essays in the book have been previously published (often in a different form). Those publications include Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Five Points, and Creative Nonfiction.
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 190 ratings. See 46 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ewBHph.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s9JgJq.