A self-help book recommendation: Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2cWzAx2.
Harmony is a frustratingly short book that skips past the chance to fully develop some of the plot hooks it teases, like Josh and Alexandra’s growing estrangement, or Scott’s mysterious past.
Book description from Google Books:
Gorgeously written and patently original. Jodi Picoult, “New York Times”bestselling author of”Leaving Time” In this gripping, timely novel, Carolyn Parkhurst follows the Hammond family as they give up everything. . . and ultimately reveals the healing power of love. Kim Edwards, the #1″New York Times”bestselling author of”The Memory Keeper s Daughter” A fascinating tale of a family taking a crazy risk to save themselves. I read it in one giant gulp “Harmony”is absolutely riveting. Jami Attenberg, “New York Times”bestsellingauthor of”The Middlesteins” “From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel, a taut, emotionally wrenching story of how a seemingly “normal” family could become desperate enough to leave everything behind and move to a “family camp” in New Hampshire–a life-changing experience that alters them forever.” How far will a mother go to save her family? The Hammond family is living in DC, where everything seems to be going just fine, until it becomes clear that the oldest daughter, Tilly, is developing abnormally–a mix of off-the-charts genius and social incompetence. Once Tilly–whose condition is deemed undiagnosable–is kicked out of the last school in the area, her mother Alexandra is out of ideas. The family turns to Camp Harmony and the wisdom of child behavior guru Scott Bean for a solution. But what they discover in the woods of New Hampshire will push them to the very limit. Told from the alternating perspectives of both Alexandra and her younger daughter Iris (the book’s Nick Carraway), this is a unputdownable story about the strength of love, the bonds of family, and how you survive the unthinkable.”
The book is rated 3.56/5 at goodreads.com, from 3641 ratings. See 558 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cWBNbq.
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A self-help book recommendation: In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Death and Dying by Eve Joseph

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dfLEvR.
Joseph’s lack of judgment, her willingness to listen to the world of loss, and to invent for us an intimate language for grief makes death a site of wonder as much as pain.
Book description from Google Books:
Like Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, an extraordinarily moving and engaging look at loss and death. Eve Joseph is an award-winning poet who worked for twenty years as a palliative care counselor in a hospice. When she was a young girl, she lost a much older brother, and her experience as a grown woman helping others face death, dying, and grief opens the path for her to recollect and understand his loss in a way she could not as a child. In the Slender Margin is an insider’s look at an experience that awaits us all, and that is at once deeply fascinating, frightening, and in modern society shunned. The book is an intimate invitation to consider death and our response to it without fear or morbidity, but rather with wonder and a curious mind. Writing with a poet’s precise language and in short meditative chapters leavened with insight, warmth, and occasional humor, Joseph cites her hospice experience as well as the writings of others across generations–from the realms of mythology, psychology, science, religion, history, and literature–to illuminate the many facets of dying and death. Offering examples from cultural traditions, practices, and beliefs from around the world, her book is at once an exploration of the unknowable and a very humane journey through the land of grief.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 128 ratings. See 26 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cqn59h.
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A self-help book recommendation: A Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2aDSZSe.
He’s had his public humiliation, and from the evidence of this book a chastened Jonah Lehrer has a lot to offer the world. The book is interesting on nearly every page. He mixes a wide range of reference, both scientific and literary, in a way that is sometimes familiar but sometimes surprising and illuminating.
Book description from Google Books:
“Jonah Lehrer has a lot to offer the world….The book is interesting on nearly every page….Good writers make writing look easy, but what people like Lehrer do is not easy at all.” —David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review Science writer Jonah Lehrer explores the mysterious subject of love.Weaving together scientific studies from clinical psychologists, longitudinal studies of health and happiness, historical accounts and literary depictions, child-rearing manuals, and the language of online dating sites, Jonah Lehrer’s A Book About Love plumbs the most mysterious, most formative, most important impulse governing our lives. Love confuses and compels us—and it can destroy and define us. It has inspired our greatest poetry, defined our societies and our beliefs, and governs our biology. From the way infants attach to their parents, to the way we fall in love with another person, to the way some find a love for God or their pets, to the way we remember and mourn love after it ends, this book focuses on research that attempts, even in glancing ways, to deal with the long-term and the everyday. The most dangerous myth of love is that it’s easy, that we fall into the feeling and then the feeling takes care of itself. While we can easily measure the dopamine that causes the initial feelings of “falling” in love, the partnerships and devotions that last decades or longer remain a mystery. This book is about that mystery. Love, Lehrer argues, is not built solely on overwhelming passion, but, fascinatingly, on a set of skills to be cultivated over a lifetime.
The book is rated 3.68/5 at goodreads.com, from 213 ratings. See 43 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aCPSGA.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uaFRhU.
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A self-help book recommendation: Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness by Joe Moran

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fr3Z9b.
The result is not only a guide (and the breadth of Moran’s reading is astonishing). It’s a feat of empathy. Every page radiates understanding; every paragraph, its (shy) author’s gentle wit.
Book description from Google Books:
Our success as a species is built on sociability, so shyness in humans should be an anomaly. But it’s actually remarkably common – we all know what it’s like to cringe in embarrassment, stand tongue-tied at the fringe of an unfamiliar group, or flush with humiliation if we suddenly become the unwelcome centre of attention. In Shrinking Violets, Joe Moran explores the hidden world of shyness, providing insights on everything from timidity in lemon sharks to the role of texting in Finnish love affairs. As he seeks answers to the questions that shyness poses – Why are we shy? Can we overcome it? Does it define us? – he uncovers the fascinating stories of the men and women who were ‘of the violet persuasion’, from Charles Darwin to Agatha Christie, and from Tove Jansson to Nick Drake. In their stories – often both heart-breaking and inspiring – and through the myriad ways scientists and thinkers have tried to explain and cure shyness, Moran finds a hopeful conclusion. To be shy, he decides, is not simply a burden – it is also a gift, a different way of seeing the world that can be both enriching and inspiring.
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 108 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dYnvVj.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sMH6Qm.

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 3.91/5 at goodreads.com, from 2350 ratings. See 366 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ga36hi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t2epPF.

A self-help book recommendation: Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide by Michael Kinsley

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctjpIG.
This is probably the place to remark that reading “Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide” depressed the hell out of me. Not because it is a dirge. Hardly. Mr. Kinsley is as rational and appealing as one can be about our coming exits from this world.
Book description from Google Books:
Vanity Fair columnist Michael Kinsley escorts his fellow Boomers through the door marked “Exit.” The notorious baby boomers–the largest age cohort in history–are approaching the end and starting to plan their final moves in the game of life. Now they are asking: What was that all about? Was it about acquiring things or changing the world? Was it about keeping all your marbles? Or is the only thing that counts after you’re gone the reputation you leave behind? In this series of essays, Michael Kinsley uses his own battle with Parkinson’s disease to unearth answers to questions we are all at some time forced to confront. “Sometimes,” he writes, “I feel like a scout from my generation, sent out ahead to experience in my fifties what even the healthiest Boomers are going to experience in their sixties, seventies, or eighties.” This surprisingly cheerful book is at once a fresh assessment of a generation and a frequently funny account of one man’s journey toward the finish line. “The least misfortune can do to make up for itself is to be interesting,” he writes. “Parkinson’s disease has fulfilled that obligation.”
The book is rated 3.14/5 at goodreads.com, from 865 ratings. See 221 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1ToracZ.
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A self-help book recommendation: How to Be Perfect by Ron Padgett

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2eqQS2Y.
The poem is delightful, with advice sensible (“Learn something every day”) and goofily wise (“Look at that bird over there”). Actually, 98 bits of advice are sound. Follow them. Ignore the 99th: “Don’t read the newspaper more than once a year.”
Book description from Google Books:
“Ron Padgett makes the most quiet and sensible of feelings a provocatively persistent wonder.”—Robert CreeleyRon Padgett has reenergized modern poetry with exuberant and tender love poems, with exceptionally lucid and touching elegies, and with imaginative and action-packed homages to American culture and visual art. He has paid tribute to Woody Woodpecker and the West, to friends and collaborators, to language and cowslips, to beautiful women and chocolate milk, to paintings and small-time criminals. His poems have always imparted a contagious sense of joy.In these new poems, Padgett hasn’t forsaken his beloved Woody Woodpecker, but he has decided to heed the canary and sound the alarm. Here, he asks, “What makes us so mean?” And he really wants to know. Even as these poems cajole and question, as they call attention to what has been lost and what we still stand to lose, they continue to champion what makes sense and what has always been worth saving. “Humanity,” Padgett generously (and gently) reminds us, still “has to take it one step at a time.” Ron Padgett is a celebrated translator, memoirist, teacher, and, as Peter Gizzi says, “a thoroughly American poet, coming sideways out of Whitman, Williams, and New York Pop with a Tulsa twist.” His poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages and has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry 180, The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, The Oxford Book of American Poetry, and on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Visit his website at www.ronpadgett.com.
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 181 ratings. See 23 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dyPEVU.
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A self-help book recommendation: The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper by Ian Robertson

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2aBOBQp.
Stress is the psychological pandemic of our age, so it’s easy to forget that its modern use originated as a metaphor…This is all elegantly and clearly explained. Robertson introduces his themes with vivid stories…
Book description from Google Books:
From one of the world’s most respected neuroscientists, an eye-opening study of why we react to pressure in the way we do and how to be energized rather than defeated by stress.Why is it that some people react to seemingly trivial emotional upsets–like failing an unimportant exam or tackling a difficult project at work–with distress, while others power through life-changing tragedies showing barely any emotional upset whatsoever? How do some people shine brilliantly at public speaking while others stumble with their words and seem on the verge of an anxiety attack? Why do some people sink into all-consuming depression when life has dealt them a poor hand, while in others it merely increases their resilience?The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or lack of motivation in extreme situations. However, the right level of challenge and stress can help people flourish and achieve more than they ever thought possible.In THE STRESS TEST, clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist Ian Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain’s response to pressure and how stress actually can be a good thing. THE STRESS TEST is a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure as we do, and how we can change our response to stress to our benefit.
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 46 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aBP0SK.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pRnsoB.

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 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 16 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2oZgKeZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pGJLtM.

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 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 51041 ratings. See 5609 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eve7Jm.
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