Tag Archive: psychology



Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One day, in the last couple of months, my daughter kidnapped me so I could spend a week back in Reno. It was one of those serendipitous things that made me very happy. I got to spend time with her and with other family and friends.

My daughter loves to listen to podcasts on long trips. When she learned that I had read and watched Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, she pulled up the Dear Sugar podcasts and we enjoyed a long listen.

Once back at home I found the Dear Sugar websites and other books by Cheryl Strayed. I looked at the eBook/Overdrive local library copies. I found this copy but it was just an eBook with no text-to-speech and no audio version. I tried very hard to enjoy the book. There was wonderful advice given here.

I wanted to keep reading past the mid-point that I thought I got to, but with no way to listen it was hard to read. I will try to keep an eye out for the Audible or Kindle with TTS to read later. Besides, most of it was written for younger people. I played the kind of game I used to play with the Dear Abby advice column, see if I can give the same advice the writer does. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Strayed gave more personal answers and helped in deeper ways than Abby or her sister Ann Landers ever did.

I think this is a wonderful book for young people to have. I think Dear Sugar is a good podcast for those under forty. I hope to find this book again in an easier form for me to read.

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The Mother's PromiseThe Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe if I don’t write a review, I can hang onto the charms and lessons of this book. No. That’s not right. Others need to read it and the only way to hang on to the knowledge in this book is to read it again.

I finished this book four days ago. That’s how long I had the above conversation with myself.

There is a nice blurb about this book on GoodReads. And the one on NetGalley had me seeking it out. I’m glad they let me read it. But here’s my blurb: A young teen with severe social anxiety only child of a single mother dying of cancer, a social worker who is a victim of abuse, a nurse who is finished with IVF unsuccessfully.

Sally Hepworth pulls these four females into a book that is hard to put down and hard to leave behind. And not only is it a great story, it is full of real life answers to some of the problems these fems deal with.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this, again. I do plan on a second read. Please read it, especially if you have social anxiety, there are some good ideas in here and the author shows she knows how we feel who have it. There are triggers for cancer patients and abuse victims but they are handled well and give each of the other characters more depth.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Taxi - Timing (Book 4)Taxi – Timing by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The trauma that started in book/section three continues. It is so bad that it could be the end of the relationship between Carmen and her lover and even plays a part in her relationships with family and friends. But is time on her side? Is there a point where your trauma can isolate you to a point of starvation. Can she find her inner strength before everyone gives up on her?

This may be the most personal of all. If you haven’t lived with trauma that is that debilitating you might not understand what Carmen is going through. But I felt the author, Sophia Deluna, did a marvelous job getting inside the heads of characters of this section. And something I haven’t written about in my reviews of the previous Taxi installments is her writing. I love it! Her descriptions and ability to tell a story, reeling in this reader, hook, line and sinker. All the relationships seem real. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.

As with the other few bits of this story, I am most upset by the price per bit. I am now at the end of my budget for the month so I won’t be able to read part five for a month. It is this that is causing the less than five stars for me. At least with Kindle Unlimited I can still read a book when the money runs out. Oh well. I still have a few of Ms. DeLuna’s other stories downloaded to peruse over the next few weeks.

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Other WomenOther Women by Lisa Alther

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Original Sin by Lisa Alther and having a hard time liking it in any way, I had a decision to make. You see I got both of these books through Kindle Unlimited which means they were free to borrow. I thought about returning this one, Other Women, and not reading it at all. Thank goodness I didn’t. I loved this book!

If you have had a good experience with a counselor, dealing with problems of the past or current ones, this will feel familiar. I think everyone should have a good counselor once in a while to air the mental stuff that you might not want to weigh down your friends and family with. And here in Other Women there were plots and characters that felt so real that I was sorry the book ended. I think I might read it again, sometime.

Though this book ended quite well, all threads neatly sewn up, I still wish there was more. I want to see what happens next. We are left with ideas as to how life might continue, but I knew I would miss all these people as much as the real people in my life. I like when an author can do that. She created a reality that felt real.

Just saying that made me smile. Wasn’t it because Original Sins felt so real that I hated it? I think I could relate more with the characters in Other Women much more deeply than I could with the characters in Original Sins. So maybe that is why the reviews on both books had such a variety of ranks. I guess it has to do with your own viewpoint of the world.

This is one book I will have to buy someday. I think many will love it as much as I did.

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Bountiful Women: Large Women's Secrets for Living the Life They Desire
Bountiful Women: Large Women’s Secrets for Living the Life They Desire by Bonnie Bernell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a slow read for me. Not that the writing was bad, but because it was the paperback version and the font was small. But it wasn’t so small that I couldn’t take it in small doses.

Going deeper, the information that gave reminders that all of us need; that we are okay as we are. Fat shaming has never helped a bountiful woman or man to lose weight. That those who are of bountiful size have had enough with dieting that doesn’t work. That trying to hide so as to avoid the critical voices, hides us from those who might be our friends or more.

Did I learn anything new here? No. Just some affirmations I had forgotten. Moreover, I wish the book had started with the ending stories. The beginning seemed a dream for those of us who have fixed incomes. The suggestions we go to health spas or invest in counseling that can also be exorbitant. Instead offering ideas to find those positive beings to come into our lives that create the kind of support we all need.

So, sorry, it’s just okay but worth the read. Find the bits, as I did, and pass it on.

I registered this one with BookCrossers, the BCID here:  473-12817834

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Review: Of the Lilin


Of the Lilin Of the Lilin by Paulette Hampton My rating: 3 of 5 stars This was my bedtime book for a while. It was rather boring. But during that boring time it was educational and relatable for me. Having been diagnosed with clinical depression in 2002, I could relate to Sage, the main character’s, problems. I learned of other ways to look at things I went through. I learned questions I hadn’t thought to ask my doctors. All through Sage’s experiences. Meanwhile, during the day I was reading scarier books that I knew I didn’t dare read at bedtime. This arrangement worked out nicely. Until at about 20% into Of the Lilian, that is. Without giving a spoiler, I found that this book had to replace the daytime read, which fortunately I had finished by this point. From that 20% mark the book became quite exciting. It became the thriller/mystery it was promoted as. It kept me quite anxious, worried for Sage and her family. I couldn’t decide which I liked better the slower beginning or the angsty rest. Though I don’t mind the writer’s style, and love her ideas in this book, I found the jerking between viewpoints confusing and annoying. I had to go back and reread things to know whose eyes I was looking through. This made it a very tough read. Even still, don’t let my opinion stop you from trying the book out. You might find some gems just for you in the story. By the way, this book was a read/review freebie. Thank you! View all my reviews


Are You My Mother?
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is on my wishlist to own! Thank you, Washoe County Library System for carrying this book!

It is not an easy book to get through. But if you manage, you find so many diamonds of wisdom to apply to your own life.

Which of us has gotten through childhood unscathed? Which of us, as parents, release healthy, unscathed adults into the world? In Alison Bechdel’s first memoir, Fun Home, Alison addressed her life with her father. In this book, Alison tells of her life with her mother. I was amazed at how well she was able to keep the story on her own interpretation of her own life. She brings in her therapists and friends and lovers in how they help her understand why certain things happened and how she can get over it and become whole.

Though this is done in comic book form it is far from funny. Yet, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, she was able to speak volumes using this method of story telling. It brought my own mother issues to mind while reading this.

A spot of vomit on the floor. Running lines with mom for the next play she’ll be in. The inability to cry properly. Maybe these things wouldn’t cause you cathartic experience, but as you follow Alison’s path, which is also her mother’s path, it is easy to relate to both women. As Alison calls into play the works of Virginia Wolfe and Freude among others to help her understand how it all fits and how we all fit into our mother’s worlds.

This book may have triggers for some people but I think that most people will find if they stick it out there are more answers than questions through Ms. Bechdel’s story. I recommend it highly to everyone.

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Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being: Scientific American.


Good Kings Bad Kings
Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! This book was fantastic! Wait… And yet it was not.

Susan Nusabaum has presented us with a microcosm study in her fictional novel of the society of disabled youth in conventional nursing homes. Wow, again, that was a mouthful (keyboard full?)! Sadly, I don’t believe that the truth is far from this depiction.

The individual stories that create the novel outlines the hopeful actuation of each person dealing with their own demons, their own needs, their own striving for romance while being disabled in one way or another.

As many of you know, I read my books on Kindle with text-to-speech. This book has a character that is Puerto Rican but the author did a great job of capturing all accents and individual speaking quirks. These were so well done that my Kindle reader read them perfectly and even if I wasn’t looking at the printed e-pages I still knew who was talking.

The story starts and ends with a wheel-chair bound woman who lands a data-entry job with this nursing home. She is a strong woman who isn’t stuck in the nursing home, but sees what is going on. We see, through her eyes and the eyes of the other characters what it feels like to be collectively warehoused with others of differing disabilities.

This book is an eye-opener for all readers. Hopefully we all come out of the read with a better understanding for our all our fellow citizens. Whoever recommended this book to me, thank you! I now have it on my Amazon wishlist and hope someday to have the Audible version as well. This is well worth a few rereads. I see that there may be a movie of this book. I bet it will be equally wonderful! Kudos Ms. Nusabaum!

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