Diary of a Book Nerd: August Book Reviews! 2016

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When I was a kid, I was an obsessed, avid reader. I was constantly reading in any spare moment, hiding in the bottom portion of the towel closet with a light and blanket. I read one Goosebumps book per night, so happy being left alone to read. Reading was my first true love, it was a way to step into another person’s shoes and learn a new perspective. My entire life, next to my bed there has been a sprawling pile of library books.

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Life went on, and when I was given an iPad in 2010, I started reading on the internet. One day I suddenly realized I hadn’t read a real book in almost a year! That was incredibly disturbing. Reading books was WHO I AM, or so I thought. If I don’t read books anymore, Who have I become?! I didn’t like it at all. I picked up a few books, but would wonder what my Facebook was up to and ended up being distracted. It was so disturbing to realize I had a full-on addiction to this iPad and would look at it even when I didn’t want to! (This was before I had a smartphone!)

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by @coolhandken on Instagram! This guy is a sign-making, lettering inspiration!

I decided this had to stop. I needed to cut my addiction to the screen and get some paper books in my hands. I needed something riveting! I needed a book to sweep me off my feet.

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In today’s world, the internet is fucking INCREDIBLY distracting. My phone shows me notifications that sit there red and waiting for attention. When I found out that there were almost as many e-books being sold as paper books, I cried. What if the movie “The Book Of Eli” came true, and people stopped reading books, stopped printing books?! Learning that fact disturbed me. If even I, whom my mother called “Reading Mouse”, no longer read books, what hope was there for the future of paper books?! I made a decision, and started purposefully putting my phone away and on silent and forced myself to read something easy and fluffy to break my electronics habit. Thank God it worked! I read Dead Until Dark, the first of the Southern Vampire Mysteries (The True Blood Series.) and that was silly and easy to get into. I was hooked on reading again! The moment I finished, I started my next book. I vowed to stay with it, and have been consistent about always having something to read, something I’m reading currently, something to read next!

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One of the most frustrating things is when I discovered how much I forget about a book after I’ve read it. Books become my world while I’m reading it. I think about the time period and hardships the characters go through for days and weeks as I get through a book. Then months later, I can’t remember the character’s name! So I decided to go full-on book nerd and start writing summaries of the books I’ve read in a notebook so I can read it and remember details. All it takes is some key details and I’ll remember the rest.

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This blog post was borne of my desire to share the awesome books I read, and to keep others inspired to keep reading real paper books! There is nothing better for me than having an exciting book to get back to while waiting in line at the DMV, while waiting for friend’s to show up for lunch dates, while waiting for my students to arrive for classes. The more I read, the more my perspective is widened, the more  knowledge I gain, the better I can make informed, conscious decisions about the impact I’m making in this world. I hope this post inspires you to keep reading! Ignorance is a choice!

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HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls

My grandma recommended this book to me, and I’m so glad I finally read it! It is the a true story of a woman named Lily Casey, who is the author’s grandmother. The story is told from Lily’s perspective growing up homesteading and breaking horses on her family’s ranch. She began training horses at just five years old, and through her experiences she illustrates the hardships that made her into a badass woman. Lily had no tolerance for laziness or excuses. I completely fell in love with her character. Considering throughout the book we are reminded of how little rights women had at that time, Lily Casey still managed to live an unorthodox life as a poker-playing, wild-horse-wrangling, truth-telling, unmarried teacher. One of my favorite aspects of this book was getting the perspective of a woman in the early 1900’s, as cars were introduced and starting to proliferate, and planes were beginning to be prevalent in the sky.

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This is a plane I drew for Trader Joe’s!

My favorite thing about this book is reading about a strong woman character in a time when being a strong woman was NOT socially accepted. She was smart and a complete survivor. She created opportunities for herself and impressed me with her work ethic and strength! I highly recommend this educational and inspiring read. It also helped me to gain a new appreciation for my tiny house with walls and insulation, learning about how life is in a dugout in Texas (rattlesnakes falling from the ceiling! Moles coming through the walls, goat hooves falling through the roof!) I also loved learning about lifestyle differences such as never washing jeans, EVER. Ranchers would wear the same jeans every day without washing them until they got an oily sheen, which was a strangely desirable quality, such as aged bourbon. Can you imagine what it would feel like to work hard every day on a ranch in the same filthy jeans?! It makes me shudder to imagine the smell. I loved this book, and flew through it in four days!

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The Traveler’s Guide to the Astral Plane by Steve Richards

The Traveler’s Guide to the Astral Plane wasn’t my favorite book. It was interesting and a quick read, but had too many anecdotal stories rather than practices to get you there, for my taste. I feel that the stories felt too fantastic to wrap my head around, and every person’s perspective and take on the astral plane is so unique, it’s hard to find common ground from which to deduce anything specific. Without personal experience of astral projection (despite countless attempts and focus!! Bah!) it was hard to take this book very seriously.  I wish they had instead focused on techniques for how to get there and what to do in unique situations encountered on the astral plane.  My FAVORITE BOOK on the Out of Body Experience, the first book that piqued my interest in Astral Projection, is called:

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Out of Body Adventures: 30 days to the Most Exciting Experience of Your Life by Rick Stack

This book gives you numerous clear, comprehensive techniques to achieve an out of body experience. I found this book at the Friends of the Library sale, and it started me on my whole Astral projection journey!! I had read a young adult book in my early 20’s about astral projection called “Stranger with My Face” by Lois Duncan, and it scared the shit out of me. It was fiction so I thought it was just that- fiction. Reading this book by Rick Stack was a revelation when I learned that one, astral projection is real, and two, that we do it every night when we sleep, and three, that it is safe and completely natural! Of all the books I’ve read on this subject, this is the best. I’ve read it over and over and over. It is like a guide giving you different exercises to prepare yourself for Astral Projection. This book is mind-blowing!

The Children’s Guide To Astral Projection by J.A. Homes

This book is pictured above with The Traveler’s Guide to the Astral Plane by Steve Richards. ^

 I adore this book. It was a complete revelation in the way that it explains energy, vibrations, and the power of attention SO well, in a unique way. This book is mysterious and has the most trippy illustrations that perfectly convey the mixed-up, dreamy quality of the astral plane. It also gives you two different exercises to attempt, which I always appreciate! Fascinating, SUPER fast easy read. I read this book ravenously in like twelve minutes. The illustrations are a little strange, and it might be considered a tiny bit creepy to the completely uninitiated, but with an open mind and a basis of understanding of the dream world and different states of consciousness, this book explains this esoteric topic in a very accessible way for all ages. I’m stoked this book exists and that my sister got it for me for my birthday! She knows me so well. 

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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I picked up this book at a Little Free Library at a campground, solely because the cover illustration was neato and caught my attention. I wanted a fluffy fun read to get me going again on some fun fiction (Too many yoga and spirituality books make me in the mood for riveting fiction!) I wanted a book that would keep me reading. This book did the job! It is meant for Harry Potter-age kids, but it was thick and smart enough to hold my attention for days! It’s a story of four smart orphan children who are enticed to form a spy team to infiltrate an evil lord’s university, where he is creating technology to steal people’s memories and enslave them with subconscious message programming. It was clever, unique, exciting, unexpected, and a very fun read!

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The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

This inspiring and famous book is totally worth a read. I adore Timothy’s attitude and creative way of thinking. He makes excellent points, explaining how much time we spend on things that actually don’t matter, such as business meetings that could have been an email. I love how he makes his own rules, sets his own boundaries, and sets a precedent where HE is in control of his time and doesn’t succumb to societal pressures to be always available. He has such a good point! We have all become such slaves to our e-communication, and in this book he explains that if you train people who know you to understand how YOU communicate, you exempt yourself from guilt trips and social pressures that stem from not creating boundaries. I adore this mindset. He does not accept that we need to work hard to make money, and instead explains the incredibly innovative concept of outsourcing your work and creating systems that generate income without your regular involvement. I’m all about Tim’s way of thinking and living! He is no-nonsense, and so incredibly efficient, I was so inspired by this book! It’s a quick and easy read with an easy-to-read format, rather than just straight text, he has it broken down into bullets, paragraphs, Q and A’s, and different fonts break up the text visually, making it easier to swallow and more impactful. Can’t recommend this book more, it opens your mind to the opportunities technology has afforded us to NOT trade our time for money anymore. So awesome!

I’ll be making more book reviews, but this is it for now! Happy reading friends!

 

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