Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Good words

I have recently read two very good books, from completely different genres, that I feel compelled to tell others to read as well.

The first, Happiness is a Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman, is kind of a psychology/self-help book, which are not the kinds of books I am normally drawn to. But, following my own rule of not quitting a book once I start, I continued on with this one, after uncovering it in the pile of mostly-forgotten books in the guest bathroom at my in-laws' house. I have certainly had the occasional struggle with negativity, sadness, self-imposed stress and sometimes even a sense of hopelessness. And, in the midst of those struggles, have thought to myself that there was nothing to be done. Sort of an "I feel sad, therefore I must be sad" kind of mentality. So, the idea of choosing happiness was an intriguing one, even if I wasn't struggling with unhappiness when I picked up the book. There were times when I felt the author was a "little out there," but overall, I found the concept to be very interesting. I appreciated the scientific evidence he gave to back up his theories, as well as the anecdotal  evidence. I also appreciated having my "belief system" (as Mr. Kaufman calls it) challenged and forcing myself to think about my thoughts and feelings differently. It was an empowering and liberating book, and I'm glad I had the chance to read it.

The other book, a novel, was The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. It explores the deep and abiding friendship of five women, all stay-at-home moms, in the late sixties/early seventies, who get to know each other--and themselves--through writing. The characters in this story were so real--people I could know and be friends with myself, if I would allow myself to be that vulnerable. There were laugh-out-loud moments and tear-stained pages, as well. All a celebration of friendship and womanhood and dreaming big and never giving up. If you are a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend or an aspiring anything, this book is for you. It is beautifully written, challenging, inspiring and entertaining. I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning so I could finish it, and then was sad it was over.

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