Books teach us about who and how we are in the world. They speak to our loftiest ideals and our darkest shadows. Books reveal humanity’s path.
I was sitting at Ned’s Bar, last week, across the street from Madison Square Park, with my old friend Jeff. As we mused about life, like all Boomers do, he said: “loss in inevitable in life, unless you’re a hermit.” He certainly got that right: If we never connect with people, we won’t experience sorrow, but we also won’t experience love. Isn’t that one of life’s cruelest ironies?
Like many women in our community, I am always looking for good book recommendations. I love books that make me look at the world differently.
If you search for adult coloring books, you will find thousands of websites offering products in all shapes and sizes. But, why are coloring books for grown-ups so popular? Isn’t the very idea of coloring a bit, well… childish? Absolutely not!
A few years ago, Rhonda Byrne’s little book, “The Secret” took the world by storm. Her message was simple: if you want good things to happen to you, start thinking positive thoughts. If you imagine yourself becoming wealthy, the universe will, eventually, shower you with riches. There is even an example in the book that talks about how to use your mind to create open parking spaces. Boy, do I wish that worked for me!
The problem with aging stereotypes is that they can become self-fulfilling prophesies. When we see example after example in movies and on TV of older people getting grumpy, boring and disconnected from the world in their later years, we start to believe that this is “normal.”
Today, I came across an interesting analogy by Jane Fonda. I haven’t read her book, “Prime Time,” yet, but, the idea stuck out enough that I want to mention it here.
I love books. I always have. When I was younger, books were my escape, my education and my entertainment. They allowed me to grow and learn and to slip into places to discover parts of myself that were not defined by the outside world.
I am a lifelong learner and avid reader. For the past 50 years I have tried to stay on top of new titles, waiting patiently for the latest books from my favorite authors. Having worked in bookstores for 10 years of my life, I have a deep respect for physical books.
There is something so substantial about the weight and texture of a “real” book. Turning the pages with deliberate reflection and intention has its own magical feeling. So, I was pretty skeptical when I first tried audio books. Boy, was I wrong!
“State of Wonder” was recommended to me by so many women in the Sixty and Me community that I decided it was time to add it to my reading list. Now that I have had a chance to see for myself, I can say that the praise for author Ann Patchett is totally justified.
The story is about Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmaceutical researcher. She travels into the Amazon jungle to collect the remains and effects of a colleague who had recently died. On the way, she wants to connect with a renowned gynaecologist who has studied the reproductive habits of an Amazon tribe, in which the women can have children well into middle age.
“Brain Rules” is a fascinating book, which looks at the brain and explains how little we actually know about it. Dr. John Medina, who I interviewed in 2013, is a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. He offers great insights and shares his passion for the brain with a wonderful sense of humour. One of the things that I love most about Dr. Medina’s approach