Krista Bremer on Love and an "Accidental Jihad"

Sat., May. 26
I recently returned from a writing retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains. One of the teachers at the event: Krista Bremer, associate publisher of The Sun Magazine, taught workshops about overcoming writer's block, telling honest stories without hurting our loved ones, and how to examine the biases we all have in order to bolster our creative work. She should know: She wrote a book about…

Letter to a Future Lover: Ander Monson's Essays on Ephemera

Fri., Apr. 27
Ander Monson is a master bibliophile. He's president of the Tucson Poetry Festival, editor and publisher of DIAGRAM journal, and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. He's written six books in various genres, including one about books. This book about books: Letter to a Future Lover (DBC 2751) is a collection of flash and micro essays written in…

"The Secret" Is Out

Thu., Apr. 5
There's a podcast called By the Book, in which comedian Jolenta Greenberg and producer Kristen Meinzer read various self-help books and put each of the books' tactics into practice.  Described on Greenberg's website as "half reality show, half self-help podcast, and one wild social experiment," By the Book has showcased works like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, French Women Don't Get Fat,…

Zadie Smith and Politics Through the Lens of Self

Tue., Mar. 6
For the February installment of Talking Books @ LBPH, we read Swing Time by Zadie Smith. This was the first Smith book I've read and initially, I was intimidated by its length: close to 500 pages. But right away the author's conversational tone and character development captivated me. Here's the general plot line: An unnamed narrator who is middle-class and biracial grows up in London,…
Cover of For The Benefit Of Those Who See

Books On the Experience of Blindness

Sun., Jan. 28
When I first started working as a Library Assistant and Reader Advisor at LBPH three years ago, I was clueless about how to work with people who are blind. Once, when a few of our patrons were gathered at our branch for an advisory meeting, a blind patron mentioned using echolocation to find the entrance to our building. I laughed out loud, but the joke…

Writing Advice from Stephen King

Sat., Dec. 30
American adults read or listen to an average of 12 books per year. Stephen King, on the other hand, reads seventy or eighty. He calls himself a "slow reader." In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (DB 50873), King emphasizes the importance of writers making time to read: "Reading is the creative center of a writer's life," he writes. "The trick is…

Analyzing the Dream State

Tue., Oct. 31
I recently read a profound book by scientist and sleep researcher Rosalind Cartwright called The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives. I've always been interested in dreams and dream analysis, but this book provided the psychological element that was missing in other publications of its kind. Dreaming, according to Cartwright, serves as much more than subconscious entertainment: It…

Everyday Spiritual Fulfillment

Wed., Oct. 4
Spiritual fulfillment doesn't come only to those who renounce mainstream society to live in an ashram in India. At least that's what Rick Fields, Peggy Taylor, Rex Weyler, and Rick Ingrasci—the authors of Chop Wood, Carry Water (DB 84097)—believe: They're the editors of the former New Age Journal, so they should know. In the book, the authors share information culled from a variety of spiritual books…

A Course in Miracles: A New-to-Me Classic in Modern Spirituality

Tue., Sep. 5
A sucker for self-help books, I was excited to crack open my latest find: A Course in Miracles (DB 43840). This mystical book came to me highly recommended from both a former boss and my go-to Tarot readers. Oprah even promoted it on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992. Legend has it that the book's author Helen Schucman heard what she called an "inner voice"…

Elaine Dundy and the "Lost Year"

Fri., Aug. 11
We've (almost) all been there: Our "lost year" (or two, or three). Sometimes it's after high school or college; sometimes it's after a breakup, a divorce, or a loss; sometimes it's triggered by something else entirely. It's the time when we are figuring out how to blend the old version of our identity with the new version of our identity and we're not quite sure…