The promise of Spring is here, but it’s not here yet! This is the best time of the year for a new book. This book roundup features a range of topics from Poems, to health, to erotica and more. There are links to Amazon for ordering and downloading — instant gratification!
Reviews by Alison Blackman
2 Books of Poems
Poetry is a bit like opera. You either love it or you just don’t get it.
Several books of poetry landed on my desk recently. I’ve picked the two that I think are most worthy of note:
The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace (Andrews McNeil Publishing March 2018) is a book of poems in 4 parts: The Trial, The Burning, Firestorm, The Ashes.
The theme is, loosely, the years 1692-93 during which women were accused of being witches and put on trial.
The poems are quite long. They conjure up brutal and sometimes bizarre images and in many, there’s a lot of rage.
It’s not so much about the witch trials as a more modern, feminist manifesto.
Send one to every strong and empowered woman you know!
The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza (Andrews McNeil Publishing January 2018) offers poems with themes of love heartbreak, and healing.
The short poems are accompanied from time to time by pen and ink sketches of a couple holding hands.
These poems are full of rich, bold visions and emotions. Many of the poems in this book are focused on emotional distress and disappointment, not pleasure (e.g.”you can’t break what’s already torn apart.”).
But there are also poems of love. If you love poetry. If you are feeling loss. If you are in love…it’s a book you’ll want to check out.
However, Blast the Sugar Out! by Ian K. Smith, M.D (St. Martins Press December 2017), can give you a comprehensive plan to remove sugar and be healthier.
I have mixed feelings about the advice. It’s good, but hardly quick fix that many will be able to faithfully follow.
Dr. Smith’s plan requires a full revamp of your eating habits so ambitiously it is my personal opiion that most will fail fairly quickly.
On the plus side, the plan includes everything from specific food choices and scheduling your meals at specific times, to breaking one bad habit a week while adding one good one.
The book has meals plans and easy to do recipes, but there’s no convenience food nor do the recipes include prep and cook time. Doing this would require preparing meals in advance if you have a busy schedule.
This isn’t about making quick changes, it’s a life choice. If that’s what you want, this book is for you.
Find More Joy
The Happiness Hack: How to take charge of your brain and program more happiness into your life by Ellen Petry Leanse (Sourcebooks November 2017) can give you some insight.
Ellen Petry Leanse has experience working with companies like Apple and Google to help bring products to market and she’s noticed how much we have disconnected from our goals, and from each other.
I like books that give you a different point of view and the author doesn’t bludgeon you with her ideas, she just puts them out there for you to consider.
There were some very interesting things about how the brain functions and the book did make me feel like unplugging. Reducing some of our fascination and dependence upon technology and devices, in favor of re-establishing contact with other people, and being mindful of purpose and goals, is a good thing.
One I recently found on my desk is Soon to be EX: A guide to Your Perfect Divorce & Relaunch by Jacqueline Newman (Sutton Hart Press, March 2017).
Ms. Newman has several books on the topic and is a high powered lawyer in NYC. While this book is meant for everyone, I see that it is really slanted towards women (the pink car on the cover is kind of a giveaway).
To be sure, there’s no chance of having a “perfect” divorce, but reading Soon to Be Ex might help you avoid some of the pitfalls, and the author doesn’t sugar these issues.
She cautions not to leap before you kick him to the curb, do consider your kids, your finances, and your well being. There’s plenty of sound advice about what not to do and how to get through the actual divorce process without losing your mind and whatever money you might have left.
It’s nice that the advice isn’t preachy (e.g. “do this because I know better than you”). The author suggests that the grass isn’t always greener in the other pasture but if a split is inevitable, she offers a broad view of what’s involved, what might happen, and how to recover.
Although Ms. Newman’s own clients are the rich and famous, they have families too. As with most of these books, the emphasis is heavy on dealing with children and handling the ex with parenting issues.
For a book review roundup, it’s a nice beginner’s guide. One part that’s a bit weak is the section about “relaunch” as a single person. How you handle dating and moving forward is truly a personal issue and for this, there’s plenty of other books to help you over the hump.
Learn About Laura I. Wilder
One of my favorite series of books when I was younger, was the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her descriptions of life on the prairie, her family, and the natural world around her, totally captivated me. I had to include this book in my book review roundup!
In the era when pioneers were moving out West, they had to endure endless wildfires, threats from wild animals and Indians, plus natural disasters such as locusts, tornadoes, malaria, blizzards, and near-starvation on the Great Plains in the late 1800s.
All of this is way in the past, but the Little House Books continues to endure selling over 60 million copies in 45 languages and spawned a popular television series featuring actor Michael Landon.
While the Little House books portray pioneer life in a fairly lighthearted way, it wasn’t like that in real life. This new biography is meant for adults, so there’s no need to sugarcoat anything, It’s also set against the backdrop of the changing decades in which Ms. Wilder lived.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House Books when money was very tight and her daughter (writer Rose Wilder Lane) sort of pushed her into it. In fact, Laura had help (or perhaps intrusion) when Rose acted as a ghostwriter for some of the work.
If the book has any flaws, perhaps it’s that the pages describing the relationship between Laura and Rose takes up a lot of the second half of the book and I wasn’t all that interested in so many details about Rose Wilder Lane.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder I thought i “knew” from these books was really quite different than what was I read as a child. It was fascinating to learn more about the real people behind the Little House books.
A third movie of the 50 Shades of Gray franchise has been released and was #1 at the box office. Could it be that for those who liked the books and the idea of “submission” this is not a trend, but finally an understanding that it’s an alternative lifestyle?
We don’t review a lot of erotic on advicesisters.com but for this book review roundup I’m including a new anthology of tales of the submissive for those who are curious, or already involved in the lifestyle.
The Big Book of Submission Volume 2 69 Kinky Tales edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press January 2018) is particularly nice because it’s not just women who submit to their master’s will. Every type of coupling is celebrated in this anthology.
I found some of the stories a bit disturbing, but to those who like BDSM even in the most extreme forms, the book will be exciting and enticing. Most of the stories are short and kept my attention.
This book is for adults only. Read it and enjoy some wickedly good erotica.
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