Tag Archives: book review

My next 100 books?

I think this might be my next 100 books.

I was attracted to this pretty book at the library, and I think I might make it my next book list, since I’m  Atlantic Canadian and all.

Atlantic Canada’s 100 Greatest Books itself is lovely, in full colour,  and well curated, with a short well-written analysis of each book, including it’s cultural impact, time and place in history, a description, and an author bio.

I’m impressed, because while it’s easy to write scathing reviews, it’s not easy to write good reviews that don’t sound the same, and this book is essentially that- 100 rave reviews of superlative books.  It takes some creativity to avoid “This is a really great book!…This is another really great book!”  Or at least, it does for me.

I love the variety of genres represented, too.

I think it might supersede my previous ambition to read my way to approximate the English Lit degree I never got:

This might be easier going. “Edification” can wait a year.

For one thing,  I’d be happy to have the excuse of “a project” to read Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes and Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising.

One of the titles is  the first novel I ever read.  Several I read as a child or had inflicted on me as a teenager in school.  I’ve already read ten of the list.  That is, if you count having the Dictionary of Newfoundland English at home for my entire life.  That brick of a book is not exactly “readable” in the traditional sense.

I glad to have ten down, because I’d never again want to read Fall on Your Knees or Two Solitudes, sheesh!

Besides that, most of the books look interesting, or are already on my hefty running list, as Canada Reads and the XCountry Checkup book show, and well, as CBC in general keeps telling me what Canadiana I must read now, over the years.

It’s ok that Come Thou, Tortoise isn’t in the book, because it’s too new.  It can be in the 101 greatest books sequel:)

I think I’ll get my Atlantic Education.



My Happiness Project

Bluebird image from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness ProjectI’ve started a Happiness Project.  This has nothing to do with the new year, by the way, although it might have something to do with winter.   I’ve had a stretch of a scary bad time, so I figured it was time to recruit my natural list-making and determination selves for some change.

I pulled out Gretchen Rubin’s popular The Happiness Project for reference, and ended up reading it again.  It seemed more enlightening this time, and I found useful things that I didn’t remember seeing the first time.  For one thing, I’m married now, which makes a lot of her tips and experience in her marriage more relevant.

My husband has this amazing facility for change.  It seems that all it takes for him to make lasting behavioural changes is to notice and decide he wants to change it.  Much later I’ll notice that he doesn’t do that thing anymore.  He doesn’t write down intentions, make daily review sheets or success charts.  This amazes me, because I can’t imagine doing such a thing without paperwork.  This is where The Happiness Project really sings to me.  The whole plan is detailed and ultra-specific, she values the organization of physical environment to support goals, and everything revolves around a list.

That’s no exaggeration.   The book is really a riot of lists upon lists nested in lists, a perfect comfort for a certain type of person who’s into that, like me.  For example:  Resolutions (for example Sing in the Morning, Pursue a Passion), 12 Commandments (like Identify the Problem and Enjoy the Process), Secrets of Adulthood (like People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry,  and If you can’t find something, clean up), True Rules (such as Whenever possible, choose vegetables), and Four Splendid Truths (The days are long, but the years are short).  Since they’re all sort of rules, intentions, or resolutions, they get confusing, barring the Splendid Truths, which are more philosophic Principles of happiness.  In fact, now there are 8 Splendid Truths.

Also, as she discovers over her year, the most important key to success was her Daily Resolution Chart.  I’ve known that for a while.  Reminding oneself of the goal, and some act of acknowledging when you succeed (like checking off a list, or writing down “celebrations”) tells a deeper part of your mind that that is what you want; that is the direction you want to change.  Then your sub-mind can easily create more of it.

I found that during the project design phase, I found that the things I wanted to do sifted into two categories:  vague intentions, such as to be nicer, say no less, and be healthy; and completable goals, like write a book.   In the second category, you know when you’ve done it.  Continue reading My Happiness Project