Books From My Closet

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Books That Give You Food for Thought

Hello Dear Followers, 
The following blog post is from guest blogger, Pam Sahota of Radiate Daily!  She provided reviews on some books that made a difference in her life.  Hope you enjoy! 
I went through a phase where I read a lot of books to help me understand what more I could do in my life for happiness, motivation, and inspiration to live a healthier and better life each day. Some may call these “self help” books but I call them inspiration and words of wisdom. There are authors who I fell for over perusing these and I dare you to give them a try as well.

“Girl Boss” by Sophia Amoruso 

The Why?

There are more and more folks becoming entrepreneurs and wanting to be their own boss. However starting off on your own has its pitfalls and obstacles, and Sophia definitely fell a few times in her career before she got where she is today. This book (like the Netflix series) is comedic, raw, emotional, and encouraging that even if we fail and fail, we can keep hope and make it. GirlBoss_
“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes 

The Why?

Yes, she’s the lady who started Grey”s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and more. She’s the woman who made TGIT what it is today. But, she didn’t just land there, she had to really go with her gut, and determine what road to take. And when she decided to say Yes to more – more doors opened, and more opportunities beckoned.

“The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein 

The Why?

Ever feel like you have a need to control each piece of your life? That the lack of control could make you spiral into no man’s land? I know I do at times. Gabrielle guides her community of readers to let go a bit and trust in themselves even more. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Big Magic

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert 

The Why?
The book has six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Similar to Eat, Pray, Love it takes you through different parts of your self and areas of encouragement to do more and believe more in yourself. Even if it means breaking yourself first, to find the better you.
What’s your favorite?
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Dark Matter

Hello Dear Followers,
This post is by my blogger and friend Pam Sahota of Radiate Daily (follow her site here www.radiatedaily.com)!  Pam offered a bit of her insight on on the book, “Dark Matter”  Hope you enjoy!  
27833670Dark Matter written by Blake Crouch is a novel that leaves you thinking from chapter to chapter. In summary it’s about a gentleman who is taken away from the life he knew and realizes that there is another version of “him” out there living an alternate version of it. He has to escape to get back to his family and convince them it’s the real him, while ensuring the other versions of him don’t get in the way of his reuniting with his family and true life.

The book makes you think at every chapter. Will he decide to return to his original version of his life or will this new version be something he finds more appealing? Why did the other version of him trade places? Is the grass really always greener?

It makes you think inward and wonder about your own life in comparison – or at least it did for me.

Can you imagine the potential of alternate realities and having multiple versions of yourself living them? The outcome of your current existence can change in an instant (as we know) but the life of another one of your existences could be on a path you never imagined For example if one of you went right, but the other went left.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say the book is not just suspenseful and thrilling (a true page turner as critics would say), but it’s major food for thought. It makes you wonder what the main character should do, but what you would do if you were given a chance to live a different version of your life. Ever missed a chance at a relationship or job or a chance to live somewhere else? What if you had a chance to go back and live that life. Would you?
Photo by Goodreads

Why Would Anyone Read About Lincoln?

Hello Dear Followers,

downloadThe title of this post was asked of me recently, and I laughed. Simply because why not read about President Abraham Lincoln?  He was one of the most influential presidents in our nation’s history.

But he was also a good man.  You can tell that by the moves he made while he was president, you can tell that by the way he stood at 6’4” tall, you could see it in his face.  He was good man who wanted to do good for this nation.

He was humble, he was romantically melancholy, the kind that made you want to spend time with and find out what was going on in his head to see who he was and what he thought about regularly.

So why not read about President Abraham Lincoln? Don’t get me wrong, historical books about dead presidents isn’t always what I choose to read about, but I truly love history, particularly Civil War history, so I am always wanting to know more about this time.

As I have been reading I am finding myself thinking of the movies I’ve seen during this era like,  “Glory” or “Gone with the Wind,”  “Little Women,”  and lastly “Lincoln.”

I remember seeing “Lincoln” and at the end of the movie as he headed to the theatre I started to tear up, because I knew he was going to die.  Oh how I would have loved to have seen him as president, I am sure it would have been remarkable.

Is there a historical figure you would love to learn more about?

Until next time…

How Wild It Was to Let It Be

Hello Dear Followers,

WildI FINALLY finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  It only took like half a year! Haha.  Anyway, I wanted to share some of my final thoughts on the book, before I move on.

I thought the book overall, was decent.  I admit, I found myself bored at times, often expecting more than what was actually revealed.  I had a hard time separating her from author Elizabeth Gilbert’s “get away from life and find yourself” journey in “Eat, Pray, Love.” I had to keep remembering these were two different people with two different life experiences.

But what tied these two women together was bravery.  Stopping their lives for however long and doing something extraordinary that only most of us talk about doing.

Cheryl’s excursion seemed more rigorous and less romantic. It was dirty, it was hard and it was at times damn near impossible.  But that’s life too isn’t it?  Life isn’t always going to be this romantic journey, it’s going to be tough and sometime damn near impossible. She had to really work through her shit.  And I mean work.

I often thought about how I’d be if I did this, deciding to leave my life for several months and go on a hike, I don’t think I could do it.  I hardly feel I survive in the everyday monotony let alone surviving in the wilderness.  I was never a good Girl Scout.  🙂

Through out the book I kept waiting for her to meet her man, again…comparing her to Elizabeth Gilbert in “Eat Pray Love.”  Who did meet her man, who did have sex as she found herself in a foreign place.

This didn’t happen here, while Cheryl had urges and needs to be loved and joined by a man, it only briefly happened towards the tail end of the book.  I was so happy, but it left me wanting more.  I wanted her journey to end with her finding love, real love.

But maybe just the journey alone was enough, and it was everything after her hike through the Pacific Crest Trail that would lead her to where she needed to be.

Life is like that, sometimes you have to work through your shit, whether it is through a hike, or some other soul searching journey to get to the other side.

I recommend this book, I do. I think it’s for anyone who is really going through some stuff right now that really needs inspiration that whatever you set out in your life to do can be done.

Until next time…

 

My Own Physical Exhaustion

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s pretty late right now, but after a few weeks of not writing or sharing a blog post with you, I thought I’d hop on for a moment.

I am in the middle of reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, and she is now deep in her hike in Pacific Crest Trail.  She’s now talking about the physical toll this hike is doing to her, and all I could think was, I could never do this much physical labor on my body, or take a hike.. exercise.. whatever.

But I realized as I went on reading that I had. Ok, so maybe not the same as Strayed had, but her account brought me back to 2005.  This was the year I left working retail to work at a spa and salon…( okay, so you’re probably wondering how on earth there is a similarity.)  Trust me there is.

I had gone through some terribly depressing times then, anxiety ridden,  angry, sad… you name it.  And working in my hometown’s mall, just wasn’t helping any.  I always saw someone I knew!  And all I wanted to do at the time was getting away from seeing people I didn’t necessarily want to see.

This is when (by the Grace of God) I got a job a salon and spa in a town away.  I didn’t work as a front desk girl either, I worked as a spa attendant.  I worked folding laundry, washing laundry, serving food, cleaning the spa and salon.  This was unlike anything I had ever done or ever dreamed of doing.

It was physically challenging, I was on my feet five days a week, constantly cleaning, washing, folding etc.  It was physically draining.  But what did it do for me?  It helped me work through my shit.  Work through the intensity of the pain I was feeling at the time.  I found a new part of me, and one that was coming back to life as time went on.

I was eating a lot again, ( I hadn’t eaten properly in months),  I was sleeping (because I was exhausted) and I was thinking of better things than before.  It was my life saver.

Now, you’re probably still wondering what the comparison is, well it’s the working of the body to calm the mind.  And I think by what I am reading of Strayed’s account, this is exactly what she is doing, she’s on a new path (no pun intended)  as was I during that period in my life.

When you are in this state, it is so important to find your outlet, whether it be a hike in the woods or some other meditative exercise. I did.

Until next time.

Take a Hike… Why Don’t Ya?

HikersonknifesedgeHello Dear Followers,

I finished part one of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed  and I have a mixture of thoughts about all that has happened so far.  As I mentioned in my last post, the over-arching theme was “survival.”

I still believe that to be true about this woman, who suffered such a great loss that she decided she was going to work through this loss by taking a hike.. for 3 months!

As I had read on past the point that she had lost her Mom, I read about what lead her to want to hike the trail and I began to become judgmental,  I didn’t mean to.  I had to figure out what was making me judge this woman’s journey,  what made her leave everything she knew behind to hike a huge trail when she’s never hiked before.

At one point I found myself saying, “But is she nuts?” Take a trip to Europe, lay on an island for three months, but I had to stop myself and realize, this wasn’t my journey to take and it was clear she had to work through some pretty tough stuff and what better place than on a hiking trail.

In the midst of my judgement, I often found myself  saying, “Another aimless wanderer.” And I couldn’t grasp it. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

When “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert did her soul searching expedition, I thought “Wow, that’s brave, I want to do that.”  Leave everything behind and just go and figure stuff out, figure life out.  I felt this way for a number of years, she became my idol.  I can’t seem to relate to Strayed in the same way.   I don’t understand why she wouldn’t stay and help her family get through this difficult time?

I also don’t know her nor do I really understand her loss.   Again, her journey.

In my judgment I also find curiosity, how is she going to make it through? What will she learn from the experience?

Have any of you been on a soul searching journey that took you to exotic places like the Pacific Crest Trail or somewhere else in the world?  What did you learn from it?  Where did you go and why?

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below! I’d love to hear more stories like this.

Until later…

Image by PCTA.org 

150 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

Big MagicIn the short time I’ve followed author Elizabeth Gilbert, (particularly after “Eat,Pray,Love” came out),  I realized she isn’t just some author she is a good friend.  So it is no wonder when she wrote the following words that I thought of my dear friend who has been imparting the same exact wisdom that Liz is bestowing upon those reading her wonderful book “Big Magic.”

The passage that struck a chord with me is this:  “Let people have their opinions. More than that, let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your creative work.”  

The line that struck me is this (wait for it) – “And always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business.” 

Done.

For me personally, this doesn’t only speak volumes in terms of my “creative work” but also in my personal life.  I have struggled tremendously with this over the years, and as I have gotten older I realized that I can’t stop anyone’s opinions no more than anyone can stop mine.  So why bother getting all bothered by it?

When I read this entire passage, I said,  “what did my friend have a chat with Liz about this?” Because she has been telling me those exact words forever.  And I still don’t think I can wrap my head around it.

Of course Liz had some other wonderful passages to share with her readers, but I will not give it away because you definitely need to take the time to immerse yourself in her book, especially if you are like me who is trying to live a creative life though writing and reading regularly.

To add to the passage above, here is another line I love – “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Actually don’t even bother answering, just keep doing your thing.” 

Until next time folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cat for Cathy

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s been a while since my last post, but I wanted to share with you a new author that has recently published her first children’s book titled “A Cat for Cathy” by Theresa Miller with illustrations by Christina Sanchez.

It is simply a delightful book for children and adults alike will definitely enjoy.

It tells the story of eight-year-old Cathy who wanted nothing more than a pet cat.  She didn’t think her parents would get her one, so she hatches a plan to get one. Cathy finds a stray cat and took her home in hopes her parents would let her keep it.  But little does she know, her Dad has a bigger surprise for her.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I think any parent who has experienced their child wanting a pet will enjoy this too.  Who doesn’t remember being a kid and wanting a pet and trying everything you can to get one?  I certainly do!

What I also loved about this book were the illustrations by Christina Sanchez.  It is vibrant and alive and really catches the true essence of the story.

Theresa Miller isn’t just a book author, she is also a wonderful co-worker of mine, and I just found out she was an author a few weeks ago and thought I would give her a little shout out here on my book blog.  I thought the best way for me to do that was to interview her myself, so here you go and enjoy!

A Cat for Cathy

 

DF: What made you start writing?

TM: At a young age I enjoyed reading. I remember in middle school, I picked out a book by Langston Hughes and I loved it. I can’t recall the name, but his poetry made me want to write. I started then. Whenever the teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay or story on a topic, my stories were always considered way to long. I remember one time the teacher said, great story but too long. Try cutting it down, I always thought if I cut it down, then there’s no story. That was the hard part. But at home I kept a notebook and just wrote, whenever something popped in my head, no matter what time it was I had to write it down. I have folders and folders of my poetry and other stories.

DF: Where did your inspiration come with “A Cat for Cathy?”

TM: I was visiting my mentee one day and she didn’t want to read. She was having a bad day. I said alright, how about I tell you a story. She said ok. I starting making up a story about a little girl that wanted a cat. My mentee said, hey you’re not reading out of a book. I said I know, it’s coming from my brain. She said I like it. At that very moment, I said to myself, hmm…if she likes it then what other child would. That’s how A Cat for Cathy was started.

DF: What have you enjoyed most about writing this book?  And Why?

TM: Thinking of different ideas, how to organize the book. Thinking of how Cathy should look as well as the cats. I rewrote the middle part several times. I wanted something that I knew I did as a child, and what my nieces and nephews did when they really wanted something. My older son wanted a toy so bad when he was young and I remember stick figure pictures on my dresser and he placed one in my purse one time. Those memories made me rewrite the middle. How Cathy came up with her game plan.

DF: What message do you hope to convey with this book and books going forward?

TM: I want children to be able to read about different experiences that children may go through. But enjoy the story as well. Every child has a story to tell. This story may relate to a child who actually thought of doing this or actually did.

DF: What do you think children and parents alike will enjoy about this book?

TM: How Cathy was determined to get a cat. How you don’t give up on what you want in life. How Cathy and her mother hung flyers about the cat she found in the park.

DF: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

TM: Reading. I love to read. Barnes & Noble and I are the best of friends.

DF: What was your favorite children’s book?  And Why?

TM: I can’t just give one answer. I will say this; my author when I was a child is Judy Blume. I loved her books. From Freckle Juice, Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and many more. Her books were exciting and I remember waiting for the book order form that was handed out in class and I always ordered her books.

DF: What are your plans going forward?

TM: Going forward I plan to continue writing more children books. “Andy’s Ant Farm,”  my second book, is with my editor now. That should be available in March or April. While that is being edited, I am currently writing my third.

DF: Is there a part of this book you want to highlight?

TM: Yes, when Cathy finds the stray cat. I wanted children to know how important it is to find the owner. The fact that flyers were hung and a number was given, it showed that she tried, but more importantly they gave Forrest a home.

DF: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

TM: Keep writing. Don’t give up. There is always a way to get your stories out. If you tried to get published, but received letters or an email saying no, not interested. Don’t give up. Keep going and keep writing. I did self publishing. I read up on it, I watched videos on you-tube. My support system, my family, encouraged me. Once A Cat for Cathy was completed, they were amazed, shocked and I was told it’s about time. Never give up and let a no discourage you.

Theresa’s book is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.  I also strongly encourage you  to visit her Facebook page  “Reesee Books”  too!

My Plans for 2012

Me

Hello Dear Followers,

I have a lot of plans for this blog in 2012. I am totally excited about this.  I plan to be more dedicated at posting. Starting Sunday, I will post on a weekly basis.

I hope you will share your thoughts with me as well. They are always welcome! I plan to include more guest bloggers, and I already have a few lined up and  I am always looking for more! So please send me your thoughts about what you are reading! They may be sent to Dm4tay@aol.com.  Or find me on Facebook at – Books From My Closet and on Twitter at @BooksFrMyCloset.

I’d also love some new ideas about what I can do for this blog, I want it to be so much more than it was the first year. So please your suggestions are welcome! Thanks so much for your commitment to following my posts and I look forward to  speaking to you!

Until next time…

– Daniela

Happy Anniversary to Books From My Closet!

Hello Dear Followers,

I just wanted to write something quick to say Happy One Year Anniversary to Books From My Closet! I have to say I have had an awesome time writing and reviewing my books and continue to look forward to another great year with many great books ahead.

I have had the chance to meet a community of people in the last year that share my love of reading and writing and I was introduced to a wonderful array of characters with whom I had the chance to connect with on a deeper level.

I want to thank everyone who has followed along with me as I read books on Louisa May Alcott to Elizabeth Gilbert and more recently Erin Blakemore.

Here is a look back at the books from 2011 –

2011 –

1. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” By Jean-Dominique Bauby

2. “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage” By Elizabeth Gilbert

3. “Middlesex” By Jeffrey Eugenides

4. “Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography” By Susan Cheever

5. “Ghellow Road”  By T.H. Waters

6. “Marry Him” by Lori Gottlieb

7. “The Rescue” by Nicholas Sparks

8. “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder

9. “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd

10. “The Relatives” by Judy Mayhew

11. “Hostage In Time” by Linda Lauren

12. The Heroine’s Bookshelf – Erin Blakemore

I look forward to more great books by wonderful authors past and present.  Please stay tuned to my final review of Ms. Blakemore’s book “The Heroine’s Bookshelf”  and my new book choice for January!

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