Category Archives: Recommended Books

Some of my favorite quotes…(with pretty pictures!)


โ€œIs it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.โ€



โ€œInsist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.โ€

–Ralph Waldo Emerson from his essay “Self-Reliance”

The power of hope and determination in overcoming poverty

It’s pretty well-known that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to have problems in school and they are more likely to grow up to remain in poverty. The statistics are not promising, but statistics and tendencies are not absolute. I found this article today about overcoming poverty and how to avoid becoming a statistic. I’ll just quote the beginning because it’s a good thought and it’s good news for those who struggle:

“Yet not all poor children are doomed to bad outcomes. Some survive and flourish despite hardships. Why? As a researcher who worked at the Yale Child Study Center from 1992 to 2005, Valerie Maholmes, PhD, suggests that poor children who succeed have a factor in common: hope.

‘I’m not talking about miracles,’ explains Maholmes, chief of the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). ‘I’m talking about planning and motivation and determination.'”

She’s written a book about her findings and ways that poor families can overcome statistics to help their children succeed. I looked for it on Amazon and it’s pretty pricey, but I added it to my wish list. As a single mother who struggles with financial worries, I do want to make sure I can do everything I can to help my kids live a better life, and I like the sound of her book. I especially like the idea that we do have control over our futures and can be empowered through hope and determination!
Click here to purchase Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters

This article about her research indicates that there are good results when at-risk students are educated about emotional regulation and problem solving so they can be more optimistic and achieve more success. There is also a bit of information about stimulating different parts of the brain for better development, as well as some information on the importance of mentoring relationships for kids. But really, the biggest point is the power of hope and optimism to help kids dream big and believe in their goals. I think the findings are really inspiring!

Why didn’t he call after your date?

Why Hasn’t He Called?: How Guys Really Think and How to Get the Right One Interested by Matt Titus and Tamsen Fadal

Click here to purchase Why Hasn’t He Called?: New York’s Top Date Doctors Reveal How Guys Really Think and How to Get the Right One Interested

Oh look! Another dating book! I’m not trying to project or anything, don’t worry! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just going through my self-help books and picking out the ones I enjoyed most. I’ve been re-reading them as I go along so I got to this one…. I don’t have cable, but the authors of this book are upscale matchmakers who had a TV show about their services called “Matched In Manhattan.” They’d better know what they are talking about, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

This book is fun and easy to read. The information is broken up into smaller sections and different formats so it catches your eye. The sections are relatively short, so they are breezy and to the point. Despite the title, it’s not totally about why a man hasn’t called. It’s an entire advice book about meeting men, dating and starting relationships. (Although it does gives some ideas on why he hasn’t called.)

Here are the chapter titles:
1. Secrets of the Boys Club
2. The Bond Girl
3. The Love Shack
4. Where the Boys Are
5. Getting Him to Ask You Out
6. The Date
7. Dating Disaster Survival Guide
8. Why Hasn’t He Called?
9. In the Bedroom…and the Morning After
10. Commitment and Other “C” Words

I do have two nit-picks with this book:
One–they do rely on some stereotypes. For example, one section suggests the type of lingerie a man wants to see you in based on his career or interests. I don’t know if this is realistic.
Two–I think they give too much hope as to why a man didn’t call. I personally think that if a man didn’t call, he’s not interested. This book gives some other options such as the idea that he’s too interested to call. Now, I know there are shy men in the world, but I’ve dated some of them and guess what? They call.

Other than this, there are lots of examples, ideas, scenarios, explanations and tips. It’s quick and easy to read and it’s always good to have a variety of viewpoints to consider!

Tips for being successful and getting rich

Napoleon Hill’s A Year of Growing Rich: 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards

Click here to purchase Napoleon Hill’s a Year of Growing Rich: 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards

Napoleon Hills book “Think and Grow Rich” is considered a classic self-help book along the lines of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” or “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Many people swear by it. This book is a companion to it and includes many of the same ideas, except in shorter excerpts that are easier to read. It’s broken down into 52 short chapters–one for each week. I admit, I’m reading one per night. (I’m ready to be rich ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Okay, so I’m not rich yet…but this book is very inspiring. When I read it and the examples, I feel like I really can use my talents to make my dreams come true. Hill makes riches and success seem achievable. But, he focuses on the importance of devotion to your goals, being specific, working hard, and having a strong desire to succeed. You can’t just want it to happen, you have to make it happen. He emphasizes that you need to have a real plan, and you need to believe in and stick to it. He also points out that the people who succeed are those who persevere through multiple failures–the people who don’t give up.ย  Overall, each chapter emphasizes a characteristic that could help us in many ways. Plus, rich is subjective. Maybe rich is being self-employed, having your dream career, being happy…or maybe it really means having tons of money. Any way you look at it, you can benefit from reading and using the ideas in this book. I’m currently job hunting and working on multiple start-up business ideas. I’m using Hill’s tips, so hopefully I can write a very positive blog update in the future!

How to know if a man isn’t interested

He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Click here to purchase He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

I know this book is a bit cliche. It was even made into a chick-flick! But, these are things that every single woman in the dating world needs to know in order to preserve her self respect! All of my life, I had dated guys who asked me out. We had a nice time and they asked me out again. Easy enough. Then, a few years ago, I met a guy online who really flattered me, told me how great I was, and really led me on. We talked for hours and hours and hours at a time for several months. I flew out to meet him, and other than a heavy makeout session he was rude from the night we met. I was so confused! It was such a huge difference, and I kept desperately trying to figure out what I did wrong. I pushed and got clingy and tried to get him to like me again, but he was downright rude. (FYI, from this paired with a bunch of other things including what he told me, I now realize he was a narcissist, but I didn’t get it then. This was the classic build-up and discard.) I made a real idiot out of myself over a guy who had treated me and dozens of other women like nothings. I read through a whole bunch of dating books at that time and this was one of them. I didn’t like the reality that Mr. Charming had *poofed* and disappeared, but I had to accept it and realize I was worth more than that. Why grovel for someone who doesn’t like me? Silly! Now when my girlfriends are having guy trouble, I tell them they need to read this book. Don’t sit up at night wondering what he’s doing. Don’t waste your time analyzing his words. Don’t call him over and over. The fact is…if he wants to find you, he will. The end. No more making a fool of yourself! One of my biggest qualifications that I want in a partner is that he likes me back, because that’s pretty crucial, isn’t it?

If you’re a single woman or you have a lot of single female friends who come to you with their stories of men who don’t call…read this book.ย  I’m not going to type the chapter titles, because they basically give away the book. I’ll just end with: next time you are worrying about why a man didn’t call you, seems to be pulling away, is not leaving his wife as he promised to…read this book. Actually, maybe even read it beforehand so you can avoid some wasted worry time!

Lasting Lessons:

He knows where and how to find you. If he wanted to…he would.
If he only calls you at night when he’s lonely or drunk…don’t bother.

Why men marry some women and who is most likely to get married

Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others: The Fascinating Research That Can Land You the Husband of Your Dreams

Click here to purchase Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others: The Fascinating Research That Can Land You the Husband of Your Dreams

I wasn’t going to review this book because I’m not looking to get married any time soon, but I started flipping through it while I was going through my books and remembered that it’s very interesting. I ended up getting caught up in reading it. The author works in research and statistics and used his methods to study who gets married, why and how. He’s shared his findings in this book. So, it’s not a traditional relationship advice book; it’s based on patterns and research. He literally tells us what qualities are consistently more likely to lead to marriage. It’s a bit depressing if you realize those qualities do not match you, but at least you can get some idea of what you can change to better your chances of getting married…assuming that’s what you want. Use science to find love!

Here are the chapter titles:
1. The Marrying Kind
2. First Impressions
3. Women Men Marry
4. The Stages in a Relationship
5. Speaking of Marriage
6. Marrying After Forty
7. Widowed and Divorced Men: Handle With Care
8. Meeting Online

Lasting Lessons:

We are trained to believe that relationships are about personalities, but the statistics don’t lie–we do notice appearances and they do matter.
You don’t have to be a beauty queen, but a woman who cares about her appearance is more likely to get married.

Dealing with a loose stomach or diastsis recti after pregnancy

Lose Your Mummy Tummy: Flatten Your Stomach NOW Using the Groundbreaking Tupler Technique by Julie Tupler, R.N. with Jodie Gould

Click here to purchase Lose Your Mummy Tummy

When it comes to healing “mummy tummy” better known as diastasis recti, the Tupler Technique is pretty much the only promising option outside of surgery. Diastasis Recti occurs when the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy but don’t come back together post-partum. It’s what causes a poochy belly and the loss of an “innie” belly button. A woman can be her ideal weight and still have a diastasis recti making her tummy look sloppy. We typically think that sit-ups and crunches are the answer for a flat stomach, but when you have a diastasis, traditional abdominal exercises make the split worse. You can literally see your insides bulging through the split when you do a sit-up! It’s unattractive and it can also become painful. Tupler offers a simple solution and she calls it the “Tupler Technique.” She tells us about all the benefits as well as the evidence supporting her program’s efficacy and it’s very tempting! From what I can find by researching online, there is scientific evidence that her program works.

The exercises are simple and most of them can be done while breastfeeding or sitting in a chair. (Kegels are part of the routine.) Tupler gives easy-to-follow directions and includes detailed photos. I’m terrible with exercises and coordination, but I can do these! I admit, I’m also bad at following through, so I never actually stay dedicated to the program; however, I can definitely tell a difference even when I’m not keeping up as I should. I’m sure if I really stayed on track, I’d see all the results Tupler promises. She includes the basic Tupler Technique as well as a longer program that incorporates the full body.

Here are the chapter titles:
1. What Is a Mummy Tummy?
2. Using the Tupler Technique in the First Two Postpartum Weeks
3. Using the Tuper Technique When Recovering from C-Sections, Episiotomies, and Other Physical Traumas
4. Using the Tupler Technique to Care For Other Achy Parts
5. The Day-to-Day Stuff: Incorporating the Tupler Technique to Protect Yourself From Injury
6. Getting Your Life Back: Protecting Your Newly Reduced Mummy Tummy When Doing Other Exercises
7. The Thirty-Minute Tupler Workout
8. Post(partum) Script

Raising smart and healthy kids

Bright From the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3 by Jill Stamm Ph.D.

Click here to purchase Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3

Let me start by saying this is an excellent book filled with essential information for parents of newborns or young children! Although the title indicates that it is about raising intelligent children, the ideas in this book also contribute to emotionally healthy children, (which, in my opinion, is more important.) I have read many of the theories in this book in other books, but all of the books offer their own benefits. The way this one is laid out makes it simple to read and easy to understand. There are also tips for specific age groups at the end of each section, so you can easily refer back to review without re-reading the entire book.

The author focuses on the importance of good parenting to help a baby’s brain develop properly. It’s now known that traumatic experiences in infancy have lifelong effects and can affect a person’s mental health as well as intellectual abilities. Plus, most of the brain is formed within the first three years–specifically within the first year. You can still positively affect a child’s personality after that, but it is much less beneficial. It is best if a child has a warm and nurturing start because those benefits tend to last through life even if things do not go well later on. Stamm emphasizes the importance of attention, bonding and communication with your baby to help him or her develop a healthy mind that allows for intellectual growth as well. It’s a bit scary to learn that your parenting during the first three years will affect your child for life, but it’s also inspiring. It’s not hard to do the right things for nurturing your child–but it is important. Science shows us that babies who receive more attentive and responsive care have different brain scans from babies who are neglected or ignored. Stamm explains why and how to help your child thrive.

Here are the chapter titles:

Part One–The Brain Truth
1. Five “Wow”s Every Parent Should Know

Part Two–Attention
2. “A” is for Attention: Why it Matters
3. Face Time: You Are Your Baby’s First Toy
4. Playtime: The Real Work of Play
5. Screen Time: When Baby Meets Modern Life
6. Downtime: Doing Nothing is Important Too
7. Attention-Builders Little Ones Love

Part Three–Bonding
8. “B” is for Bonding: Why it Matters
9. Responsive Care: Tuning In to One Another
10. Hands-on Care: Introducing Vitamin “T”
11. Child Care: How to Make a Brain-Based Choice
12. Bond-Builders Little Ones Love

Part Four–Communication
13. “C” is for Communication: Why It Matters
14. Everyday Talk: Thank Goodness It’s Cheap!
15. Everyday Reading: Dr. Seuss Had It Right
16. Everyday Music: Mozart Myths and Facts
17. Communication-Builders Little Ones Love

What is verbal abuse?

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans
Click here to purchase The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond

This book was a great help for me while coming out of an abusive relationship. I was miserable with my first husband who criticized and name-called, but when I tried to tell people how bad it was, I was told that it was not abuse. Yes. It is. Verbal abuse is abuse and it’s just as much abuse as physical abuse. It has proven, long-term consequences and can cause PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome. It’s not just about the yelling and mean words, it’s about how they work together to destroy a person until they begin to believe the abusive comments. It’s about how people get trapped. Therapists and professionals know this, but the general public often does not. I believe that we as a society do not take as good of care of our emotional and mental health as we should, but it is just as important as our physical health. A lot of times, we try to play strong and throw our emotional needs out the window for fear or embarrassment or maybe just ignorance, but verbal abuse takes its toll. And worse…children learn to do what they see at home, so the dysfunctional cycle of degradation continues.

When I was in the verbally abusive marriage, I lived in a state of fear–wondering what he was going to attack next. He would get mad over little things and berate me for not doing dishes correctly or not filling the cats’ food bowl properly. For example, I was an extreme cat lover and loved my cats like my children, (I didn’t have children then.) I pampered them and loved them, but I would let their food bowls run very low before I refilled them. The cats did not go without; I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t pouring fresh food on top of old/stale food. It seemed reasonable to me. It didn’t seem like a reason for my husband to yell at me. These types of things happened daily. I lived on edge wondering if I was crazy or if he was since he kept throwing fits and giving me the silent treatment over things like that that didn’t seem like fighting over. After nearly two years of these things daily, I was a shell of my previous self and was frantic to keep him happy. That’s what verbal abuse does to a person. After I got out of that mind-numbing game, I was so grateful to find this book. I also joined the author’s online forums which were so helpful for me. (At that time, she personally called everyone who applied to join the private forums, so they should be very safe!) I really want people to understand that verbal and emotional abuse DO matter. They are insidious and eat away at you. And they leave you vulnerable to further abuse if you don’t fully heal. I had come from an abusive childhood, so when my husband started getting angry all the time, it seemed a bit normal to me, even though I was miserable and confused by his behavior. I had learned to accept such crazy-making as normal, but it is NOT normal or healthy. This book is excellent validation if you feel like something is wrong with the way your partner speaks to you.

The chapter titles are:
1. Evaluating Your Own Experience
2. Two Kinds of Power: A Broad Perspective
3. Personal Power: A Look at Reality II
4. The Abuser and the Abusive Relationship: A Look at Reality I
5. The Consequences of Verbal Abuse
6. The Partner’s Feelings
7. Obstacles and Indicators
8. Characteristics and Categories of Verbal Abse
9. The Anger Addict
10. Conditioning and the Partner
11. The Recognition of Verbal Abuse and Asking For a Change
12. Responding with Impact to Verbal Abuse
13. Recovery
14. Looking Back
15. The Underlying Dynamics: Some Reasons Why

Lasting Lessons:

Verbal abuse IS abuse.
Verbal abuse includes blocks to communication like the “cold shoulder” or refusing to let someone respond.
Verbal abuse is sometimes disguised as a joke.

Learning better grammar

Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliot Ph.D.

Click here to purchase Painless Grammar (Barron’s Painless Series)

I studied English as my minor for my B.A. and my major for my M.A., so I’m a bit embarrassed that my grammar is not that great. It’s not horrible, but I know I make all kinds of little technical errors. (In my defense, I studied English Literature which required lots of analyzing and writing, but not necessarily technical skills.) I think I do okay, (and I know on the internet, you will find far, far worse!) but I want to do better. A friend recommended this book. I was a bit hesitant at first because it looks informal. (What is with that shaky cat on the cover?) I eventually purchased it and found that it is a very helpful book. Clearly, I haven’t memorized everything in it, (because I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes in typing this already,) but I try to learn and remember a little at a time instead of all at once. I find that this book is very easy to read and the division of the chapters makes it easy to just read for five minutes or so then take a break to absorb the information. There are also little quizzes to test what you’ve learned.

The chapter titles are:
1. Parts of Speech
2. Building and Punctuating Sentences
3. Agreement
4. Words, Words, Words
5. Editing
6. Writing E-mails

This book is filled with examples of right and wrong, and a variety of charts and exercises, (plus some visuals.) There are sections about capitalization, misused words and phrases, proper use of commas and the proper uses of various words.ย  The text features red and black type plus underlines, bold print and other ways to emphasize the information. It really works well as a textbook format without being boring. Since the chapters are divided into many parts, it is easy to find good stopping points. (Plus, learning studies indicate that you learn best if you learn in short chunks, so that works well with this book!) If you are looking to improve your grammar, I’d recommend this as a very user-friendly book to read through or to just reference as needed.

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