Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,

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Books! #s 8 through 11

A few more books reviews for 2006 . . .

#8 - "Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" by R.L. Stine

Typical Goosebumps. A fine little semi-spooky story, not the best writing ever, but that's okay. My son enjoys them, and anything that encourages him towards books is all right with me. We're currently reading the sequel. 6/10

#9 - "A Gradual Awakening" by Stephen Levine

Wow, this is a fantastic book on Vipassana meditation. Funny story as to why I read it now – a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to read something on meditation, having recently started a practice again. So, I was looking on my shelves for "It's Easier Than You Think," which I remember as being a good book. But in looking, this book caught my eye, and I thought, "Hmnh. What is that? I didn't remember buying it, and I wasn't sure what it was about based on the title." So, I pulled it out, and, well, lookie here! It's about meditation! Well, if that's not a sign, I don't know what is. Turns out I must have read at least parts of it before, since a couple of the pages were dogeared, but I don't remember much of it at all. It's a wonderful book, with lots of discussion on Vipassana (or mindfulness) meditation, and a few guided meditations to try, as well. Plus there's lots of general spiritual guidance here. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn to meditate, or go deeper with their practice. 10/10

#10 - "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss

Loved this book! (And she wouldn't yell at me for that sentence, nor this one - it's a book on punctuation, not grammar). Although, admittedly, I do sometimes get lazy on LJ, in general, I really am a big fan of correct punctuation. As Truss says:

"We have a language that is full of ambiguities; we have a way of expressing ourselves that is often complex and allusive, poetic and modulated; all our thoughts can be rendered with absolute clarity if we bother to put the right dots and squiggles between the words in the right places. Proper punctuation is both the sign and cause of clear thinking."

Lovely. I did learn a few things: the colon is more versatile than I'd realized. Also, I was shamed to realize that my own use of elipses has fallen into disrepair (MUST remember to use dashes instead. MUST remember to use dashes instead). OMG, I even see a mis-used elipsis in the review of "A Gradual Awakening." *runs off to fix it*. If you love the English language, give this book a try - it's funny and informative. And if you suspect that you've been slaughtering the English language, well, you might learn some handy things. Just be warned that she uses British conventions here (which in some cases are different from American); however, she is also careful to note when there's a difference, so Americans can still get good information; there's just not quite as much explanation in some cases. 9/10

#11 - "Career Tests: 25 Revealing Self-Tests to Help You Find and Succeed at the Perfect Career" by Louis Janda

Disappointing. I bought this book a while ago, thinking it might give me some insight about what sort of career I want to pursue, once I get around to pursuing something beyond what I'm doing right now. This book wasn't really very helpful with that. It's mostly personality tests, not aptitude or interest tests. And, really, I learned very little that was surprising, or something of which I wasn't already well aware. Also, I really disliked scoring the majority of the tests. Lots of flipping pages back and forth to see the answer key, and also, most of them had some answers which were "reverse scored," meaning you had to switch your answer to the opposite meaning (for example, on tests with scores from 1 to 5, changing 4s to 2s). What a complete pain in the butt, and completely unnecessary, IMO. I'm guessing the test-writers did this to try and "fool" people into being uncertain which answers would lead to which results, but really, most of the time that was easy to figure out just from the questions themselves. Plus, there were several that were scoring several different things in one test, and you had to go through and pick and choose question numbers to add up . . . oh, no sense moaning about it excessively, but I did find it very tedious, so much so that I'd not recommend this book. It's also geared toward college students, which made it less-than-relevant at times (but I don't consider that a criticism; it's not the author's fault I'm not a member of his chosen target audience). It's the awful scoring that ruined it for me. 4/10
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