The Book Chat: 08.29.13 School Assigned Reading

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This week’s Book Chat topic is school assigned reading. I took a bit of a different approach to this topic. By far, my favorite books that I read while in school as assignments were Catcher in the Rye and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I have already done book related posts on both of those books (you can click here and here to read those), so I thought I would post about what I am currently assigned to read.

The following are books that I am reading as part of my yoga teacher training.

1. The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. This book is packed with amazing amounts of wisdom. It is comprised of insightful bits not just about yoga, but also about living your life in general, relating to other people and being introspective about yourself. I have read it twice through already since the training started, and I still feel like I have only scratched the surface of it’s knowledge base. I know it is a book I will come back to again and again, and still find something useful for myself.

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2. Yoga Mind Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi.

I love Farhi’s approach to yoga, she emphasizes that it is not just about the body, but as the title implies, about the connection between the mind and spirit have with the body.

She gives great details about pose break downs as well, that have helped me understand poses that I have previously struggled with.

I have skipped around in this book, based on what has been assigned, but I do plan on reading it cover to cover, once the training is over.

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3. Juvamukti Yoga by David Life & Sharon Gannon

This book is not assigned for me to read, but it was suggested by one of my yoga teachers, to help me with my final research paper. I am about halfway through the book right now. Gannon and Life take an interesting and different approach to yoga, and I am still digesting how I feel about that. I will reserve my full opinion until I am finished with the book, but it is definitely an interesting and thought-provoking read.

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What were your favorite assigned school readings?

Check out other posts from this week’s Book Chat here.

The Book Chat 08.15.13 Favorite Memoirs

This week’s Book Chat topic is our favorite autobiographies and memoirs.

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I became a huge fan of autobiographies while I was in high school, particular works by anyone from old Hollywood. It was through these books, that I learned about so many classical movies and musicals. I would seek out the movies and recordings after reading about them (thank-you, public library!), and it was through this that my love for musical theater was born. This is just another example of the amazing gifts reading can offer.

However, by far, my favorite memoirs are by Maya Angelou. The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou is one of my favorite books on my shelves.

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I find her life incredibly fascinated. She tells her story so honestly and doesn’t hide her flaws, mistakes and lessons. Through the books, the reader follows her from a streetcar conductor in San Francisco, single mother, pimp & prostitute, actress, dancer, performer in nightclubs and musicals, civil rights activist, friend with Malcom X, organizer of marches for Martin Luther King,  writer and organizer in Cairo and Ghana, screenplay writer, director, poet, etc., etc. etc.

Her adventurous life is described in her poetic imagery and beautiful language. Her words flow almost like lyrics and I always feel inspired to write after reading her works.

Have you read any of Maya Angelou’s works? What is your favorite memoir?

Check out other posts on this topic by clicking here.

The Book Chat-07.18.13 Young Adult Lit

I am not ashamed to admit that I am an adult who loves reading Young Adult Literature.

At first, I made the excuse that, “I work with teenagers, so I need to read things they would like, so I can make recommendations.” 

And while, yes, I do try to cultivate a love of reading in my students, that is not the only reason I love YA. There is definitely something appealing and universal about the tumultuous time called adolescence.

While reading about the conflicts and issues one has as a teenager, I am reminded about how those problems seemed like THE biggest deal at the time, and they truly were. Friend issues could completely ruin your life, having a crush on someone who did not reciprocate those feelings was devastating, adding in family problems to the mix and your life feels like it is going to end. Being reminded of how simple those problems all seem now as an adult looking back, makes me believe that problems I currently feel are huge, will probably seem trivial in another ten years.

One of my favorite YA series is the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.

jd series This series follows the main character, Jessica Darling, from high school to a career after college. She is smart, witty, hilarious, sarcastic and has universal struggles with family, friends and boyfriends. Her love of karaoke also makes her amazing. Her flaws and conflicts make her very relatable to readers of any age. Those who are currently going through similar struggles can absolutely relate, those of us who may or may not have made similar mistakes Jessica made, cringe, reflect and remember what is was like to have been in that oh-so-confused mindset. There is interesting plots along the way, it was a series I flew through a missed when it was over.

Check out other posts on The Book Chat here.

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What is your favorite Young Adult series?

The Book Chat 6.27.13-The Great Outdoors

This week’s topic on The Book Chat is The Great Outdoors.

I love books that are set in the outdoors. I enjoy camping, hiking, back packing, etc. and enjoy reading anything of that nature.

One of my favorite books set in the outdoors, is Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer.

200px-Into_Thin_Air I am a pretty big fan of Krakauer, I especially enjoyed Into the Wild and looked into his other works. Into Thin Air tells the story of when Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest as a member of a team. A storm erupts during the expedition, and 8 people ended up dying and left many more stranded.

I actually read this book during my 1st backpacking trip, which may not have been the best idea. The book was incredibly suspenseful and terrifying. It is definitely about a trip that has gone way wrong, and the first time I ventured off into the wilderness, may not have been the best time to read this book.

However, I still highly recommend this book. It gives a first hand account of what it is like to climb Mt. Everest, and also discusses some of the historical and social implications associated with this phenomenon. 

What is your favorite book set in the outdoors?

The Book Chat 05.16.13 Bookshelves

This week’s topic on The Book Chat is bookshelves. This was a pretty easy topic, since I regularly drool over various bookshelves on Pinterest.

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Some of my favorite shelves are the color coded ones. I hope to one day have this much variety, so I can work on color coding. I think it adds a nice tone to the room and gives reading a fun, appealing vibe.

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I may not ever make it to the status above, but I also love this idea. It’s color coding on a smaller level, with other objects thrown in the mix.

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I love these classics color coded:

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The other half of my time on Pinterest is spent ogling bookshelf nooks. I am always in search of the perfect reading space. My mom helped me put together a very charming reading corner, and as the weather warms up, I will take to my outdoor hammock, but I still one day hope to incorporate a nook with shelves built in, or some sort of loft. This one seems pretty realistic by maybe just installing two bookshelves in front of a window:

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Another one that is more on the realistic side to put together:

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Now I want to leave reality for a minute, and show you what some of my dreams are made of: I could stay in this bath for hours:

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Loft + reading space:

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Creative space saver:

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A big appeal of the book nook/reading space is having my OWN place set aside, when I am here, with my books, I am off limits! However, if there is more than 1 reader in the family, as there is in ours’, this would perfect:

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This reading spaces would definitely be my ideal happy place, I just love the colors and decor:

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What are your favorite types of book shelves?

Book Chat 4.11.13 Books Set in Europe

Today’s Book Chat topic is books set in Europe.

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I love books that take you somewhere else and makes you feel as though you are getting a tour through a place you have never been before. Books set in Europe are particularly swoon worthy for me, since there is still so much of Europe that I want to see.

The first book that came to mind when I read the prompt for this week was Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. As far as plot goes, this is not one of my favorite books, but I felt Dan Brown did a great job of giving the readers a tour around Vatican City.

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In the book, the protagonist, Robert Langdon is attempting to re-trace the Path to Illumination, this takes the reader to various landmarks around Rome. The reader gets a good overview of Vatican city, especially St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s square, not to mention portions of the Vatican itself. I was eager to see where the path would take the reader next. Brown describes, in great detail, some of the historical and religious highlights of these sights. It definitely increased my desire to go to Rome and see those amazing places in person. Hopefully in summer 2014!

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What book has taken you on a tour?

Book Chat 3.21.13 What Are You Currently Reading?

Greetings from Shanghai!

This week’s Book Chat topic asks what are you currently reading?

My flight from LA to Shanghai was 14 hours and the flight back will be 11 hours, I packed tons of reading material to keep from going completely insane.

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1. The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I bought this after reading Bobbi’s recommendations. I am always looking for ways to improve lifting, since I am so bad at consistently strength training.

2. The Red Tent. I recently received this from Paperback Swap. I have heard so many positive things about it and am excited to delve in.

3. The Poisonwood Bible. I was fortunate enough to receive this from Jessica, in a blogger book swap. She highly recommended it and I am always eager to read books recommended to me.

4. Snowflower & the Secret Fan. I thought it would be appropriate to read a book set in China, since I would be there. I enjoyed Lisa See’s other books, especially Shanghai Girls.

5. Autobiography of a Yogi. This has been in my to-read pile for awhile now, I am looking forward to finally starting it!

Check out The Book Chat page to see who else is participating!

What are you currently reading?

Book Chat 3.14.13 Setting

I have been looking forward to Thursdays, lately. Jessica from Sweet Green Tangerine hosts The Book Chat . The prompts are interesting and thought provoking.The added bonus is that I have also found many other bloggers to follow who participate in The Book Chat.

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This week’s prompt was on your favorite setting and I knew I wanted to participate. This is one of my most treasured literary elements, it can make or break a books for me. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and one of the main reasons is because books can take you places that you would not normally go. Through books, I have been able to see different parts of the world or visit diverse historical periods that fascinate me.

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Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen. Even though this is non-fiction, it reads as a suspenseful novel. I was captivated by Magellan’s journey, the first circumnavigation of the earth.

The book takes you along Magellan’s course, starting in Portugal, then across the ocean to various points in South America, across the ocean once more to Philippine islands, around Africa and back to Europe. The reader gets a great feel for the political dynamics of these countries, in this time period. The contrasts are deep and the implications of his arrival can be seen for centuries after.

Bergreen brings the voyage alive to the reader. You feel the curiosity, confusion, amazement and fear of discovery. How fascinating and terrifying it must have been, to visit parts of the world that you never knew existed! How supernatural and invasive it must have felt, to have people who looked completely different from you, arriving with technology you never realized was possible!

I am enthralled by the discovery period in history. It was something that shifted the dynamics of the world as we currently know it. Bergreen does an amazing job of describing the psychological, emotional and sociological implications of Magellan’s quest.

This book combines my love for historical setting and travel. It definitely transports you to this time period with the electrifying suspense and drama of the quest. Magellan’s show down with the Filipinos made me squirm and cringe, but it added to the adventure and conflict within the book.