The Book I wish Was Written Ten Years Ago – The Book of Knowing – Gwendoline Smith

Battling with mental health issues and depression can be a daunting and sometimes insurmountable task. People haphazardly throw around the words “I know how you’re feeling”, when really, they don’t have a clue. Those words, whilst coming from a good place, can often make you feel inadequate and frustrated. Because, lets be real, nobody really knows what you are battling in your own self depreciating brain. Well, that’s what I thought until I read this book.

The Book of Knowing, by Gwendoline Smith, offers you your own personal tour of that complex and often unforgiving entity that is the human brain. With its content built on the premise of CBT (Cognitive behavioural Therapy), The Book of Knowing explores strategies and ideas to help individuals take control of their own emotions and thought patterns in day to day life. Whilst targeted at teens and adolescents, the book offers insights that are valuable to any individual or demographic who struggle to keep on top of their emotions and thoughts. Furthermore, the book is littered with helpful diagrams that illustrate more complex ideas in comfortable and humorous ways.

The book’s real value lies in it’s propensity or ability to empower the reader. Personally, It’s helped me to realise the true power I have regarding my own wellbeing. To be completely honest, it has been a saving grace. I have actually found it more valuable than any counselling or therapy session I’ve taken part in.

So please, if you are in need of some help in navigating your way through troubling times, read this book. You really won’t regret it.

Arohanui

Novel Thoughts

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A Book That You Can’t Afford Not to Read – The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha

I don’t know about you, but every day I find myself perpetually reminded of how busy and complicated our world has become. Televised news is often a herald of dread, and social media feeds saturate us with messages of social injustice and apocalyptic imaginings of our future. Sometimes, It’s all just a bit too much. Sometimes, the world can become just a bit too heavy for you to carry on your shoulders alone. Recently, I found myself feeling just that. The future looked bleak, and I marred my mind with thoughts of the past. I was stuck in a mental hole, and I needed some help. After wallowing in my pity, for what was more days than I’d like to admit, I mustered the effort to start clawing my way back out of the whole. I went to the Library. That was where I found Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation, and I’m telling you, you can’t afford not to read it.

In his book, Neil Pasricha tries to break down the complexity of our modern world, and give the reader a practical equation to answering that age-old question: How to be happy? Broken down into nine simple rules, The Happiness Equation evokes the reader to confront their thinking and perception of the world around them, offering simple ways to change and understand your mindset and outlook on life. And that’s the secret: It’s simple. Using helpful diagrams, carefully chosen pop culture references, and wisdom from some of the most revered masters of mindfulness, The book works at being extremely accessible and implementable for people from all walks of life.

It’s been about two weeks since I read the book, and while I can’t say I have mastered the art of being happy, I certainly feel a newfound vigour and confidence in my effort to be happy. Like one of Pasricha’s mantra’s in the book, just do it! Go out there and give it a read!

Death of an Artist – Toni Morrison – Thoughts

Isn’t it sad that often for artists and writers, recognition comes posthumously? If you asked me to make a list of my top ten albums or books, I could confidently assure that at least half, or a comfortable majority, of those I mentioned, were produced by someone who no longer sits top side of the soil. But maybe it’s not sad. Perhaps that is the real beauty of an artists death; they can continue to inspire, educate and influence from beyond the grave.

Recently the American author Toni Morrison passed away, and I saw her death mourned across multiple media outlets. Morrison, by no means, went unnoticed in her lifetime. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Morrison enjoyed great recognition for her literary and storytelling talents. But when she died, I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I had never read one of her works.

I’ve now come across a copy of Beloved, and have begun reading. I’m only a chapter or two in. But already I feel a great sense of loss. I’ve lost a voice in this world that I had never heard until now. The same feeling, I remember noticing the first time I listened to Jeff Buckley, knowing that nothing more than the finite recordings of a marvellous mind was all that remained.

Just a Thought.

Aroha nui

Book Review – Canal Dreams – Iain Banks

One of my favourite books of all time is The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. I remember reading the novel in Highschool and being amazed and intrigued by the disturbing and sadistic mind of the protagonist. Bank’s imagination was like none I had ever encountered. Eight years later, and I’ve just made it through Canal Dreams. My initial impression of Banks’ skill remains unchanged.

At first, I found the novel a little slow in its development, with Banks carefully introducing the Hisako, the novel’s protagonist. A Japanese cellist with a crippling fear of flying, Hisako immediately made me feel like I was reading a Murakami novel. This feeling further instilled by the dream sequences throughout the story. However, the slow start of the book established a sense of comfort in me as a reader, which worked well to leave me shocked and enthralled, when Banks’ pulled no stops in his details of bloodshed at the end of the novel.

While not a recommendation for the light-hearted or squeamish reader, Canal Dreams is a confronting depiction of what we can be when we have nothing left to lose. Hisako’s journey from a classical cellist to a Ramboesque heroine, illustrating that at heart, we can all be killers.

4/5 

Peace & Love

Novel-Thoughts

That Short Story That changed your life?

E. M Forster The Machine Stops, that was mine. I remember reading, incredulous to the idea that it had been written over 100 years ago. Questioning, how could someone who hadn’t seen the invention of television be describing the lives of humanity in a digital age.

Today, the stories relevance and commentary on the way technology can corrupt humanity is more important than ever.

So what short story made an impact on you? Why should everyone read it?

Comment and let me know

Peace and love,

Novel-Thoughts

That one you’ve never read..

No matter how versed in literature you may be, everyone has that one book they’ve always intended to read and never quite managed to do it. It’s that book that you feel guilty about. That book you know you should have read.

So what’s yours? Leave me a comment.

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Cormac McCarthy – The Road – Study Notes

Novel-Thoughts is now adding new content for our The Road Study Notes.

A great novel by a great author, The Road is a must-read for anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic fiction. McCarthy’s unique, sparse writing style is engaging, and the bleak future he paints in the novel adeptly pulls the reader into the sense of despair he develops.

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