Tag #52: Disney Song Book Tag

The Book Nut is awesome!

Here’s the link to their original post:


Part of Your World – What book world would you change yourself for so you could be a part of that world? 

 Harry Potter. I like to think that Hermione would be my best friend.



Let It Go – What book did you not want to finish because you loved it so much?

 Wow. This is a hard one! I think it was either The Notebook or Nights in Rodanthe, from Nicholas Sparks.

Beauty and the Beast – What book do you think is/will be timeless? 

Since I already answered Harry Potter, my next answer would be The Hunger Games.

So This is Love – What book were you hesitant to read at first but ended up loving?

Probably Divergent. I was skeptical at first, but I really enjoyed it.

Friend Like Me – Which character would you like to be your best friend?

Hermione Granger.

Reflection – What book really made you think/changed the way you viewed things?

I have to agree with The Book Nut here – Looking for Alaska by John Green. It was assigned reading for my Young Adult Literature class during my last semester of college, and it changed me. I’ve adored Green and his books ever since.

Colors of the Wind – Who do you tag?

I tag anyone!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Tag #51: Book Blogger Test Tag

Image Credit

Image Credit: Early Bookish Birds

I was looking for some ideas for a few books tags, and I found The Book Nut. They’ve done so many!

Here’s the link to their original post:


The Rules:

You must answer all of these questions truthfully and once you’ve completed this tag, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer the questions next.


What are your top three book pet hates?
Coverage changes, broken spines, and missing dust jackets.

Describe your perfect reading spot.
A comfortable chair or chaise lounge on a screened porch.

Tell us three book confessions.
I have more unread than read books on my shelf, I love organizing my books by author and publication year, and I’ve never read more than one book at a time.

When was the last time you cried at a book?
Prez: A Story of Love.

How many books are on your bedside table?
Ten. I need to put the six read ones back on my bookshelf.

What is your favorite snack whist you’re reading?
Nothing.

Name three books you’d recommend to everyone.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.
I don’t have a current picture, but I love my John Grisham shelf.

Write how much books mean to you in 3 words.
Reading is relaxing.

What’s your biggest reading secret?
I haven’t read many of Jane Austen’s works.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #74: The “New Science of Psychedelics”

The New Science of Psychedelics

Image Credit: NPR

Many of you know that I enjoy listening to podcasts. One that I listen to regularly is NPR’s Fresh Air podcast.

This week, Terry Gross interviewed Michael Pollan, a world-renowned author. His books have typically focused on food and agriculture.

However, his new book, titled How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, discusses the history of psychedelics, and the “new” uses of them to help treat anxiety, depression, and helping cancer patients face their mortality.

There have been two phases of clinical trials up until now, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved Phase III, which is “testing of drug on patients to assess efficacy, effectiveness and safety.”

In researching for the book, Pollan himself became a “reluctant psychonaut” with LSD and psilocybin (magic mushroom) to see if these effects were real.

I won’t tell you Pollan’s results, but it’s a really interesting process. I recommend listening to the podcast version of the show, as it’s an extended edition, where Pollan and Gross discuss the history of psychedelics, which is so fascinating to learn. It’s amazing to learn how LSD was first synthesized, and how it has had a turbulent history. Pollan also discusses psilocybin to an extent, which is another interesting part of the story.

For me, I was definitely more than a little skeptical. I’ve never used any drugs or psychedelics in my life. I’ve seen counselors and therapists.

However, Pollan lessened my skepticism a bit during his interview with Gross. One of his interview subjects was a woman who had survived ovarian cancer. She was absolutely terrified of it recurring, and she was paralyzed with fear. She found a guide, a therapist who administered small doses of one of these psychedelics, and helped her along her trip. She discovered this “black mass” underneath her rib cage during the trip, and originally though it was her cancer. The guide helped her understand that it wasn’t cancer, but in reality it was her fear and anxiety. During the trip, she commanded the black mass to leave her body, and it did.

When Pollan’s fact-checker called to verify her account right before the book’s publication, Pollan’s original words were something to the effect of “this black mass was significantly reduced after her experiences with psychedelics.”

The woman corrected the fact-checker over the phone and said, “No, it wasn’t ‘significantly reduced.’ It was extinguished.”

Again, some of my skepticism remains, but as someone who has a diagnosed anxiety disorder (GAD), hearing the woman’s story gave me hope. I truly believe these psychedelics helped her.


For more information, check out the following links:


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #50: This or That Book Tag

I wasn’t tagged for this one, but if you’ve read the blog lately, I love doing book tags.

When I saw Jenna’s new post, the author of the lovely Bookmark Your Thoughts, come across my email, I was definitely intrigued.

Here’s the link to her post:


Reading on the bed or the couch?

At the moment, it’s my bed. I try really hard to read for at least 30 minutes every night before going to sleep. Reading is one of the only things that really relaxes me.

Male main character or female main character?

Like others, I used to be immediately drawn to female main characters.

Now, I’m finding myself seeking out more male main characters. It’s a different perspective. Plus, I tend to discover different authors this way, too.

Sweet snacks or salty snacks when you’re reading?

Neither. I don’t eat while I read.

I have enough trouble multitasking in general!

Occasionally, I have a beverage by my side, but I’m always afraid I’ll spill it.

Trilogies or quartets?

Trilogies.

However, I’m currently reading more stand-alone books, and I love the idea of duologies, too.

First person POV or third person POV?

First person.

I honestly can’t remember the last book I read with third person POV.

Reading at night or in the morning?

I read at night.

The only times that I’ve read in the morning were for, (a) Bible studies; (b) on vacation at the beach; or (c) traveling where I wasn’t the driver.

Libraries or bookstores?

Toughest. Question. Ever.

Given that I’ve drastically cut my spending habits recently, I think a library sounds amazing right now.

Books that make you laugh or cry?

It depends. I have been known to stop reading a book before finishing it, and change to a completely new one if the mood is too sad.

At the moment, I lean toward books that make me laugh.

Black book covers or white book covers?

Black covers.

White covers are easy to stain or scuff.

Character driven or plot driven?

Definitely character driven.

While I certainly appreciate a good plot, the characters make it or break it for me.


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #61: “Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide”

Girls Auto Clinic - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

I first heard about this book when Patrice Banks was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast!

Here’s the link from the NPR archives:


I wanted to buy this book the minute I saw the podcast episode in my library.

I’m a bit biased, I think. Being the only child, my dad made sure that I was comfortable around cars from a very early age. Since he was an engineer, he wanted me to be as confident as possible with math and science, and anything related to it. Cars are complicated, don’t get me wrong, but being naturally curious, I learned quickly.

My dad taught me how to change the oil in our Volvo station wagon before I entered middle school. I also learned the essence of a gas and maintenance log, checking tire pressures, and having an emergency kit ready to go.

I also learned that my parents keep their cars for as long as possible. Our family only had/went through five cars by the time I graduated from college in 2011.

  • White Volvo 240 station wagon, 1988-2016
  • Gold/beige Saturn SL sedan, early 1990s
  • Forest green Volvo S70 sedan, 1998-2011
  • Gold/beige Ford Ranger truck, 2005-present
  • Gold/beige Toyota Camry sedan, 2010-present

The only new cars my parents ever purchased, in my lifetime, were the Volvo station wagon, and possibly the Saturn sedan. Everything else was/has been used. I learned how to drive stick on the Ford Ranger when I was in high school, although the Saturn sedan was also a manual transmission. The Camry is my baby, whom I call “Sandy.”


I really appreciate Banks writing this type of guide. It’s important for everyone to know the basics about the car you drive, but especially women. Banks has said this book arose out of her own experiences, and shame, with being incredibly intimidated by mechanics, car repairs, dealerships, and more.

Although I was fortunate to have a wonderful dad who taught me many things about cars early on, I know many women aren’t so lucky. Even some men I know aren’t handy with their cars, and trust their mechanics to fix whatever is wrong.

Banks does a great job with breaking a car down into its basic components, and making everything less intimidating right off the bat. She founded Girls Auto Clinic as a series of workshops, where women were encouraged to bring their cars and be prepared to get their hands dirty. She’s learned from her mistakes, and tries hard to educate others. When she was younger, Banks found she was getting a new car every three-four years, dropping a ton of extra money on repairs because she was ignoring or was intimidated by routine maintenance, and zoning out when mechanics were explaining the work that was being done.

She encourages, implores women (and men) to learn the basics first, then to become very intimate with your vehicle, and to continue a similar relationship with every vehicle after that. Once you’re armed with knowledge, everything becomes easier.

Here are a few basics Banks encourages everyone to learn:

  • How to pop and raise your vehicle’s hood
  • What the lights on your dashboard or instrument panel mean
  • How to check your tire pressure
  • How to add air to your tires
  • How to measure your tire tread
  • How to check your fluids under the hood
  • How to change a tire
  • Finding and keeping a great PCT

Banks doesn’t encourage the common driver to change their own oil, although Al and I do that with our own cars. We know how, and the amount of money spent is a little less than the traditional oil change services.

The biggest tip to keep in mind: Beware of cheap car services. Oil changes aren’t normally $5.00 flat. Your car is a big part of your life – Don’t automatically spring for something cheap to save money.


Now that I’ve read the book, I plan to keep this in my glove box. It’s chock-full of valuable tips, tricks, diagrams, and recommendations.

I hope that she expands the Girls Auto Clinic across the country, too. It’s a valuable organization that empowers women in a male-dominated profession.

For more information, check out https://girlsautoclinic.com/.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #72: Books That Every Reader Needs To Read

Books Everyone Should Read - Imgur

This is a consensus cloud of Books Everyone Should Read. Image Credit: Imgur

Thrice Read! You ladies are on a roll!

Here’s the link to their post:


So, without further ado, here’s my list!

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • I’ve expressed multiple times how much I love this book. I re-read it every year. It’s amazing sometimes how you fall in love with assigned reading!

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

  • This was another assigned reading book. It was incredibly powerful for me. I don’t re-read it every year, but I have read it multiple times.

The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks

  • Aside from the movie (2004) being excellent, the book is one of my all-time favorites from Sparks. It’s a classic romance, in my opinion.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

  • Another assigned reading book that has stuck with me. Learning Anne’s story was pivotal, as I have Jewish relatives and ancestry. Plus, I’ve been fascinated by anything related to World War II for as long as I can remember.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

  • Lowry is one of my favorite authors. This book initially scared me, and gave me nightmares, so it was left unfinished for years. I think I finally got through it for the first time in college. It’s a powerful book. Plus, the movie adaptation (2014) is decent, too.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

  • I don’t think I will ever not mention Harry Potter. Although I was a late bloomer in terms of reading the series, once I started, I was absolutely hooked. Rowling is a literal wizard!

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

  • I dove right in after it was published. This started the big dystopian kick for me. This book, and series, are ones that I will always keep on my bookshelf.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

  • I love historical fiction, especially set in the 20th century. I devoured it within a few days, and then my mom read it. The movie (2011) is a great watch, too. Mom and I saw it together.

The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls

  • I can’t remember who recommended Walls’ memoir, but I’m so glad they did. I could not put this book down, although I probably should have been studying at the time. Walls is an amazing writer and storytelling, and her family’s adventures are something to behold. This, and her other books, will always be on my shelves.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

  • This was another assigned reading book, for one of our first presentations in Mr. Degnan’s ninth-grade English class. Originally, I hated the book. But, years later, I re-read it, and now I love it.

Night, Elie Wiesel

  • My school district focused on World War II and the Holocaust in middle school. We did a huge unit on the Holocaust, and this book was a big part of it. However, this is one of those books that I’ve only read once, since it absolutely haunted me.

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

  • I don’t remember when I first read this book, but it’s always stuck with me. I found myself re-reading it several years ago, when I was going on job interviews right out of college. It’s one of those pivotal books that has so many lessons wrapped up in a good story. Plus, the movie adaptation (1983) is excellent – One of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen.

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

  • I agree with Thrice Read on this one. You either love it or hate it. I loved it from the first read.

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

  • Although fictional, Steinbeck perfectly captures the essence of despair as a family leaves Oklahoma to escape the Dust Bowl. But, life isn’t as rosy as they thought once they arrive in California. It’s a classic book about such a tumultuous time in American history.

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

  • I’m going to recommend Allsburg’s books as a whole (He’s written many, including Jumanji and Zathura), but The Polar Express was a childhood staple. My parents had the hardcover book, the cassette tape, and the bell. We also went to see the movie (2004) as a family. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

This was such a fun post! So much nostalgia!

What’s a book you believe ever reader should read at some point?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #49: Extraordinary Means Book Tag

Quotefancy

Image Credit: Quotefancy

Thrice Read posts some of the best book tags!

Here’s the link to their post:


I would give up the Internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book …

  • The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors. It’s one book that I re-read every year, too.

I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plane ride …

  • J.K. Rowling. Hands down. I’ve always wanted the chance to meet her.

I would sit through a thousand hours of commercials if it would ensure that Hollywood made this book into a movie …

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was assigned reading in high school. I’m usually not a big fan of magic realism, but I’d love to see Hollywood works their magic on this one.

I would never read a new book again if it meant I could live inside this book …

  • I agree with Thrice Read. It would have to be Harry Potter. Period. No discussion. End of conversation.

 

 

I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author …

  • Too many choices! First author that popped into my head – Sarah Dessen. She was a key figure in my Young Adult Literature choices throughout high school, and part of college. Yes, please!

 

I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant I could date this book character in real life …

  • A modern version of Mr. Darcy.

 


This was such a fun and different tag! Keep ’em coming, Thrice Read!

What are some things you guys would give up for bookish opportunities?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂