Women and Their Cars, Survival Tactics, Love-Eat-Train, Climate Change, Hygge | Self-Help Reviews

If you’ve ever wondered what to do in the midst of a sniper or terrorist attack, there’s John Geddes and Alun Rees’s Be a Hero to answer all your questions. Struggling to shed an obsession for sweets or high-carb foods? Stacey Griffith’s Two Turns from Zero has you covered. The titles reviewed this month approach these topics and more from a variety of angles, outlining ways to achieve happiness and success in careers and relationships. While some authors address challenges that seem to be ongoing, others explain how to feel even better. Patricia Banks’s particularly informative Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide teaches women about everything automotive and how to take care of their cars. As with every self-help column, these offerings pre­sent a mixture of subjects and viewpoints, appropriate for both individuals and libraries.

Baack, Gita Arian. The Inheritors: Moving Forward from Generational Trauma. She Writes. Jun. 2017. 234p. bibliog. ISBN 9781631522222. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631522239. personal growth

According to counselor Baack (PhD, founder, Ctr. for Transformational Dialogue, Ont.), inheritors of trauma can be described as those who consciously or unconsciously have thoughts and feelings about horrific events that happened in their youth or even before they were born. Inheritors can be groups of people such as descendants of slaves and survivors of the Holocaust, as well as children of parents with mental-health issues. Baack asserts that until a person has the opportunity to tell his or her story, one can never be completely whole. This book guides inheritors through a journey of self-discovery by way of stories, questions, and insights to help them overcome the past and thrive. VERDICT Excellent guidance for those who are held back by legacies not of their own making.

Banks, Patrice. Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide. Touchstone. Sept. 2017. 304p. index. ISBN 9781501144110. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501144127. automotive

Engineer and founder of the Girls Auto Clinic, Banks seeks to empower women through their cars. In this book, the author guides women (and men) in what they need to know about how their vehicles work (e.g., the function of alternators and timing belts) and what to do to keep them running well (e.g., regularly check the oil and coolant). Banks throws in tips for how to stock the glove compartment and avoid being overcharged at the repair shop, as well as what action to take if the engine overheats. VERDICT This comprehensive DIY guide is indispensable for everyone who owns and maintains an automobile.

Gatmon, Anna. Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World: Four Keys to Fulfillment and Balance. She Writes. Aug. 2017. 144p. ISBN 9781631522567. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631522574. Spirituality

There need not be a dichotomy between the spiritual and material realms, argues visionary educator and spiritual midwife Gatmon. Rather, spirituality is present in our work, relationships, and overall engagement with the world. To aid people in deepening and drawing out this mystical dimension, the author offers four keys: “expansive presence,” which includes spending time in nature; “attentive listening,” the ability to see what was previously hidden; “inspired action,” which reflects a change in attitude; and “faith-filled knowing,” or the strengthening of trust and faith owing to experience. VERDICT Gatmon presents Spirituality 101 for all readers wishing to accelerate their spiritual development. Well done.

redstarGeddes, John & Alun Rees. Be a Hero: The Essential Survival Guide to Active-Shooter Events. Skyhorse. Aug. 2017. 156p. ISBN 9781510721234. pap. $14.95. safety/first aid

While we never want to imagine hearing the clatter of automatic gunfire while shopping at the mall, the incidences of mass shootings in public places are growing. Former Special Air Service warrant officer Geddes and journalist Rees have compiled this valuable guide to staying safe and performing emergency medical assistance at the scene of such an event. The authors illustrate calming techniques, observational skills, and action plans that prepare readers for any situation. Key skills the authors recommend readers adapt to everyday life include “situational awareness,” observing what is happening around you at any given moment, and “dynamic risk assessment,” identifying hazards and taking action to eliminate or reduce danger. Realistic scenarios and detailed survival training reinforce the lessons imparted. ­VERDICT A must-read for anyone who ventures from their home and into the world.

Griffith, Stacey. Two Turns from Zero: Pushing to Higher Fitness Goals—Converting Them to Life Strength. Morrow. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780062496843. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062496867. fitness/health

Griffith, a SoulCycle senior master instructor, believes that everyone, no matter how old, can be an athlete. She has developed the approach LET—Love, Eat, Train—which helps people find their “ultimate center” to lead stable, healthy, and fulfilled lives. In the first part of the book, Griffith motivates readers to discover their purpose and set intentions for change. Next, she introduces “moving meditation” and describes how to envision, define, and deliver on one’s goals. The author delves further into LET in the final section, in which she discusses nutrition basics and exercise. Throughout, recipes, favorite workouts, a motivational playlist, and even directions for cleaning out the car are also included. VERDICT Taking in Griffith’s advice, readers can’t help but be inspired not only to reach their fitness goals but embrace a more productive lifestyle.

Hassed, Craig. The Freedom Trap: Reclaiming Liberty and Wellbeing. Exisle. Jul. 2017. 272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781925335460. $24.99. health/wellness

An expert on holistic, integrative, and mind-body medicine, associate professor Hassed (Monash Univ.; Mindful Learning) aims his book at those who feel overwhelmed by everyday living. He points out that the liberty to pursue the desire for pleasure, possessions, and all things self-­focused has led to addictions, lifestyle-related illnesses, and general distraction. Hassed then takes up the question: What is freedom? With a multidisciplinary approach that defines the concept legally, philosophically, psychologically, and ethically, he concludes that to be truly free means taming passions with discipline guided by love, courage, and reason. ­VERDICT A provocative treatise on the nature of freedom, providing plenty of fodder for discussion.

K., Lisa. Intuition on Demand: A Step-by-Step Guide to Powerful Intuition You Can Trust. Findhorn. Jun. 2017. 192p. bibliog. ISBN 9781844097197. pap. $15.99. SELF-HELP/personal growth

While aspects of intuition, says K. (PhD, Univ. of Metaphysical Sciences), seem vague and intangible, they don’t have to be. This text is devoted to developing intuition into something detailed and meaningful. Employing a step-by-step structure to begin, the author demonstrates how readers can access bits and pieces of intuition, then work up to outcomes that ensure reliable and consistent takeaways. “Intuition Tools” help defuse emotionally charged situations and access the answer to a problem. Some of the methods include “looking into the future and past”; “asking for a sign”; “scanning someone’s energy”; and “intuitive writing and drawing.” The goal of these techniques is to trust our gut instinct in matters of money, love, and health. In the closing chapters, K. defines psychic energy and elaborates on the links among meditation, intuition, and improved health. VERDICT Valuable lessons in layperson’s terms for those who wish to feel supported and connected and make better decisions.

redstarKalmus, Peter. Being the Change: How To Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution. New Society. Aug. 2017. 384p. bibliog. ISBN 9780865718531. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781550926484. science/personal growth

Kalmus, an atmospheric scientist at California Technical Institute’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is strongly convinced that living without fossil fuels is not only possible but better for both the planet and the individual. The author draws on science, practical action, and spiritual examination to make the case that by reducing our carbon footprint, people can slow global warming and the ensuing civil unrest. Suggestions include biking, growing our own food, using a clothesline and solar-heated water, and turning off the lights when they’re not in use. Kalmus encourages meditation to provide satisfaction in the moment rather than the need for more, presenting valuable tips for opting out of what he deems a destructive system. VERDICT Kalmus’s straightforward and necessary steps toward ameliorating the challenges of global warming will be welcomed by a wide readership. Highly recommended.

Morland, Gary. A Family Shaped by Grace: How To Get Along with the People Who Matter Most. Revell. Jun. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9780800727956. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781493407309. relationships/Religion

The destructive patterns from professional communicator and author ­Morland’s dysfunctional birth family contributed to his learning life lessons the hard way. After 11 years of marriage, continuing the harmful behaviors he had gown up with, the author became a Christian and turned his life around. Transformed by his faith, he was able to improve the family dynamics and here relates how readers can do the same. After sharing his own story, Morland offers exercises and guidance to strengthen family bonds such as being attentive and encouraging and forgiving one another. The author uses Christ as a model and includes numerous biblical references. VERDICT Sound, convincing advice from a Christian perspective.

Ross, Carolyn Coker. The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook: How To Manage Cravings, Reduce Stress, and Stop Hating Your Body. New Harbinger. Sept. 2017. 240p. bibliog. ISBN 9781626252097. $24.95. health

While there’s a plethora of diet books on the market, few deal with food addiction, characterized by obsession and out-­ of-control eating. Physician Ross (The Binge Eating and Compulsive Over­eating Workbook), former head of the eating disorder program at the treatment center Sierra Tucson, CA, claims that sufferers need to be anchored in their authentic selves in order to manage body dissatisfaction and stressful emotions without food. To achieve this goal, she has compiled a workbook complete with case studies, self-examinations, and exercises that allow readers to analyze their attachment style, develop new core beliefs, and thrive in recovery. VERDICT A much-needed book for those who suffer from food addiction. Readers may want to purchase their own copies so they can write in their answers and complete the various activities.

Søderberg, Marie Tourell. Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness. Penguin. Sept. 2017. 224p. photos. ISBN 9780718185336. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781405928137. SELF-HELP

There is no English word for the Danish term hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), but most people can relate to its meaning—a cozy sense of well-being, brought about by, for example, candles, a mug of hot chocolate, or a quiet evening with friends. Hygge can be incorporated into everyday life, says Danish actress Søderberg, and her book informs readers on how to cook, decorate, entertain, and be inspired the hygge way. The author weaves into the text color photographs, recipes, craft ideas, and even a music playlist to jump-start readers’ venture into this joyful way of life. VERDICT A fun, relevant, and beneficial addition to any public library collection.

Writing from Within

DeSilver, Albert Flynn. Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life. Sounds True. Sept. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9781622039111. pap. $16.95.

Matousek, Mark. Writing To Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation & Self-Discovery. New Harbinger. Jun. 2017. 216p. bibliog. ISBN 9781626258686. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781626258693. writing/personal growth

As their titles state, both of these books focus on writing as a tool to exploring and stimulating one’s way of interacting in the world. Author DeSilver (Beamish Boy) claims that “a writer is someone who writes, not someone who is published,” and that practice, repetition, and consistency are essential to creative expression on the page. He encourages readers to master these principles by offering stories, meditations, and writing exercises within the framework of the months of the year. For example, the theme for April is “blossoming,” while October is “abundance.” The goal is to encourage the practice of meditation and use art to accelerate a personal spiritual revolution. Similarly, Matousek (Ethical Wisdom) inspires readers to explore their own narrative through writing. He outlines weekly prompts intended to spur readers to write honestly about topics such as their deepest wounds, greatest challenges, and hidden gifts in order to move more closely toward a liberated life. Each exercise offers a tidbit of the author’s experience, core insights, a series of questions through which one can dive deeper, and an analysis of the topic under discussion. VERDICT Both volumes will help readers understand themselves better. DeSilver’s concentrates more on the craft of writing, while Matousek’s centers on self-revelation.

Deborah Bigelow is an Adult Services Librarian, Dexter District Library, MI

 

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Comments

  1. Joneser says:

    “Hygge” is NOT pronounced HOO-GAH (and certainly not “Higgy”). A better approximate pronounciation is “hue-gah”. You can also search YouTube for examples and hear the differences between the Scandinavian languages. I curse the person who started this whole “hooga” thing – it sounds like an old car horn.

    • Amy says:

      “I curse the person who started this whole “hooga” thing – it sounds like an old car horn.”

      Well, now that you mention it, Joneser… it really DOES! As for me, when I first read the pronunciation, I was reminded of Al Pacino’s Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman and his frequent clarion call of Hooh-Ah!

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