Reading Right Now: The End of Absence by Michael Harris

I’ve started reading this e-book. Join in if you think it would interest you!

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris

the end of absence

I’ve been frustrated by my seeming inability to disconnect from constant interruptions lately. I’m definitely included in the generation that remembers a time without the internet and yet is fully immersed in it now.

I remember a time when I had an attention span and I miss it! Don’t get me wrong, I love technology! But I’m yearning to put it in its place a bit so I can stay connected with the real me that exists outside of all the modern noise. I want to develop the ability to be in silence again, to be alone with myself for long periods of time without grabbing my cell phone for the next hit of internet adrenaline. I want to be ok with being still again. I want to allow myself to get bored (is that possible???) and to find a solution in something that doesn’t involve pushing buttons or filling up the silence with some form of noise.

(I might exclude reading on my tablet from this because that is something I’ve loved doing my entire life and it does help me to reconnect with the real me – and it requires an attention span. And I love that e-books don’t use up trees and don’t take up space in my house and then need to be discarded later. So that’s my one exception.)

So this book looks like a great read. I want to embrace technology but in a more intentional way. I want to make conscious choices where possible about how much of my life I’m going to allow it to invade.

That’s all my rambling. Join me in reading it if you like!


Adding to My Must-Read List: Waking Up by Sam Harris

Sam Harris has a new book out and I’m definitely going to read it. Anyone want to join me?

Waking Up by Sam Harris

You can read Chapter One here:

Waking Up by Sam Harris

I’d love if some of you wanted to join me in reading this and we could discuss it.

[Edit: Looks like it’s being released on Sept. 9th so we’ll have to wait until then to get it.]

Happy reading!

Book Recommendations – February 2014

I’m on a role with listening to audio books lately! I love listening to them while I’m cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. Might as well get some reading in while getting chores done! And the last few have all been awesome so I wanted to share them here. I’m not going to do lengthy reviews of any of them – just go read them! (… or listen to them …)

1. The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.

If you need intense and fast-paced books, this one is not for you – but I loved it! Rosenthal is a psychiatrist and in the book he gives examples from his own life and from those of friends, family members, and patients of his to teach us important life lessons. You feel like you’ve sat at the knee of someone very wise and walked away wiser yourself because of it. Highly recommended.

2. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

Loved, loved, loved this book! This book might totally change your perspective on how you approach life and your quest for happiness. Go read it! Did I mention I loved it? 🙂

3. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D

I’m only about halfway done this book but I like it enough so far to recommend it to you. If I hate it by the end I’ll let you know! What I love about this book is that it demonstrates how many various external and internal factors affect our behaviour and decisions without our even being aware of it. We tend to think that we make most of our daily decisions based on rationality and logic but the studies described in this book show that that is often not the case – and yet we are totally oblivious to it! Interesting read at the very least.

Let me know if you end up reading any of these and how you liked them.

Religious Trauma Syndrome

I know posting this will help someone. I also highly recommend the book mentioned in the article. It definitely helped me as I struggled through my deconversion.

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

via A World Without God (A great deconversion blog you should check out!)

The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Book Recommendation

I had to return this book to the library when I was only about halfway finished, but I liked it so much that it was worth putting myself on the waiting list for it again. I finished it last night and I thought it was definitely worth sharing here:

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

I loved the main character and he’s one of the primary reasons that I think most of my readers would enjoy reading this book. He’s so intelligent and observant and logical almost to a fault. I just loved him. He thinks everything through meticulously and maybe that made me feel like I’m not so strange after all – lol! The book is filled with science-based thinking and writing and yet it is touching and heartfelt at the same time. And if I wasn’t already sold on this book – it also made me laugh out loud numerous times! What’s not to love?

If you only read books that are fast-paced then this book is not for you. But if, like me, you love character-driven plots that make you think and you walk away knowing you’ll have that character stuck in your head forever  – then add this to your reading list.

I can’t wait until this author’s second novel comes out!

It’s Been a Good Life – Isaac Asimov

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading an autobiography of Isaac Asimov’s called It’s Been a Good Life. I don’t know that I have the patience or skill to attempt a decent review of the book, but I did want to mention to my readers that I absolutely loved it.

I’ve never had any interest in reading science fiction (which Asimov authored prolifically) but I read a review of this book and something must have caught my attention because I knew I wanted to read it. Turns out the man’s life fascinated me, and more than that, the book is full of so many of his thoughts which are profound and wise and often funny as well. I highlighted so much of this e-book and I think if you have any interest  in autobiographies or humanism or science (he was a professor of biochemistry) or science fiction or writing or philosophy …. (you get the idea) … I think you’ll love this book.

It does jump around a bit but I actually found this made the book more enjoyable to read – the progression wasn’t predictable. I loved not knowing what interesting topic or period of his life he’d cover next.

If any of you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Quote #43

Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (from Notes from Underground)

(Found in: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald)

What I’m Reading – August 26, 2013

I’ve been getting back into reading lately. Actually I’ve been doing a combination of reading library books, reading books on my phone through kindle, and listening to audio books. The audio book thing is new to me but I’ve really been enjoying putting in my earbuds and going for nice long walks while I listen to them. Very relaxing and a great stress reliever!

I have a bunch of books on the go – I choose whichever one suits my mood at the time. I thought I’d just list them here without going into a lot of detail – you can check out the descriptions if any of them interest you.

I’d love to know what some of you are reading! It’s always great to share the books we love 🙂

[I’ve linked to the Kindle editions.]

It’s Been a Good Life [Isaac Asimov]

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places on Earth

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, And What You Can Do To Get More of It

The Book Thief

Do You Believe in God?

I came across this great article/book review and thought it was worth sharing:

Religion vs Humanism: Isaac Asimov on Science and Spirituality

I think I’ll get the book and let you know my thoughts about it. I’m looking forward to reading it!

Not surprisingly, I love this excerpt:

He said, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

And I said, “Whose?”

He said, a little impatiently, “Come, come, Dr. Asimov, you know very well whose. Do you believe in the Western God, the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition?”

Still playing for time, I said, “I haven’t given it much thought.”

Frost said, “I can’t believe that, Dr. Asimov.” He then nailed me to the wall by saying, “Surely a man of your diverse intellectual interests and wide-ranging curiosity must have tried to find God?”

(Eureka! I had it! The very nails had given me my opening!) I said, smiling pleasantly, “God is much more intelligent than I am — let him try to find me.”

via Philosophy Monkey on Facebook

see also Philosophy Monkey

Quote #40

There is indeed mystery in life, a lot of unanswered questions of vital importance. I would not be a philosopher if I did not believe that, with all my being. Religion and philosophy alike grapple with the deepest questions of all: What is it all about? How should we live? Philosophy is sometimes chided for failing to provide compelling answers to its questions. Perhaps one of the most important lessons of philosophy is to teach us how to live with the questions unanswered, rather than settle for unsatisfactory but popular answers. This is our legacy from Socrates onward and is the source of at least some of the conflict with religion. In exchange for the security, comfort, and certainty of the world’s religions, we offer only doubt and uncertainty, a cold, hard logical look at the universe. But I’ll take it.

From Chapter One of Philosphers Without Gods – edited by Louise M. Antony

Chapter One: Faith and Reason, the Perpetual War: Ruminations of a Fool written by Stewart Shapiro