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Wyliefan
12-16-2009, 03:11 PM
I read some more of "Angle of Repose." It's still interesting but still has too many words. It forced me to read "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" to free up my mind: fewer words and simpler premise. At this rate I'll be back to reading catalogs again. :P

Too many notes, Mr. Mozart! :)

I'm reading Gaynor Arnold's Girl in a Blue Dress. I didn't expect much, but it's turning out to be way, way better than I expected. A pleasant surprise.

IceAlisa
12-16-2009, 06:57 PM
I'm still reading it; I'm fast but not that fast :P.

She describes her experiences developing the idea and writing the book here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/books/10ehrenreich.html

I have a feeling you won't agree with her on a lot of it. Just a guess :lol:.

Actually I do like what I read in the NYT article. I would probably not agree on all political issues with her but ITA about the culture of the positive thinking having its downfalls.

I had experienced a cultural shock when I was first faced with the ":) Hi! Have nice day! :)" culture.

So I can see the whole breast cancer thing being incredibly annoying and inimical to my nature. Other issues apply as well. So, overall ITA with her ideas as presented in the articles. I am all for being realistic, not optimistic and studies show that optimists are less realistic about their control of the world than pessimists. Again, I say this not to take either attitude to an extreme but to make appropriate conclusions.

However, this does not appear to be correct:

Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral psychology at Columbia, is a more recent member of the Negatives. He has written at length about the absence of scientific evidence showing links between prayer and healing in his book “Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance Between Religion and Medicine.”

I do believe that we had brought up here on FSU a very well designed double blind randomized controlled trial involving a large number of subjects that to my surprise supported the notion that prayer does work. So, with all due respect, professor Sloan needs to do a lit search.

briancoogaert
12-16-2009, 07:10 PM
La promesse de l'aube, by Romain Gary, is wonderful.

Allskate
12-16-2009, 07:25 PM
I saw that (Push) in the store in the airport the other day and wondered about it. I've heard so many good things about the movie. But then, I remembered what the movie was about, and figured I wouldn't be able to handle reading it, so I left it where it was.


I didn't think the book was all that great, even putting aside the fact that it is so sad and that the main character has to suffer through so many appalling things. Maybe this is one case where the movie is better than the book. I haven't seen the movie yet.

I'm currently reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potatio Peel Pie Society." I wasn't sure if I would like it because it's a collection of fictional letters and I thought that style might be too cute. But, I'm really enjoying the book. Although it takes place in England immediately after WWII and there are some depressing moments, there also is humor and some wonderful characters.

Jenny
12-16-2009, 07:27 PM
I'm still on a Peter Mayle kick. Thoroughly enjoyed his new novel, The Vintage Caper, so went back and re-read Hotel Pastis and Anything Considered - it's been long enough that I had forgotten most of the details so both were good reads. Now, for the first time I'm reading one of his non-fiction books, the one that put him on the map, A Year in Provence.

He's a decent writer - quite good at painting characters and always with amusing turns of phrase, and of course his books are full of food, which is always fun for me. Wandering about Provence is a nice contrast to the cold and grey of winter. :)

I just ordered the follow up book, Toujours Provence, and also have Chasing Cezanne still to re-read.

Jenny
12-16-2009, 07:30 PM
Also wanted to add for the WWII buffs in the crowd, hubby just finished Good Soldiers and can't say enough about it. It made the NYTimes Book Review's Top Ten. He also just read Anthony Beevor's new book on Normandy, and found it as excellent as his others.

For a change of pace, he's now reading Desperate Passage, about the Donner party, and is finding it fascinating (which I told him it would a year ago!).

Southpaw
12-16-2009, 07:38 PM
Actually I do like what I read in the NYT article. I would probably not agree on all political issues with her but ITA about the culture of the positive thinking having its downfalls.

I had experienced a cultural shock when I was first faced with the ":) Hi! Have nice day! :)" culture.

Now that I've broken through my awful reading slump I am going to read this. I've always been a victim of the "Why don't you smile?" commentary from strangers. My mother was from Polish coal miners and my father was from Polish farmers, so you might say that I had a very realistic upbringing. Which means my default expression is one of not smiling, but if I find a reason to :) or :D, I will.

Sometimes when people tell me to smile I say, "I walked around Poland for two weeks and not one frigging person told me to smile!" That shuts 'em up. :lol:

Prancer
12-16-2009, 08:58 PM
Also wanted to add for the WWII buffs in the crowd, hubby just finished Good Soldiers and can't say enough about it. It made the NYTimes Book Review's Top Ten. He also just read Anthony Beevor's new book on Normandy, and found it as excellent as his others.

Argh! I just got back from buying some WWII books at B&N for my son.


I had experienced a cultural shock when I was first faced with the ":) Hi! Have nice day! :)" culture.


Now that I've broken through my awful reading slump I am going to read this. I've always been a victim of the "Why don't you smile?" commentary from strangers.

Just so you both know, it's not really about that, or at least it's not much about that. It's really about the culture of Positive Thinking, starting with people like Mary Baker Eddy up through contemporary people like Joel Osteen and Tony Robbins. Much of the book focuses on different positive thinking philosophies and their influence on religion, politics, and corporate culture.

There's a chapter on a book called The Secret (http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709). I had never heard of the book before, but apparently it's a major international bestseller. After reading the chapter in the book, I was :confused:. I read a couple of quick overviews about it this morning and I am still :confused:. The Secret is referenced many times in Ehrenreich's book, so you might want to at least be aware of its existence if you weren't already.


I do believe that we had brought up here on FSU a very well designed double blind randomized controlled trial involving a large number of subjects that to my surprise supported the notion that prayer does work. So, with all due respect, professor Sloan needs to do a lit search.

She mentions prayer research in passing, but I believe it was to dispute studies showing that prayer was helpful. It wasn't something I particularly took note of, but there is something about it in the book.

The breast cancer chapter was very interesting to me, partly because of my mother's experience (one oncologist told her that her negative attitude pretty much guaranteed any chemo wouldn't work) and partly because I thought I was pretty well educated on the subject and learned a couple of new things (Ehrenreich has a Ph.D in biology). I also agreed with something she said, again mostly in passing--that one reason we favor positive thinking in people with cancer is it makes everything easier on everyone else. I've always thought that was the case. :shuffle:

Southpaw
12-16-2009, 09:09 PM
Just so you both know, it's not really about that, or at least it's not much about that. It's really about the culture of Positive Thinking, starting with people like Mary Baker Eddy up through contemporary people like Joel Osteen and Tony Robbins. Much of the book focuses on different positive thinking philosophies, life coaches, and their influence on religion, politics, and corporate culture.

Oh yeah. I'm all over that Elmer Gantry hogwash, too.

Wyliefan
12-16-2009, 09:10 PM
There's a chapter on a book called The Secret (http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709). I had never heard of the book before, but apparently it's a major international bestseller. After reading the chapter in the book, I was :confused:. I read a couple of quick overviews about it this morning and I am still :confused:. The Secret is referenced many times in Ehrenreich's book, so you might want to at least be aware of its existence if you weren't already.


I've reviewed it. It's as :confused: as it sounds, if not more so.

As far as positive thinking goes -- I'm no Osteen or Robbins fan, quite the contrary, but I do believe positivity has its place. I come from a long line of very negative thinkers, and I know too well how negativity can drag you into a dark pit if you let it. With both the genetic and environmental influence, I have to fight tooth and nail sometimes to stay positive and keep from feeling overwhelmed by all the darkness and pain in the world.

As for encouraging people to stay positive because it's easier on others -- well, why not? Goodness knows, if we could get my grandmother to stop making life horrific for all of us with her constant complaining and criticism, just for the sake of making things easier for the rest of the family, I'd take it. Call me selfish if you will. But I think it might just make her own life a little more bearable, as well.

Prancer
12-16-2009, 09:25 PM
I've reviewed it. It's as :confused: as it sounds, if not more so.

I made the mistake of reading a review by a big fan of The Secret that was supposed to correct inaccuracies in Ehrenreich's book, and I have to say that it was the single most confusing thing I have ever read in my life.

IceAlisa
12-16-2009, 09:30 PM
Just so you both know, it's not really about that, or at least it's not much about that. It's really about the culture of Positive Thinking, starting with people like Mary Baker Eddy up through contemporary people like Joel Osteen and Tony Robbins. Much of the book focuses on different positive thinking philosophies and their influence on religion, politics, and corporate culture. The :) was just a symbol for the pervasive positive thinking culture. I imagine the book tackling the issue from a broader perspective and am wondering that she might be right about the positive thinking culture playing a role in the current financial crisis.




The breast cancer chapter was very interesting to me, partly because of my mother's experience (one oncologist told her that her negative attitude pretty much guaranteed any chemo wouldn't work) and partly because I thought I was pretty well educated on the subject and learned a couple of new things (Ehrenreich has a Ph.D in biology). I also agreed with something she said, again mostly in passing--that one reason we favor positive thinking in people with cancer is it makes everything easier on everyone else. I've always thought that was the case. :shuffle:I agree. Disease, suffering and death make most people uncomfortable. The :) puts a nice, socially acceptable mask on the issue. I'd worked in breast cancer clinical research in the 90's and at times wanted to throw a copy of Death of Ivan Illych at certain staff.

genevieve
12-16-2009, 09:46 PM
Poor Chronic City. I want to read it, but I started a few days ago and am just not in the mood yet, so last night I started my third book in the Myths series, Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers. The main character is Sigmund Freud and it imagines a stranger coming to him at various points in the Dr's last few months of life to tell him a story. I've only gotten to about page 50, but the historical information about Freud's illness and death (provided as a prologue) is fascinating on its own. These are short books so I imagine I'll be finished soon and will be able to find something else to keep me from reading Chronic City :D

Prancer
12-16-2009, 10:03 PM
As far as positive thinking goes -- I'm no Osteen or Robbins fan, quite the contrary, but I do believe positivity has its place.

And so does she. The book is not about how we should all don sackcloth and ashes and bemoan the state of the world. It is about how the culture of Positive Thinking makes it unacceptable to express any negativity, even when negativity is an appropriate, even necessary response.

It's about finding a balance, not about swinging in the opposite direction.


I agree. Disease, suffering and death make most people uncomfortable. The :) puts a nice, socially acceptable mask on the issue. I'd worked in breast cancer clinical research in the 90's and at times wanted to throw a copy of Death of Ivan Illych at certain staff.

I must say that when my mom turned to hospice, it was a real culture change. We went from pink and perky to this very matter-of-fact, "how do you want to die" approach. It was harder in some ways, but much easier in others.

I need something light and frivolous to read now. :P

Wyliefan
12-16-2009, 10:07 PM
And so does she. The book is not about how we should all don sackcloth and ashes and bemoan the state of the world. It is about how the culture of Positive Thinking makes it unacceptable to express any negativity, even when negativity is an appropriate, even necessary response.

It's about finding a balance, not about swinging in the opposite direction.

I see. She has a point, then.



I need something light and frivolous to read now. :P

I always recommend P. G. Wodehouse in these cases. :)

(I don't know how long it's been, but I'm sorry for your loss.)