Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Folded Earth

The Folded Earth: A NovelThe Folded Earth: A Novel by Anuradha Roy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't in the mood to read a book about India, but this book is so well written, I enjoyed it from the first page to the last.  In the beginning of the story, Maya is remembering the death of her husband and her subsequent move to a tiny Himalayan village to live peacefully.  She teaches and manages a factory, and types up manuscripts for her influential neighbor in the evenings.  Maya soon learns the world intrudes even in the most remote villages, and the reader learns how everyone is tied together and why Maya is unable to escape her past.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver: The Dale Carnegie Method to Public SpeakingStand and Deliver: The Dale Carnegie Method to Public Speaking by The Dale Carnegie Organization
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of my irrational fears is public speaking.  I'm not sure exactly what sort of calamity will occur if I say the wrong word or (horrors) can't find the word at all, but this fear manifests itself in a squeaky voice, a shortness of breath (no doubt from not breathing at all for the first few minutes) and shaky hands.

When I saw this book on Audible.com, I bought it immediately.  I have two public speaking events scheduled for this coming summer, and since I have four books published and a fifth one in the works, I anticipate several more events in the next few years.  This book contains many valuable tips and suggestions for public speaking, and some concrete ways to handle stage fright, which the author calls fear of the unknown.  I will definitely use the Rule of Three for organizing my speech, and I'll also use the tips regarding speaking notes.

I haven't spoken in front of a group since reading this book, but I plan to re-read it before the next presentation, with a pen in hand, and I'm envisioning a confident, successful presentation! I highly recommend this book.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Clubs Unite!

 Book clubs and reading groups all share a common passion:  reading, and sharing the books they read with friends.  Some book clubs meet over breakfast; some meet over ors d'oeuvres; some share a gourmet meal and a bottle of wine (or two).  The common thread is the books, although clubs handle their reading material in different ways as well.

Traditional book clubs choose books well before the meeting, sometimes scheduling several months in advance so the members know which books to read.  Some clubs do additional research on the author in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the story, maybe taking turns so each club member gets the chance to lead a discussion.  Some delve into symbolism.

Bookworms Anonymous takes a different tack altogether:  we read for pure enjoyment, for the pleasure of losing ourselves in a fictional universe with a cast of quirky characters, for the escape from reality.  There are no restrictions or requirements, save those of attending and hosting meetings.  We read whatever we like and bring stacks of books to each meeting.  Our group, rather than reviewing any book in detail (this happens occasionally, but it's not part of our protocol), meets to share a gourmet vegetarian meal and dessert, and trade books.  Our reviews are essentially brief sales pitches designed to entice other BA members to read the books we've read and enjoyed.  Sometimes, our reviews are leaning toward caveat emptor statements, warning others not to waste their time.

Bookworms Anonymous is the perfect style of book club for those who love to read many different types of books without worrying about in-depth discussions or obligating ourselves to read a specific tome at a given time. There are no minutes at these meetings; no files. Just seven friends gathering together once a month and sharing books, a gourmet meal and a bottle of wine (or two).