Kindfulness by Padraig O’Morain

kindfulness

With more people turning to mindfulness and meditation, it’s good to be able to pick up and book that is readable and gently explains all the big topics that Kindfulness explores.

Author Padraig O’Morain has written numerous books on mediation such as Mindfulness on the Go and Mindfulness for Worriers. I found both of these to be excellent books that helped me understand what mindfulness was and how I could implement these teachings in my daily life.

In his new book Kindfulness, Padraig deals with the topic of self-compassion and finding ways to bring a kinder way of looking at things into your life. If you find that your inner voice is a critical one, I highly recommend this book. It gives concrete examples of how you can work to silence your inner critic.

The book deals with different areas of your life and how you can bring self-compassion and kindfulness into them, for example with how you look and your relationships. If you are worried that you are not providing a good example or tend to snap at to your kids, this book has a great chapter that delves into this and gives way for you to improve that does not feel overwhelming. There is also a great section if you are a carer, either part-time or full-time and how you can protect yourself from burnout or feeling frustrated.

Honestly, I think that anyone could read this book and gain an insight from it. It doesn’t matter what phase of life you are in, the troubles we experience are universal and can be helped greatly with kindfulness. A great read!

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You can reserve a copy online from South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk

one in a million

Are you looking for a modern-day romance, that has echoes of My Fair Lady? Well, this could be the book for you!

Annie Higgins is a modern woman who has given up on love as she is too busy trying to get her tiny digital marketing business off the ground. Seeing her Ex propose on live TV to her replacement, Annie begins to feel her competitive streak kick in and decides to accept a crazy challenge from colleagues – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just thirty days. The unlikely Insta-star is Dr. Samuel Page, a recluse historian that is going through his own relationship problems.  Annie asks that in return for letting her make him Insta-famous, she will show him how to be the perfect boyfriend and win back his love, Elaine.

It’s safe to say that this was one of the best books I read this summer! I really loved this book and how the plot progresses. It wasn’t as obvious as most books in this genre are – things kept me guessing. For example, the relationship between Charlie and Annie didn’t play out how I expected.

What I really loved about this book was that it was so current and relevant to the social media age. Though I know it was based in the world of digital marketing, the conversations and interaction between Annie, Mir and Annie were so relatable and were exactly how I talked to my friends.

My only complaint about the book is the title,’One in a Million’. To me, that had nothing to do with the book and seemed as if it was given that title as an afterthought. For a book that was so memorable, the title is utterly forgettable.

But ignoring that, I would definitely recommend this as a fun read when you want to enjoy the trials and tribulations of other people’s relationships!

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You can reserve a copy at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #273

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Blurb:

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

‘A beautiful little book by a brilliant mind’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and – where it matters – witty’ GUARDIAN

The world-famous cosmologist and #1 bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe’s biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work.

Is there a God?
How did it all begin?
Can we predict the future?
What is inside a black hole?
Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
How do we shape the future?
Will we survive on Earth?
Should we colonise space?
Is time travel possible?

Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work on black holes, imaginary time and multiple histories took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet.

And now, as we face potentially catastrophic changes here on Earth – from climate change to dwindling natural resources to the threat of artificial super-intelligence – Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind.

Wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, passionately argued, and infused with his characteristic humour, BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS, the final book from one of the greatest minds in history, is a personal view on the challenges we face as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next.

A percentage of all royalties will go to charity.

Brilliant Book Titles #272

born lippy

Blurb: 

‘Feisty and funny’ Sunday Express

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman and sometimes it’s time to be a hard woman . . . This is a book for all those times.

Once upon a (very very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as ‘a nice little girl’. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue.

The plot thickened, when due to a complicated fusion of hormones, horrible family dynamics and a no-good boyfriend they hated, Jo ended up leaving home at 16. Now she’s considerably further along life’s inevitable bloody ‘journey’ – and she’s fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She’s going to do it anyway…

Born Lippy is a gathering of all the things Jo Brand wishes she’d known, all the things she’s learnt, and all the things she hopes for the future. A century after women got the vote (albeit married women over the age of 28) it’s time to take stock of exactly what it means to be female today. And if there’s one thing women are entitled to, it’s having a bloody good moan about things big and small – so here goes . . .

HOW TO MANAGE A BULLY * YOUR FAMILY AND HOW TO SURVIVE IT * WHAT NO-ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FEMALE BODY * BEING DIFFERENT * SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT SOCIABLE * HOW NOT TO FALL IN LOVE * FEMINISM: A RE-BRANDING * ADVENTURES IN YOUR HEAD * HAVING FUN * NOT HAVING FUN: WHAT TO DO WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG * STAYING SANE * YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU WEAR * MODERN MANNERS* HOW TO DO WHAT YOU WANT: OR NOT DO WHAT OTHERS WANT * BEING HEALTHY * GETTING ON A BIT * THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: MORE DEADLY THAN THE MALE?

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein

shock doctrine

You’ll come away from reading this book with an entirely new definition of terrorism. As an Irishman with firsthand experience of what happens when the IMF comes to town, this book makes for grim reading, and our global debt experience wasn’t anything on the scale of the IMF’s past glories. The level of deception, greed and wanton cruelty all designed to maximise profits and forcefully impose an ideological crusade is truly shocking.

I’m sure the book was extremely hard hitting when it was first published with its revelations on the Iraq war, hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Tsunami, but now 11 years later, after another global recession, the Syrian civil war, the Arab spring, the rise of Isis, the election of Trump, it feels out of touch. Still, a wonderful historical document if you want to explore the ugliest side of capitalism and read of the United States’ dirty bloodstained and bloodthirsty history in the Latin Americas.

Dense but very readable. Excellent non-fiction. I will be reading more Naomi Klein.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

From A Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

from a low and quiet sea

Donal Ryan is head and shoulders above all but a small number of writers working in Ireland today. When you’re reading his prose, at times, it’s as if he doesn’t just have his finger on Irelnd’s pulse, but  that he seems to be clandestinely orchestrating our social mood swings with the scratch of his pen.

This book is split into 3 main sections, each narrated by three separate men, with a supporting cast of of a few more narrators at the tail end. It is in the final section where we begin to join the dots between the experiences of the three intial narrators.

It’s set unfamiliar territory, North Tipp/East Limerick and Clare, that fans of Donal Ryan will be familiar with. Themes of rural isolation, frustration and anger predominate but new for Donal Ryan in this outing is the character of Farouk, a Syrian refugee recently settled in Ireland who experiences unbearable tragedy while fleeing his homeland.

Heartless as it sounds, I found Farouk’s section the least interesting. Maybe I have no empathy, maybe I’m too inward looking or maybe Ryan writes with greater impact about subjects he knows better, who can say? In any case, Farouk’s section reduced this one ever so slightly in my esteem, whereas everything else I’ve read from Ryan was an effortless five stars. Still though, a wonderful book.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #271

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Blurb:

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • Esquire • Bustle • The Millions • The Wall Street Journal • Entertainment Weekly • Nylon • Elle • Dazed • The Irish Times

‘Cassaras’s propulsive and profound first novel, finding one’s home in the world – particularly in a subculture plagued by fear and intolerance from society – comes with tragedy as well as extraordinary personal freedom.’ Esquire

A gritty and gorgeous debut inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ballroom scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, and has a yearning to help create a family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the ballroom circuit.

Into the house come Venus, a whip-smart trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’ life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #270

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Blurb:
THE FUNNIEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. GUARANTEED TO TURN AN AWKWARD SILENCE INTO AN AWKWARD CONVERSATION.

‘Ridiculously funny and (unexpectedly) genuinely useful’ ADAM KAY

‘A perfect way to pretend you’re interested in people you’re not that interested in’ KATHY BURKE

‘Most of this book is pointless filth, all of it is hilarious, and my answer to question 715(a) is “Yes thank you and it was very tasty”‘ DAWN FRENCH

If you had to wear somebody’s guts for garters – if you had to – who would you disembowel in order to facilitate your socks staying up?

What do you consider your median achievement?

Would you rather have pubic hair made of unremovable barbed wire or to be attacked by a rabid badger in your sleep once a week?

We’ve all been there. Stuck at a boring family party, on an awkward date, in a below-par job interview, or any number of other situations in which conversation has become more of a trickle than a flow. Well, fear the excruciation no more, as Richard Herring’s EMERGENCY QUESTIONS is about to change your life. Containing 1,001 conversation starters from one of our most cherished comedians, along with plenty of answers from the many household names who’ve appeared on his podcast, this book is virtually guaranteed to remove any social anxiety from your life, and will raise your repartee-game to new heights.

‘Of all the clever people I know, Richard is the stupidest. And of all the stupid people I know, Richard is the cleverest. That’s why this is such a brilliant book for everyone’ RICHARD OSMAN

‘Perhaps if Michael Parkinson had asked Mohammad Ali if he’d ever seen a Bigfoot he might be remembered as a great interviewer. Instead it is Richard Herring who has perfected the art of creating funny, interesting and offensive questions that will supercharge even the dullest encounter’ ADAM BUXTON

‘Richard Herring bullied me into claiming this book, which I haven’t yet read, is brilliant’ CHARLIE BROOKER

Despair by Vladimir Nabokov

despair

A recurring theme throughout Nabokov’s work is that of the double, of dopplegangers.

Despair is the story of Hermann Karlovich who meets a homeless man, who is his very image. A plan forms: he decides to murder him, dress him up in his clothes and abscond with his own life assurance policy.

However, like the best Nabokovian narrators, Hermann is far from reliable.

Despair is a beautifully written little thriller posited as a confession given to Mr Nabokov by Hermann. In that, there are similarities to Nabokov’s most famous work, Lolita, (unreliable narrator, murder confession).

Hermann, for all of the mechanics of his life – his work which doesn’t interest him and his wife, Lydia, his dismisses as silly and loyal (but he’s missing what’s right in front of him) – is bored. And has sought to write this book about what happened as one of his great artistic achievements. And that’s what the book is about in a lot of ways – the artist; how he creates, and what he misses by saying one thing over another.

A fascinating little clockwork box of a novel with an ending, that unlike others, I didn’t see coming. Recommended.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Strike Your Heart

strike your heart

Amelie Nothomb has written a short novel every year for the past twenty odd years. This, her twenty-fifth, is, of the ones I’ve read, certainly her best.

It deals with familiar, even archetypal Nothombian, themes: namely, female relationships, and the cruelty sometimes inherent within.

The crux of the book is that young Diane’s mother doesn’t like her. Cannot stand her, in fact. Blames her for her youth and vitality draining into a humdrum life. But she loves her other children – it’s just Diane whom she treats coldly. And it is this thread, and it how it affects and shapes Diane’s life, that the book is about.

Beautiful, cruel and heart-rending, the story is engrossing and the writing is absolutely top-notch. I tore through this book in one sitting. Highly recommended.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.