Tag Archives: #Nonfiction

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – Booko’s favourite biographies

Who needs fiction when you have biographies? Biographies can make you laugh or cry; they can offer comfort or inspiration – and sometimes all of these at once!  Whether the subjects are famous or ordinary, these stories offer insight into remarkable lives and extraordinary experiences.  Here is a selection of biographies to suit every taste:

Unmasked by Turia Pitt and Bryce Corbett

Turia Pitt was running an ultramarathon in outback Australia when she was caught in a bushfire. This accident seemed set to destroy her successful life as a mining engineer and a model – Turia barely survived her injuries, which included extensive, disfiguring burns.  With fierce determination, great courage, and the support of loving parents and a partner, Turia is not only on the road to recovery, but is achieving ever more impressive feats as a motivational speaker and endurance athlete.  Unmasked describes this new chapter in Turia’s life – how love and determination has helped her recover and thrive, and how we can all apply similar lessons in our own lives.

Lion: a Long Way Home (Young Readers Edition) by Saroo Brierley

Saroo Brierley’s remarkable story has wowed both readers and cinema-goers – in fact, Lion became one of the Highest Grossing Australian Films of All Time only a month after its release . Now children can experience the story all by themselves with this Young Readers’ edition.  Little Saroo was lost on a train in India when he was only five years old.  Far from home, with no money and no language, he had to avoid a lot of danger just to survive.  Eventually he found safety and a new life with adoptive parents in Australia.  While he loves his new parents, he never forgot his earlier life.  His search for his birth family is a fantastic, almost fairy-tale like story about hope, perseverance and technology.

More About Boy: Roald Dahl’s Tales from Childhood by Roald Dahl

Many readers love biographies because they are inspiring – stories like Unmasked and Lion describe triumphs over incredible challenges.  However, biographies can also be entertaining and fun.  More About Boy is an expanded edition of Boy, Roald Dahl’s celebrated autobiography of his childhood.   The drama and naughty humour in the original stories – including Quentin Blake’s illustrations – are still there, and have been enriched with archival material including photos, letters, and previously unpublished stories.  The result is not only very readable, but it also gives better insight into Roald Dahl as a writer.  For Roald Dahl fans of all ages!

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

Born on a Blue Day is special because it is a first-hand account of autism.  Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant – while his ability in abstract thinking and social interactions are impaired, he has genius-level abilities in mathematics and languages.  Daniel’s combination of autistic behaviours and language expertise is particularly rare – it makes Born on a Blue Day an incredibly articulate, often lyrical, and very informative description of what it’s like to live with autism. Born on a Blue Day charts Daniel’s life from a withdrawn, often frustrating childhood to eventual success in adulthood, gaining financial independence with his own business, sustaining a long-term romantic relationship and achieving fame as a real-life “Rain Man”.

In Order to Live: a North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park

North Korea is regularly in the media spotlight but little is known about this closed and secretive country.  For most of us, the only information we can get is through biographies.  Yeonmi Park joins a group of North Korean defectors who have used their life stories to publicise the plight of North Koreans.  As a child, Yeonmi lived a relatively wealthy life until her father was arrested for smuggling.  This fall from grace made the Park family’s lives increasingly dangerous and, once Yeonmi’s father was released from prison, the family attempted to escape to China.  Yeonmi and her mother endured rape and human trafficking in their long and perilous journey, having to trek across China into Mongolia, before missionaries could take them to safety in South Korea.

Dear Quentin: Letters of a Governor General by Quentin Bryce

Dear Quentin is not a biography per se but it does offer fascinating glimpses into the life of Dame Quentin Bryce and into the role of Australian Governor-General.  During her tenure (2008-2014), Quentin Bryce travelled extensively, both across Australia and internationally.  She also wrote prolifically – upwards of 50 letters a week, to people of eminence as well as ordinary citizens.  Dear Quentin is a collection of those letters, both written to and by her. The correspondence shows a warm, intelligent, articulate person meeting her demanding job with humour and dedication. Dear Quentin also celebrates the art of letter-writing, and the delight we feel when we receive one (even if we are too lazy to write them ourselves!) Royalties to this book will go towards research into child health.

On writers and publishing

Most of us booklovers have probably dreamt of writing our own masterpieces someday.  That dream may be more achievable than you think – the internet has given us more opportunities to get our work noticed, both in terms of helping us connect with potential mentors, buddies and audiences, and also in terms of self-publishing (physical books, eBooks and online).  Here’s some inspiration, information and motivation to finally get started on “that book you have in you”.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Did you know that this acclaimed novel of a woman’s battling early-onset Alzheimer’s disease was originally self-published?  After receiving no interest from traditional publishers and literary agents, Lisa Genova chose to self-publish, then set about engaging with potential readers through social media.  Her persistence was rewarded with internet buzz and solid sales, and eventually led to an offer from a major publisher.  E.L. James’ 50 Shades trilogy is another famous and successful example of a book that was self-published before gaining attention from traditional publishers.

How to Make a Living with Your Writing by Joanna Penn

This is the manual for Living the Dream – how to support yourself as a full-time writer.  Joanna Penn is an author, speaker, marketer and publisher who has developed a growing business – and a six-figure income – out of her creative output.  In How to Make a Living with Your Writing, she uses her own experience to show how to make money from books, and also how to capitalise on your creativity in other ways, such as by blogging, public speaking, coaching and content marketing.  Also checkout her website, The Creative Penn  for a wealth of (free) tips and resources for aspiring writers.

The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig has built a successful writing career by embracing new formats and media – his works include a blog, eBooks, computer games, scripts, comics as well as novels.  He also writes great writing advice – his tone is sharp and in-your-face and aims to challenge and provoke.  The Kick-Ass Writer starts from the beginning – how to get started, how to build characters and dialogue and develop suspense – and onto how to deal with publishers and agents, and how to promote, connect and market yourself.  It also discusses crowd funding, self-publishing writer’s block and how to handle rejection.  A great resource for helping you become the Kick-Ass Writer you want to be.

Publishing: a Writer’s Memoir by Gail Godwin 

For an insider’s take on writers and their relationships with the publishing industry, you cannot go past Gail Godwin’s memoir.  Gail Godwin has been a writer for five decades, with over 20 published works.  Publishing: a Writer’s Memoir reflects on Gail as a writer: her hunger to be published, her craft, and what it means to be a modern author (there is a great anecdote about branding and self-promotion).  It also reflects on the changing nature of the publishing industry, from a more “gentlemanly”, literary enterprise to big business. Gail Godwin offers fascinating insights to anyone curious about the book industry.

 

From blogger / vlogger to author

Developing great blogs and vlogs (eg YouTube channels) are an increasingly common pathway to a book deal.  Blogs/vlogs are powerful tools that can help you hone your writing skills, develop/promote your brand and connect with potential readers.  Many popular authors – particularly in the humour / food & wellness / lifestyle / parenting categories – first became known through their blogs. Two of my favourite bloggers/vloggers-turned-authors include:

Advanced Style: Older and Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen

Advanced Style started as a blog celebrating stylish, older New Yorkers, and has turned into a worldwide movement.  The colourful portraits in Advanced Style urge us to be bold, take risks and dress how we like, whether we are 15 or 85.  I saw the eponymous documentary a few years’ ago, and not only was there great style on-screen, many of the audience were bold and stylish too.  Advanced Style is joyous and gloriously inspirational.

The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook by Amy and Julie Zhang

Amy and Julie Zhang are popular YouTubers whose Dumpling Sisters videos showcase modern takes on homestyle Chinese dishes. 

The sisters – born in China, raised in New Zealand and now living in the UK – love their food because it’s a reminder of their Chinese background and their childhood, and also because it’s a great way to connect with their friends.  Dishes such as oyster sauce beef and broccoli, and prawn and spinach wontons, are great whether for some quiet me-time or for fun and casual entertaining.

Fostering adult literacy

Can you imagine not being able to help your child with their homework?  For many people in our society, reading their mail or filling out a form is a seemingly impossible task.

14% of adults (one in seven) in our community have low levels of literacy, according to the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey.  Many of the tasks you might take for granted like reading medicine labels, writing lists, interpreting maps, reading instruction manuals and other things that we encounter in our lives are a challenge.

If you know of a family member, friend or neighbour that could benefit from assistance, there’s a multitude of resources that can help improve their proficiency (as you might imagine).  Here are some of them:

Adult migrant English program

Eligible adult migrants and humanitarian entrants to Australia can access up to 510 hours of free English lessons.

Literacy Net

Part of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, this site provides a range of adult literacy resources, training material and Professional Development resources for industry trainers/assessors.

National Literacy and Numeracy Week 

This occurs from 29 August – 4 September and celebrates the progress Australian schools are making in raising the literacy and numeracy levels of students.

Skills for Education and Employment 

This site provides language, literacy and numeracy training to help people improve their speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills. The program aims to improve chances of getting and keeping a job, as well as making everyday life easier.

Bringing attention to literacy challenges is quite often met with shame and embarrassment.  What’s important to bear in mind is that people who acquire literacy skills later in life are adults; they think like adults and require resources and support tailored to them specifically.  We’ve sourced a range of resources suited to adults learning to read and write, here are some of them:

Yes We can Read by Libby Coleman

Gatehouse Books is a great source of literacy support books.  ‘Yes we can read’ is a fantastic ‘go-to’ book because it guides the coach through the entire program.  Suited towards any learners between the ages of 8 and 80, it’s a phonics-based program helping people develop reading for meaning.

The book teaches you how to help with teaching individual phonic sounds, blending sounds, building words and sentences together and reading fluently.

 

 

Teach anyone to read by Lillie Pope

If you’re not trained as a teacher and not an expert in the field, teaching an adult to read might seem like an overwhelming ask.  Pope’s books is as ‘no-nonsense’ as she claims. The techniques described in Pop’s book have been used successfully for more than 50 years and by thousands of instructors, helping thousands of students to read.

 

 

 

 

Liz and Joe go on holiday by Jennie Cole

This book is part of a series that feature the Liz and Joe characters.  Aimed at new readers, it’s targeted at those learning English as a second language (ESOL),  In short story format, the books are illustrated with colour photos and in a comic books style format.  The objective of these titles is to gradually increase your vocabulary with regards to daily life.  Other titles in the series include Joe’s Surprise, Liz and Joe Have a Day out and Liz Gets a Gas Bill.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Level 3 by Robert Louis Stevenson

Pearson English Readers have a great reputation as a ‘go-to book’ when working with adults.  Like most readers they work in a graded system and they cover a range of titles, including Young Adult or Adult titles, making them suitable for adult literacy support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crow Girl Rises by Kate Cann

Crow Girl Rises is published by Barrington Stoke, a publishing company established by a mother-daughter team aimed at helping children and teens suffering with dyslexia.  Innovations such as dyslexia-friendly font, tinted paper and short, engaging achievable books from an amazing range of authors have helped them win a number of publishing awards.  This title is aimed at the Teen/Young Adult reader and deals with the teenage themes of love, parties and friendship (with a halloween theme).

 

 

Changing your world: how to make a difference in 2017

If you’re anything like me, your New Year’s resolutions are already in tatters. The standards of losing weight, doing more exercise and improving one’s diet have all been compromised by the Christmas/New Year festivities and holidays.

And the others? Well maybe next year.

However don’t despair. One resolution that everyone can still achieve is the determination to make a difference this year : to make 2017 the year you put back into your community and world, engage with people and help those worthy causes in your world and local community.

How best to go about this though? Where to start with your new altruistic approach?

Here are a few books that will help inspire you and make this year one where you make an important change in your world.

Change from within

Learn meditation. Charity begins at home is the saying and improving oneself is the first step to making a difference with others. So, why not learn meditation?

This ancient skill is proving more and more relevant (and useful) these days in the battle with the stress of modern day living. Learning to meditate is an important tool to be able to relax and focus and therefore learning how to be able to put back into our community.

Not only will learning to meditate allow you to relax, it will also help improve physical and mental health and boost creativity. Eric Harrison’s excellent book “Teach Yourself to Meditate” is an entry-level place to learn the art of meditation at your own pace with over 20 easy exercises for daily practice.

 

Change your community

Manage time better. One of the key factors in not being able to help out in your local community is time. You probably have work and family commitments and balancing this alone is a struggle in our time-poor society before you can consider volunteering for organisations.

However Katherine Noyes Campbell and Susan J. Ellis aptly-titled “The (Help) I-Don’t-Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management”, will help you organise your time to build a volunteer management team and conquer those community activism goals that you’ve been aiming to do for some time.

The book is a must for the bookshelf of anyone who is looking to juggle work and family with volunteer pursuits. It contains a wealth of strategies and solutions that will help you become a more effective volunteer manager.

 

Social entrepreneurship. Whether you are changing the world or your local community, one effective way is to be a social entrepreneur.

David Bornstein’s How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas is both a guide and a source of inspiration for those looking at entering this sector. He shows that social entrepreneurs are people with amazing ideas that act to transform their societies.

Using the examples of a number of people who have changed their communities through ideas, the author shows the benefit that these people can make in their society. What better way to be inspired to change your own world than to read of the deeds of others?

 

Make the impossible happen. Sometimes trying to make a positive change in the world can seem overwhelming. There are so many needs in the community that choosing just one is difficult, if not impossible. It is common to be overwhelmed by our apparent insignificance in being able to act as a catalyst for change.

Not so, according to the groundbreaking book “Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed” by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmermann and Michael Patton. The book shows the real driving force behind positive change is being able to harness the various forces that surround us rather than taking on all the tasks by yourself.

The authors use an array of examples from around the world that demonstrate this new, exciting way of moving positive change in our communities and the world.

 

Podcasting. Finally, have you considered taking your message to make a difference to potentially the world? Podcasting has increased in popularity in leaps and bounds as more folk look to download programs that can be accessed “on the go”: on mp3 files while on trains, buses, in the car or just walking or jogging.

Now you can bring positive change to the world through the power of the Internet. Choose the issue that you want to highlight: homelessness, organic food, equal rights, inequality and set up a website and podcast to deliver news items, content and podcasts to interested people.

Paul Colligan’s “How to Podcast 2016: 4 Simple Steps to Broadcast your Message to the Entire Connected Planet” is a must have ebook or book if you are thinking of reaching people in this way to change their lives. The easy-to-understand four step guide will get you on your way to connect your unique ideas to the world.

The author outlines the steps needed to deliver a quality podcast to the world without the need for expensive equipment or an extensive knowledge of computers. Perfect for the amateur looking to make a positive change.

Be savvy – purchase your children’s school books through Booko

The end of one year and the start of another are expensive times: there’s Christmas at one end and back to school at the other, with sometimes just weeks in between.  With the cost of uniforms, school fees and school books to consider, it’s handy to know that with a bit of planning, you can make some great savings on your children’s schoolbooks and not have to leave the comfort of home!

We’ve selected a few titles from the recommended reading lists for a few different VCE subjects to give you a guide of just how varied some of our books are.  Whether they are E-Books, Reference books, Fiction or Non-Fiction, you should be able to pick up the majority of your children’ book list through Booko. Make sure you search using the book’s ISBN (if you know it) to ensure you’re looking at the edition specified on your list.

To get the best price on a title, set up a Booko alert so that you’ll be notified when the book falls under a certain price range.  Setting up Booko alerts is easy – just follow our simple guide and get started.  If you are concerned about the books arriving in time, it makes sense to pay attention to the delivery timeframes provided by each book store on the Booko website.  Happy shopping!

 

Cloud street by Tim Winton

“Cloudstreet” is the undisputed classic from one of Australia’s best loved storytellers and national treasures.

From separate catastrophes, two families flee to the city and find themselves sharing this great sighing structure called Cloudstreet and beginning their lives again from scratch.

The Pickles and the Lambs share their home for 20 years and over time observe, overhear and submerge themselves in each other’s joys, fears and secrets.

‘A generous watery epic…Winton is just one of the best.” -Independent.

The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville 

A stunning follow-up to her Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning book, “The Secret River,” Grenville’s “The Lieutenant” is a gripping story about friendship, self-discovery, and the power of language set along the unspoiled shores of 1788 New South Wales.

As a boy, Daniel Rooke was an outsider. Ridiculed in school and misunderstood by his parents, Daniel could only hope that he would one day find his place in life.

‘It glows with life: imaginative in its recreations, respectful of what cannot be imagined, and thoughtful in its interrogation of the past…Grenville’s most intellectually sophisticated novel to date.’ – The Age (Australia)

 

No Sugar by Jack Davis

This play, commissioned for the 1985 Perth Festival, is the spirited story of the Millimurra family’s stand against racist government ‘protection’ policies in 1930’s Australia.

In depression era Australia, up to 30% of the Labour Force were unemployed with Aboriginal workers worst hit.  The Nyungar family were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement from Northam in 1931 as part of a ‘forced evacuation’.

“No Sugar” portrays Davis’ political awareness, citing the reasons for the evacuation and also the characterisation of key political figures such as Mr Neville, Chief Protector of Aboriginies in Western Australia involved in the resettlement.

 

Maths Quest VCE Foundation Maths 

This pack is specifically designed for the VCE Foundation Mathematics course, which is a one year course. Generally undertaken in Year 11 but some schools do complete it in Year 10. The workbooks also cover the required content for VCAL schools. Instead of a textbook, Maths Quest Foundation Mathematics comprises eight individual booklets, covering a range of content areas and aspects of the syllabus: Maths Skills, Finance, Sport, The house and land package, Travelling, Car Safety, Water wise and A Musical Production.

Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary (H/B) (7th Edition) 

First published in 1976, the “Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary” has remained Australia’s best-selling dictionary. The seventh edition retains the popular features of previous editions and adds many new Australian and international words and meanings. All Australian words and meanings are labelled with an Aust. regional marker. The seventh edition of the “Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary” is an indispensable guide to English as it is written and spoken in Australia.

How to be the best ‘you’, you can be.

I don’t know why but part of the process of starting a new year is determining how we can be fitter, smarter and happier individuals.  A new year seems to offer opportunities and potential that the previous 9 or 10 months didn’t.  Whether you are wanting to increase your confidence or work out which career best suits your strengths, here are our recommendations for some of the most popular self help guides on the market.

Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford: The Sweet Spot Guide to Home Decor by Desha Peacock

If you are anything like me, you have spent time in friends’ homes and thought ‘how can I get my home to look like this?’

The starting point is, as Peacock explains, understanding and exploring your own unique sense of style.  Then the fun part comes with working out how to bring it to life with a mixture of vintage, modern and op shop finds according to your budget.  This book is a little different to most decorating books – it’s not filled with multi million dollar homes and budgets, but showcases the stories of everyday women with busy lives and limited budgets who have infused personal values, meaning, and style into making their home their own.

 

The Brain Fog Fix : Reclaim Your Focus, Memory and Joy in Just 3 Weeks by Mike Dow

Ever wander into a room and forget why you went in?  No?? Lucky you!

Perhaps it’s a symptom of our lives becoming busier, more stressful and less….fun but many of us are wandering around in a ‘brain fog’.  The good news?  It’s not an irreparable condition and this book contains steps to help you reclaim your focus, memory and joy in under a month.

Want to become more ‘present’ and be able to fully participate in your life?  This is the book for you.

 

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

This book has been one of our most ‘clicked’ titles on Booko for over a month now.  It’s the output of Ferriss having interviewed nearly 200 world-class performers to determine what makes them successful.

In it, Ferriss discusses the routines, habits and tactics that have made these people so successful and shows you how you can implement these into your life to achieve success.

 

Strengths finder 2.0 by Tim Rath

If you are one of those people who are working at a job they like but don’t feel like it’s their passion or ‘calling’, this book is a great resource.

An updated version of the StrengthsFinder program developed by Gallup experts, Rath’s book helps readers to discover their distinct talents and strengths and how they can be translated into personal and career successes.

Resources include a 2.0 assessment with features that include a personalized Strengths Insight Report, an Action-Planning Guide, and a web-based Strengths Community.

The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris

Sometimes all that separates us from others that are successful in their fields is the self confidence to make the most of opportunities available to us.

This is a hands-on, self-help guide to gaining long-lasting confidence and overcoming fear using mindfulness-based therapy. The author explains how many of us are playing the ‘confidence game’ using the wrong rules, and guides the reader through clear, simple exercises designed to help you manage difficult emotions such as anxiety and build genuine confidence. 

Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn

 

The show I have been binge-watching on Netflix has been ‘The Minimalists’.  Essentially, two guys (best friends) turned their backs on highly lucrative careers, reduced their ‘stuff’ to bare requirements and focused on what’s important.

If you find you are living pay-check to pay-check and consumed by what stuff you are going to purchase next, ‘Minimalism’ is a great read and focuses on 5 key themes that make a meaningful life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.  It contains actionable tasks to start creating more meaning and less ‘stuff’ in your life.

Join the Slow Education Revolution

Not a week goes by without media attention on our education systems – whether standardised testing offer useful insights; whether exam-pressure causes excessive stress; or whether we are teaching the “right” knowledge when professions change and evolve so quickly. The Slow Movement argues that exam-based education encourages teaching-to-the-test and cookie-cutter uniformity; and instead proposes Slow Education as a better option.

Like other aspects of the Slow Movement, Slow Education is about deep connections with its subject matter – learning.  It focusses on the process of learning; it encourages educators to tailor learning experiences to their local context and to suit their students’ interests; and it encourages students to reflect on, and discuss how and what they have learnt.  This creates students who learn how to learn, who learn deeply and become self-motivated through interest in their own work.  Such ideas are not new – many alternative educational approaches, such as Montessori and Waldorf/Steiner, share these concerns; and many conventional schools already use techniques such as play-based or inquiry-based learning to stimulate and engage their students.  

Everyone can and should have an opinion on education, not just parents or educators – because education can influence the future direction of many aspects of our society.  So to get you thinking, here are some books that discuss why and how education should be changed, as well as resources on how to enrich children’s learning through fun, interactive experiences:

Finnish Lessons 2.0: What the World can Learn from Educational Change in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg

The Finnish education system is considered a marvel by English-speaking countries – Finnish students have high proficiency in science, maths and reading despite the Finns’ “unconventional” disregard for standardised testing, late start to formal education (at age 7) and emphasis on play.  In Finnish Lessons 2.0, Pasi Sahlberg uses his experience as a teacher, teacher trainer and policy developer to explain how Finland made such impressive improvements to its education system through thoughtful reforms.

Creative Schools by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Ken Robinson is an authority on arts education and has given three TED talks about the role of creativity in education – including THE most-watched TED Talk ever, with over 41 million viewings. Creative Schools picks up on this TED talk, arguing that the current education system, with its focus on exams and factory-like mass education, stifles creativity.  Instead he urges everyone – educators, policymakers and parents – to push for change, to a system that awakens creativity, as well as fostering diversity and curiosity.   

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith

Tony Wagner is an education expert and Ted Dintersmith is a venture capitalist; in a convergence of idealism and materialism, their joint proposition in Most Likely to Succeed is that education should move away from content/fact delivery and towards fostering life skills such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.  They argue that this is a better way of future-proofing our children, of helping them become successful in the long run.  Most Likely to Succeed is derived from the critically-praised film of the same name.

Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science: a Family Guide to Fun Experiments in the Kitchen by Andrew Schloss

Even without systemic change, we can encourage curiosity and creativity in children, through hands-on deep learning.  Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science contains projects ranging from edible slime, to glow-in-the-dark jelly and “glowing, bouncy eggs”.  The edible aspect adds extra excitement (and also reduces concerns about handling harmful chemicals) to the exploration of some fundamental scientific concepts.  Projects use supermarket ingredients and come with detailed instructions and safety advice.  Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science is a recent title in a very user-friendly series that includes Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, and Art Lab for Kids.

Books that change the way you think

Reading has always been one of the world’s favourite pastimes and books have always had the power to entertain, enlighten, entrance, inform and delight. But what about those books that change the way we think?

While the power of positive thinking has been a familiar subject in recent decades, it is by no means a recent phenomenon. Texts that emphasise the power of positive thinking — and the harm of giving in to negative thought — have been a popular part of our history. Indeed it was the 1st century Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus who is credited with saying “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”.

However, the most effective style of works may depend on your personality and preferences. What may work for one, may not for another. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a divergent list of books that feature the cultivation of positive thought as their theme.


https-covers-booko-info300vincentThe Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale

The grandaddy of the positive thinking books, Norman Peale’s ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ set the tone for a raft of positive thinking, self-help books throughout the years. First published in 1953, the book conveys a simple, yet powerful, message: that you can overcome negativity and obstacles in your life by changing the way you think. Peale shows that obstacles in our lives are only there because we allow them to be so.

The teachings set out clearly by Peale in this remarkable book give readers the tools to overcome negative thinking and regain control over their lives. A committed and practising Christian pastor during his life, Peale’s ideas reflect that meditation, positive thought and acceptance of God pave the way to a satisfying and joyful life.

 

https-covers-booko-info300bobThe Power of Sustainable Thinking by Bob Doppelt

But why stop at just positive thinking? Why not channel this way of thinking into sustainability, both in individuals and organisations? Bob Doppelt’s remarkable book achieves just that, equating a need for positive minds to help transform the way we think about our environment and therefore change the way we act to develop sustainable solutions to protect our planet.

Divided into two parts, the first outlines the need and reasons for change. The second presents a description of how human minds work, how change can be made and how individuals can change others’ thinking. The author’s compelling argument is that a radical shift in thinking is key to building sustainable energy policies and protecting the environment. He promotes a “Borrow-Use-Replenish” mode of thought, which reflects the fundamental truth that we are just stewards of this precious planet and the need to recycle is paramount for the benefit of future generations.

 

https-covers-booko-info300danielEmotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman

What is emotional intelligence and how does it relate to positive thinking? The book introduces the term “emotional intelligence”, a term designed to show the power of harnessing our emotions and conversely, the damage that can be done by not doing so.

The third in his widely-popular series on Emotional Intelligence, the author sums up the question of using our brains to manage our emotions in a more effective way by quoting Aristotle: “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way — this is not easy.”

The author’s view on self-discipline, character and control show those who have mastered these qualities tend to excel in life. His point that early intervention to teach emotional literacy is a key point of the book.

 


Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman

Sydney-based university lecturer and psychologist Dr Sarah Edelman sets out to provide readers with “positive and practical ways” to overcome damaging emotions such as anger, anxiety, frustration and depression.

Integrating mindfulness and CBT in an original and helpful way, the book shows how we can move away from these thoughts and types of behaviour that are, in essence, self-defeating.

The author uses the positive approach of cognitive behaviour therapy to demonstrate how we can develop the right thought patterns to better manage negative emotions, boost self-esteem and help find happiness.


The Antidote
 by Oliver Burkeman

A sideways and offbeat look at the pursuit of happiness, this original and quirky text is full of wisdom, gentle laughs and bright ideas. Burkeman uses a very British, self-deprecating style of humour to cloak a radical view of the “right” way to go about positive thinking. The sub title “Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking,” sums up the book’s tongue-in-cheek approach.

Burkeman writes in an arch, clever and absorbing way that has you smiling one minute, then nodding your head in agreement the next. In essence, he takes on the frantic pursuit of positive thinking and shows there’s another easier way to a more content mind, body and soul.

Horses for courses?

These books also show that it’s not a case of “one size fits all” in the approach to positive thought. Different methods will suit different personality types. However, whether you want to change your life, beat the daily stress and grind or just to learn a little more about how positive thinking can help improve your life, maybe it’s time to challenge the way you think. Slow down, relax and learn with one (or more) of these books!

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

The most popular audiobooks on the market

According to the Wall Street Journal, audiobooks are the fastest growing format in publishing.  We are all now conditioned to seek out entertainment when completing tasks that would normally be seen as downtime: waiting for an appointment or stuck in traffic are now opportunities to engage in the act of being read to, and and to be entertained along the way.  With each of us carrying round a pocket-sized piece of technology on which to store multiple books, this genre has really increased in popularity over the last few years.  Here are some of the most popular audiobooks on the market:

https-::covers.booko.info:300:gutGut: The Inside Story of our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

One of the most important organs we have, our stomach, are still largely understood by much of society.  A perfect book for audio purposes, ‘Gut’ is written with the average person in mind, it’s both informative and funny.  Viewed as a ‘health handbook’, Enders covers concepts such as nutrient absorption to recent ground-breaking research linking bowel bacteria to depression.  A scientist, Enders states that if we treat our gut well, it will treat us well in return.  She shows us how to do this in a way that’s easy to incorporate into our everyday lives.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:buryThe Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Considered by some to be a literary thriller, this is the story of a student who begins the modest task of completing an English assignment.  His job is to interview a person and complete a brief biography.  Heading to the local nursing home, he meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and convicted murderer.  Unable to reconcile the acts of heroism with his crimes, he decides to uncover the truth.  Delving into the fragments of the crime, will he discover the truth before it’s too late?   Similar in some parts to ‘Making a Murderer’, this book is rich in its portrayals of the characters and the events leading up to the crime.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:oveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove is possibly the grumpiest man you might ever meet. Surrounded by ‘idiots’ as he calls them, he is the neighbour from hell who keeps a tight rein on the street, its inhabitants and their comings and goings.  When new ‘foreign’ neighbours move into the street and accidentally flatten his letterbox, this sets off an chain of events that result in unexpected friendships being made.  Quirky, full of comedy and incredibly heartwarming, ‘Ove’ has been a runaway hit and life-affirming modern fable.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:amyThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

An uproarious collection of no-holds-barred personal essays by the Emmy Award-winning comedian reflects on her raucous childhood antics, her hard-won rise in the entertainment industry and her struggles to maintain the courage to approach the world in the refreshingly honest way that she does.  The beauty about listening to the book in audiobook format is having Schumer deliver her personal stories in her trademark funny and fantastically rude manner like no one else does.

https-covers-booko-info300teethBorn with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew

Known  for her mesmerising work in film, TV and the theatre, Kate Mulgrew turns her hand to writing in this unflinching memoir.  From her childhood, raised by unconventional Irish Catholics who knew “how to drink, how to dance, how to talk, and how to stir up the devil,” to studying with the legendary Stella Adler and the pain of giving up her daughter, ‘Born with Teeth’ is an exceptionally well-written autobiography from a master storyteller.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:stingSting (Unabridged) by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is a Number 1 bestselling New York Times and USA Today best-selling author.  Narrated by the Author, Brown jolts the listener from the start in this story of treachery, deception, secrets and lies.

Brown is a master of writing gripping, page-turning suspense novels and ‘Sting’ contains plot twists that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats.  Tantalisingly great listening.

 

For more of our audiobook picks, head to our Pinterest board!

Books as a gateway to a simpler and more fulfilling life

The act of reading a book is a time-honoured way to connect us to the simpler things in life. It helps us make sense of the world in which we live. The age-old habit of sitting down in a quiet place, perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee, and opening the pages of a book is in itself conducive to relaxing, learning and, as a result, relieving stress.

But what about going one step further? How about reading books that inspire you to engage in mindfulness and the slow life? Books, ebooks and audio books teach, inspire and help us to find our way to a simpler, more fulfilling life.

One of the surest ways to relieve stress is to opt for a simpler, happier lifestyle; one closer to that led by our previous generations. All of these books help teach us to slow down, to practice stress-relieving activities, such as meditation, minimalism and mindfulness. In other words, to take time out to smell the roses!

Here are a few titles to help you learn and practice methods of reducing stress in your life and reconnect with the simpler things in life.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:dalaiThe Art of Happiness: a Handbook for Living

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is possibly one of the most respected spiritual leaders on our planet. His gentle lifestyle guidance and teachings are directed, not just at practitioners of Buddhism, but the whole world. In The Art of Happiness, His Holiness — in collaboration with psychiatrist Howard Cutler — teaches us there is a path towards happiness. The key is being able to recognise what in our lives causes us to be happy and then, by cultivating the right mental practice, we can achieve a balanced, contented state of mind.

Through stories and meditations, he shows us how to beat daily insecurities, anxieties and stress, leading us gently towards what he describes as “the purpose of life”, that of true happiness.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:mindfulnessThe Miracle of Mindfulness

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic guide to mindfulness is still considered one of the classics in its field, over thirty years after its original publication. Originally written as a letter to a fellow brother suffering under atrocities during the Vietnam War, Buddhist monk Thich uses stories and allegories to urge his brothers to continue on the mindfulness path.

The book has served as an instruction manual for the now widespread practice of meditation and has become recognised as a powerful guide to (in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s words) “show us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth”.

The Miracle of Mindfulness is full of thought exercises, allegories and wonderful examples of how to practice mindfulness in everyday living in commonplace acts such as washing up and drinking tea.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:chickensZen and the Art of Raising Chickens

Clea Danaan’s book Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens is a quirky, entertaining and informative book about how raising chickens in an urban or suburban environment can help get you back to the simpler things in life and reduce stress.

Written to make you smile as much as inform, the author nevertheless points to a few truths about chickens. Namely how their personalities, habits and idiosyncratic ways slow us down to their rhythms. Chapter titles such as “The Sound of One Wing Flapping” and “The Mind of the Chicken is Ungraspable” underline the way their “chickeny” characteristics can make us relax and laugh. Anecdotal evidence is (thankfully) abundantly documented by the author who also shows us the practical, healthy side of raising chickens in your own backyard.

Original and full of wit, yet containing a central truth about how keeping chickens can help ground us in a healthier, less stressful, more mindful lifestyle; Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens inspires and teaches as well as entertains.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:actionMindfulness in Action

Interested in learning more about simplicity and the power of meditation to change lives? Mindfulness in Action takes you to the very core of simplicity and awareness through meditation exercises and teachings. The author uses wisdom and insight to teach us to simply sit still and reconnect with the very concept of being human in our ever faster-paced world.

The book is edited by Carolyn Gimian, a longtime student and expert chronicler of Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings. This remarkable book offers something for everyone, whether a novice or experienced meditator.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:joyThe Joy of Less

The art of minimalism revolves around doing more with less. In this fascinating account, author Francine Jay points to the benefits of decluttering your home or workspace, in a way that brings us back to simpler, more satisfying living.

Not only does the author give tips on how to save money by ridding your space of excess material, she also demonstrates how living with less can be a path to greater happiness and simplicity.

Reading is the ultimate activity in enjoying “quiet moments” that centre our days and help to reduce the stress in our lives. In doing so you are joining the generations of people before you, from mystics, to learned scientists, to poets and professors, to just lovers of a good book, all who have used the written word to learn, relax and relieve stress.

Join them and find out how books can change you to appreciate a slower, more relaxed and fulfilling life.