Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mini-Reviews: A Short Guide to A Happy Life and Shakespeare Insult Generator

One of the great joys for giving books as gifts is that you just might get to read those books yourself - sometimes after, as with the book I gave my husband for Christmas, or before you've even slipped it into the mail. And as bad as I've been about getting anything read, these two gift books were just the length of book I 'm able to finish right now!

A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
Published October 2000 by Random House Publishing Group

I don't often pick up self-help kinds of books but I knew that Anna Quindlen was incapable of writing something I wouldn't like. This really is a short guide: 50 pages, many of which are photographs. Quindlen may not break any new ground here but somehow Quindlen manages to say it in a way that makes me enjoy it just a little bit more. This is her big thing: get a life.
"Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Turn off your cell phone. Turn off you regular phone, for that matter. Keep still. Be present."
Sometimes we just need someone to remind us to that even when things seem bad, there is so much to appreciate about life. I'll be passing this book along to my sister who is working hard every day to appreciate the beauty all around her. I hope she enjoys the way Quindlen reminds her that she is doing just the right thing.

Shakespeare Insult Generator by Barry Kraft
Published March 2014 by Chronicle Books

You know those books they make for kids where every page is cut into three pieces with a head on the top piece, a body on the middle piece, and legs on the bottom piece? Well, this book is just like those except you get to make up all kinds of funny insults using the words of William Shakespeare's words. On the back of every piece is the definition of the word of phrase you've chosen. For example, I selected at random three pieces that read: "finical barren-spirited cot-quean." Flipping those pieces over, I learned that "finical" is foppish in matters of dress: fussily fastidious; "barren-spirited" is empty, unoriginal; and "cot-quean" is a man who busies himself with women's household tasks. How great is that? I've learned all kinds of new ways to insult people, in ways they won't even begin to understand and I've learned a lot of new words! This book is so popular that my son even ordered another copy to give as a gift to a friend who works with our annual summer Shakespeare festival.

There you have it - two gift books that I highly recommend!

1 comment:

  1. I really liked A Short Guide to a Happy Life.

    Hope you've been doing well.