A wise and uplifting manual of encouragement for readers seeking to take stock of their lives and shelve their bad habits.

THE MESSY JOYS OF BEING HUMAN

A wide-ranging motivational guide urges readers to embrace change in order to grow.

Rosenau opens her nonfiction debut with clear intent: Her book is for people who feel trapped in counterproductive routines and want to get “unstuck” from patterns of behavior that no longer (and perhaps never did) satisfy them. Sometimes, she observes, people get ensnared in how they see their own stories and how they view themselves in those narratives. “Doing that,” she writes, “can end up creating entrenched patterns that limit the ways we interact and the possibilities we strive to manifest.” In a series of fast-paced chapters that are written in an enormously engaging voice, the author attempts to look deep into the souls of her readers, seeking to know their real selves—how, as the old saying goes, they treat stray dogs and shopping carts. She professes to want to concentrate on how people deal with sorrow and joy, how they respond to the happiness of their friends even when they are in low spirits. “We’re all a little bit light,” Rosenau writes. “But we’re also murky.” She wishes to empower her readers to seize this dichotomy and begin a personal transformation that will be at various times fun and a tough slog. The author mixes her motivational insights with personal anecdotes and a heavy sprinkling of concepts from Jewish culture like yetzer hatov, an inclination toward the good (or bad, in the case of yetzer hara). But the book’s strongest running thread is its rich and warmhearted human empathy. “Understanding why we’re suffering doesn’t make it any easier or make what’s hurting hurt any less,” Rosenau reminds her readers while reassuring them: “You will have a solid sense of trust in yourself and your decision-making. You will feel your Yes in every part of you: body, mind and soul.” Readers feeling a lack of that self-trust will find a great burst of Yes in these pages.

A wise and uplifting manual of encouragement for readers seeking to take stock of their lives and shelve their bad habits.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73253-375-2

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Riverview Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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