Sound research and informed speculation best suited to an academic audience.

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OUT OF MY SKULL

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BOREDOM

If you can read the signs, boredom might just be your friend.

Boredom, note the authors, betrays a fundamental human need to be engaged with the world and to have agency in our actions. Taking a psychological approach to a universal condition, Danckert, a cognitive neuroscientist, and Eastwood, a clinical psychologist, seek to unify a fragmented area of inquiry and provide a framework for further study. The authors loosely define boredom as having the desire to do something but being unmoved by the options open to you in the moment. It is a subject full of both obvious and counterintuitive features (a little obvious in some of the authors’ discussions). Boredom is sending us a message, write the authors, and it’s anticipatory, a call to act. But boredom is biological, and our strategies for dealing with it are subject to paradox: “Our drive to avoid the distress of being bored can lead us to some dark places”—e.g., internet addiction and isolation. The authors claim that research suggests boredom is both a transient state and a disposition, that some of us are more prone to boredom than others, and that age is one of many factors—again, rather self-evident. While there is much of value in their presentation and the analyses of the work of other researchers, complete with a bevy of potentially useful insights, lay readers will have to hack through thickets of repetition to find it. With minor variations, Danckert and Eastwood tend to establish the same definitions and make the same points over and over. This is all clearly fascinating to the authors, who demonstrate their enthusiasm, and doubtless to colleagues involved in the subject, but one can’t escape the feeling that this entire book could have been distilled quite effectively into 50 pages.

Sound research and informed speculation best suited to an academic audience. (6 photos; 2 illustrations)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98467-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Listen up, youngsters: There’s plenty of sage advice to be gleaned from these pages.

STAYING IN THE GAME

An upbeat guide to staying active in the game of life.

Gottlieb, a retired professor and dean, interviewed 20 people over the age of 75 in order to determine what it takes to maintain an active lifestyle later in life. "Some of their answers may surprise you, inspire you and encourage you to stay in the game." Each of the stories offers a different path to a productive and enjoyable life, and the interviewees come from a wide variety of backgrounds and boast hundreds of years of collective experience–from Horton Foote, famous author and playwright, to Anna Cecilia Merenda, founder and CEO of a construction company and an early feminist. Others include Jerry Bock (lyricist), Gerald Cobb (bank chairman), Conrad Johnson (jazz performer and teacher), Tom D’Allesandro, III (mayor and community organizer), Allen Becker (entertainment company founder), Madeline Hill (botanist and author) and more. The one common factor among them is an energetic attitude and a remarkable sense of cheerful acceptance of themselves and others. Even though an index would have been helpful, this collection is a great indicator of why society must value senior citizens.

Listen up, youngsters: There’s plenty of sage advice to be gleaned from these pages.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2005

ISBN: 0-595-36742-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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Should have remained a private journal.

A TOUCH OF LOVE FROM HEAVEN

A self-involved, indulgent chronicle of a woman’s personal relationship with God.

Angel Love talks to God. Literally. He comes to her in dreams, in visions and through various “signs,” to warn her about potential accidents, impart advice and encourage her to write. So she does. The book is laid out much like a journal, spanning the period between January 2002 and August 2003, with an update of 2005. During this time, Love teaches English composition to freshman at a local college, working with her students on research papers that turn into spiritual journeys and continuing her own exploration of the divine. Sadly, she’s also diagnosed with cancer, enduring tremendous physical pain while managing to remain strong through her faith in God. She includes entries describing her spiritual experiences and revelations, as well as images and drawings depicting statues of angels and spiritual places. She devotes an entire page to illustrations of her intrepretation of divine communication (she construes the formations of airplane exhaust as a special message). Love’s system of faith is an inexact science of astrological references (citing the specific time of each observation seems to be an important marker), hidden messages and supernatural events. She’s verbose, overly earnest and even slightly patronizing at times. This strong brew of Christian ethos and New Age terminology may deter even the staunchest readers. While her intentions seem pure, the resulting work is a failed attempt at expressing the writer’s faith.

Should have remained a private journal.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2005

ISBN: 0-595-35630-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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