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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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14 10, 2016

Review: Raising Human Beings by Ross Greene

By | October 14th, 2016|Categories: Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Psychology|Tags: , |3 Comments

Rating:

raising human beings book coverReviewed by Jenna Arthur

In Raising Human Beings, child psychologist Ross Greene shows how parenting has evolved and how working with your child, rather than dictating to your child, can foster a better parent-child relationship.

Gone are the days of “parent knows best”. Instead, Greene helps parents realize how each individual child may respond, as well as need, differently. Greene ventures that children need someone to help them shine as individuals and come to ascertain who they are as people, what they want from their lives, and to build a stronger family dynamic through a way of parenting that is congruent to each child.

22 09, 2016

Review: Why We Snap by R. Douglas Fields

By | September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Mental Health, Nonfiction, Psychology, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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why we snap book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in your Brain is an interesting and detailed account of what potentially causes humans to snap. R. Douglas Fields is well versed in the study of the brain as an expert in the field of neuroscience and explains the patterns and triggers of rage in a conversational and anecdote filled project that will allow for the casual reader to gain a grasp on how the brain processes the rage emotion. While the stories and examples do allow for the research and explanation to be easily followed, there are of course some scientific points and data that speak more on an expert level. Dr. Fields is a careful writer that successfully manages to turn a lot of research into a well-crafted work of non-fiction. If this book were written in a different fashion, most readers, not in the field or familiar with the study, would probably put the book down.

22 03, 2015

Review: The Wilderness of Ruin by Roseanne Montillo

By | March 22nd, 2015|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Psychology, True Accounts|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Rating:

wilderness of ruin book coverReviewed by Jax Kep

The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer by Roseanne Montillo has an interesting premise on the surface: fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy is abusing children in Boston right after the Civil War. While the search is on for him, Boston burns in a horrible fire. It seemed as though this book would be similar to The Devil in White City, but unfortunately this disjointed story simply cannot live up to that classic nonfiction.

Part of the problem is the odd title: there is a lot going on! Jesse’s story is interesting because he was so young and disturbed, but he had absolutely nothing to do with the Great Fire, nor was he in the vicinity while it raged on. The police detective who was looking for him was not the person

18 02, 2015

Review: The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen, M.D.

By | February 18th, 2015|Categories: Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Psychology|Tags: , |5 Comments

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the teenage brain book coverReviewed by Alysia George

If there were a mandatory parenting course for people about to have children, The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen, M.D. (with Amy Ellis Nutt) would be on the required reading list. Since my oldest child recently turned 13, entering into the tumultuous and terrifying teen years, I came across this book at the perfect time. Highlighter in hand, I pored over every page, hoping to glean a little insight into the minds of my daughter and her friends.

The sub-heading on the cover of The Teenage Brain reads “A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.” While that might sound more than a little intimidating, don’t be put off. While covering everything from brain development to the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs on the adolescent brain, Jensen keeps her audience in

1 02, 2015

Review: Working Memory Advantage by Tracy & Ross Alloway

By | February 1st, 2015|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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working memory advantage book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

A person’s working memory is the recall that is necessary to use on a daily basis to solve most of life’s pressing problems. The human brain possesses too much information today and does most of the tasks well when forced to multi-task. However, if we make an effort to consciously process information slowly, our brains only become more proficient at what they need to do.

The authors start with explaining the purpose of the brain and how it functions (beginning with the prefrontal cortex and highlighting each area of the brain). The Working Memory Advantage: Train Your Brain to Function Stronger, Smarter, Faster gives tips for prioritizing information better, adapting easily to new situations, staying motivated to achieve long term goals, remaining positive in trying times, and even tips to help a person become a better athlete.

The book

30 12, 2014

Review: The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

By | December 30th, 2014|Categories: Business & Investing, Management & Leadership, Nonfiction, Psychology, Social Sciences|Tags: |4 Comments

Rating:

the organized mind book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

In his book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, Daniel J. Levitin discusses how people can keep organized in the current age of digital information overload. Levitin states that our human brains can only really process small amounts of information at one time. It can be very helpful to learn to separate various brain regions–for example, economic and ethical decisions are managed by different brain regions. We can learn to stretch our brains and their capacity by continuously playing stimulating brain games. Our own world provides clues as to how we can analyze and categorize information better.

Among other things, Levitin covers the processing capacity of the human mind, which is measured at 120 bits per second. This is the bandwidth at which the human brain can safely focus within itself to complete all of the

8 10, 2014

Review: Suspicious Minds by Dr. Ian Gold and Dr. Joel Gold

By | October 8th, 2014|Categories: Nonfiction, Psychology|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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Reviewed by Sophia Chiu

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness is an ambitious and fascinating work on the nature of delusions, states of mind defined by DSM-5 (the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the standard reference for classifying mental disorders) as “fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in the light of conflicting evidence.” Brothers Joel and Ian Gold, a psychiatrist and a psychologist, respectively, introduce this topic through an interesting series of patients suffering from the Truman Show delusion. Like Jim Carrey’s character in the 1998 film, these patients believe they are the stars of a constructed reality television show and that everyone around them are actors perpetuating this hoax.

However, Gold and Gold go on to discuss other types of delusions as well as the theoretical histories of how delusions arise. Delusions tend to take a circumscribed

3 10, 2014

Review: It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd

By | October 3rd, 2014|Categories: Computers & Technology, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Parenting & Families, Parenting & Family, Psychology, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , |12 Comments

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Reviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

It’s Complicated is one of those eye-opening books that leaves you asking yourself question after question, wanting and needing to find the answers. For parents struggling to teach their children about Internet safety, or for those wondering how social media can have such an influence on the lives of everyday teens, this book would be an excellent way to begin your research.

Boyd interviews and observes teenagers as they live their lives through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is an advocate for teenage Internet usage and wants the world to know that utilizing the web does not always lead to negative consequences for teens. Most of us age forty or over hung out at football games (opening scene) to socialize with our friends for four hours on a Friday evening, not worrying necessarily about capturing

2 10, 2014

Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD and Lee Daniel Kravetz

By | October 2nd, 2014|Categories: Motivation & Self-Improvement, Nonfiction, Psychology|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

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Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Surviving a loss has a silver lining…

Everyone has a story of hardship and the resulting success or challenges: overcoming an illness, triumphing through financial distress, suffering loss that leads to spiritual rebirth, or numerous other scenarios. You may even have that story yourself. People who experience intense loss often find a renewed interest in life as a result of their hardship. People who “bounce forward” after a trial are called “supersurvivors”: a group of individuals who form the premise behind Feldman and Karvetz’ book of the same name.

Nine chapters in Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success discuss the influences that alter an individual’s success during and after a challenge. Summarizing major loss, the potential harmful effects of excessive positive thinking, the truth in human perception, and the role of forgiveness in recoveries, the book makes some

1 08, 2014

Review: Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas

By | August 1st, 2014|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Psychology|Tags: , |2 Comments

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41Jm7UtPFlL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

When you hear the word “sociopath”, what do you think of? Do you think of criminals? Murderers? The people you see on the news and have nightmares about? In Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas, Thomas shows just how false this stereotype is. Thomas tells us that sociopaths, like herself, are your neighbors, your doctors, your teachers, even your spouse. They are characterized as extremely intelligent, charismatic, passionate–the person you want to take home at the end of the night and at the same time, the person you want to take home to your mother.

Thomas delves, honestly and completely, into her life, giving us such examples as her indifferent response to a drowning animal. In describing her dating life, Thomas states that truthfully, in most interactions that she has, she merely