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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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31 01, 2012

Review: Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie

By | January 31st, 2012|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , , |12 Comments


Reviewed by Colleen Turner

I remember, like many people I am sure, briefly reading about Catherine the Great and her unique place in Russian history while in school, smashed together with so many other historical figures. But who was she really, and what experiences lead her to become such a dynamic woman and leader? Robert K. Massie does a wonderful job giving us a well rounded, complete history of not only this unique persona but the people, country and world around her from her birth into a German family of minor nobility in 1729 to her death as empress of Russia in 1796.

While it is impossible to discuss all aspects of this rather large tome (the book tips the scales at over 600 pages), it is important to note that the author not only highlights the political, religious

26 01, 2012

Review: Fast Media, Media Fast by Dr. Thomas Cooper

By | January 26th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Social Sciences|Tags: , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Shannon Hopkins

Do you ever feel as if the world around you is moving too quickly, that you are drowning in a constant stream of stimuli, that you have forgotten what it means to be you?

In Fast Media, Media Fast, Dr. Thomas Cooper discusses the increasing speed and saturation of media of all forms in the world, and establishes a framework for taking a “media fast” – for divorcing yourself temporarily from all of the outside noise in order to rediscover the individual within.

The book is divided into four parts: Part 1 discusses the how and why of a media fast; Part 2 is an indictment against fast media, charging that fast media damages every aspect of our physical, emotional, and environmental well-being; Part 3 highlights group fasting and cultural groups who are continuously separated from media; and

10 12, 2011

Review: Dignity by Donna Hicks Ph.D

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Personal Health, Psychology, Psychology & Counseling, Relationships, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , , , , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Donna Hicks, Ph.D. is an expert on relationships and managing professional conflicts. She develops conflict resolution workshops around the world to show participants how to improve their relationships with each other by becoming more sensitive to the dignity of others.

In her book, Dignity, Hicks describes the essential elements of dignity, which show the readers how to honor it in themselves and in others. She then discusses the ways we inadvertently or intentionally violate the dignity of others. The last section of the book shows how to utilize the power of dignity to manage and improve relationships.

Hicks does an exemplary job of explaining how the concept of preserving dignity in ourselves and others shapes our lives. It is true that we will remember when someone else causes us to feel our dignity has been assaulted. At those times,

12 10, 2011

Review: Keep the Change by Steve Dublanica

By | October 12th, 2011|Categories: Business & Investing, Entertainment, For Men, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments


Reviewed by Jill Elizabeth

Don’t you love it when you learn something and are vastly entertained at the same time? I certainly do, and Steve Dublanica’s latest – Keep the Change – is my new favorite exemplar of this. The book, a follow-up to his 2008 hit Waiter Rant, is a fascinating exploration of the service industry and tipping. Read it – you’ll love it and I guarantee you will never look at a waiter, taxi driver, valet, or any other service worker the same way again

The book opens with a trip to Vegas to learn about stripper tipping – and it only gets better from there. And just to cover this right up front, he does it in an entirely non- skeevy way, even though much of the tipping does border on – if not downright enter

13 08, 2011

Review: Glued to Games by Scott Rigby & Richard Ryan

By | August 13th, 2011|Categories: Entertainment, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Psychology & Counseling, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , , , |7 Comments


Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

With video games growing in popularity and the strong opinions about their potential vs peril growing right along with them, Glued to Games brings some much needed insight to the table. Glued to Games is the first book/review I have ever seen which offers a balanced view of the pros and cons offered by video games world. The authors offer an easily understandable education on the psychology of what drives us to play games, how games satisfy basic psychological needs, and an understanding of how these factors sometimes lead to violence and addiction.

Filled with examples from a variety of popular games as well as the real experiences of gamers themselves, Glued to Games gets to the center of gaming’s powerful psychological and emotional allure–the benefits as well as the dangers. It gives everyone from researchers to parents

26 03, 2010

Review: Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy by William Irwin and Richard Brian Davis

By | March 26th, 2010|Categories: Nonfiction, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Social Sciences|Tags: , , |2 Comments


alice in wonderland and philosophy book coverReviewed by Scott B.

Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser takes up the most serious piece of art or literature in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, edited by William Irwin. (Other titles in the series deal mainly with TV shows or movies.) It consists of fourteen footnoted chapters, written mostly by professors of philosophy or graduate students.

Divided into four parts, this analysis of the world of Alice, as found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, often falls short as either a defense of philosophy or an insightful treatment of these masterpieces of nonsense literature.

A few authors are more intent on grinding an ax than on examining Alice in her dream world—feminism, anti–Cold War jargon, logic is important (you silly undergrads), induction is the way to go, philosophical realism (reality is real), and, yes, there is such a

17 10, 2009

Review: The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies and Possibilities

By | October 17th, 2009|Categories: Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , |1 Comment


1784444Reviewed by Miriam S.

The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies, and Possibilities is an enlightening read as well as a must have for those who are interested in and wish to know more about the controversy and history surrounding the year 2012. The book itself offers insightful yet varying viewpoints about 2012 and the Mayan prophecies, both from the Mayan holy book the Popol Vuh and the Mayan Long Count calendar. Spiritual leaders, political analysts, environmentalists, scientists and others whose main occupations have been studying 2012, all give their opinions and explanations on what 2012 means, what will happen when the date arrives, and how events and changes within human society and our planet will shape the prophecy that the Maya predicted.

To the Maya, 2012 is the point in history when the Gods will return, and

22 08, 2009

Review: The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

By | August 22nd, 2009|Categories: Historical, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , |1 Comment


Reviewed by Alethea B.

The Latehomecomer‘s strength lies in its emotions and descriptions. Kao Kalia’s story is not my story, but between one word and the next, her words and voice invited me into her world and life.

I am only four years younger than Kao Kalia. Her parents, family and ethnic group emigrated to America because they fought for an ideal they believed in, lost, and saw better opportunities for their children in America. My great-grandparents emigrated because they held to their religion, were hated, and saw better opportunities for their children in America. The landmarks of American life Kao grew up with are the same ones I grew up with. The melody is at least vaguely familiar.

It’s the notes of familiarity which gave me better immersion into the differences. Other authors may describe refugee camps in Thailand in more

7 08, 2009

Friday Cravings: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

By | August 7th, 2009|Categories: Current Events, Etc., Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: |2 Comments


I think that fellow book lovers will nod in agreement when I say that regardless of how many books I already have or how overflowing my bookshelves are, I am always on the look out for that next great read or that undiscovered gem of a book. Although I find new must-haves almost every day(!), I’ll be sharing my pick of the week every Friday.

Have a book that you’re craving to add to your collection? I’d love to hear from you! The books do not have to be new or upcoming releases. Leave a link to your own post in the comment area and link it back to Luxury Reading. If you don’t have a blog, just list the book and the author.

Pick of the Week

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four,