Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Transforming Body Image

Transforming Body Image:  Learning to Love the Body You Have by Marcia Germaine Hutchinson is a self-help book for women who have negative body image (though it wouldn't be difficult, I think, to adapt the content for men to make use of, as well).  Each chapter in this book provides mental exercises and workbook-style questions for the reader to answer on her own.  Hutchinson makes a point of focusing attention on mental, rather than physical, changes, but unlike some other books on this topic, this one isn't all about feeding the reader pages of insincere flattery.  Hutchinson's methods are very introspective and are designed to take time and real effort.  There are stories from women who have taken Hutchinson's workshop using these exercises, and though the four women featured in the final chapter were still working through their issues well after the workshop had taken place, they all had significantly improved mindsets about their bodies.

In my opinion, the fact that these women were still works in progress, so to speak, lends Transforming Body Image a certain amount of credibility.  It proves that Hutchinson isn't trying to sell readers some kind of quick fix in her book.  Changing your self-image is not something that can be accomplished overnight, and this book acknowledges that and encourages readers to take their time and really focus on each exercise individually until they feel they've improved in each step.  It rings very genuine to me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #2: Anna Dressed in Blood

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper.  This is an opportunity to share a book that is on your wishlist - whether it's one that has been on your list for a long time, or one you just found out about.

This Wednesday, I chose to feature Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  I've been dying to get this ever since it came out, and since the sequel, I want it even more.  For those who might not be familiar with this one, here is the book description from Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.  

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. 

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. 

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life. 

I hope I can manage to add this one to my library sooner rather than later.  What's on your wishlist?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hunger Games

So I went out of town this past week for Spring Break, and decided to bring along a book for the flight and my three hour layover in Chicago.  Since I wouldn't have been able to really do the exercises in Transforming Body Image, I decided to take The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I won this in a giveaway hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper back in November and really wanted to go ahead and read it before seeing the movie.

The Hunger Games is a sort of dystopian/post-apocalyptic story set in what was once North America, but after the war, is now the nation of Panem - a central capitol surrounded by twelve (previously thirteen) districts.  Each district is responsible for one duty in Panem, and the Capitol is in complete control of the citizens.  Each year, the Capitol hosts The Hunger Games, a televised battle royale reminiscent of the gladiators of ancient Rome, wherein twenty-four tributes - one boy and one girl - from each district is chosen at random to compete to the death in a chosen arena.  Katniss Everdeen wasn't chosen, but volunteered as tribute in place of her younger sister, Prim.  She has some potential advantage due to her experience hunting illegally in the forest outside her district, but the other tributes have their own talents as well, and conditions in the arena are carefully monitored and controlled, to keep the tributes on edge and to maintain some level of entertainment value for those watching from home.  Wits and strength are matched as one by one, tributes are eliminated.  Katniss will need to survive to win and return home to her mother and sister, but to do so will mean killing if necessary.  The winner of the Hunger Games is the last man standing, which means taking the life of her fellow District 12 tribute is a very real possibility.  Peeta is not only a boy she knows, but he and Katniss also have a history of sorts; will Katniss be able to make it through the bloody tradition with minimal blood shed?  Will district loyalty have to be compromised?  Will she even make it out alive?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Animals Everywhere

So, for Spring Break, I'm heading to New England to visit my brother and his family.  I'm so glad to be seeing them again soon and to have a change of scenery for a little while!  I'm bringing a little book for my niece, and thought before I hand it over, that I'd share it with you all.

Animals Everywhere by Lillian Pluta (with illustrations by Jillian Phillips) is a board book written in verse that takes young children on a trip around the world, introducing different animals that inhabit various habitats.  Pluta  uses some animals that are likely to be familiar to your child, such as elephants, monkeys, and alligators, but she also includes some others that not as many kids may know:  red pandas, marmots, and manatees.  Some animals she provides more specific names for as well, such as "horned owl," rather than simply "owl."  The illustrations are incredibly precious.  Phillips creates images that are fun and sure to please both child and adult alike, not only for this book, but in all her work - check out her website and/or blog to see what I mean.