Saturday 25th June 2022

Is It REALLY Time for #WhatOnMyBookshelf In June? Yes! 39/2022.

Is It REALLY Time for #WhatOnMyBookshelf In June? Yes! 39/2022.

I asked the question because “I” couldn’t believe it and had to ask Deb when it was…and yes, it’s Friday 17 June 2022…and thanks for the link up!

 “What’s On Your Bookshelf?”

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

Bookmarks.

In 2018 I made 100s of bookmarks for my friend’s charity for people with cancer,  The Big Hug Box. It was great therapy for me as I recovered from my surgeries and giving back always felt good. I stopped in 2019 but continued from time to time making them for friends, putting them in the mail as a surprise, and sharing them if I met up with a friend.

So, do take a “virtual” book mark from me and enjoy this eclectic post!

 

I’ve become quite the listener and reader recently.

I am using time in the car, and at night when nothing is of interest on a screen, and also to complement my practices of mindfulness…and to remind myself of what is important, what I need to learn more about and what I need to remember.

 

And about my first book on Mindfulness….and Meditation.

Quiet The Mind. Matthew Johnstone. 

In 2012 I was on the south coast of N.S.W. on an observation day for N.S.W. Institute of Teachers. I already knew that I needed some inside help for the growing stress I was feeling and to be able to help myself.

I saw this book,  as I browsed a bookshop on the day before I went to the school, and thought, that’s it! I bought it, read it (very easy contents) and was R E A D Y for mindfulness.

It never arrived dear reader….

in fact not for about another 3 to 4 years! Oh how we fool ourselves if we think one “book” can change the life we have been leading till then. I admit, I look at this book now, and it is good.

But I had SO much life and learning and practising to do and it’s taken me ten years to really put it into action!!

 

About a School Library.

The bookshelves that will often hold treasures to turn a young person into a reader! I loved being a library monitor at primary school. And now, a little bit about a school library..and hopefully schools will continue to have libraries and with BOOKS on the shelves… sadly, some no longer do. But for now a story about a school library…

Did you know that to start a new school’s library requires not only book and other resources to be bought…but also to be accessioned.

In other words, covered and marked for their place on the shelves, AND as a school resource accountable to the financial part of the school’s operation. And then, the students will have their information loaded onto the schools’ files, and they will then form the borrowing systems.

There is something very special as a teacher and a teacher librarian, to see the youngest members of the school doing their first “borrowing” from the library..with their special library bag. 

How do I know this?

Firstly as a school principal, but more than that as…

my daughter, is a trained teacher librarian and with her masters in librarianship can operate in an educational setting like a school and a public or private library. She has started TWO new school libraries in the past 6 years…and once every month or so, volunteers in the library at Sydney Jewish Museum.

Schools Go Back….this was in the first month of the brand new school’s library in 2019.

School Readers and Others In Groups: on the bookshelf…and the letters? Donation of many from me! First school library started: 2015.

Into the spirit of all things reading for Book Week 2020.

A New Book For Beginning Teachers.

On Teaching : For New Graduates. Bianca Hewes.

A friend and colleague put a call out last year for some of us to help her with sections of brand new book that she’d been commissioned to write, and I said “yes”. My chapter was about “the first days” where as a newbie to schools there is so much to observe, listen and learn to check out how that school ticks. And it’s on my bookshelf before giving it to my daughter’s school as a resource.

Highly recommended if you know of anyone starting out in teaching. Available from the publisher: Small Caps Publishing. Great work Bianca Hewes…and co. Bianca was also a Woman of Courage! Here’s her story.

I am interested in so much of what makes us humans tick.

I tend to enjoy other people’s memoirs and what their life story has taught them. The learning and teaching part of my DNA remains keen and very curious.

I am someone very interested in how we humans manage many of life’s challenges, and probably because I am the age I am, and have had cancer, I am somewhat drawn to learning more about serious life issues which include death, dying and grief.

I don’t tend to read to escape these days. I do like to get engrossed in both fiction and non fiction but fiction that I love these days is less than it was for me back in my 40s. But now, if something from the fiction realm engrosses me and then I will likely return to it….

I returned to this listen...and I am loving getting reacquainted with the unusual storyline, the flowers and flora of the Australian bush and more. I am not good at reviews but if you look it up, I am sure you will find out more. I also LOVE that the narrator here really can do the characters’ voices.

NB: I cannot bear listening to a narrator whose skills are not up to speed. I once had to return a book because I could hear every intake of breath. Fussy, moi? Yes!

From Audible: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland. And in bookstores.

Lisa by Lisa Curry. From Audible. The book is out in most book stockists.

Just finished this:  Lisa a raw and true memoir from Australian swimmer, Lisa Curry.

She has written from the heart, and I suggest it needs some tissues nearby to listen to Lisa share the part of her life, particularly when describing the impossible but true death of her eldest child, Jaimie.

I wasn’t sure if I would find this book a bit light on, and some parts were I guess for me, but the true pull is the fact that no-one can change another person’s fate (my word) where mental illness, an eating disorder and more are part of a human’s load.

I hope Lisa has some professional guidance for her grief that can complement all of the other loving support in her world now.

Which brings me to these books:

Every Family Has a A Story: How We Inherit Love and Loss. Julia Samuel.

Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist in the UK. I have the actual book but am listening, one chapter at a time, to her at times raw and painful recounting of others’ stories shared with her in the therapy space. What attracted me to her book was “Every Family Has a Story” and whilst we may not know them all, nor even want to know, there will be something in each of our family and forebears which has an effect on us and if we have them, our kids and grandchildren. It is a dense and intense listen and I am doing it one story at a time. In the car.

The Choice. Dr Edith Eger.

This book was recommended to me by my daughter. The one mentioned above. She is into life history, family histories, and  the history of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis in World War Two. It’s a reason she gets so much out of her regular volunteer work ( I don’t know how she does it as a full time now Relieving Assistant Principal, and Mum to one under 12) because of her respect for the member of the Jewish Community who survived and many made their homes in Australia.

This book is written by an Auschwitz survivor and her work and what she found out about herself and others is compared with the work of Dr Victor Frankl. I haven’t finished Dr Eger’s book but I am going to as I recently heard her on Brene Brown’s podcast here. Worth the listen!

Grief.

It affects us all and it is not always related to death. It can be a loss, a trauma, a serious illness. I know I have written about the surprise of grief during my years of transition ….grieving the life and type of life we had led to go into a retirement mode. I also grieved for lost friendships when we moved to the coast, and for the loss of connection.

I know I grieved the changes of relationships I witnessed in our close and extended family and at times it would all seem too much to bear. But knowing now, that the mention of the word “grief” means that you are less likely to be “shhhed” or asked, “aren’t you over that now?” but as humans we will want to be out of the discomfort of grief as fast as we can.

And that doesn’t work.

In fact, it probably worsens it.

I am not an expert at all but I believe in self-education and learning from others and Megan Devine is one such person.

It’s OK that You’re Not OK. Megan Devine.

She also now has a podcast. I follow her on twitter and have listened to her book on-line and have this copy here:

I know my friend Sandra finds Megan’s words helpful &  is in a space that is both challenging and hard, with sprinkles of good times after the sudden death of her husband over a year ago. Sandra’s  story from Women of Courage is here. 

And folks, that’s it for now.

I am writing this post Wednesday evening to be ready for Friday. Thursday I will be driving to and from Sydney to see the prosthodontist and to have lunch with my two oldest granddaughters. I am not sure which book I will listen to but I often do one book I have in my Audible collection for the journey down and another for coming home.

It also depends on how I am feeling.

NB: it was Every Family Has a Story on the way down, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart coming home. 

Take care!

Thanks for reading here!

And small shout out for bloggers. The last link up from my blog is on Monday 20 June. Do join in if you have a post old or new.

Denyse.

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What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022.

What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022

 “What’s On Your Bookshelf?”

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

What Am I Reading/Listening To Lately?

Quite a mix but then again on careful analysis, the topics and themes of my reading/listening are quite similar.

I am curious about life and its many challenges, how we age and human behaviour generally, so this is my update.

And this time round, I have included links to podcasts that are related to the books as they have been an integral part of my experience.

My reading/listening habits:

  • every day some listening is in the car thanks to Audible and any CDs I have for a book
  • every day, usually in the time between evening meal and doing to bed, I put on a podcast as I create something art-wise
  • every night, at the end of my TV/Netflix/DVD viewing or social media, I take a page or three and read it from one the books here beside my bed.
  • Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron is SUCH a challenge but I am really softening in my acceptance and understanding. With 108 (same numbers as on a counting necklace or string in some buddhist traditions) there are 1-2 pages of tightly but well said words to challenge and take in. I first read this BEFORE my cancer diagnosis in 2017 and struggled but now, some 5 years on, coupled with my own practices, I am better attuned to the teachings.
  • Trusting the Gold by Tara Brach is a dip in and dip out little book of wisdom gleaned from her life experiences. She tells of all her perceived human failings and understanding in a self deprecating way but with self compassion. Tara’s voice is a favourite of mine from her other books which of course I have! And she is now hosting some meditations and sleep stories on Calm.

I like variety and that I can choose!

Atlas of the Heart. Brene Brown.

Atlas of the Heart.

Well..here’s the thing, I have the book, I have the Audible version and I have listened to podcasts with Brene Brown and others.

I am overwhelmed .

I thought I could tandem read and listen.

No. I thought I could just listen…not really. I think it’s partly to do with how HUGE this content is and it would be Brene herself who would admit to it.

I have become a Binge (pay tv) subscriber just to watch the series she made for US on HBO. So far, one episode in, and she is in teaching mode with an audience and I like it a lot.

I now feel over time, it will be more like a dip in and out of experience for me..and the book is freaking heavy to hold!!

Oprah’s SuperSoul:

Atlas of the Heart with Brene Brown

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0tc4spLul60Bh1eTtXOe2W?si=2L7Z7yguSiSglUlYdUIInA

Watching in Australia:

https://binge.com.au/shows/show-brene-brown-atlas-of-the-heart!14634

 

The Space Between The Stars by Indira Naidoo.

I enjoyed this book but it was not a huge new life lesson for me. The story, told eloquently by Indira, a well-known ABC Australia figure, as part love story to her sister and family, and how nature, particularly one tree in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens helped her immensely, was a light read in many ways with some great lessons for love, dying and appreciation of the green, nature and trees all around us. I admit, I saw trees differently after starting the book.

 

With The End in Mind and Listen by Dr Kathryn Mannix.

I freely admit it, I am a huge fan of Dr Mannix’s work. We have connected via social media too. Her work history as a doctor in the UK, eventually took her down the career path into palliative care and following her retirement she went onto help more people.  Now in a career helping train others and be a counsellor in CBT: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, she IS the doctor I would love caring for me or a family member.

Whilst that cannot happen, her words, so generously share on this podcast as great indicators that the world of those who are facing end of life, and death are being cared for much better as a result of this person’s work and that of many. In no way is this work done, but the conversations (Listen is an EXCELLENT book for any challenging conversation, not all about death/sickness)

I started with these books on Audible and now have the actual copies to refer to (see my ‘post its’ and book mark! Dr Kathryn Mannix is on Facebook too.

In finding her on this podcast (highly recommend it too) I have added links to both of her chats with Andrew G Marshall.

The Meaningful Life Podcast. Andrew G Marshall

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

With the End In Mind

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1DYFG8fc9u0RgLh6n34OV7?si=cf53d51198c644f4

The Meaningful Life

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

Listen

https://open.spotify.com/episode/29ichQxYdBvDZt4r3M1jfj?si=78fec487852240ab

 

 

The Inner Work of Age. Shifting from Role to Soul. Dr Connie Zweig.

Now, regular readers know I am doing what I can to learn more about ageing…for me to accept the inevitabilities and to enjoy some of the riches it brings and self-discovery. I first found Dr Connie Zweig’s work by accident or maybe I was meant to…and first listened to her words via Audible. It is via a podcast with Andrew G Marshall I found her work of even greater interest and have now bought the physical book.

I will be reading it over a fairly lengthy period I think as there are activities to do to delve more deeply into the ‘inner me’. Might even be a blog post one time as well.

Role to Soul: Dr Connie Zweig with Andrew G Marshall

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5U4L77vQp5RQ6fFGwux3Ye?si=dd7025da63804196

 

Ten Steps To Nanette. Hannah Gadsby.

 

Now, I am just learning more about Hannah Gadsby through listening to her book. What a listen. And a huge number of life challenges have certainly occurred for Hannah. Rather than me share more, I have included a clip from the promotion for her show “Nanette” which is still on Netflix and explains so much about “her story” and its title. I have also included one podcast where Hannah is in conversation with Glennon Doyle.

Hannah Gadsby with Glennon Doyle

We Can Do Hard Things

https://open.spotify.com/episode/6cVlrd5mRHdx5AlFJyXRAG?si=ec00322afca64866

From Netflix:

And for this month…that’s it! Photo following is of me in front of our family room bookshelf..made by my dear husband.

What have you been reading, and/or listening to in May?

Denyse.

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My First “What’s on My Bookshelf?” Post. 26/2022.

My First “What’s on My Bookshelf?” Post. 26/2022.

I’ve been seeing post from various blogging friends for some time now, for this link up “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” and for a few reasons I have not joined in. Those reasons included “time” and “energy to blog” because I have slowed down my blogging pace and output, and the fact that I got caught up in the myth (mine) that listening to books was not part of this challenge. IT IS…and so here I am.

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

What Am I Reading/Listening To Lately?

What a shock. Denyse Reads Fiction.

The good news is I am reading actual books…which for some time I just could not. The Mother by Jane Caro got me going and kept me going and now, I have been fiction  (yes, fiction!) book browsing. Its theme, whilst modern and topical,  is a very dark one. About men, coercive control and psychological bullying/harrasment/threats. I can’t write much more without giving too much away. It started slowly and built up in content and with details I found of interest as they were places known to me…and then, it got into the main reason for its content. Hearing Jane speak about it and how she came about the characters and so on, was very interesting too.

From Audible. So yes I can listen to fiction too.

It started slowly for me but I have become engrossed in it…and found it’s coming out on Apple as a series: Pachinko is the second novel by Harlem-based author and journalist Min Jin Lee. Published in 2017, Pachinko is an epic historical fiction novel following a Korean family that immigrates to Japan. I believe Barack Obama is a fan of this work. I have not yet finished yesterday.  Very long but keeping me interested.

I Read To Learn & Understand More About Me…and Others. 

In between times, on Audible, I am listening to this: The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Everyone who has lived needs to know more about how their life has affected them…truly great research and very good in its sharing. It is for both professionals and “us”.

“Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children.”

Another very very long one, and we also bought the book. Much head-nodding in some places and understanding so much more about effects of trauma. It’s not a very recent publication but it is incredibly relevant and many who work in the field call it one of the ‘musts’. Finished now too. Excellent.  Did you know “trauma” affects more people in the U.S.A. annually than death by shooting  and car accidents. Fact at time of author’s writing.

 

Interestingly, this next book could have had many examples of post war trauma examples but “back then” men (and women maybe) were not encouraged to share or to admit to the fears of the fighting and the outcomes. In our family, I have an uncle who went missing AWOL. And he did time in a military prison ….’for not wanting to be part of the war effort’.

 

I’m listening to Peter Fitzsimon’s massive tome Kokoda …Peter does not know how to write short books..mind you he can do a weekly column…A few years back B and I went to a local talk by Peter, who grew up on the Central Coast and he is the ultimate story teller. Very amusing. Lots of competition at home for a word in, being married to Lisa Wilkinson and now their daughter Billie is an editor of an on-line news service.

I am doing this story in sections as I sit and do some art. I thought I knew about where Australians took part in the wars but was very sketchy about the New Guinea part of the war, despite having an uncle and father in law who served there. It is a very long listen and his researchers are hard workers. The personal stories are priceless and paint a picture of a long- ago Australia.

Time to consider these two books, and the ramifications in the lead up to A.N.Z.A.C. Day.

A.N.Z.A.C. Day 2021. I went at dawn to watch the sun rise.

Comfort Books.

Here’s a couple.

Pema Chodron’s Comfortable with Uncertainty. This small but incredibly wise and in some ways hard-to-understand tome, is wisdom learned, and shared…over and over and over again. Because we need to reflect. I first started reading these small chapters a night well over 5 years ago before my cancer diagnosis. I had confusion at times with the messages because they seemed so tough. I have, however, in the ensuing 5+ years learned so much more about acceptance and what is suffering…that now when I read or dip into a chapter, I far more likely to smile. And nod. It’s beside my bed.

Tara Brach is a favourite teacher of mine from the world of meditation and learning about ‘life’ as it is. She has an amazing way in which she shares her faults and failings (like us all) and then making it a teaching moment. Tara has, via her books and CDs and podcasts and now on Calm as a Meditation teacher, been a consistent and loving presence in my life. Her latest book here, Trusting the Gold is a dip in and out of one of comfort. Love it too.

The one on the bottom is new and not yet finished. If I do a second post for On My Bookshelf I will write about it there. Very interesting by Indira Naidoo it’s called The Space Between the Stars,  and in some ways has been likened Julia Baird’s Phosphoresence. I found Julia’s book overly challenging  to handle for me personally because of my thoughts I have about privilege…’nuff said..but the cancer part of her book hit home.

Loving a Book on Audible Means:

I buy the actual copy.

I also have to love the narrator’s voice.

I prefer the voice to be the author…as it works for the content.

In two cases I offer this: Trent Dalton is a great narrator of his recent publication Love Stories. However, his first fiction book, Boy Swallows Universe required a range of male voices and the actor who narrated it was, for me PERFECT. Then, massive disappointment for me with All Our Shimmering Skies. I found the content hard and some of it was overly lengthy but the narrator’s voice..female, spoiled it so much, I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Peter Fitzsimon’s book, narrated  by Lewis Fitz-Gerald is wonderful as he is an Aussie actor of a similar vintage to Peter.

I love Dr Kathryn Mannix’s books and may write more about them next time. However, the first one is only partially narrated by her and I didn’t realise fully until I read/listened to the next. Her personal warmth and experience added much more to the book’s topic and I love her for that.

I also listen to books again on Audible. I like that I have the ability to do that.

I also used to listen on my longer car trips to and from Sydney but now that most of my appointments are no longer needed, I play them in small episodes as I drive around locally, and at times, in bed.

So for my first post and linking up, I think I have done well!

Thank you to the bloggers who follow this link up too.

Denyse.

 

 

 

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