Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The advantage of having an active book fetish is that it attracts other bookish people, and their books.

I recently received a copy of Kathrin Lake’s new book From Survival to Thrival: How to catch the boat to y our successful, thriving life (even if you thought you’d missed it) from the author:

#1 Thrival Guide for Career, Love and Life

#1 Thrival Guide for Career, Love and Life

It’s a mouthful of a sub-title, but it reflects Kathrin’s chatty tone quite nicely. (I hope she doesn’t mind me calling her Kathrin…after reading her book, I feel like we’ve chatted more than just briefly through email.) The text does read like you’re having a sit over a cup of tea, and your wise friend keeps refilling your cup and feeding you very useful metaphors along with the plain spoken advice.

I’ve done my own share of self- and soul-searching over the years, and have delved into it all. I’ve read the weird and the wonderful, the odd and the inspiring…but I can say quite definitively that I have not read a self-help guide so down-to-earth.

The simplicity, no, the clarity of Lake’s advice is a bit disconcerting. Her ideas are not revolutionary or novel, just presented without the bells and whistles that jazz up the more colourful (and less credible?) presenters. This unadorned prose resonates with my own thinking and sits quite naturally with me.

As a linguist myself, I appreciate a woman who points out that the word success has other meanings…as in to come after in time or order or follow. And she asks the simple question: What if success were defined as progress, instead of a result? What if success were defined as not where you end up, but how you live your life every day?

What if we stopped keeping our self-praise and self-esteem building blocks for special occasions, like your mother’s good china, and let it out every day (the Good China Syndrome)?

The discussion on need vs. want sets up a very important distinction. It reminds me greatly of June Singer, a Jungian analyst and author, who discussed the difference between using a verb vs. a noun to describe your profession (in the brilliant book Boundaries of the Soul). Do you tie your work to who you are? Or to something you do? (Try it on for size: “I am a teacher” compared to “I teach” — if someone criticizes my teaching, my self is more at risk if it is part of my identity, instead of one of the things I do.)

I will stop here, and recommend that you visit her website — there’s lots to see!



Ripped directly from Mattheous, who’s just started hanging around here at the Nook, who found it here.

Daniel Pennac’s

The Reader’s Bill of Rights

1. The right to not read

2. The right to skip pages

3. The right to not finish

4. The right to reread

5. The right to read anything

6. The right to escapism

7. The right to read anywhere

8. The right to browse

9. The right to read out loud

10. The right to not defend your tastes

I want to stay at the Library Hotel.

Organized according to the Dewey Decimal System so each floor of the hotel has a different category, and each room a theme on that category. Stay in the Poetry room on the Literature floor (Room number 800.003, with one full-sized bed). Or try Room 1100.002, the Ethics room on the Philosophy floor, which has a queen-sized bed.


I’ve mentioned audio before, and classic lit delivered to your mailbox…and now I’ve found a couple more sites that relate.

LoudLit.org, being “literature for your eyes and ears”, has an oddly educational aspect to it:

Putting the text and audio together, readers can learn spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure by listening and reading masterpieces of the written word.

As an ex-ESL teacher, I definitely see the advantages, but it’s not necessarily something I’d put on my front page as a selling point. “Hey kids! It’s good for you!”

Ah, but you read a little deeper, and you discover that the aim is to help those with dyslexia — always a noble pursuit. Supposedly, up to 20% of the population suffers from some form of dyslexia. I know I have moments when I’m really tired and going buggy-eyed looking at numbers…Imagine feeling like that all the time. [Here’s a link for the International Dyslexia Association, and another one for the Canadian Dyslexia Association.]

LoudLit.org has some great public domain works, read by named readers. I don’t recognize any of them (not that that means anything!), but finding a reader you like makes listening pleasurable.

The other link I wanted share today is another get-book-fragments-in-your-inbox, DailyLit. Poe, Plato, Nietzsche…it’s quite an impressive collection. And, you can pick what time of day your segments will be delivered to your box (is that an advantage?).


I stole this post from my other blog, Celebrating the Absurd. (Wasn’t too terribly absurd, and writing this post is what inspired me to begin this blog…)

If I had lots and lots of money, I would buy multiple copies of 4 books, and give them to everyone.

In no particular order, they are:

  1. The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit school and get a real life and education by Grace Llewellyn. More than a polemic on/defence of home schooling, it celebrates an attitude about education that I wish I’d been exposed to when I was in school.
  2. The Tyranny of Niceness: Unmasking the Need for Approval by Evelyn Sommers. A new classic that should be read by anyone who has ever doubted her/his need to express a true opinion or desire. That it is written by a Canadian is just too apt.
  3. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (often referred to as the guy-with-the-unpronounceable-name), a psychologist who studies creativity and ‘Optimal Experience’. This book is more the ‘how to’ version of his more academic tome, Flow. In it, he breaks down that state one gets into when working/playing at peak efficiency…breaks it down, describes it, and challenges each one of us to try to attain that high level of experience more often.
  4. Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. “Keeping up with the Joneses” described, explained, and…forgiven. But the message is clear that your life will be better if you can rise above it, and de Botton’s easy philosophical prose inspires you to re-evaluate your beliefs and values. Paradigm shifting, if you’ll excuse the cliche…

Here’s the challenge: What books would you add to the curriculum at the University of Life? What book has inspired you? Changed you?

For another couple of weeks, the World eBook Fair is allowing free access to their collections, celebrating the beginning of the Internet online library:

July 4th to August 4, 2006 marks a month long celebration of the 35th anniversary of the first step taken towards today’s eBooks, when the United States Declaration of Independence was the first file placed online for downloading in what was destined to be an electronic library of the Internet. Today’s eBook library has a total of over 100 languages represented.

A lot of these books are actually available through Project Gutenberg, at least the ones the average person is going to want, so look for the ones that aren’t available for free elsewhere. Links to audio books, video archives…and the Children’s eBook Collection which is scans of original books — very cool.

I live in Penticton, British Columbia. It’s a lovely little city in the sunny Okanagan Valley, on a glacial morraine between 2 lakes — Okanagan and Skaha. We moved here two months ago, and we take possession of our new house in 7 days.

The best thing about this town must be The Book Shop;…an amazing secondhand bookstore that could possibly be the best one I’ve ever been in — and I’ve been in many. Knowledgeable staff, acres of space, active acquisition policy, huge poetry collection,…(you know what’s important). No real competition for an hour’s drive in any direction.

Anyway, I found the book I was planning on looking for yesterday: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, the collection of essays by Joan Didion. Her preface alone was worth the price of admission, the writing is so tight:

“….My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so tempermentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.”

The title of the book comes from Yeats:


by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

      URNING and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      Surely some revelation is at hand;
      Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
      The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
      When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
      Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
      A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
      A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
      Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
      Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
      The darkness drops again; but now I know
      That twenty centuries of stony sleep
      Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
      And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
      Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
“The Second Coming” is reprinted from Michael Robartes and the Dancer. W.B. Yeats. New York: Macmillan, 1921.

(Source: Poetry Archive)

Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!