Tag Archives: Life Lessons

Lit Up: One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-four Books That Can Change Lives by David Denby

Lit Up Title: Lit Up: One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-four Books That Can Change Lives
Author: David Debby
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 978-1250117038
Genre: Literary Non-Fiction, Books about Books
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

How does a teacher ensure that children read? How does he get teenagers who are constantly on social media and on their phones to get to pick up a book and explore the world in its pages? As an English teacher, that was the biggest task in front of David Denby. It would be an awkward start for sure – one to convince them to read, get them interested in books, which were an alien concept to them and second how to go about that.

“Lit-Up” is a story. It reads like that for sure. How David went about doing this not in just one public school but three of them, sure is motivating. For me, it was the honesty of the writing that came through and stuck. David talks about his challenges with the same enthusiasm as he highlights the small successes. How his encounters with students shape him as a teacher and a person and through that how he started enjoying some books a little more filled me with so much joy.

What is interesting also is the selection of books – the twenty-four books are quite diverse – from Faulkner (very challenging you think? Not for Denby’s students) to Plath to Huxley and Orwell (both seem so relevant as of today) and more. At the end, what Denby really has to say is “choose what you want to read and read as much as you can”. This level of engagement with students is what will suck you into the book.

“Lit-Up” is one of those rare books that makes you want to get up and make a change – no matter how small or big. It just makes you want to do something worthwhile with your life and teachers do it so well. They just reach out to you and make that one difference in your life. Denby chose to do it with books and reading. A read that hits all the right chords.

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All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (And then Some) by Suzy Becker

all-i-need-to-know-i-learned-from-my-cat-and-then-some-by-suzy-becker Title: All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (And then Some)
Author: Suzy Becker
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
ISBN: 978-0761147664
Genre: Comic Strips
Pages: 144
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Reading Suzy Becker’s book on what cats can teach you made me miss my cats a lot while I was in Singapore. This is where I picked the book from and I couldn’t wait to get back home to meet my cats. When I did, I learned something else from them: You leave us and we will ignore you for an hour or so. You will plead and beg and plead some more but we shall not show affection or love. Sigh. But it is true: Cats do teach life lessons which perhaps other humans cannot.

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The book is aptly titled; “All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (And Then Some)” is a book of cartoons – with some lesson or tidbit wisdom from cats. There are so many truths in these pages – people who have cats and those who don’t also will relate to this book.

all-i-need-to-know-i-learned-from-my-cat-and-then-some-by-suzy-becker-image-2

The illustrations are so plain and cute that they will melt your heart and you would want more. This book is a delight, it is brilliant and it is silly and makes you realize the things that you need to be in touch with and what is absolutely okay to let go of.

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“All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (And then some) is a meditative book on living and life. Most importantly, it will make you see your cats differently. A lot of Cat Zen and Wisdom in these pages. A must read.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird Title: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: Anchor, Vintage, Random House
ISBN: 9780385480017
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 272
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

I had wanted to read “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott since a while now. I think the very nature of the book appealed to me. Thoughts on writing and life seemed quite interesting and insightful. Anne Lamott’s writing style coupled with it, only makes the book more interesting and worth the read.

“Bird by Bird” is not just about writing. There are life lessons in this one which like I said make the book better. Lamott’s writing is not inclined to making this a “how-to” book. It is not that, nor does it intend to be that. It is also not a self-help manual. At the same time, this book is not specifically for writers. It can be read by anyone who wants to write and does. This is for some of us who are struggling with writing and at the same time are embroiled in following rigid rules, which Lamott is completely against.

She makes writing seem very simple and of course admits to it being hard work. Writing to Lamott is about facing truths, growing up with your drafts, about revelations and most of all it is about determination – the idea to not give up and keep at it, page after page.

“Bird by Bird” is all about bettering oneself at writing and gradually at life. Her personal stories are out there and as a reader I was in awe of her writing skills and the life she leads. This is the kind of book that does not restrict itself to a certain audience. Lamott makes you see things and urges you to experience life, your characters, the plot you have devised and see it through. I strongly recommend “Bird by Bird” for any upcoming writer and also for an established writer who wants to work on his or her craft.

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