NPR has a really nice section on their site devoted to books of the year:
Anyone who is a Star Wars fan will want to read Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. It is shelved in the Library’s popular fiction/non-fiction bookcase. Her recollections of working with George Lucas and portraying Princess Leia are hilarious. Carrie Fisher has a comedic way with words that conveys her unique life path complete with its dramatic ups and painful downs. Along with a commendable acting and writing career, Carrie Fisher has the pedigree of a Hollywood elitist. Her mother is Debbie Reynolds; her father is Eddie Fisher. When they divorced, Eddie married Elizabeth Taylor. When they divorced, Eddie married Connie Stevens. Carrie was briefly married to singer-songwriter and musician, Paul Simon. There are many other famous Hollywood names included in the mix of Carrie’s life. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of, she has had to face the challenges of addiction, bipolar illness, and treatment. Her “author’s note” at the end of the book expresses her thoughts on the stigma often attached to mental illness. She offers understanding and encouragement to those struggling with bipolar disorder. At 163 pages, Wishful Drinking is entertaining and insightful, and a worth while quick read.
One of the titles in the Library’s new popular reading section that caught my eye is You’ve Got To Read This Book! By Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks. The book is a compilation of 55 vignettes describing how books have changed the lives of 55 notable people. Picking any chapter at random results in reading an account of an individual being uplifted and inspired due to the influence of reading a work of fiction or non-fiction. Each of the contributors is generous in describing their own introspection. Wally Amos, of Famous Amos cookies, and who also holds an honorary doctorate in education from Johnson and Wales University, tells how the book Love is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald Jampolsky, taught him that he is the only person responsible for how he feels and how he processes experiences, and that letting go of fear is just a decision. Lou Holtz, former head coach at Notre Dame, was inspired to list and become motivated to achieve all the things he wanted to accomplish in life after reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. This happened at a time when he was unemployed and feeling depressed about life’s prospects. Rafe Esquith, a fifth grade teacher in central Los Angeles, explains how reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee inspired him to begin teaching ethics and moral development in his classes. Craig Newmark, the founder of www.craigslist.org, found meaning for his own activities after reading The Cluetrain Manifesto, which was written by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. The ideas presented mirrored his own thoughts about the function of the Internet and inspired him to keep craigslist as a big network of people helping each other out.
How about you? Have you experienced a book that influenced your thinking or caused you to change directions in life? The JWU Library blog is open for comments and we would really like to know what books have been important enough to you that you would say: “You’ve got to read this book!”