Martha’s Bookshelf: January 2011

If you want to talk about adopting an interesting lifestyle, try going from an Ivy League college to running an organic farm without machinery, pesticides or any of the other modern conveniences. Kristin Kimball’s book, The Dirty Life, is about things that I will never, ever do, yet I found it a riveting and inspiring read. As more and more people begin to wonder what we’ve lost, creating the huge machinery of the twentieth century, fascination with pure food and honest labor seems to be on the rise. This book will inspire you to eat better, work harder, and be eternally grateful that some people love creating wonderful food. I am especially grateful that I am not one of those people.

I also have to put two big thumbs up for Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls. After loving her first book, The Glass Castle, Walls was under the intense pressure that only a second-time author with a successful first book can imagine. I was totally prepared to be bummed out that Walls did this so brilliantly, thus far exceeding my own humble experience, but by page two of Half Broke Horses, that thought vanished. I was just grateful to be along for a wonderful ride with this genius author. Enjoy!

Martha’s Bookshelf: Selections for September 2010

My tiny iPhone Kindle is now the magical conveyor of more books than I want to count. It does feel like I’ve been reading one endless book that keeps changing topics, but how exciting to have so many authors available to me in the palm of my hand. Right now, I am half way through a long novel called Shantaram. It’s the autobiographical story of an Australian armed robber (named Gregory Roberts) who escaped from prison and went to live in the slums of Bombay to disappear from the world. What does this have to do with coaching? Nothing and everything. It’s about a man who has to build a life from scratch, cutting all ties to his social group and personal identity, and as such, it’s fascinating to watch how his beliefs create another version of the same life, just by drastically changed circumstances. Besides that, it’s a fascinating look into a culture – not just India, but one of the world’s biggest slums – that most of us could not imagine.

For those of you who like thoughtful philosophy/ social science, the poet Mark Nepo has written a number of wonderful books which I’ve been reviewing this month. My current favorites are: The Book of Awakening and Facing The Lion Being The Lion. Nepo’s insights which are often unexpected, and his use of the English language, are truly delicious. This is a great book to keep on your bed stand to help you feel comforted or inspired on a difficult day.