What Method?: The Different Ways An Actor Can Train by Jessie Fahay

Book Summary:
There are many methods an actor may choose to study. What do all of these methods really do for the actor’s instrument? Is there a method that works best for you? Which one speaks to you? Where should you look for instructors who teach these methods? This short and practical guidebook gives you the nuts and bolts of four pinnacle training methods, sample exercises for each method, examples of actors who have used these methods, the places where you can find these methods being taught, and further in-depth literature on each method. The next steps are up to you.

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2WxfHmj

Reviews:

“Fahay has a positive, forthright tone to her words of wisdom coming from experience. She acknowledges that acting and performing is hard work and takes a great deal of practise. At times it may even seem painful, but she says it isn’t, because “our work is something we love doing.” Fahay offers four major types of training that may fit in any combination for any type of performer. She also acknowledges what methods certain recognizeable actors have regularly used so that a prospecting actor can see where he or she may fit. Finally, Fahay has a composite of resources for aspiring actors to look into but never fails to recognize that constant practise and experimenting is the key to fulfillment. Bravo to her debut effort. This is an essential tool.”

Author Bio:
Jessie Fahay is a New York based actress, singer, producer who is out make a difference through artistic expression. With extensive experience in Personal and Professional growth, she is constantly researching and questioning human behavior. She has attained an MBA and MFA and is the proud founder of the award-winning performing arts company, RIPPLE EFFECT ARTISTS, which has been in existence for 10 years, employing Equity Actors and using the Arts to raise awareness and funds for Human Rights Initiatives. For project updates, visit www.jessiefahay.com or www.rippleeffectartists.com.

Learning to Quit by Suzanne Harris and Paul Brunetta

Book Summary:

Set yourself free from smoking. Strategy trumps willpower!

Personal stories paired with moving photographic portraits. Empathetic, non-judgmental advice to stop smoking for good.

Have you tried to quit smoking, only to find yourself reaching for a cigarette again and again? Tired of feeling bad about your health and making promises to the ones that love you? Set a “learning” mindset and reframe these past quit attempts as trial runs. It’s not your fault that you are a smoker. Nicotine is incredibly addictive, but you can beat it! Your amazing life as a non-smoker lies just around the corner.

This book provides the friendly, positive support you need on your quit smoking journey. Simply by reading this book, you’ll take an extremely important step to stop smoking cigarettes and end nicotine addiction. Every person’s journey is different, and yours is unique. The work that you’re embarking on is shared by the 24 people interviewed for Learning to Quit. Join millions of ex-smokers around the world who have broken free from tobacco.

What’s inside the newly expanded and updated second edition:

  • Frank and honest interviews with ex-smokers
    •Positive support to meet your quit smoking goals
    •Customizable and proven quit smoking plan
    •Strategies to survive your first week without cigarettes
    •Overview of smoking cessation medicines and quit aids
    •Information on vaping and eCig alternatives
    •Advice on how to get through your quit smoking detox
    •An easy explanation of how nicotine addiction takes control
    •Tips for dealing with urges
    •An extensive health information index
    •How to talk to loved ones about your quit smoking plans
    •Where to find a smoking support groups
    •A brand-new mindset for managing relapse
    •Moving portraits of ex-smokers by photographer John Harding
    Becoming a successful non-smoker is about strategy, not willpower. Maybe you tried Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, but can’t make quitting stick. Trying to stop smoking cold turkey is one of most difficult and least effective ways to quit. Relying on willpower or piling on guilt doesn’t work. More than fear or negativity, clear and positive motivations for change move us toward freedom from smoking. This book gives you the best ways to quit smoking.

BONUS: You’ll not only learn how to quit smoking; the medical section will equip you with vital health information. Learn how smoking effects your lungs, heart, brain, mood, weight and pregnancy. Explore different smoking cessation medication options. Feel inspired learning how quickly your health and quality of life will improve after you smoke your last cigarette. Learn more about the vaping controversy, plus vaping dangers and health risks.

Suzanne Harris, RN, NCTTP and Paul Brunetta, MD cofounded the Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center and are both former smokers. They’ve offered assistance to over 1000 smokers seeking help. They specifically developed Learning to Quit share the action plan, knowledge and support you need to take control of your health.

This book is not just about becoming smoke-free, it’s also about change; it’s about radically changing your life by ending a huge relationship–your tobacco dependence.

This book includes access to an entire library of free resources, including quit plans, mindset exercises, nicotine dependence tests and more!

Book Link – https://amzn.to/2xq5VJd

Reviews:

Kirkus

Two experts on tobacco treatment—Harris, a nurse, and Brunetta (Pulmonary/Univ. of California, San Francisco), a doctor and lung cancer specialist—collect former smokers’ stories of how they quit and offer strategies for others who’d like to break the habit.

While working together at the San Francisco Medical Center’s Chest Clinic, Harris and Brunetta bonded over their passion for helping patients quit smoking. Together, they founded the UCSF Tobacco Education Center, which hosts a stop-smoking program and a weekly Freedom From Smoking Support Group, and they build on what they’ve learned from those experiences in this new edition of a 2018 book. They begin with brief profiles of former smokers they met through the support group, photographed by Harding (Streets of Discontent, 2018, etc.), then move on to 235 pages of engaging personal stories by members. Their former smokers had different reasons for quitting, so the accounts vary widely. Each story, however, explores an open-ended question like, “Who would you be without cigarettes?” or “What is your denial story?” in an effort to motivate and inspire readers. For example, one former smoker’s “denial story” was that she believed incorrectly that she could not have a heart attack because she didn’t smoke very much, remained active, and was a woman. The book subsequently asks readers to think about their own denial stories and provides space in which they can jot down their notes on the subject. The authors go on to explore how smoking relates to health, covering topics like the effects of smoking on lung function and of nicotine on the brain. There’s also a timely section on vaping and e-cigarettes. Throughout the book, there are helpful images by debut illustrator Marhofer and tables featuring such things as a comparison of the temporal cortexes of a smoker and nonsmoker and information on nicotine replacement therapies. Useful as that information is, the personal stories—told in former smokers’ own words—are what set this book apart from other guides to quitting smoking. Readers who would like to hear from real people who have successfully quit smoking will benefit from it.

A smoking cessation guide with inspiring personal accounts by people who have stopped.
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/suzanne-harris/learning-to-quit-how-to-stop-smoking-and-live-free/

Author Bios:

Suzanne Harris in Her Own Words

When I first started smoking in my early teens, I felt grown up and powerful. Awkward, shy, and taller than all my classmates, I used cigarettes to mask my discomfort and find my place as a rebel. Years later as a nurse working in an inpatient cancer unit, I found that smoking had become a terrible burden and source of shame. I instinctively tried to abuse myself into stopping, berating myself for being stupid and weak; why else would I continue to do something that was in such conflict with being a good nurse and mother?

In finding my way to becoming a non-smoker, I developed some of the skills that are now in the pages of this book. Then, in 1984, I had the great good fortune to secure a position in an outpatient clinic in San Francisco, including working in the county hospital chest clinic for people with pulmonary diseases. There I saw the terrible toll smoking took on the health and psyche of our patients. I saw in my patients the same fear, defiance, and shame that I had felt as a smoker. So my experience first as a smoker and subsequently as a nurse has given me a dual perspective on tobacco dependence.

For me, stopping smoking involved developing a different relationship with myself, a relationship of love and respect rather than bullying and low self-esteem. And for the people I have worked with and learned from over more than 30 years of working in the field, a key for most has been to identify something they wanted more than a cigarette, and to go after that. In the process of that redirection, they came into a kinder relationship with themselves, just as I did.

Over the years, colleagues have expressed surprise that I would continue to find the work of a tobacco treatment specialist to be so engaging. In fact, the process of becoming non-smokers is rich with opportunities for transformation and empathy. Because smoking is interwoven with so many aspects of a smoker’s life, removing that thread opens a person to experiencing parts of themselves that have been ignored or unexplored. People discover strengths and gifts they did not know they had. I derive deep satisfaction supporting the single most important change a person can make to ensure a better future for themselves and the people they love: stopping smoking.

Paul Brunetta in His Own Words

My first cigarette at age nine was such a powerful experience that I can clearly remember it decades later. For kids, watching adults smoke creates a certain fascination with cigarettes and sends a strong signal that it’s what adults do. I remember Marlboro Man billboards and other positive images of smokers that were reinforced through TV and print advertising and movies in the 1970s as I grew up. In high school, I looked forward to smoking at beer-filled weekend parties. It strengthened a bond with one of my best friends, Brian, as something we shared that our other friends didn’t. Later, as an undergraduate in an intense pre-med program at Johns Hopkins University, I began to smoke regularly and realized that I was addicted. It took many attempts to stop, but with a high level of motivation I eventually did and developed a lifelong interest in nicotine addiction and tobacco related disease.

In my Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at UCSF, I came across a kindred spirit in an amazingly talented and dedicated nurse named Suzanne Harris. Suzanne and I worked together in the Chest Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and, together, we cared for a constant stream of patients with tobacco-related COPD and heart disease and lung cancer. This was mirrored in my rotations through the VA hospital taking care of great veterans who had survived battles for our country but were sickened by long-term tobacco use. Suzanne ran a Group at SFGH, and I asked to sit in. It was one of those moments when you realize you’re in the presence of a master doing something very difficult but making it seem effortless. As a former smoker, Suzanne was uniquely able to connect with people in Group with such profound and non-judgmental empathy, but was also able to guide them toward the next step in a quit plan. When I joined the faculty in the Thoracic Oncology Program focused on lung cancer, early detection, and tobacco education, we were able to find some limited funding from the Mt. Zion Health Fund to create the Tobacco Education Center and hire Suzanne part-time. I eventually left this position to work in biotechnology as Suzanne continued Group. And, years later, in 2009, a fantastic Group participant named Jeannie Fontana generously donated seed money that allowed for the creation and ongoing survival of the Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center.

Suzanne and I have been working on this book in one form or another for more than 10 years. We hope you gain a deep understanding of these people on their journey toward better health. And Part 2 of the book has health information and smoking cessation medication knowledge in clear language that can be critical on your own journey away from nicotine addiction. We hope this book is useful to anyone looking to improve their health or improve the lives of a loved one who is dealing with nicotine addiction.

More info: http://www.learningtoquit.com/about-the-authors/

You can start reading Learning to Quit for FREE at www.LearningToQuit.com/free

 

Goodbye Homeboy by Steve Mariotti

Book Summary:

One sunny afternoon in 1982, a young businessman experienced a terrifying mugging in New York City that shook him to his core.

Tortured by nightmares about the teens who roughed him up, Steve Mariotti sought counseling. When his therapist suggested that he face his fears, Mariotti closed his small import-export business and became a teacher at the city’s most notorious public school–Boys and Girls High in Bed-Stuy.

Although his nightmares promptly ceased, Mariotti’s out-of-control students rapidly drove him to despair.

One day, Mariotti stepped out of the classroom so his students wouldn’t see him cry. In a desperate move to save his job, he took off his watch and marched back in with an impromptu sales pitch for it. To his astonishment, his students were riveted. He was able to successfully lead a math lesson for the first time.

Mariotti realized his students felt trapped in soul-crushing poverty. They saw zero connection between school and improving their lives. Whenever Mariotti connected their lessons to entrepreneurship, though, even his most disruptive students got excited about learning.

School administrators disapproved of Mariotti discussing money in the classroom, however. He was repeatedly fired before receiving one last-ditch assignment: an offsite program for special-ed students expelled from the public schools for violent crimes.

The success Mariotti had with these forgotten children—including coverage in the Daily News, The New York Times, and World News Tonight—inspired him to found the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth.

By turns tragic and hilarious, Goodbye Homeboy shares Mariotti’s flaws and missteps as he connects deeply with his troubled students, and woos the most influential people in the world into helping them–saving himself in the process.

Today, Mariotti is widely recognized as the world’s leading advocate for entrepreneurship education. More than one million young people from Chicago to China have graduated from NFTE programs, and NFTE counts Sean Combs, Chelsea Clinton, Diana Davis Spencer, and many more business, entertainment, and community leaders among its staunchest supporters.

As Goodbye Homeboy powerfully illustrates, a spark of hope really can empower us to overcome life’s greatest hardships.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2T2ibbH

Reviews:

“Steve Mariotti’s moving memoir is a call to action for anyone who dares to dream, and dream big! Steve’s entrepreneurial spirit led him from calming his contentious classroom and nurturing his students’ ‘street smarts’ to becoming the founder of a booming nonprofit. Goodbye Homeboy powerfully illustrates how Steve went from reaching one student to reaching millions with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).”

—Erin Gruwell, teacher and author of The Freedom Writers Diary

“Goodbye Homeboy truly captures Steve Mariotti’s amazing journey as a teacher and an innovator. It’s engaging, heartbreaking, hopeful, and ultimately triumphant. This is the story behind the entrepreneurship-education revolution!”

—Jimmy “Mac” McNeal, founder of Bulldog Bikes Worldwide

“Steve Mariotti is one of the great teachers of our time. In this deeply personal memoir, he describes how a bunch of high-school dropouts in the South Bronx helped him discover the power of entrepreneurship education. Goodbye Homeboy is a page turner—once you open this book, you won’t be able to put it down.”

—Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up and founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization

About the Author:

Steve Mariotti is the founder and former CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and an advocate for entrepreneurs worldwide. His previous books include the Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto, which makes a convincing case for the power of entrepreneurship education to combat poverty, terrorism and totalitarianism. Mariotti is also the author of award-winning junior, high-school and college textbooks on entrepreneurship and small business management. He is a popular Huffington Post blogger.

In 1982, Mariotti left a successful business career to become a public high-school teacher in tough New York City neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Study, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Mariotti discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them how to run a small business. This experience inspired him to create NFTE in 1987 to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty. Today, NFTE is widely considered the leading provider of entrepreneurship education to low-income youth worldwide.

Debra Devi is an award-winning author, journalist and musician based in Jersey City NJ. She has co-authored numerous books with Steve Mariotti, including The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business, How to Start and Operate a Small Business, winner of the Golden Lamp Award for excellence in educational publishing, and An Entrepreneur’s Manifesto. Devi’s book The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John) received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. As a journalist, Devi has written for Investor’s Daily, American Banker, Crain’s New York, The Village Voice, RollingStone.com, Guitar World and more. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Devi performs internationally and received a proclamation from Jersey City for her contribution to the arts.

When We Were Brave by Karla M Jay

Book Summary:

In WHEN WE WERE BRAVE, we find a conflicted SS officer, Wilhelm Falk, who risks everything to escape the Wehrmacht and get out the message about the death camps. Izaak is a young Jewish boy whose positive outlook is challenged daily as each new perilous situation comes along. American citizens, Herbert Müller and his family, are sent back to the hellish landscape of Germany because of the DNA coursing through their veins. In the panorama of World War II, these are the high-stakes plots and endearing characters whose braided fates we pray will work out in the end.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2RaclUH

Reviews:

“When We Were Brave is not a novel about suffering, although suffering certainly makes up much of it. Rather, it is a novel about perseverance, the will to survive and push back against cruelty and death… It is what makes the novel exceptional and compelling.” -Daniel Casey, San Francisco Book Review

2019 Distinguished Favorites for New York City Big Book Award.
Jay’s (Speaking in Tungs, 2018, etc.) account is impressively ambitious, offering a sprawling view of the wages of war from three distinct perspectives. She ingeniously braids them into a coherent narrative tapestry, and along the way, she realistically describes the human degradation experienced by prisoners in the Nazi camps… – Kirkus Reviews 2019

Karla M. Jay’s novel When We Were Brave employs a dramatic triangle to create a highly-emotional, epic story of World War II, one that is as vivid as it is highly personal. Here is a moving, riveting tale that shows you how things once were–and how similar those times can feel to our own. Scott Lasser – Author of Say Nice Things About Detroit, Screenwriter for HBO’s True Detective Series

Great historical fiction teaches and entertains. When We Were Brave finds three little-remembered stories that beg to be heard. Told with vivid detail and meticulous research, these stories involve complex characters who demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit set against a backdrop of evil and tragedy. – Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling author of Funny in Farsi, and Laughing Without an Accent

When We Were Brave is a vivid, heart-wrenching portrayal of holocaust years, as innocent victims grapple with loss, loneliness, and longing while the English and American forces fight against the Nazi army…The story is told from the perspective of three protagonists whose lives become entwined. The narrative is gripping and skillfully paced, and Jay’s depiction of her characters’ inner turmoil, hopes, fears, and mental anguish stir the reader’s heart. With complex characters and intricate plotting, Jay delivers a heart-wrenching, engrossing historical read. -The Prairies Book Review

2019 Silver Medal Winner, Readers Favorite Contest. Combining excellent historical research with a compelling storyline, the hard work of author Karla M. Jay really pays off the more deeply involved you become with the characters in her plot…As the plot threads and connections slowly come together, the conclusion marks the realities of war and sticks in your mind for a long time after. When We Were Brave is a highly recommended historical read.

“Jay demonstrates a mastery of emotion and landscape. The scenes are visceral, the dialogue is sharp and believable, and the narrators are immediately engrossing. For history enthusiasts, the level of detail, cultural accuracy, and research feels immersive. The world of the past spills out naturally, drawing readers into the relationships between these characters. When We Were Brave is a vivid portrait of a time and place with characters who are immediately recognizable.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★

Combining excellent historical research with a compelling storyline, the hard work of author Karla M. Jay really pays off the more deeply involved you become with the characters in her plot. I found Wilhelm’s story to be the most compelling … as a disillusioned SS officer trying to make things right for himself, and for the world. Jay really pays attention to the emotive aspect and motivations of all her characters, making them leap off the page with reality and endearing them to readers, which is what makes their hardship all the more harrowing to read about. As the plot threads and connections slowly come together, the conclusion marks the realities of war and sticks in your mind for a long time after. When We Were Brave is a highly recommended historical read.– Readers Favorite

Author Bio:

Raised in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, Karla M. Jay has worked as a speech pathologist since 1982. When she is not home in Utah gardening or writing, she is traveling, trying to see as many countries as possible–in particular, those with good coffee, ancient history, and great beaches.

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #6

Got someone who loves fantasy and adventure in their life?

Book Summary:

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2svFjnu

Reviews:

WINNER of the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Fantasy

“Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall was rollicking good fun! Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the /Homas Wildus series and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review

“Volke carries readers into a darkly engrossing world with a passion that makes Knightmare Arcanist satisfyingly unique and hard to put down. Readers looking for a magic-based quest fantasy will find this story compelling and nicely written, with strong characters propelling action which is often unexpected and revealing.” – Midwest Book Review

“A spellbinding first installment of what promises to be an addictive series, Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.” – ManyBooks

“Richly crafted and laced with wry humor and intriguing magic, Knightmare Arcanist is a page-turner.” – The Prairies Book Review

Author Bio

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Aye-Aye Gets Lucky – Endangered & Misunderstood Book 1 by Terri Tatchell

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #5

Book Summary:

Join endangered and misunderstood AYE-AYE on his quest to win back the hearts of the people of Madagascar after his mischievous pranks get him banned from his favorite village and labeled bad luck. Luckily for AYE-AYE, he meets a new friend who shows him first-hand how unpleasant being scared can feel. Armed with a little empathy and compassion, it doesn’t take AYE-AYE long to figure out that being kind and helpful is the best way to turn his luck around forever. On the surface “Aye-Aye Gets Lucky” is about a misunderstood lemur finding a way to win the love of the villagers, but look deeper and it’s a story about empathy, self-acceptance, community and second chances.

Book Link – https://amzn.to/2Pdazzk

Video Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEJ3k7zGerY&t=19s

Review:

Aye-Aye is a small lemur who loves to play jokes on people, but his jokes are not much fun. They are mean jokes and often really scare the people he is playing the jokes on. Aye-Aye has big yellow eyes and long, sharp, crooked fingers. He is a pretty scary looking guy for people to see. Little children might be especially afraid of him when his would sneak up and wave his creepy hands at them. Aye-Aye has an ulterior motive. When he frightens people, they often throw food at him or drop it on the ground. Aye-Aye loves to eat, so this is a perfect result for him. But his antics get to be too much for the people in the village, and they ban Aye-Aye from the village and pass a law that says he cannot come back because Aye-Ayes are bad luck. It is not much fun for Aye-Aye to be all alone outside the village with no one to play pranks on and with no good food. He tries to think of ways he can get the village to welcome him back, but all he can think of are pranks and more pranks. Then a flying fox comes on the scene and teaches Aye-Aye a lesson about how it feels to be truly scared. Aye-Aye vows to change his ways and to find a way to get the village to accept him back. But is it too late? Can he ever gain their trust?

Author Terri Tatchell has written a truly engaging story that will keep youngsters entertained while teaching them an important lesson, but that lesson is well-hidden in a beautifully-written, rhyming text with perfect meter that will roll off the tongues of the adults reading the book aloud. There are a lot of funny touches that will have little ones giggling and keep them engaged. Aye-Aye is a fun character that kids will like and will root for as the story is read. The bright illustrations by Ivan Sulima are chock-full of delightful details that will keep youngster’s eyes on the pages searching for all the fun they can find. The charming illustrations really complete this story wonderfully. In addition, there are a couple of pages of back-matter that convey many interesting and important facts about Aye-Ayes and about Flying Foxes, which are endangered species. In addition to the facts, there are drawing lessons to allow youngsters to try their hands at drawing these two animals, and five ways to help the Aye-Aye to survive. This book is a terrific addition to any library, personal or public, and will become a favorite in a hurry.

San Francisco Book Review

Reviewed By: Rosi Hollinbeck

Author Bio:

Terri Tatchell is a Canadian writer known for her Oscar and BAFTA nominated work on ‘District 9’. Her love for animals and allegory have united in the creation of the ‘Endangered and Misunderstood’ series, giving the underdogs of endangered animals a lyrical voice filled with laughter, adventure and relatable themes.

Inspiring love and conservation for the endangered animals you’ve never heard of.

Endangered & Misunderstood is an ongoing series of picture books that takes a different approach to the serious subject of lesser known endangered animals, with an emphasis on laughter, adventure and relatable themes.

Proceeds from the sale of each book go directly to help the conservation of the featured animal.

Heart to Beat by Brian Lima MD

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #4

Book Summary:

Success is not reserved for the smartest or most talented—it’s earned by those who want it the most. Heart conquers all and the triumphant always go all in, never settling for anything less than their best effort.

As a leading heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Brian Lima’s life story is a testament to that mantra. He’s living proof that slow and steady still wins the race, and that the American Dream is alive and well. He persevered through countless challenges growing up in a Cuban immigrant family and defied the odds every step of the way. To fulfill his impossible dream, Dr. Lima opted for the road less traveled, enduring nearly twenty years of rigorous education and surgical training at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
In Heart to Beat, Dr. Lima shares the lessons learned throughout his improbable rise to the pinnacle of success in the medical field. He breaks down the keys to advancing well beyond your comfort zone and perceived limitations, regardless of your field of interest. No dream is too far-fetched and his Heart Way approach to life will help unleash your full potential and surpass your wildest expectations!

Link – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-to-beat-brian-lima/1134214090?ean=9781950892358

Review:

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut book, a cardiac surgeon recounts his successful medical career and offers a guide for readers wishing to achieve triumphs in their lives as well.

From the beginning, Lima proclaims his hope to inspire people from “all walks of life,” not simply aspiring doctors. Throughout the book, he details his personal history to reveal how he overcame obstacles. After his parents and siblings fled Cuba in the late 1960s, the author was born in Kearny, New Jersey, in 1976. At an early age, he was motivated to work harder in school after he watched a friend, also from a family of immigrants, win multiple awards at their eighth grade graduation. By high school, Lima focused on academics as well as athleticism, excelling in football. His devotion to the former was how he gained acceptance to Cornell University. He recalls that he accomplished this feat with a strong work ethic. He then stresses the importance of continuing to work hard even after finding success, citing “constant motion, growth, and development” as essentials. Another key element is gravitas, which in this book essentially means being consistently levelheaded under scrutiny or pressure. This links with later points, such as remaining ambitious in the face of self-doubts and conquering fears of failure. While much of the volume involves the figurative heart, Lima allots the final pages to the literal one, discussing the “rapidly evolving field of advanced heart failure” and providing tips on promoting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Lima deftly blends a useful guide with an absorbing autobiography; he doesn’t concentrate excessively on either one. The hardships he faced in his own life will likely elicit readers’ sympathies, including losing both parents and his family’s initially seeing his older brother’s schizophrenia as satanic possession. Although clichés at first saturate the book (“in it to win it”; “eyes on the prize”), they gradually subside as the account progresses. The author writes in an easygoing language that doesn’t condescend to readers. He’s instead humble (asserting that his above-average intelligence is not innate but the result of persistent studying) and occasionally self-deprecating (wryly mentioning his “critically acclaimed writing”). As a result, his criticisms of social media and the current culture of “safetyism” don’t come across as contemptuous. For example, he notes that the latter may adversely affect readers’ ambitions if they are too wary of taking risks. Lima playfully incorporates the volume’s main theme of putting your heart into what you do. Chapter titles, for example, typically consist of wordplay (“For the Most Heart, Gravitas is Essential”). He even includes a “handy mnemonic” for recalling the specific points of the subtitle’s “HEART Way” (Hard work; Eager or Entrepreneurial; Aligned; Resolute; Thoughtfulness). There are instances of repetition; despite a chapter on avoiding complacency, Lima repeatedly returns to this notion throughout the book (for example, doing the “bare minimum” or “just enough”). Nevertheless, the work’s short length prevents the reiterations from becoming too conspicuous.

Helpful advice from a keen, assertive, and relatable physician.

Author Bio:

Dr. Brian Lima is a cardiac surgeon, associate professor of surgery, and recognized authority in advanced heart failure. He has published nearly 80 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and presented at numerous national and international medical conferences. As the surgical director of heart transplantation at North Shore University Hospital, Dr. Lima helped launch the first and only heart transplant program on Long Island. Dr. Lima completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University and was awarded a Dean’s Full Tuition scholarship to attend Duke University School of Medicine. During medical school, Dr. Lima spent a year at Harvard Medical School’s Transplantation Biology Research Center as a Stanley Sarnoff cardiovascular research fellow. He then completed his general surgery residency training at Duke University Medical Center, and subsequent heart surgery training at The Cleveland Clinic, where he was awarded the prestigious Dr. Charles H. Bryan Annual Clinical Excellence Award in Cardiovascular Surgery

Rosa by Barbara de la Cuesta

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #3

Book Summary

“There were little sins and big sins, and if you committed too many little sins you were more likely to go on to the big ones. Some sins you did in your mind and then, sometimes, you went on to let yourself fall into them.” Darkly witty and compulsively readable, Barbara de la Cuesta’s novella lets us into the private life and secret thoughts of Rosa, an undocumented home health aide grappling with menopause and her unruly body, unexpected romance, grown children who alternately worry her and fill her with pride, and how life is confronting her with everything she has ever denied herself or hidden away from. Rosa is a natural storyteller, insightful in hindsight about her own motivations and unflinching in her willingness to look at the girl she was and the woman she has become. Rosa is a daring, funny, and emotional story about a woman moving her life out of the margins and into the sun with the power of confession.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/37Yjayi

Reviews:

Rosa is a magnificent display of empathy, a chance to see through the eyes of those who are all too often dismissed with either disdain or pity. Rosa – the woman and the novella – does not ask for any of our pity. She does not ask for understanding. She only presents herself and her story, and what we make of it is up to us.

—Manhattan Book Review, five-star review

Author Bio:

Barbara de la Cuesta lived a number of years in South America, and has long been a teacher of English as a Second Language and Spanish. Out of this experience came her two prize winning novels, The Spanish Teacher, winner of the Gival Press Award in 2007, and Rosa, winner of the Driftless Novella Prize from Brain Mill Press in 2017. Fellowships in fiction from the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation, and the New Jersey Council on the Arts, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, The Virginia Center, and the Millay Colony, have allowed her to complete these novels. She has also published two collections of poetry with Finishing Line Press, and her collection of short stories,The Place Where Judas Lost his Boots, has recently won The Brighthorse Prize for short fiction.

Adjustments: A Novel by Will Willingham

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #2

Book Summary:

By turns thoughtful and hilarious (even, inexplicably, both at the same time), this deeply Midwestern book quietly unfolds a vision for how to navigate in a world where we can’t always resolve things.

It begins with an old man’s call to the insurance company to get a minor house repair covered. Once the adjuster shows up, a journey both tender and tough is set in motion. These men need each other in ways it will take time to discover.

To complicate matters, the adjuster also needs (and is needed by) his aged landlady Pearl Jenkins. Theirs is a friendship both fraught and kind.

When the latest “outsider” from Minneapolis shows up to this small Dakotan town, with her non-approved hybrid car parked right across from Pearl’s house, the cast of characters is almost complete.

Just add the generous appearance of colorful minor characters the adjuster works with and serves in his work (none of whom, arguably, are truly minor) and you’re holding a delightfully satisfying book that, while it has you laughing, manages to quietly delve into the ways we bring people in and shut them out—on the job, in the town, or at the threshold of our hearts.

As much as the characters have a relationship with poetry and story (and they do), it is also a profound book about naming both the things that have held us back and the things we want, to move us forward—a book about choosing life.

Book Link – https://amzn.to/2DJMP0u

Review:

In Will Willingham’s “Adjustments,” Will Phillips is an insurance adjustor, working in the plains, hills, and valleys of South Dakota. He lives in a room of what was once a mansion but is now more of a boarding house. He has a give-and-take relationship with his 70+ landlady, Pearl Jenkins, who is part friend, part mother, part judge, part advisor, and full-time matchmaker who usually cheats at cards. So far, Will has resisted the matchmaking and gone along with the card cheating.

Will’s work, like most work, involves a daily sameness. After a few years, insurance claims become similar. A fire is a fire, and Will can usually sniff out when it was accidental and when it isn’t. Same thing for a stolen truck; even doctors are known to report a truck stolen when it’s time for a replacement. Will investigates a fire claim; the house is owned by a man unmarried to the woman and her children living with him. Will knows how this will end – the house will be replaced or rebuilt, the man will get a new girlfriend, and the woman will find herself and her kids homeless.

It says something about Will that, even as he sees the sameness, it doesn’t numb him to people’s anguish and pain. It may be that Will is still dealing with his own, even as he masks it from himself. That mask begins to fall when he investigates a claim by Joe Murphy, a 73-year-old widower originally from Chicago. Joe and his wife had moved to the area when Joe retired from the fire department in Chicago; his wife had grown up in the area and wanted to go back. After her death, he stayed, and Joe senses something in Will that needs to be reached. Hoe begins to try to reach whatever it is in Will through literature and music.

It is filled with humor and poignancy, insight and emotion. The reader sees into the soul of an inherently decent man who knows he’s broken and has found a way to live with that, until he can’t.

Adjustments is more than a good novel; it is a fine novel. It is, simultaneously, moving and real and surprising and true. We see ourselves and our personal histories and, like Will Phillips, we bear scars. This is a story about what matters, and it’s told beautifully well.

Author Bio:

Will Willingham was a claim adjuster for nearly 20 years, helping people and insurance companies understand loss. Now, he trains others to do likewise. When he’s not scaling small buildings or crunching numbers with his bare hands, he occasionally reads Keats, upside down.

The Baseball by James Flerlage

Gift Guide Book Suggestion #1

Know a baseball or sports fan in your life? The Baseball by James Flerlage might be the perfect gift.

Book Summary:

Landon Myers is a retired pediatric oncologist who spends his days diagnosing the ills of his young grandchildren’s stuffed animals while scheming up new ways to spend time with the older ones. When his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Lucy discovers an old Major League Baseball while cleaning his cellar, he faces the difficult task of exposing a family secret that has lain dormant for the past forty years.

Over a long lunch with Lucy, Landon reveals that he was previously married, divorced, and had a son, Alex. Two years after his parents’ bitter divorce, sixteen-year-old Alex receives devastating news that derails the course of his life. In a captivating story about family, relationships, and reconciliation, The Baseball begs the question, “If life gave you a second chance, would you know what to do with it?”

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2Rc86Yr

Reviews:

“The Baseball is written so fluently that I didn’t want it to end. This story is built around family, the good times and the bad times, the happy times and the sad times. It’s about how different people cope with pain differently and how good things can come out of things that may initially seem like the end of the world. I recommend this book for anyone who truly values family, making memories, and living life to the fullest.” – Manhattan Book Review (5-Star Review)

“An unusually affecting story. Overall, this is an earnest, unpretentious book that, despite overly deliberate grabs for the heartstrings, still manages to pluck them, all the same. A familiar tale, but one that has a melodramatic sincerity.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The Baseball is a brief novel by James Flerlage about family and the quality time we choose to spend with them. The irony of Landon’s fate—an oncologist whose son develops cancer—could have turned the story into one of bitterness and regret. Instead, it is an opportunity to revisit a time in a man’s life when he must choose his family or his work. The author delivers the heart-wrenching plot in simple and crisp prose and without judgment and gives readers the opportunity to re-examine their own priorities in life.” – San Francisco Book Review (4-Star Review)

“The plot of The Baseball is a well-developed hybrid of family and sports drama. It hits familiar plot beats and framing devices, but the work develops smoothly and evenly with quiet style. The author has a clear handle on storytelling and the unveiling of mystery; the sports focus and the manner in which it is integrated into the characters’ lives is alluring.” – The BookLife Prize

Author Bio:

James Flerlage is the author of Before Bethlehem, a critically acclaimed historical novel and “2013 Recommended Book” by Kirkus Reviews. In addition to spending time with his family, James enjoys fishing, drumming, and watching Major League Baseball; he follows the Kansas City Royals and the Cincinnati Reds. Follow the author and The Baseball on Instagram: @thebaseballbook.