Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.
Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr. I wanted to love this book. I really, really wanted to. It’s about some of my favorite things: France, food, cooking. The bits about Julia and M.F.K. almost saved it, but I just couldn’t get into it. Too much gossip and not enough going on. I broke my rule here and kept reading to the end, but I should have stopped at page 38.
Room by Emma Donoghue – Wow. An amazing book. A sensitive topic, for sure, and disturbing, although not graphic. I wanted to read it as soon as I heard it was loosely based on the real-life Fritzl case which captured my attention years ago.
The book is written from the perspective of Jack, a 5-year-old boy who, along with his young mom, are held captive in a garden shed that has been converted into a bunker from which they cannot escape. What makes this book touching despite the circumstances of the protagonists is the tenderness between Jack and his Ma. In the world she creates for him in Room, he lacks nothing.
Mindwise by Nicholas Epley – A book that explains how little we know about our own mind and motivations, much less that of others, with advice on how to overcome our natural egocentrism and misunderstand others less often.
The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel – We’ve all heard of the “marshmallow test” and the implications for the rest of their lives of the kids who participated in the study. This book was written by the scientist who designed those original studies. Self-control equals more success and happiness in every area of life.
Just one takeaway bit: self-control is hard to muster in the heat of the moment when the brain is in reptile mode and the body is flooded with stress hormones. We can give our willpower a boost by identifying our stress triggers. Develop “if-then” plans for your personal hot spots. Problem behaviors aren’t broadly consistent, they’re situational and depend on context. Keep a journal of times you “lost it” and develop a game plan going forward. Good stuff.