About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

January 2, 2011

Ro's Reads - 2010

Dive into the sea of thought and find pearls beyond price.

Moses Ibn Ezra

I am one of those people who enjoys spending  my downtime reading - and the more minimalist I become, the more time I have.   I would prefer to describe it as uptime in that it makes me so very happy.    Last night, after spending much of the day in the studio practicing,  I retired to my room to finish reading  The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, while listening to the soothing desert soundscapes of Many Paths - the latest CD by Lorrie Sarafin.   Add to that an aromatherapy candle, spearmint and eucalyptus - it was pure bliss after all my hard work.

These are Ro's Reads from 2010.  The list is not all inclusive in that I did not keep track of all of the books I read, nor did I include any of the technical manuals, etc.  Some of the books on this list have been read a number of times over the years because I like them that much!    I included ratings in the form of  * , the more stars, the better - and anything five stars and over is recommended by me as a good book under the particular book genre.  I also added some comments, as well as links to where you can read more in depth reviews on the books, and purchase them if you wish.  I always recommend your local library, or places like Goodwill where you can purchase paperbacks for about fifty cents and then donate them back.  Sometimes I like to order used books from Amazon.com and sell them back or donate them to charity.

Books on enlightenment:

The Art of Happiness , by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  **********
This is among the best books I have ever read in my life - recommended to me by my friend Achim Schreiner.  I will keep this book forever, a ten!

How to Expand Love , by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  **********
Wonderful book, with great meditations.  Also among the best I have ever read, another ten that I will keep forevermore.

The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World , by His Holiness the Dalai Lama  *******
Very good, but this time around too much on various psychological studies and not enough of what the Dalai Lama had to say - I was either re-reading paragraphs, or racing ahead, kind of a roller coaster ride!   I rate it highly overall, but not as highly as the other books by His Holiness that I have read.   Other reviewers on Amazon.com rated it higher than The Art of Happiness however.    

The Power of Nowby Eckhart Tolle **********
I am adding this one to the list of best books I have ever read.   A big hug and thanks to my son Joe for sending it to me as a birthday gift - I'm attached to this one and you can't wrest it from my fingers.
Zen Habits for Life, by Leo Babauta *****
Short, sweet and to the point.   Leo is directly responsible for my having kicked up my minimalism a couple o notches.  A great guide and a very good read.  Be sure to check out Leo's blog Zen Habits to hear more of what he has to say.

The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta  *****

The Anywhere Anytime Chill Guide, by Kate Hanley *****
Great meditations!   Thanks to my friend Andi for so sweetly giving this to me when I was ill earlier this year!  I consider this more of a pocket book for meditations under certain circumstances than something to read through and through.

Fiction to keep you turning the pages: 

The Da Vinci Code , by Dan Brown *******
Very good.  Made me a fan of Brown.

Angels and Demons , by Dan Brown *******

Excellent!   Dan Brown at his finest. 

Deception Point , by Dan Brown ****
Brown disappointed me with this one, good start but then it went downhill.   Some of my friends disagreed with me, so I leave it up to you.   Maybe because I read it immediately after reading Angels and Demons. 

Under the Dome, by Stephen King *****
Very good, albeit a little disappointing to me at the end.  Friends argued with me on that point.   You can see Ro's review of this book here:  Ro's Review of Under the Dome.

The Shining, by Stephen King (read for the 5th time) *****
Why is it that I have read this book five times? 

The Stand, by Stephen King *******
Best Stephen King novel ever, but it will take you quite a bit of time to get through.  I have read it three times. 

Creepers, by David Morrell *****
Good. No complaints. 

The Pelican Brief, by John Grisham ****

The Runaway Jury, by John Grisham *****

Vamps n' Stuff: 

Salem's Lot , by Stephen King *****
Good, classic King. 

Dracula, by Bram Stoker ******

This could also technically go under "classics" - a book that I have read twice and will keep to read again.

Interview With the Vampire, by Anne Rice *******
Very Good! 

Servant of the Bones, by Anne Rice * 
The first chapter had me hooked, then she lost me.  I couldn't finish this one.   Too much ongoing monologue by the main character and not enough action.  I will stick to the vampire chronicles.   

Love and Life:

Atonement, by Ian McEwan *** 
I didn't like the plot.  

Princess, by Jean P. Sasson ***** 
Good.  I plan on reading more by Sasson.   

Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden ***** 
Very good.  

Belfast Girls, by Gerry McCullough ******* 
I hope Gerry publishes a sequel!   See my interview with Gerry here: Ro's interview with Gerry McCullough. Gerry is getting great press on her first published novel!  

Marley and Me, by John Grogan ***** 
Very cute!


Matters of the Heart , by Danielle Steele **** 
Ms. Steele's fans will not be disappointed, but for me it was just o.k 

Once in a Lifetime, by Danielle Steele ****

Same as above. 
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen ****** 

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen ****** 

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott ***** 
I have read this book probably ten times.  Good for younger readers and I recommend her sequels too, Little Men and Jo's Boys.   

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte ***** 
Very good.  

Wuthering Heights, by Charlotte Bronte  *****

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMarier ***** 
Very good.  

The Scapegoat, by Daphne DuMarier  ***** 

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath ** 
Simply too depressing.  

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens ******
I am a big fan of all of Dickens books.   

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens *******   

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens  ****** 

Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence ****
The heroine was simply too silly for me to get in to this novel. 

For you Rockers:  

Losing It, by Valerie Bertinelli **** 
This was just o.k. 

Life on Planet Rock, by Lon Friend ***** 

Hammer of the Gods, by Stephen Davis *****
Very good. 

For the inner child (good for young and young adult readers as well as those who are children at heart like me): 
Witch Child, by Celia Rees  ***** 

The Sorceress, by Celia Rees ***** 

Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling  ****** 
My daughter gave this to me for Christmas and I am enchanted!  I will be reading the entire series.  Thanks Mars!

On deck to be read (in addition to six more Harry Potter books) are Prey, by Michael Crichton, The Vampire Lestat, by Anne Rice, and The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace.  

There are a few books on the list above that even I plan on keeping, to read over and over again, but most of them have been given back to the lender, the library or donated to charity.  In the article Breaking the Sentimental Attachment to Books, Robyn Devine of Minimalist Knitter  provides some helpful tips on not letting your passion for reading back fire on you clutter wise.  If your collection is already out of hand, Ms. Devine offers some great tips on tackling those boxes and bookshelves.

Now go out friends, pursue yours passions and live your extraordinary life.  Not sure where to start?  A book on subject matter that you are interested in is a good way!

No comments: