Shelf Control #6: “The Rise” and “50 Psychology Classics”

Shelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and devices.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so I’ve decided to feature 2 books instead of just one. I chose the books at random and was surprised to see that both books are based in psychology.

…I guess this is a sign that I should start reading the nonfiction books I own.


My first pick of the week

Title: The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

Author: Sarah Lewis

Genre/Subject: Nonfiction; psychology

Published: 2014

Length: 259 pages

Goodreads summary:

From celebrated art historian, curator, and teacher Sarah Lewis, a fascinating examination of how our most iconic creative endeavors — from innovation to the arts — are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.

…Written over the course of four years, this exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of a creative human endeavor. Each chapter focuses on the inestimable value of often ignored ideas — the power of surrender, how play is essential for innovation, the near win — can help propel you on the road to mastery, the importance of grit and creative practice. The Rise shares narratives about figures past and present that range from choreographers, writers, painters, inventors, and entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F.B. Morse, Diane Arbus, and J.K. Rowling, for example, feature alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, and Arctic explorer Ben Saunders. (Goodreads)

Where I got it: Book Outlet

When I got it: Last year

Why I got it: I was inspired by her TED Talk on how the idea of failure can motivate us.


My second pick of the week

Title: 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do: Insight and Inspiration from 50 Key Books

Author: Tom Butler-Bowdon (editor)

Genre/Subject: Nonfiction; psychology

Published: 2006

Length: 301 pages

Goodreads summary:

This is the curious reader’s guide to popular psychology, an invitation to embark on a journey more than a century in the making. Comprised of excerpts from fifty books and covering hundreds of groundbreaking ideas, 50 Psychology Classics explores foundations of the field (William James’s ‘The Principles of Psychology’) as well as contemporary writings (Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Blink’). Among the topics included are: 
* The Science of the Brain
* Tapping the Unconscious Mind
* Happiness and Mental Health
* Personality and the Self
* Human Motivation
* The Dynamics of Relationships
* Creative Power and Communication Skills (Goodreads)

Where I got it: Barnes & Noble

When I got it: 2014

Why I got it: Simply because I’m interested in the subject…and the book was discounted. 😉

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Shelf Control #5: “The Weight of Feathers” by Anna-Marie McLemore

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This week’s book is one I hope to read this year. From the reviews I’ve seen, it seems to be a sweet book that I’ll enjoy reading.


My pick for the week:

the-weight-of-feathersTitle: The Weight of Feathers

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Genre: Fantasy; magical realism

Published: 2015

Length: 308 pages

Goodreads summary:

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice. (Goodreads)

Where I got it: BookCon 2016 in Chicago

When I got it: Last year

Why I want to read it:

A couple of reasons: the author is very nice. I met her at BookCon last year when I got the book and she signed it. Yeahie! The premise of the story is very appealing and I have heard it compared to The Night Circus so that piqued my interest. I’ve also heard that it has a bit of magical realism in it as well, so I’m curious to see how the author works that in and what her writing style is like.

If you’ve read this one, share your thoughts on it below. 🙂

Shelf Control #4: “Whisper Hollow” by Chis Cander

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This cover of this week’s book made me assume it’s a horror novel, but it seems more like a mystery with a hint of horror.


My pick for the week:

Whisper HollowTitle: Whisper Hollow

Author: Chris Cander

Genre: Historical; thriller

Published: 2015

Length: 400

Goodreads overview:

Set in a small coal-mining town, a debut novel full of secrets, love, betrayal, and suspicious accidents, where Catholicism casts a long shadow and two courageous women make choices that will challenge our own moral convictions.

One morning in Verra, a town nestled into the hillsides of West Virginia, the young Myrthen Bergmann is playing tug-of-war with her twin, when her sister is killed. Unable to accept her own guilt, Myrthen excludes herself from all forms of friendship and affection and begins a twisted, haunted life dedicated to God. Meanwhile, her neighbor Alta Krol longs to be an artist even as her days are taken up caring for her widowed father and siblings. Everything changes when Myrthen marries the man Alta loves. Fourteen years later, we meet Lidia, a teenage girl in the same town, and her precocious son, Gabriel. When Gabriel starts telling eerily prescient stories that hint at Verra’s long-buried secrets, it’s not long before the townspeople begin to suspect that the boy harbors evil spirits—an irresistible state of affairs for Myrthen and her obsession with salvation.  Whisper Hollow

Where I got it: From a pile of free books at work.

When I got it: 2015

Why I want to read it: I picked it up because I love the cover. I don’t think I read the synopsis when I took the book, but I assumed it would be psychological horror and that I would like it. I need to try it to see if that’s true.

Shelf Control #3: “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys

Shelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This week’s book celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and was written as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.


My pick for the week:

Wide Sargasso SeaTitle: Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Genre: Literary; historical

Published: 1966

Length: 190 pages

Goodreads overview:

Jean Rhys’s reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction’s most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money and his lust. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors’ sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak English home.

In this best-selling novel Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.  Wide Sargasso Sea

Where I got it: My university’s bookstore.

When I got it: Umm…2008?

Why I want to read it:

Well, I know the whole point of this meme is to feature books I haven’t yet read, but I think I’ll include books I want to reread as well. This is one of those books. I’ve always wanted to reread Wide Sargasso Sea. I didn’t like it when I first read it for a Caribbean literature class because I found it very confusing. I’d like to see if my reaction to the book has changed. Also, I read Jane Eyre earlier this year and liked it so it would be good to follow that up with the story of the madwoman in the attic.

Wide Sargasso Sea is on the must-read list I set for myself this year, but it’s highly likely I won’t get to it until next year.

Related articles:

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (theparisreview.org)

Charlotte Brontë May Have Started the Fire, But Jean Rhys Burned Down the House (lithub.com)

The Book That Changed Jane Eyre Forever (bbc.com)

Shelf Control #2: “Under the Tuscan Sun”

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This week’s book was made into one of my favorite movies. I bought it shortly after reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.


My pick for the week:

under-the-tucsan-sun

Title: Under the Tuscan Sun

Author: Frances Mayes

Genre: Nonfiction, travel memoir

Published: 1996

Length: 291 pages

Goodreads overview:

Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.  Under the Tuscan Sun

How I got it: Barnes & Noble

When I got it: July 2013

Why I want to read it: I bought it shortly after reading Eat, Pray, Love for the first time because I wanted something similar to Gilbert’s book, another story in which I could experience new places vicariously though the author. When a co-worker told me the Under the Tuscan Sun movie was based on a book “that’s way better than Eat, Pray, Love,” I went to B&N and bought a copy. But when I got home and read the first page, I wasn’t as entranced as I was with Gilbert’s book so I didn’t continue reading. However I’d like to revisit Under the Tuscan Sun to see if I prefer it to the movie.

Shelf Control #1: “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods”

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

I’ve wanted to join in ever since Lisa announced this meme, but have just gotten around to doing so. I own a lot books and though I tried to buy less this year, I went overboard due to the two bookish events I attended — BookCon and the Small Press Expo. My hope is that this meme will get me excited about the books I already own, or at least lessen my need to quickly purchase the cover that catches my eye.

Also, I just want an excuse to talk about more books so just think of this as a tour of my library.


My pick for the week:

in-the-house-upon-the-dirt-between-the-lake-and-the-woods

Title: In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

Author: Matt Bell

Genre: Fiction, fantasy (some on Goodreads have listed it under magical realism)

Published: 2013

Length: 312 pages

Goodreads overview:

In this epic, mythical debut novel, a newly-wed couple escapes the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore. They plan to live there simply, to fish the lake, to trap the nearby woods, and build a house upon the dirt between where they can raise a family. But as their every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife’s beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house.

This novel, from one of our most exciting young writers, is a powerful exploration of the limits of parenthood and marriage—and of what happens when a marriage’s success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

How I got it: I saw it in a pile of free books at work and I recognized the title so I grabbed it.

When I got it: 2013 or 2014

Why I want to read it: I think I saw a review of it in a Shelf Awareness newsletter and that piqued my interest. I still would like to read it because the story sounds interesting.