Your Friday Five

Improve Your Mood

It's raining and I forgot my umbrella.  The next train doesn't arrive for another 20 minutes.  The motorcade is out again. U St is swarming and keeping me from my favorite Jamaican restaurant!  Again!  There are several opportunities for circumstance to put a damper on our day and I would like to offer a few reading suggestions that are sure to get you up and literally running towards happiness.  


Spark
 
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Fascinating topic.  Author John J. Ratey goes into a detailed description of how the brain creates memories, stress, motivation, everything and I found myself looking up images of dendrites, axons, everything, in order to understand what was going on. After creating diagrams to get through chapter 2, I was able to move on to the juicy stuff: how exercise saves the human boyd. This book motivates one to work up a sweat by informing the reader how you are  investing in your livelihood and functionality. If you take the time to exercise you will think clearer, you will remember better, you will be happier, you will breathe longer (barring accidents and such).  
 
Peace From Broken Pieces
 
Peace From Broken Pieces 
Amazing read. Iyanla Vanzant is an inspirational raconteur whose autobiographical narrative evokes a can-do attitude. She goes into the difficult details of her past identifying several barriers the she didn't even realize worked against her.  She relates the circumstances that led to each progressive step in her life, always hoping for the best.  At the very least, I was able to say that I have not been through half the things she went through, so I there is no excuse for not getting just as far.  

 
Unlikely Loves
 
Unlikely Loves
A terrier can care about and play with a duckling?! A Great Dane can hang out with a fawn?! A badger, boa constrictor, tortoise, and several other animals have developed relationships with other species encouraging one to not only think, "hmm, we can all just get along", but also that we can find ourselves involved in meaningful relationships with unlikely loves.
 
Getting Things Done
 
Getting Things Done
Author David Allen makes several helpful suggestions about how to become more productive and therefore less stressed.  With a combination of proper list making and utilization of in/out boxes you can remove the cobwebs from the brain, have more time on your hands, more projects underway, and perhaps even more direction in your life.  

 
Lean In
 
Lean In
Great, easy read.  The statistics and anecdotes make Lean In a page-turner. I was simultaneously surprised and not surprised with the stories of female self-sabotage and culturally generated norms disinclining women to aim high and follow through. I am happy I took the time to read this because although I am not in the corporate world, points are made about household equality and raising awareness about female bias.  Acknowledging bias sets the stage for dismantling it; knowing you're working toward parity will certainly improve your mood. 


--Vickie, Library Associate