A book club inspires others to read, discuss, and reflect. I try to start one in person everywhere I go.

Perhaps we can begin an online one?

I write so many things down in a journal but that doesn’t do so good for interaction with others. The plan is to update this from 2017 until the rest of my life! I have read so many great books before 2017 and will include as many as I can get to but plan to update after I read each book from here on out.

I encourage SUGGESTIONS, discussion, disagreement, anything! Please add your comments or email me at ActionAhimsa@gmail.com

My favorite authors are J.K Rowling, Mitch Albom, Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl
& Junie B. Jones was my favorite as a wee child.

hp

Most memorable books I’ve read in my life: Harry Potter series, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, The Time Keeper, The Giver, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, The Lovely Bones, After the Ecstasy the Laundry.

2017:

The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell
“I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive”

Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel – Judith Fein
Judith and her husband travel all over the globe to experience other cultures and write about them. I finished this read on my trip from the United States to New Zealand and was really inspired. Coincidentally, the first chapter was about the Maori people (natives of New Zealand)

7 Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra
Success in life: the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals. Spiritual Success: measured by how efficiently, how effortlessly we co-create with the universe.
Law of Pure Potentiality – knowing who we really are. Self power draws things that we want to us, it magnetizes people, situations, and things to support our desires. Support from law of nature is state of grace. When in harmony with nature, we create a bond between our own desires and the power to make these desires materialize – silence, allowing youself to just be. meditate. “Be still and know that I am God” Practice non judgement, spend time in nature. Notice elements and harmony. Your very desire is not your own, it’s an evolutionary impule coming through you, so why should you doubt it? That impulse is part of the greater pattern, which is to grow and evolve into greater abundance and creativity.
Law of Giving and Receiving – Give a gift to everyone you encounter – be it a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Circulate joy and affluence in your life and of others. Gratefully receive every gift that life offers you. Be open to receiving gifts; material, compliments, or a prayer. Silently wish everyone you encounter happiness, joy and laughter. Care, appreciate, love!
Law of Karma or cause and effect – Witness the choices you make in every moment. The best way to prepare for any moment in the future is to be fully consciouc in the present. Ask yourself two questions during choice: What are the consequences of this choice? Will this chouce bring happiness to me and to those effected by choice? Ask you heart for guidance and follow what makes it comfortable.
Law of Least Effort – This moment is as it should be, because it took the entire universe to make this moment. When you struggle against this moment, you struggle against the entire universe. you in intend for things to be different in the futurebut in this moment accept things as they are. Responsibility means the ability to have a creative response to the situation as it is now. The realtionships you have attracted in yoru life are precisely the ones you need at this moment; there is a hidden meaning behind all events that is serving your evolution. Release your intentions without attachment, and when the season is right, your desires will blossom into reality. Remain defenseless and open to all points of view.
Law of intention and Desire – Attention and intention energizes and transforms.Put attention to, it will grow stronger. Take away, it will wither. Gently eliminate intentions and desires with expectation that they will bloom when the season is right. Make a list of your intentions and desires and look at this list before you go into silence, sleep at night and awake. Practice present moment awareness in all your actions. Refuse to allow obstacles to consume your attention in the present moment.
Law of Detachment – Nurturchopra.jpge deepest intentions and go with the flow. When we exchange our self for the symbols of our self, we end up feeling empty inside. Without uncertainty, life is just the repetition of outworn memories. No evolution leads to stagnation and entropy. Surrender our desires to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe. Don’t get locked into a rigid mindset! The universe is one song. “I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think” Nothing will stop the force of your intentions. When preparedness meets opportunity, a solution will spontaneously appear that benefits you and all those around you. Good luck = preparedness + opportunity
The law of Dharma or purpose in life- When we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our spirit. Goal of all goals! When we are expressing our unique talents we are happy and lose track of time. Open spiritual eyes see the illusions of our conditioning – dharma beckons. Nurture divinity. Spirit animating body and mind, carry the consciousness of timeless being in the midst of time bound experience. List your unique talents then list all the things that you love to do while expressing them. Ask daily: How can I help? Serve? Answers will help you to serve your fellow human being with love!

New Zealand’s Investor Guide to Making $ in Residential Real Estate
Step 1: preparation for a property portfolio (now) Understanding of basic financial principles and pay off credit cards on time. Put your assets to work for you instead of sitting on them. Reasonable cash flow 80 bucks a week.
Step 2: Creation of the property portfolio (0-10 years (after buying first house))
Step 3: Management of property portfolio (10+ years) allowing you to cash in when you wish
Step 4: Retirement (10+ years) property portfolio primary income. Goal? x houses Why invest? when you stop working, unless you have you $ working for you there is only one other option: government’s old age pension ?? People who retire at 55 with 200,000 saved will run out in about 9 years time.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
Whenever you read this and wherever you are you are in the right place to begin.
Change the lens through which I viewed everything familiar. Ben Franklin’s virtures: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, chastity, humility
Secrets of Adulthood
People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think
It’s okay to ask for help
Do good, feel good
It’s important to be nice to everyone
Bring a sweater
By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished
If you can’t find something, clean up
You can choose what you do, you can’t choose what you like to do
Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while
If your’e not failing, you’re not trying hard enough
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good
People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry
You can’t profoundly change your children’s natures by nagging them or signing them up for classes
No deposit, no return
There is only love
When the student is ready, the teacher appears
Aristotle: Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim & end of human existence
Epicurus: We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything and if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.
Here are heaps of notes I took because I vibed so hard with this book:
It is by studying little things, that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible. Remember love: quit nagging, don’t expect praise or appreciation, for right, no dumping all the minor issues into spouse’s lap, give proofs of love. Refuse to think critical thoughts, never complain about them behind back, don’t listen to others criticize. It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light.
Instead of Christmas cards send out cards at another time of the year. Don’t do things for them or for the team, tell yourself I am doing this for me. How you fight is important, not how much you fight. Tackle one difficult topic at a time. Know how to bring it to an end, make repair attempts. An uneasy conscious is a hair in the mouth – Mark Twain It takes 5 positive things to offset 1 negative reaction. Women prefer face to face conversation while men find romance while working or playing alongside their mates. Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will only see by my actions. Send interesting news or funny emails. If you want to know how people would like to be treated it’s important to look at how they act rather than what they say. Handmade vs bought, inside party vs? Act the way I want to feel. One of the great joys of falling in love is that the most extraordinary person in the world chooses you. Go to bed at the same time, leave 3 things unsaid each day, have one outdoor and one indoor activity to do together. You manage what you measure. To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right. Each distinctly rises and falls independently. Generate more positive emotions, remove sources of bad feelings. Feeling right is trickier. It was the feeling of living the life I’m supposed to lead. It’s about living the life that’s right for you – in occupation, location, marital status, and so on. It’s also about virtue, doing your duty, living up to the expectations you set for yourself. Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure not this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. Enjoy the fun of failure. Ask for help. Work smart. Enjoy now. People who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence. Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability because the most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice. Paradox of happiness: we seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar and unexpected are important sources of happiness. Research shows that the more elements make up your identity, the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened. Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?
Happier- Tal Ben Shahar “Arrival fallacy” the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy. “Floating world fallacy” the belief that immediate pleasure, cut off from future purpose, can bring happiness. “Nihilism fallacy” the belief that it’s not possible to become happier. Arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. By the time you arrive, you’re expecting to reach it – already incorporated into your happiness. Arrival almost always brings more work and responsibility. Arrival @ one goal usually reveals another, yet more challenging goal. Take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth” in the gradual progress made toward a goal in the present. Enjoy now. “There is indeed something inexpressibly pleasing in the annual renovation of the world, and the new display of treasures of nature.
Therese – Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by.. every little sacrifice, every glance and word and the doing of the least actions for love. Ordinary life is full of opportunities for worthy, if inconspicuous, virtue.
“The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced.” Flawed can be more perfect than perfection. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Keep a contented heart.  Be me. the more my life reflects my true nature, interests, and values the happier I become. “Know thyself” There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.

Buy the entire series here! It’s literally so worth it..

Boy – Roald Dahl
Dahl’s autobiography but in the most unique and best way. Based on the moments in his life that shaped him.

Going Solo – Roald Dahl
His experience flying in World War II. An overall descriptive and entertaining read.

roald.jpgThe Giraffe and the Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl

Billy has always been interested in an abandoned building that was once was a candy store. One day it is bought and the next a giant red door was added to it, much to tall for a human. He befriends a giraffe, pelican, and monkey who have the best window washing service in the world, pretty much. There is a patented beak and a magical neck that helps them to be the best trio. They are picked up by a rich duke for work and end up helping him to pick fruit off his tree and rescue millions of dollars worth of gems from a burglar. The Duke of Hampshire invites them to live with him and in turn, Billy gets to convert the old abandoned home into the candy shop of his dreams! He gives the most thoughtful candies to his friends and they assure him he can visit anytime by reading the pages of the book.

BFG – Roald Dahl

Such an amazing book with made up language and an entire other world of the Giants. So happy I read this before watching the movie. Sophie and the BFG save the world from the rest of the 9 evil giants by tying them up and bringing them to a big hole in the ground dug by the Queen of London!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Of course the book was better than the movie but I had nice mental pictures throughout of the characters and scenes. I liked Charlie and the Chocolate factory most because Charlie and Grandpa Joe didn’t drink the burping floating juice in the book and they did in the movie. The movie was almost exactly the same as the book which I appreciated. It was my mom’s favorite movie growing up. I found this insight from the Oompa Loompas to be my favorite part.

‘The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set-
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotized by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk.
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out on the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink-
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES!
“All right!” you’ll cry. “All right!” you’ll say,
“But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children! Please explain!”
We’ll answer this by asking you,
“What used the darling ones to do?
How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?”
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED…. TO… READ!
They’d READ and READ, and then proceed
TO READ some more. Great Scoot! Gadzooks!
One half of their lives was reading books!
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start – oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine
That nauseating, foul, unclean.
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

The Twits – Roald Dahl

The beginning description of Mr. and Mrs. Twit actually grossed me out more than any part of Roald’s series that I’ve read. Describing the food in Mr. Twit’s beard and his lack of showering was pretty gross. It really painted the rest of the story for me and how treacherous they were. Those clever monkeys saved many birds and escaped back to Africa where they belong but not before twisting the Twits upside down and making them shrink to absolute death.

The Witches – Roald Dahl

This was possibly one of my favorite Dahl books. A tale of a boy being taught all about witches by his Grandma and then finding himself in the secret meeting of all witches! He soon finds out their plan to turn all the little children in all of England to mice but not before being turned into a mouse himself. He is a grateful boy so he isn’t phased by this but finds the perks such as the use of his tail and not having to attend school. He and his grandma devise a plan to steal the potion to turn them into mice instead. It turns out successful and he spends the rest of his short mouse years living with his wonderful elderly grandma as they hunt the rest of the evil witches in the world! As I went to review the reception of this book I found this on wikipedia:

Dahl’s children’s stories have been praised as often as challenged. For instance, three of Dahl’s stories appear in Publisher’s Weekly’s 150 Bestselling Children’s Books of all time (until the year 2000). However, The Witches was banned by some libraries due to perceived misogyny. It appears on theAmerican Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 to 1999, at number 22.[3] Some critics consider the book sexist, with one stating that the book is how boys learn to become men who hate women. Others see the book as presenting a more balanced message about learning to see past surface inspirations. One critic considers it an “unlikely source of inspiration for feminists.”

In 2012 The Witches was ranked number 81 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. It was the third of four books by Dahl among the Top 100, more than any other write

It’s funny because I never even thought of this. In Dahl’s book BFG all of the Giants are males and every one except the friendly one are evil and disgusting. I don’t think Dahl meant any sexism through his book, The Witches but it’s interesting that it is banned in many places.

Charlie and the Glass Elevator – Roald Dahl

This was by far the least entertaining of Roald Dahl books, (sorry)! It was a quick read but too long with such a small storyline. The sum is the folks in the glass elevator ascend through space and find the president’s space hotel. They save the people who were about to board it from the Knids and then descend back to the Chocolate Factory. In that same day, the president invites them to the White House but not before Willy Wonka shrinks the grandparents in age and then returns them to their normal size. It could have been condensed a wee bit to keep me giggling but hey, it was still an okay book. I wouldn’t care so much to see it in theaters however I do want to check out the 1990s rendition of Witches.

Mom & Me & Mom – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s life from youth to adulthood and further to her mother’s death. At first being abandoned it was hard to accept love from her mother but it didn’t take long for her mom to gain her respect. She called her grandmother mamma and was very fond of both. Her mother empowered her throughout her life, through a beating and kidnapping, a failed marriage in which Maya had to sneak away to church and give up the thing she loved the most: dance. After the divorce she became a dancer and her mother helped her make the costume. She was courted all over the world performing and screenwriting for many years until she decided to come home. Through a slight bout of craze she found what to be thankful for by writing on a yellow notepad and ballpoint pen. She moved to New York to continue singing and dancing and pursue her writings of compassion and poetry. She became a professor in North Carolina and her mother came there to spend her last days with her.

A Letter to My Daughter – Maya Angelou

I CAME TO UNDERSTAND THAT I CAN NEVER FORGET WHERE I CAME FROM. MY SOUL SHOULD ALWAYS LOOK BACK AND WONDER AT THE MOUNTAINS I HAD CLIMBED AND THE RIVERS I HAD FORGED AND THE CHALLENGES WHICH STILL AWAIT DOWN THE ROAD. I AM STRENGTHENED BY THAT KNOWLEDGE.”
MAYA ANGELOU IS NOW ONE OF MY HEROES THROUGH HER INSIGHT AND PRESENCE. SHE HAD ONE SON AT THE AGE OF 17 BUT SAID “I HAVE THOUSANDS OF DAUGHTERS. YOU ARE BLACK AND WHITE, JEWISH AND MUSLIM, ASIAN, SPANISH-SPEAKING, NATIVE AMERICAN AND ALEUT. YOU ARE FAT AND THIN AND PRETTY AND PLAIN, GAY AND STRAIGHT, EDUCATED AND UNLETTERED, AND I AM SPEAKING TO YOU ALL. HERE IS MY OFFERING TO YOU.”

IN FINDING MY OWN VOICE, I HOPE I CAN BE A LIGHT TO OTHERS THROUGH ACTIONS, THOUGHTS AND WORDS AND I’VE BEEN DEEPLY INSPIRED TO MY ROOTS. THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE, I’M GONNA LET IT SHINE.. I GIVE THANKS TO MY ROOTS AS I ROVE OTHER CORNERS OF THE WORLD OFFERING PEACE AND KINDNESS.

Matilda – Roald Dahl
One of my favorite books. So much better than the movie even though they did a great job trying to recreate this tale. Matilda is ignored by her parents. Miss Honey, evil headmaster Miss Trenchible’s niece, realized her genius and special talents. They soon become friends and Matilda trains herself to lift chalk with her eyes to write to Agatha from Jenny Honey’s dad on the chalk board. She faints, skips town and gives the house back to Miss Honey. Matilda comes to live with her and they spend the rest of their days together happy and content.

The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl
Also one of my favorites. A girl uses her magic finger after seeing The Gregg family shoot and kill many ducks and animals. One day she asks them to stop and they ignore her, angering her. She uses her finger and the next day they are little birds and giant ducks move into their house. They shoot at them with guns. When the bird people say not to the ducks ask why, their response is because we’re allowed. The ducks say then we allow ourselves to shoot at you! The people ducks promised to never kill another animal and the magic transformed them back. When the girl returned to the family they were smashing their guns, burying the 16 ducks they had killed the day before and feeding all the birds by seeds from their farm. I think it taught a great lesson to little kiddies about hunting and fairness.

Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
A man is in love with the woman who lives in the apartment below him. She has a turtle that she wishes would grow. He buys 100 turtles and changes them out after telling her magic words to speak to the turtle. In time, it grows to just the size she wants it to, and even shrinks so it will fit into the house she designed for it. She is so thankful that she ends up wanting to marry the man, and they do! I am not sure I liked this one so much because of the deceit from the man trying to win the woman’s love. Though she never knew the turtle was switched out, wouldn’t you be sad to know that happened. Would your relationship be built on lies? Perhaps I’m thinking too deeply about a children’s book but this was by far my least favorite book because I think it actually does send a bad message to children reading.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Mr Fox is trapped with his family underground while 3 mean farmers wait for him to come out, so they can shoot and kill him. As he starves, he devises a plan to tunnel to the farmer’s crops such as cider, turkeys, goose. He invites the other starving animals for a feast and they decide to live underground forever picking from whatever food source they want to. Fantastic Mr Fox tricks those farmers and they’re still sitting out there today waiting on the animals to come out of the hole!

James and the Giant Peach
Based on my favorite movie, the book was really great. The silly songs and poetry really made this tale for me. James is treated terribly by Aunt Sponge and Spiker and wishes to be free after his parents are eaten by a rhino. A magic leprechaun gives James lots of magic worm things and he drops them while they seep into the ground. Insects become life sized and a peach grows to be very large. They travel through the ocean discovering cloud people and end up at the top of the empire state building. James describes his pesty friends and they all become heroes. James lives in the peach pit in central park with many children visitors. Ladybird marries the fireman, the centipede has his own shoe company. A fantastic tale, perfectly written. Good Job, Roald Dahl!

Nonstop Nonsense – Margaret Mahy
I only picked this up at the library because Quentin Blake did the illustrations. Same as Roald Dahl. No short silly stories compare to Shel Silverstein’s and no longer kids books compare to Roald Dahl’s but nontheless I enjoyed the tale of the girl dangling upside down for basically no reason and getting people to follow her and of the funky soup the mother made for her daughter.

Women Who Run With The Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Probably my most profound read, definitely of 2017 possibly my life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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