Cecilia Marie

one aspiring quaintrelle's voyage

October 2012 archive


Slowly, I’ve been getting back into reading. I’m not sure what turned me off of it before – I think it was my eyesight; reading often gave me headaches. Now it just makes me tired! Sigh.

This year I’ve purchased a bunch of books! A lot of them aren’t even novels. I’m in the mood to talk about them, and since this blog barely gets love I thought I’d give it some to do that with :)

@heart What the Buddha Taught with Texts from Suttas & Dhammapada
I looked through many a list to find a good introductory book on Buddhism. I’ve been interested in the idea of Buddhism as a philosophy for many years now; I remember, as a 13 year old, printing pages of information about Buddhism from Wikipedia to enlighten myself on the topic, but not getting much further.

The reviews I’ve skimmed on Goodreads about this book excite me! It was used as an academic text at Grinnell College; reviewers boast the concepts are conveyed clearly and simply, yet it is supposedly addressed to ‘the educated and intelligent reader. I’m looking forward to picking this up once I’m finished with my current novel.

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@heart Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
This purchase is probably due to the frustrated introvert in me wanting to make a stronger mark, but I think it could also help me pick out why I have trouble saying “no” without feeling guilty about doing so. I’m not sure I’m manipulative enough a person to ever apply the understanding of “why people say yes” to make people say yes without that same guilt.

It’s a little out of my comfort zone, but an exciting perspective to explore all the same. The synopsis does mention the book teaches you “how to defend yourself against” persuasiveness – that’s mostly what I’m after, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I think I’m just interested in the ‘psychology’ behind it all. Really, really interested!

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@heart Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
I bought this book after I watched Susan Cain’s presentation, “The Power of Introverts”, about the reasons behind the book being written. She opened the speech by telling a story about her experience at camp, wherein she brought along a suitcase full of books, but when she sat down to read them she was counselled about making an effort to be more outgoing. Cain spent her life thereafter proving to herself and the world that she could be extroverted, ignoring her intuition that it wasn’t who she is and that she was fine just the way she wanted to be: introverted.

She says the world is truly made for extroverts, seen in the structures of our schools and workplaces, and that the world needs to realise extroversion isn’t the only way to be valuable. That people, and introverts especially, should realise the value of introversion. They both have their ups and downs! One isn’t superior!

Even after only seeing this presentation, the idea that “the world is made for extroverts” has resonated with me. I’m excited to read this book and see what she has to say. A review I skimmed reprimanded the book for keeping introverts “in their shell”, and I venture to assume that review was written by an extrovert. An introvert who embraces their introversion may seem on the outside as if they live in a shell (or a bubble, as I like to call my world), but who is anyone else to judge them for this? An introvert – not to be confused with a shy person – is excited by their inner world, entertained by it, doesn’t need to mingle and make a lot of small talk (though they might; it isn’t a craving like a strong-leaning extrovert has).

I can obviously talk your ear off about the differences between introverts and extroverts, I suppose looking for a job in the extrovert world as an introvert has made an impact on me. This book is a bit of a given for me, it would be strange not to have it on my shelf. And I haven’t even read it yet!

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@heart Fitting In Is Overrated: The Survival Guide for Anyone Who Has Ever Felt Like an Outsider
This book was recommended on a group for INFPs (or “Highly Sensitive Person” INFPs, but all the same, INFPs!) because it’s typical of an INFP to be misunderstood and cast out as a weirdo – or at least that’s what school was like for me except among my group of friends. The few new people who bothered to talk to me who would always tell me “I don’t know what they have against you, you’re awesome”. I wonder how my school life would ahve been without those nods of affirmation here and there…

I got through high school without fitting in, even got through some of university that way. I moved to a country town that was very cliquey and, still, I stood strong. Whenever I have tried to fit in, it always turned into my own “blend” of the world I was trying to melt into, rather than synthesising with it completely. This always made me feel like an outsider, but as I’ve grown I think I have learnt to embrace this and use it positively, rather than to accuse myself of failure, as I’ve been wont to do much of my life.

Something else I’ve been learning, in the past few years in full force, has been how to hold my tongue. I’ve always been an “open book”, sharing my thoughts freely and being very true to myself, but it has always bit me in the bum! This book’s synopsis touches on this, saying “it’s about choosing wisely when to speak your truth and saying it in a way that gets positive results”. I’m doing well and hope this book can help me perfect this skill. I’m sure it will make my life much more joyous, and my persona more graceful – something I am striving for.

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@heart A Walk To Remember
The only novel I’ve bought this year?! Actually, I don’t think it is, but the others were for a collection rather than want for reading.

This book was made into a film, which just so happens to be my favourite film ever. Sometimes I think it’s a bit silly that my favourite film is a romance film, when I always fancy myself a massive psychological thriller fan, but I think it shows how gentle and fragile my inner world really is.

I’m looking forward to the differences in the romance and character developments that the film either missed or interpreted differently. I love both the main characters, Jamie especially has inspired me through my life, when I’ve been singled out and bullied, to be strong and true to myself. More recently she’s inspired me to realise that being true to yourself doesn’t necessarily mean revealing your weaknesses.

The story has been such an influence to me, moving me to tears on so many occasions, I can’t not have it on my shelf.

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@heart The Chronicles of Narnia
Ah! A Walk to Remember wasn’t the only novel, then. Though this is still processing and barely in the mail as I only ordered it yesterday.

This year I bought an edition of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, and had planned to buy the others to complete the Chronicles of Narnia collection, but then I saw that the first 7 stories were published into this one edition and decided to buy that instead of the 6 others individually.

I aim to read all of the stories before I watch the film – I watched the first film after I read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m not sure if I like doing it that way, I picked up on the differences too acutely. I will read this entire book before I watch anything else.

People and reviews have told me there are Christian undertones in this story, but, at the risk of sounding stupid, I didn’t pick up on any of them! I’d be interested to read a study guide on it in future.

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@heart The Last Unicorn (graphic novel)
I watched the film “The Last Unicorn” after being recommended it by Princess Skye. She dressed as Amalthea and looked beautiful doing so. The beauty drew me in, and the opening song by America has a magical air to it that made me feel so at peace, The Last Unicorn took a piece of my heart.

It’s a children’s story about a unicorn who ventures to find more of her kind. On her journey, she loses her way. That’s all I’ll say so not to ruin the story for those who might be interested. I haven’t read the novel that the film was based upon yet; I actually thought that’s what I was buying when I bought this, but then realised it’s an illustrated, graphic novel interpretation of the story. I’ve only flicked through it thus far, and can say I’m disappointed with their version of Amalthea, but that the unicorn is amazing. I’m glad I bought it, since the story took me so much to heart I feel as if I grew up watching and reading it.

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These are just the books sitting on my shelf that I’ve accumulated this year. There are others I want to read from years ago, too. Eek!

I really want these books, too:

@heart Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
I am almost ashamed this wasn’t the first book I picked up after learning what Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is. It’s such a short book, yet reviews for it are amazing, I’m so excited to read it! It’s written by Isabel Briggs Myers herself (and Peter Myers, excuse me).

I’ve learnt a lot about MBTI from the internet already that I wonder if this book will teach me anything new. Apparently it’s concerned with how each type learns, which could prove invaluable if I end up in a teaching position and able to type based on functions. Functions are amazing things! If you’re skeptical about how several billion people can be typed into one of 16 types, read this book! Reviews rave about how accurate it is.

I’m sure MBTI isn’t without its holes, but I’m still at the start of my journey to understand the system. I absolutely cannot wait to explore it more deeply. This is my favourite type of psychology, I only hope one day I’ll be able to base a paper I write on it! I’ve converted the two people I’m closest to toward MBTI by typing them and having them absolutely stunned at the resounding resemblance the descriptions had with themselves. It isn’t even that general – if you look at types other than yours, functions and all, it’s likely you won’t see yourself in it.

Maybe I place too much trust in this system, but it’s been a lifesaver since I discovered it; it helped me explain to myself why I do this or that, and how to improve and balance the points about my personality that I don’t like or which are hindering me in getting where I want to go. I’ve gotten a bit off track here, but I suppose the system itself is what this book is about after all!

The book teaches strengths based on how we learn, and to learn about how different people approach things is to perfect the art of communication. If we realise what someone values and we realise how different someone’s priorities could be while still seeing them as a valuable person, with all their own gifts and talents, we can put a stop to negative mindsets and overwhelming negative world views (something I’m prone to as an empath). I just can’t wait to read this must-have book, is what I’m saying, I suppose!

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@heart The Highly Sensitive Person
I had never thought about my sensitivity being a “thing” of its own. Sure, “being sensitive” has always been a thing, but I suppose I’ve never thought about it being some sort of diagnosis. Who’d have thought anxiety could stem from something as simple as “being sensitive”? I’m still not sure what exactly being Highly Sensitive means, but I’m fairly sure I am a HSP, having discussed it before.

“Empathy consumes me”, I always say. Empathy is a big sensitivity of mine. The book comes with an assessment to identify your sensitivies, so I’ll see what accompanies empathy on my list once this book is on my shelf and I can think about it more deeply. I’m hoping that understanding my sensitivies will help me be able to overcome them if and when they try to overwhelm me, to be able to explain to the people I love why I am the way I am, and to be considerate and accommodating to others who might be HSP as well.

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@heart Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence
Even the title of this book makes it a must-read for me. I’ve spent my life wishing I could be understood, relishing in the few relationships I managed to build that seemed to do this magically, on some other plane of understanding that I’d never reach on my own to work with.

This book is apparently a go-to for many training programs in counselling as a guide, so why haven’t I bought it? It explores character and temperament differences, something that since discovering MBTI I’ve been trying to explain to people, apparently to no avail. I hope David Keirsey can lend me a credible authority to use to more eloquently explain the concept of
“differences” to people. It seems like such a simple concept to me, but reading a lot of posts social networking makes me think it may be a completely foreign one to many others.

I will push this issue strongly until I am old and tired. It’s worthwhile for everyone to benefit from the obvious fact that they are unique, and so is everyone else. Somewhere along the way people started seeing the word “unique” as a negative thing, which is a fact I am sorry to look at. Perhaps it is arrogant to use it as a word to explain yourself with, but is that because we’re all the same? No way! Uniqueness is a given, something we take for granted now and have forgotten, absorbed in our own lives. Maybe this book will equip me with the tools to make people appreciate themselves, and help me to appreciate myself.

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@heart Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong (Overcoming Common Problems)
This book was openly recommended on a group I frequent for INFPs. Reviews claim it’s flipped their perception of depression on its head and opened them up to the strengths they’ve been ignoring and not being told are there. I’m not convinced I have depression, but I am convinced I have had it. Apparently the author uses a very assumptive tone and words his beliefs and theories as indisputable fact, so if I read this I hope I don’t get swept away reciting its contents to others the same way.

In more than one way I think this book will help me. Firstly, to perhaps understand what I should do to improve my quality of life, as understanding and knowledge help me reconcile myself to ideas much more easily than being told “it’s OK” or “it’s normal” to feel certain ways. The biological aspect of depression always confounds me! Just when I think I understand, the rug is pulled from under me and I’m crawling again. Understanding is a big motivator in my life. Secondly, approaching the book critically, keeping in mind his aforementioned tendencies, will be good critical thinking practise and will help me further develop unbiased mindsets, should I choose to pursue a counselling position in future.

I also hope to help some of the people in my life right now by using the insights this book may hold, so fingers crossed!

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@heart The Last Unicorn (novel)
I wanted to buy this for my kindle, but I can’t seem to find a kindle edition, so it will join my graphic novel edition when I finally buy it. It isn’t the highest priority, but as I said above, has a place in my heart that feels a little empty without it there now that I’m getting into books.

On Goodreads this book is in a “the book was better than the movie” list, and since I loved the movie so, I really must read it myself and see whether or not I agree with the listopia. Though, I can’t imagine reinventing the characters with my own imagination. The curse of movie-before-the-book!