Tag Archive | non-fiction

Review: Journal Sparks by Emily K. Neuberger

Art journalers, bullet journalers and those who just can’t pass up a beautiful blank book will find loads of inspiration in Neuberger’s colorful Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity with Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking.

An empty page can be daunting. As can the question, what is a journal? Neuberger fills a page with all the many things it can be (at its simplest, “anything with pages that is used to collect ideas”) and all the purposes it can have. A journal can be for everything, or it can be used “only when sitting in a tree.” The rule is no rules.

Journal Sparks invites the reader to uncap some markers and sharpen those color pencils. Lists, daily events, observations are all embellished with illustration. Neuberger’s examples, Continue reading

Review: City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

Combining the research skills of an academic and a storyteller’s flair, Vanderbilt Professor Holly Tucker brings the crime-riddled Paris of the late 1600s to life in the excellent history “City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris.” At its center is the “Affair of the Poisons” which touched both the glittering heights and impoverished lows of French society.

In 1667 Nicolas La Reynie was appointed lieutenant general of police with the objective of imposing law and order on the disordered city of Paris. A flurry of ordinances cleaned the streets and lit the night. Mud taxes, animal regulations, fines for emptying chamber pots into the streets, and a special tax to place lanterns along the streets (creating the “city of light”) slowly improved the quality of life in Paris, even while causing grumbling among the citizenry.

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Review: A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman

A Really Good Day by Ayelet WaldmanAyelet Waldman has spent many years and dollars in search of a good day. She is smart, successful – a bestselling author and a former federal public defender — and suffers from a mood disorder. She is not depressed to incapacitation, or in need of hospitalization, but she is far from happy. She is easily irritated, prone to dark moods or anxiety, and productive in bursts. And after years of therapy, supplements, medication, and meditation, she stumbled upon a controversial approach to managing her moods – microdosing LSD.

In “A Really Good Day,” Waldman walks the reader through her month-long experiment with LSD. She takes a microdose –  1/10th of a dose a person hoping for hallucinations would take. One day on, two days off, and she faithfully records her condition each day: mood, any conflict, sleep, pain, work etc. Continue reading