Book 499: The Laramie Project – Moisés Kaufman

This is not the first time I’ve read this. I have seen the film adaptation and I have read this multiple times. There are no surprises in this for me, and yet there I was sitting on the train with tears rolling down my face trying not to make that horrible noise when you can’t breathe, but you have to breathe or you’re going to choke on your tears. I clearly need to read this every few years to remind me of my humanity.

I have vague recollections of Matthew Shepard’s murder and the media circus that ensued in the late ’90s, but I do remember staying up late secretly watching the HBO adaptation (IMDB link) as a Junior/Senior in high school. It was a defining moment as a young man coming to terms with my sexuality. It didn’t really scar me or anything, but it definitely made me realize the “don’t ask, don’t tell” with which my family and most of my town it seemed operated under was just as easily broken as the “live and let live” as that in Wyoming.

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Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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Book 470: The Power of Kindness – Piero Ferrucci

ferrucci-piero-the-power-of-kindnessSimilar to Finding the Blue Sky, I’m not sure whether this one was great because of its own goodness or because of the three bad ones I read before by Miguel Ruiz.

The publisher, TarcherPerigee sent me an unsolicited copy of this book and I’m glad I read it.* They’ve really got either a good editorial team or a great lineage of what to print because they’ve been much more hit than miss, which I know I’ve mentioned previously.

It’s going to be hard not to compare this one to Finding the Blue Sky for two reasons: I read them back-to-back and they’re very similar. I almost wish the two authors worked together on the book because they both would’ve been strengthened by it.

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Book 469: Finding the Blue Sky – Joseph Emet

emet-joseph-finding-the-blue-skyUnlike the last three books by Miguel Ruiz, this book seemed to really make sense to me and didn’t offend me with it’s contradictory stories and lessons.

I didn’t plan to end the year with a bunch of self-help books, but because work took up so much of my time in the last third of the year I’m just now catching up on all the galleys I received.* That’s a sentence I never expected to write.

As someone who is incredibly skeptical of self-help books, religion, psychology, psychotherapy or really anything doing with the mind or the ethereal, I’m not only surprised at how many I’ve read this year, but I’m also surprised at how many I appreciated. I still think there is a time and place for all of the thing above, but I’ve found that when they are well written (which most of TarcherPerigee’s seem to be) they’re worth some time investment, but not too much!

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Book 468: The Voice of Knowledge (Toltec Wisdom Collection #3)- Miguel Ruiz

ruiz-miguel-the-voice-of-knowledge YAY I’m done! I don’t have to read this dribble ever again. That is of course assuming I don’t go through a life changing experience like Ruiz. If you haven’t been following along, you might wonder about the sass in that previous sentence.

I have not become a fan of Ruiz or his philosophies having finished the first three books of his Toltec Wisdom Collection. I am glad I read them because it showed a different point of view, but I was struggling to figure out why I was so offended by them and this one finally made it click. I’ll talk more about that momentarily, but for let’s take a moment to breathe deep and appreciate I don’t need to re-read these again. Ever.

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Book 467: The Mastery of Love (Toltec Wisdom Collection #2)- Miguel Ruiz

ruiz-miguel-the-mastery-of-loveI’m not sure I will make it through the third book in the collection. I probably will because I already have it, but I can guarantee I won’t look into the fourth book, The Fifth Agreement or any of the other works by Ruiz.

As I mentioned when I responded to The Four Agreements, this isn’t really my cup of tea and I think The Mastery of Love made that even more apparent the further I got through the book. I found myself getting more agitated the more I read, thankfully it came it at just under 200 pages.

I’m not sure if it’s the deepening spirituality of the books or what, because Ruiz is very careful not to use only Judeo-Christian references, even if he chooses predominantly Western religious references including the Ancient Greeks.

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Book 466: The Four Agreements (Toltec Wisdom Collection #1) – Miguel Ruiz

ruiz-miguel-the-four-agreementsThis book came to me from the Human Resources person at my previous job. I had gone to her to ask advice on how to communicate with another member of our team and she had a lot of great advice, but she recommended this book.

It came up again when I was talking to our Human Resources person at my new job. We were discussing great resources and I mentioned my old HR person loved this book and I realized I had never actually gotten around to reading it.

Once I finished reading it, I spoke with her again and told her some of the drawbacks and she mentioned some others that might be more in line with my life philosophy and pretty much lack of spirituality. That being said this book still had some great points that I appreciated and think anyone can put into practice in their own life.

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