Book Review

Two Awesome Hours By Josh Davis

April 17th, 2020   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

Two Awesome Hours

You may have read and watched thousands of articles and hundreds of videos teaching you how to manage time effectively. They either tell you to make a perfect timetable and stick to it or they tell you to prioritize all your business so you can allocate time in order. For the former, there are indeed examples of success like Alexandrovich Lyubishchev, known for his “better life” method, who kept recording his time for 56 years until he died which earned him plenty of academic achievements. But let’s be honest, we are not experts in time like Lyubishchey, and for most of us, following the timetable and making every single record of our life is not so practical. For the latter, ranking things is also not easy since you always need to measure the urgency and importance and make choices between them. Sometimes you can only take care of the urgency, but ignore the importance which may cause problems.

 

So, after all this discussion, what is so different about the book “Two Awesome Hours”? The author Josh Davis takes a totally different way to see how to improve the use of time without applying a strict timetable or prioritizing things. He talks about physical potency, which is how to adjust our bodies to a peak when we are dealing with one thing and so on make efficient use of time. The title of the book, “Two Awesome Hours”, does not mean that you need to create or find your two most important hours every day and that the rest of the time does not matter. It refers to mobilizing the body’s energy when we need it to quickly get into a productive working status. This process of mobilizing and adjusting could be 30 minutes long , 2 hours long – like the title says, or more.

 

“Two Awesome Hours” introduces five strategies to improve our bodies’ performance:

 

  1. Recognize your decision points: 

 

Between every action, we need to stop to think about what is truly needed next. Whether it’s about your job or schoolwork, we need to avoid running unconsciously by a series of procedures which usually keeps us in a seemingly busy status but actually nothing significant or important  is finished.  A short pause helps recapture the initiative and take control of our time consciously.

 

  1. Manage your mental energy: 

 

What people usually don’t pay attention to is the fluctuation of mental energy. Like the energy of our body, the energy of our mind changes with surroundings. So we need to manage it like how we manage our body and keep it in the right condition for doing critical tasks. The reason why we tend to ignore the mental exertion is that it’s not as obvious as physical exertion. When you are physically exhausted, you sweat and feel weakness in the limbs and your heart rate goes up. These are palpable. While, when you have run out of a certain amount of brainpower, the performance is you become dull and you can’t focus or think in depth which is not going to be noticed or taken seriously.

 

  1. Stop fighting distractions:

 

The author states that we should stop blaming ourselves for being distracted because it is just the characteristic of the brain that our attention cannot be focused for a long time. It is the result of evolution. Well, you know, a primitive man in the wilderness, if he can’t be observant and alert, he is going to be eaten by other animals. So allocating a certain part of attention in the external environment is just one attribute that comes with the brain. When this happens, letting our mind wander or taking a few minutes to stare out the window may actually help us to refocus.

 

  1. Leverage your mind-body connection:

 

We all know that when our bodies are in good condition, we are more likely to pay attention and work effectively. The author mentions that our minds and bodies are intertwined and that’s why we need to focus as much on our physical health as our mental health. We can keep our bodies in health by simply staying hydrated, eating smaller meals but more often and doing moderate exercise.

 

  1. Make your workspace work for you:

 

If you do not want to be distracted, find a place that will not distract you. The author recommends to choose a quiet area with bright and cool lighting rather than a warm and dim one and keeping your desk uncluttered when we try to focus on our work.

 

Davis shows us how to use time wisely and be productive connecting to our biology. Again, don’t struggle to produce your perfect 2 hours, but take your time slowly so you can bring yourself to the peak. It is totally fine if you want to put more time into practicing it and making the adjustment. Lastly, I wish you all 2 awesome hours!

By Shengdan Jin

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis

April 3rd, 2020   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

Stella Grant and Will Newman, the two main characters in the book “Five Feet Apart”, are two teens who have Cystic Fibrosis and fall in love with each other during treatment. For people who don’t know, Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, and that’s why if you take a closer look at the book cover, you will see a lung made of flowers, indicating a beautiful meeting where the story begins.

Cystic Fibrosis can be life-threatening since it causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. Also, it is dangerous for two patients to stay together considering that the cross-infection may happen and it will worsen each other’s condition. Therefore distance is always required between Stella and Will whenever they are together.

Normally, Stella should be the one who likes to be in control and strictly follows the hospital’s instructions to stay away from anything that may threaten her life and body, and it should be Will who doesn’t care about treatment and wants to get out of the hospital to break the rules. But since they met each other, everything seems to be going in a different direction.

When they fell in love and were found being together, the nurse warned them not to see each other or either one of them could die and it would be the other’s fault. When it comes to the other, Will becomes the one who is more cautious. He starts to avoid Stella to keep everything safe for her. The distance between them becomes further than the first time they met. But he is not the only one who takes a different action.

In repsonse to the nurse’s warning, Stella found out that the safe distance between two people who both have CF is six feet and if she and Will keep six feet away at all times, they should be safe. In addition, Stella brings up the idea of stealing back one foot. By doing so, they are not five feet apart but one foot closer than other CF people.

The story is beautiful so far but the difficulty of them being together is more than what can be anticipated.

Beyond the love story, it is really surprising to see the small things that we are able to do which are so difficult for them – from taking a normal breath or living a normal life. The life of CF people may not be that sad in the real world, but living a healthy and normal life is truly a great asset to us. If we have the chance, don’t let go when we can use it to say, to do and to be with people we love.

By Shengdan Jin

Hollow Cross
By Keigo Higashino

February 29th, 2020   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

The first thing I want to talk about Hollow Cross is the name itself, which is much more powerful than I thought when I had first glance at it. If you only finished the 2/3 parts of the book, you would think the “Hollow Cross” is about how useless the death penalty is for a criminal who has no fear of death and no shame of what he did. But when the story goes to the very end, where it tells the story of the other two adults putting themselves in a deep sense of guilt for thirty years for abandoning their new-born baby that they had when they were teenagers. They kept blaming themselves until they grew into two adults even though no one else knew what they had done, and no judgement could have possibly been made on them. And then the name “Hollow Cross” is more than something ironic to make fun of the meaningless judgement, it also represents the invisible cross made by people’s own willingness to keep themselves remembering the sin they had made, and in the front of people’s deep self-confession, the law seems useless again in another different aspect since people already took the action first before the law notices it.

After understanding the two different ways for the “Cross” being “Hollow”, it really made me want to take a seat and think about the law. For those who hold no feelings about committing crime and do not care about others’ and even their own lives, there should be other ways to give the punishment which would truly make the people care and feel sorry about what they did. And for those who had already suffered themselves from their own sense of guilt paid a lot for what they had done, should the law still keep its cold and fair judgement that would give the same weight of punishment to them to those who feel nothing about everything?

By Shengdan Jin

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

January 24th, 2020   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

Sometimes we might ask ourselves whose fault it is when things that once seemed familiar turned to be totally different and made the whole “best” situation just an out-of-date rubbish. When being in the process of fast changing, are the people who insisted the original and traditional life the ones who are false? Is this their fault to not be able to accept and adjust themselves to the new belief and environment? People who are born in this fast-moving society may think it is easy to catch on every new trend since it happens nearly everyday and becomes one thing they can get used to. But what about those who were born in last generation or earlier and who have already set up their own way and knowledge of dealing with things and living a life with their whole life experience? It seemed normal to persuade people to catch on whatever appeared new and get used to it as soon as possible since that is how people avoid being dropped out. But sometimes people may have paid too much effort and attention on it and turn it into a must-be-done task. People may not realize that it could be crucial to people of last generation or earlier to get rid of and deny the success of all the ways and knowledge they had and that was once necessary to live their life.

This is my second time to read the book “Things Fall Apart”, and it just brought me a totally different feeling from my last time to read it. The main character Okonkwo left the image of a strong but old-fashioned man to me, and sometimes I would think he was helpless with his own expert knowledge about how to rule and success his and his children’s life. I have to say I did not really like him at first since he seemed too arrogant about what he knew and what he had. He was obsessed with masculinity and with the strong body and spirit, along with the wealth he earned, he believed he was right about everything. He did not get enough satisfaction from taking control of his own life but tend to take in charge the life and destiny of all rest of his family members, and he was happy when seeing himself in his brave, strong and hard-working daughter which was a real comfort to him since he knew his daughter would be as same successful as himself by holding the same characteristic he had. When I first read it, the criticism of the invasion by white people was what I thought the most obvious core in this book. But when I read it for second time, I could not help rethinking the whole story from the perspective of how it would feel like by being one of those characters whose life was interrupted and who were forced to give in and accept the change, especially how the main character Okonkwo feel about the “new stuff”.  The last scene of Okonkwo which is he suicided himself to refuse to be taken by colonial court makes me want to spend more time to think why he did this to himself and when he tried to persuade crowds to resist white government but no one fight alongside Okonkwo, was he a pathetic clown? and was his death all a useless joke that had no power to make any difference? After the second time of finishing the book, It hits my mind that maybe Okonkwo was the only one left who was brave and strong enough to stand up and guard the assets and culture that his village built and he was the only one left trying to prove and keep the existence of he and the whole village.

It cannot be denied that Okonkwo lived a traditional life and what he believed that is necessary to master for a successful life is no suit for today, but what he did for his culture and everything he was familiar with in his old days is so worth of people’s respect. He took advantage of all his life to protect what he valued and believed, even with his suicide, he was trying to protect the original look of his village by ending his life at when he held the whole life memory of how it looked like before the outsiders took place of it and also when he was still the resident of the village instead of the bender to the colony. It was so beautiful when he fought all his life and strength to defend what raised him, what defined and made him him. And I finally got how hard it would be for him to give in when someone tried to take over and bring big change to all the thing he was familiar with and believe. It should be hard. And the harder it is, the more it shows that how important and precious it is. And I finally understand it was not when someone comes to take over it but when there is no body left keeps their belief about the thing that makes all the things fall apart. What Okonkwo wished to do may be just to keep things all right where they are and avoid them being erased so he can keep it complete with his death.

By Shengdan Jin

Cristian’s Journey

January 18th, 2019   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

There are many great children books amongst our community that are positive, uplifting, and encourages our children to be the best that they can be; not only does Cristian’s Journey signify those things but Cristian’s Journey focuses on a young boy who dedicates his life (literally) to serving others. Cristian’s Journey touches on the topic of a young child battling an ominous diagnosis. It takes transparency, an openness, and a willing heart to share such a sensitive and intimate time with others. I am 26 years old and even at this age, I am able to grasp a life learning lesson from Cristian’s Journey and that is to serve others. There is an art when it comes to serving others.. when you serve others with love, the same love will be returned back to you. It was sad to see Cristian become ill in the story, but beautiful to see the love and compassion he left in the heart of people. #ILOVEYOU10!

Here’s a link to where I purchased my book: http://cristianriverafoundation.org/cristiansjourney.html 

By Shashanna Walker-Simeon

A Divorce Lawyers Guide to Staying Together

May 26th, 2018   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

A new author, but not new to relationships, James Sexton has popped into stores across America and online with his new book “If You’re In My Office It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyers Guide to Staying Together”. James Sexton has spent over 20 years as a divorce lawyer in the New York Area.  Throughout his time as a lawyer, he has amassed a lot of experience dealing with couples. This book is and is explicitly stated as, a book of what not to do. He begins you with insight into his point of view and explains why this book came into existence. Littered with snark and tangent stories of relationships gone astray, he paints a picture from his eyes of why they did. The book never feels preachy or makes either party in his stories seem to be the “bad guy”, although some are heavily hinted at, and even then, he tries to be devil’s advocate. The reader is left giggling as much as they are made to feel they have been told something meaningful. His words don’t just pertain to romantic relationships, although as a divorce lawyers that is what he works with daily, but can be repackaged to fit family or friends as well. He drives home points such as, communication and respect being huge parts of what makes or breaks a relationship. Overall, a must-read for anyone planning to settle down with a significant other.

 

By Daniel Sproviero

Looking for THE book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

May 17th, 2018   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” written by Mark Manson, is THE book to read, the title itself automatically attracts the eye, and the book cover is a bright orange color that is almost impossible to miss. There really isn’t anything subtle about the book, but that’s what makes it so intriguing. Manson is vulgar, and straight up about everything, and as a reader, it really opens your mind to so much. In today’s society, we always think about what we don’t have and compare ourselves to those around us. We consume so much time and energy in worrying about what other people think of us than actually living our lives, and this book helps you realize how that’s wrong, and how we shouldn’t be wasting the time we have thinking about all we don’t have but instead thinking about everything we do have. Although Manson might have a different approach on the whole not giving a f*ck aspect of life, the underlying meaning of the book was just perfect. A must-read for sure.

By: Serena Vohra

Ashley Graham’s A New Model

May 16th, 2018   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

Ashley Graham – you may know her as a plus-sized model changing the industry, but that’s not all she is. Her autobiography A New Model dives deep into how her childhood and teenage years shaped her into the woman she is today. From dealing with her family, to moving to New York as a teenager and falling in love, and now debatably being the most successful plus-sized model today, Ashley Graham has lived a very interesting life that you can now read all about.

Modeling isn’t all fun and games, and things are a bit different when you’re plus sized. Plus-sized models have to meet a different set of standards than non-plus sized models, and Ashley gives us the inside scoop. She has overcome many obstacles in her career, and even in her life, too. Ashley has struggled with childhood bullying on top of balancing her school life and work life as a teenager. While her mom was always supportive of Ashley’s modeling career as a teenager, her father was not. He didn’t like her flying to different states for different modeling opportunities, and wished she had gone to college instead of becoming a model. Ashley Graham’s life is more complex than one may think.


You don’t have to be someone interested in the modeling industry to enjoy Ashley Graham’s A New Model.  Her first-person narrative is easy to read and I believe anyone will enjoy it. Not many people know much about the modeling industry, and Ashley has many credentials that make her trustworthy. Her past-experiences shaped her into the confident woman she is today, and she wants to spread that love and knowledge to others. If you want to know about the modeling industry, how to gain confidence, or just want to learn more about Ashley Graham, A New Model is the book for you.

by Lauren Dinardo

A Separate Peace

April 23rd, 2018   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

A Separate Peace A Separate Peace was America’s best-selling novel for over thirty years. Though it was written a long time ago, it is still being used in many high schools, and colleges across the U.S. It’s definitely a great book to pick up if you’re an adolescent wanting to learn lessons about the transition into adulthood. The book’s main character Gene shares his unusual experience at Devon School during World War II, when many young students were old enough to enlist themselves in the war. During the summer, he became very good friend with Finny, his roommate. Both experienced a summer that would leave Gene with some well-engraved memories. A separate peace put emphasis on the friendship of Gene and Finny. This friendship led Gene to fight a personal war within himself. This novel urges people to value friendship, for one never knows when tragic events might happen. It also encourages individuals to put their jealousy aside and keep it from influencing their judgment. A separate peace was John Knowles’ first published novel. Along with friendship, it explores love, nationalism, and morality.

By Monica Legerme

The Perks of being a Wallflower

April 25th, 2017   admin  Book Review   No Comments »

The Perks of being a Wallflower

One of the most inspirational books that every teenager should read is the “The perks of being a wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. The book is based on a series of letters that Charlie writes to an anonymous person. Perks of being a wallflower follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends, then Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, last Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times bestseller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.

By: Emily Fermin