Book Review: This Is Your Brain on Joy

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review. I finished reading “This Is Your Brain on Joy” several weeks ago, but I haven’t had a chance to get the review put together yet. I guess like most amateur writers, I go through ups and downs. I’ve heard that the difference between an amateur writer and a professional writer is that the professional writes when he (or she) doesn’t want to. I also assume that the professional writer also writes when he (or she) doesn’t have time to either. Of course, a professional writer probably doesn’t have pesky interruptions like a non-professional writing job getting in the way either.

This book was a real sleeper surprise. At the time, Thomas Nelson didn’t have any books available for bloggers to review that interested me. This one sounded like it could be interesting in the right context. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book with a product page that starts “What does the latest research in brain science and brain imaging say about our ability (or inability) to experience joy and happiness?” Honestly, I was expecting a bunch of psycho-babble. I was wrong.

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Trevin Wax: How To Be A Reader When You Can’t Afford Books

Trevin Wax has an interesting blog post with tips on how to read a lot of books when you can’t spend a lot of money on them. If you’d like to read more but don’t want to spend the money on the books, check this out.

I set a goal to read 100 books this year. I’m not sure I’m going to make it. I’m working through a biography of Martin Luther right now that has me really bogged down. It’s fascinating, but it’s a deep read and requires a lot of attention to follow. I’m going very slowly.

I have been going to the library a lot more lately. It can be kind of exciting. I like to go through the shelves near the checkout line, because I can find some interesting books there. I also sometimes just walk through the non-fiction shelves. Last time I did that, I found more books than I could have read and I had to leave them behind. I saw one book about Stalin, one about the CIA, and plenty more.

Often, when I hear about a book that I should read, I check online to see if the library has it. I can reserve a book, and I’ll get an email when it’s ready to be picked up.

I have Kindle for iPhone installed on my iPod Touch. I’m not sure if I’ll use that or not.

How Can I Drive in New Jersey and Not Influence my Kids?

I’m mostly serious with this one. I want to be facetious, and there is a little of that in this post, but the subject is a serious one. My wife relayed a story to me. She took the kids to the Amish market a few weeks ago. I was home from work sick and not about to go anywhere. At dinner that night, she told me that Joshua ran into Caleb with the shopping cart, and Caleb said “What where you’re going, idiot!” Note that Caleb is 3, so I should applaud him for his application of this concept however misplaced it may have been.

I’m not aware of calling many other drivers idiots (at least not with my kids in the car). To be honest, the terms I use are far worse. For some reason, New Jersey drivers have some weird mentality that it is better for both you and them to die than to ease up and let you change lanes. These people often get downright hostile when it comes to letting another car in front of them. When I leave work in the afternoon, I always run into somebody who refuses to let me over as I’m merging onto the Walt Whitman bridge. I’ve had several times in my 10 years of living in New Jersey when another car refused to let me merge on the highway. I would be coming up the onramp and another car was in the left lane and we were side by side. I would accelerate, and the other car would match my acceleration. It always seems to happen when there is a tight line of cars following this one person so slowing down and hoping somebody else will let me over isn’t a good option. I once had an ambulance try to run me off the road like that. It was the same ambulance company a family member works for. I should have written down the number, but that family member assures me a person who drives like that probably didn’t last long.

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