Sunday, January 8, 2012

Books help us focus on and boost new year's resolutions

I thought to write about books to ring in the New Year last Sunday, but my column was due almost a week ahead and I was still enjoying all the wonderful holiday treats hanging around my home. Not to mention the parties, the bowl games and champagne.
But now that the New Year is here and I'm in diet/resolution mode, I'm ready to share my collection of, shall we say, new thinking books, the ones we hope will shape us up physically and mentally.
Let's start with a master. The Dalai Lama continues his dialogue with scientists and experts with the Mind and Life Institute in a new book examining the attributes of meditation, "The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation," edited by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson with Zara Houshmand. For those who want to try meditation, or for those who use it and wonder if there is a scientific reason for its benefits, this book offers great insight. In addition to scientists, professors and the Dalai Lama, Father Thomas Keating offers his Christian views as well.
Julia Cameron, best-selling author of "The Artist's Way," returns with a focus on prosperity and a 12-week strategy to change views of money in "The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of 'Enough'." This book should be embraced universally but it's especially pertinent to creative souls who constantly wonder how to pay the mortgage. And if you're wondering how this applies to "new thinking," Cameron says it best: "The prosperous heart recognizes that prosperity is a spiritual bottom line, not a fiscal one. Our faith, not our cash flow, is what brings to our lives comfort and ease."
For more practical advice on being successful, Cookie Tuminello of Lafayette shows women how to be more confident, examine what's not working in one's life, communicate better, develop better relationships and more in "Climbing the Ladder of Success in High Heels Without Stepping on Your Values." Tuminello is the CEO of Success Source, a coaching and consulting firm, and works as a motivational speaker, so you know you'll feel more confident after reading this book.
For those who find themselves holding a pink slip, "What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!" explores finding inner strength, making priorities and moving ahead with informed decisions. The book is written through back and forth dialogue of two sisters, who looked at money from two different angles until one's husband's lost his job. The topics range from what to tell others to insurance and credit card handling.
No list would be complete without a diet book and I had a good laugh when Jackie Warner's new book arrived. "This is Why You're Fat (And How to Get Thin Forever)" begins with the science of my extra pounds (and I thought it was overeating!) Warner discusses the role of hormones in metabolisms and the foods that can work in our favor and those that do not, especially for those of us over a certain age. She then offers a reasonable diet and exercise to get the weight off. I can't offer an adequate review of this book without trying it so I'll write my critique of it later in the year. Wish me luck.

New releases
Lesley Crawford has written a children's book called "Goodnight Acadiana," "a tribute to all things unique to Acadiana." The book is illustrated by Camille Barnes and available at bookstores and through their website,
Louisiana was the site of many pioneers of air travel - John Moisant, Gen. James Doolittle, barnstormer Roscoe Turner, Delta Airlines creator C.E. Woolman and Harry P. Williams, founder of the Wedell-Williams Air Service in Patterson, to name a few. Vincent P. Claire honors this history with "Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs."
New Orleans architect, painter and professor Errol Barron has published "New Orleans Observed: Drawings and Observations of America's Most Foreign City," filled with 124 drawings.
Fenton author Morena Johnson Caleb, who considered becoming a preacher, has published "Woman, Are You Sure God Called You to Preach?" After five years of seminary training, prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit she concludes that women are not sent out to preach the gospel.
Don Hasley of Goldonna has published a poetry collection through Author House titled "Prepare Their Hearts," which emphasizes the healing power of God's influence. Also from Author House is Damon Willis's debut book, "End of Legend: In Search of the Warrior Queen," a love story that mixes the modern world with fantasy. Willis is a native of Lake Charles.

Vermilion Library
Vermilion Parish Library is offering fine free month, where fines will be waived on all items returned in good condition until Jan. 31. In addition, readers can get discounts on existing fines and other book fees for lost or damaged items. Some restrictions do apply.