Dr. Sax, who has worked as a family physician for more than 20 years, blames parents, media of all sorts, and cell phones for much of the failure to raise respectful, healthy, and happy kids.
In his CBS interview he says kids used to be told to eat their vegetables but are now begged to eat three bites just three bites of broccoli before getting dessert. He also cites the explosion of kids on medication for behavioral reasons in the U.S., 90 times the number in Italy.
In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Sax continues his call to re-vamp parenting and says parents should:
“Require respectful behavior at all times. It’s OK to disagree. It’s never OK to be disrespectful. Prioritize the family. The family meal at home is more important than piling on after-school extracurricular activities. Instead of boosting self-esteem, teach humility. Fight the cultural imperative to be ‘awesome.’ ”
Keying in the season, he suggests New Year’s as a good time to start parenting afresh, going cold turkey and telling kids flat out that things will be different from now on.
Amazon’s sales rankings show that readers are getting ready for New Year’s resolutions. New books on weight loss and regaining focus in a distracting world are doing well as are long-time favorites, such as StrengthsFinder and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Even the NYTBook Review is getting into the act, featuring self-help in the upcoming issue. The cover feature, “You, New and Improved,” offers reviews of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, titles we have covered in earlier “Titles to Know and Recommend” posts (here and here).
Over a year after its initial publication, many libraries still have very long holds queues for Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (RH/Ten Speed Press) and those that have managed to work through the reserve list are still seeing copies rotate off the shelf in heavy circulation.
This version, according to EW (which gave it a C in their brief review), is “mainly a rehash,” but that is unlikely to matter to Kondo’s fan base.
The new book offers illustrations of how drawers, closets, and cabinets should look after tidying as well as step-by-step folding guides for various articles of clothing – each reason enough to get fans buzzing.
If you lost circ. on the first edition by buying low, this is a chance to get a head start on the new one.
A different kind of self-help book raced up Amazon rankings to #21 over the weekend.
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems (S&S; Tantor Audio) by Michael Bennett MD and Sarah Bennett forthrightly tells readers life is unfair, pop psychology is bogus, and they should stop focusing so much on their feelings.
The father-daughter writing team consists of a Harvard trained therapist and a comic. Their book is hitting a nerve and has received attention from The Atlantic, Harper’s Bazaar, and Refinery29 with headlines such as “A New Book Gives the Middle Finger to the Self-Help Genre.”
Like a modern-day and iconoclastic version of Dear Abby, the Bennett’s also run a website where they answer reader questions such as how to “Recover After Getting Screwed” and not so subtly call out doctors who go by their first name, such as Phil and Drew.
Orders are light to nonexistent at libraries we checked.
Unfortunately, this means that she will be on hiatus as our Kids Correspondent until her Caldecott duties are wrapped up.
She will still report on the occasional “grown-up” title she falls in love with, as she does below:
Flying under the radar is The Professor is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job (RH/Crown, original trade pbk.) by academic employment consultant and former tenured professor, Karen Kelsky, who gives a no-holds-barred look at the academic market. It should be required reading for PhD candidates, recent graduates, prospective PhDs, and recent-hires on the tenure track.
Although the majority of the books I review are children’s and Young Adult titles, I have a side interest in business particularly professional development and management, so when I spotted a DRC of this book, I downloaded it.
Kelsky has no patience for readers who ignore the obvious. Tenure-track positions are few and far between. Bottom line: there is a glut of qualified graduates for the rare full-time positions. She dispenses tough-love advice laying out the cost (economic and emotional) of trying to land one. “Achieving financial, emotional AND intellectual well being in academia is somewhat akin to climbing Everest blind.” For those who insist on getting on the tenure track, she provides best-case scenarios and information on how to achieve academic and employment goals. For those who do not achieve their goal, she also provides suggestions for repositioning job skills.
I can attest that her ideas work. Kelsky makes the case for sucking it up, jumping through the hoops and not making excuses. No one has time to write. Write anyway. Are academic leaves available? Apply for them. This was exactly my problem. My teaching and the daily tasks of my department left no time. There was a leave that I could apply for but I hadn’t been in position very long. I thought that my projects weren’t “good enough,” “research oriented enough” or “what these leaves were for.” I went back to the call for proposals only to discover that I had just a 24-hour window before the deadline, so I sucked it up, jumped through the hoops, made no excuses and got my application in.
A month ago, I received a letter from our director that I am approved for a 6 week writing leave. Seriously, this book is life-changing.
It is #6 on the USA Today list, an even more impressive feat since that list does not divide titles by category, putting the social media author right behind:
1) Go Set a Watchman, 2) Grey,
3) Paper Towns, 4) To Kill a Mockingbird, and 5) Girl on the Train.
The NYTSunday Book Review covers the book (actually, it’s more like a printed scrap book) in their “Inside the List” column, saying “YouTube star Miranda Sings — real name Colleen Ballinger — has become a comic sensation by milking the disconnect between her supreme confidence and her hopeless lack of ability in pretty much any human endeavor: can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t apply lipstick inside the lines. Now she’s taken that endearing incompetence into the book world with a parody advice guide.”
In his lengthy report on the convention, Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair writes that “I have been to the high temple of digital video and I have seen its awesome, occasionally terrifying might. The revolution is not coming. It’s here.”
Columnist and commentator David Brooks’s new book, The Road to Character (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a blend of self-examination and an exploration of what makes a richly fulfilling inner life.
In an interview yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered, he says he began this journey after meeting a group of people who tutor immigrants and realizing that they “radiated gratitude for life,” a quality he found missing in his own life, despite his outward successes.
The Guardian calls the book “a powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”
It rose to #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings today, possibly benefiting not only from people on the search for their own roads to character, but from those on the search for interesting (if pointed) graduation gifts. As The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles points out in a story satirizing printed version of famous graduation speeches aimed at that market, it is the season for such books.
When The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, (Ten Speed Press; Tantor Audio) was first published, we thought it sounded downright silly. In a story in the NYT “Home and Garden” section in late October, Penelope Green tried the author’s odd methods (you are asked to assess each item in your home for whether it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t pass the test, you discard it, first thanking it for its service). A design theorist quoted in the story says such anthropomorphism is familiar in Japanese culture, but not in Western. “Fat chance Americans will go for this,” we thought.
Then it appeared on the Nov. 16 NYT Advice Best Seller list at #4. “Just a blip,” we thought, people buying it as an amusing Christmas gift. We felt justified when it slid down to #10 the next week.
Now, deep into the new year when gift-buying season is long past, the book is at #1, where it’s been for the last month, except for one week when Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet pushed it to #2.
Never underestimate American’s desire to organize their stuff, especially if doing so promises to change their lives.
Anderson Cooper talked about discovering mindfulness on 60 Minutes last night (it’s a long segment, so we haven’t embedded the video here). He was introduced to the practice by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is called “the man who’s largely responsible for mindfulness gaining traction.” One of his ten books, Mindfulness for Beginners rose to #2 on Amazon sales rankings as a result.
It was published in 2011 by Sounds True, a Colorado publisher focused on spirituality, and is available through wholesalers.
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment–And Your Life
Hardcover, 9781604076585, $ 21.95 Audio, 9781591794646, $ 19.95
With her book, Lean In still on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list after 53 weeks, Sheryl Sandberg has geared her message to a younger generation with Lean In: For Graduates(RH/Knopf; RH Audio). She appeared on the Today Show this morning.
Jon Stewart is back from spring break, with a full roster of shows this week, two of them featuring authors.
Last night he interviewed media maven Arianna Huffington about her new book, Thrive, (RH/Harmony; RH Audio) which has already been moving up Amazon’s sales rankings following her appearance on Ellen. Degeneres exhibited none of Stewart’s skepticism about some of Huffington’s pronouncements, (it’s worth watching the Daily Show segment just for Stewart’s facial expressions. Huffington remained unfazed). The book is now at #20 and rising.
Tomorrow night brings the authors of a book on a subject closer to Stewart’s heart, No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes, an oral history of a NJ dive bar where he once work. The book is self-published by the authors and is currently only available in paperback.
Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech to Philadelphia’s University of the Arts’ 2012 graduating class became a viral hit. Released in book form (HarperCollins/Morrow) this week, it is rising on Amazon.
John Green’s speech to the graduating class of Butler University may not be far behind.
Predating both of them is David Foster Wallace’s speech to Kenyon College in 2005, a viral success later released in book form, This Is Water, (Hachette/Little,Brown). Recently, a short film based on the original was posted to YouTube and has been viewed nearly 5 million times in just ten days.
The “raining-on-the-parade” genre may have begun with a speech that wasn’t actually a speech. It was column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune in 1997 about what she would say if she had been asked to give a commencement address (which she hadn’t). An urban legend grew up that this was actually a speech given by Kurt Vonnegut at an MIT graduation. Vonnegut ruefully said he wished that were true, but it wasn’t. The column ended up being published as a gift book by Andrews and McMeel as Wear Sunscreen (the one piece of advice that Shmich found irrefutable) and re-released in a 10th anniversay edition in 2008. Baz Lurhmann turned it into a music video “Everyone’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.”
It happened again; an author made Oprah cry and her book sales soared.
Featured in a two-part Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Dr. Brene Brown brought Oprah to tears when she read the “parenting manifesto” from her book Daring Greatly, (Penguin/Gotham, 2012). Not only did it rise to the #2 position on Amazon’s sales rankings, but an earlier title, The Gifts of Imperfection, (Perseus/Hazeldon, 2010) rose to #3 and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t), (Penguin/Gotham, 2007), rose to #28.
Lots of titles to watch next week, including librarian favorites from rising novelists Emma Straub and Tatjana Soli, Spanish sci-fi bestseller Felix J. Palma, and British debut author MorganMcCarthy. Usual suspects include Zadie Smith, James Patterson, Dale Brown and Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry – plus Elizabeth George makes her YA debut.
After dominating news all this week, No Easy Day, the eyewitness account of the killing of bin Laden is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but the Pentagon has warned that the author is in breach of the non-disclosure agreements he signed when he became a Navy SEAL and that “Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
Christopher Hitchens posthumously delivers his last words on mortality, Gretchen Rubin shares more tried and true advice on cultivated happiness, and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade reflects on his rise as a basketball player and his role as a father.
Breedby Scott Spencer writing as Chase Novak (Hachette/ Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio) is a medical thriller about an infertile couple who transform themselves into parents via reproductive technology, but it has an unexpected side effect, causing them to develop strange appetites that scare their twin children. Janet Maslin gave it an early review in Thursday’s New York Times, in which she calls Spencer the “gently literary author still best remembered for the lush prose of his 1979 Endless Love…[who has] has started writing in a pulpier and more diabolical vein.” She that, while it displays “keen antennas for sensory detail,” it is “a gruesome book, a full-bore foray into the horror genre, so literary loveliness goes only so far. It is probably best avoided by anyone not wishing to know exactly what it’s like to eat a baby pigeon.” The cover sports a blurb from Stephen King, “By turns terrifying and blackly funny, Breed is a total blast.” Entertainment Weekly, however, gives it just a “B,” saying, “Breed is being touted as a modern-day Rosemary’s Baby, but Spencer… delivers the camp better than he does the scares.” A followup, Brood, is in the works.
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (Grove Press) is a historical novel set in 17th century England about a boy who’s orphaned when his mother is accused of being a witch. He goes on to become the greatest cook of his generation. PW says, “Known for intellectual prose and complex plots, Norfolk this time out attempts to interweave time and senses, reality and myth, rewarding steadfast readers with savory recipes and a bittersweet upstairs-downstairs love story.” It was a BEA Librarian’s Shout ‘n’ Share pick, and is an Indie Next pick for September.
Norfolk offers a look at the surprising sophistication of English cooking in the 17th C:
The Map of the Sky by Felix J.Palma (S&S/Atria) is the Spanish author’s sequel to his bestselling take-off on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Here, the action begins when a New York socialite challenges her fiance to recreate Wells’ The War of the Worlds, setting off a chain reaction across time and space. LJ says, “Palma has again managed to infuse something very familiar with a new edge and life.” This one also kicked up some buzz on GalleyChat in August, where a librarian said that the novel “brings War of the Worlds to life.”
The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin’s Press; Tantor Media; Thorndike Large Print) was a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick for Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett. Here’s her pitch: “This book opens with a family tragedy that occurs in the first few pages. The rest of this thoughtful book is about how we heal–or don’t–after an unspeakable tragedy. It’s set on a citrus ranch in Southern California. Soli’s first book, The Lotus-Eaters, did very well with our customers, and was really good for book discussion. She reminds me of a young Barbara Kingsolver. Her language is simple but not plain, her characters are extremely well drawn, and the setting is like a movie it’s so easy to visualize.”
The Other Half of MebyMorganMcCarthy (S&S/Free Press) is a paperback original about two siblings who grow up in a dysfunctional aristocratic English family in Wales with secrets that go back for generations. Robin Beerbower, our go-to librarian for scary titles, says this one “is being compared to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, but I’m finding it more compelling than that. The pacing is a bit slow but it features a completely unreliable but fascinating narrator and the gorgeous writing kept me engrossed.”
NW by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is Smith’s first novel in seven years and one of the most anticipated titles of the early fall (it even gets an early review from BusinessWeek). It focuses on three characters who have risen above their childhoods in a Northwest London housing estate in the 1970s, with varying degrees of success. Michiko Kakutani, in the NYT, expresses disappointment, calling it a “much smaller, more meager book” than Smith’s critically acclaimed debut, White Teeth. In the Washington Post, Ron Charles expresses sympathy for the author, who, “Ever since… her dazzling debut in 2000, Zadie Smith has labored under an enviable weight of critical and popular expectations.” He acknowledges that the new novel it difficult, but worth the effort: “At times, reading NW is like running past a fence, catching only strips of light from the scene on the other side. Smith makes no accommodation for the distracted reader — or even the reader who demands a clear itinerary. But if you’re willing to let it work on you, to hear all these voices and allow the details to come into focus when Smith wants them to, you’ll be privy to an extraordinary vision of our age.” Smith spoke out this week to protest the possible closing of hundreds of local libraries in Great Britain.
Zoo by James Patterson (Hachette/Little Brown; Hachette Audio) revolves around Jackson Oz, a young biologist, who witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa that spurs him to heroic action.
The Tombs by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is the fourth outing with multi-millionaire treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo, who join an archaeologist in excavating an ancient Hungarian battlefield. PW says, “this adventure series stands as one of the crown jewels in the Cussler empire.”
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin/Viking) is the veteran mystery author’s first YA novel, the start of a series about a psychic 14 year-old girl who must fend for herself after her mother runs away from her stepfather. Booklist says, “what’s best here are the characters, both young and adult. There are no stereotypes, and their humanity keeps the story moving, even when the plot is tied in knots.”
Mortalityby Christopher Hitchens (Hachette/Twelve; Twelve; Hachette Audio) is the lauded cultural critic’s look at illness, suffering, cancer etiquette, religion and his own incipient death from esophageal cancer in December 2011. PW says, “Hitchens’ powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them.” 125,000 copies.
A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketballby Dwyane Wade (HarpreCollins/Morrow) is a memoir by the NBA superstar, Miami Heat player and divorced single dad of two sons that charts his upbringing by his drug-addicted mother on Chicago’s South Side. Kirkus says, ” A refreshing chronicle of a fervent sportsman with his head and heart in all the right places.”