Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Beginning & Giveaway: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

EARLY BIRDS: I am experimenting with getting this post up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. We'll try it this way for a couple of months to see if people like the option of early posting. If you have feelings one way or the other, please comment.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I am trying to follow all Book Beginning participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.


Voices from the dining room echo up the walnut staircase, indistinct, buzzing, intrusive.

-- The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

THE BOOK: "In this utterly charming debut—perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern’s P.S., I Love You and Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects." 

This debut novel is already catching a lot of buzz. It is a quirky take on the whole "bucket list" idea. Here, the heroine is perfectly happy with her life, but when her mother dies, her inheritance is contingent on completing a list of life goals that she wrote when she was 14 years old -- Including having a baby, buying a horse, and (particularly confusing for a woman about to take over as CEO of her mother's company ) becoming a teacher.

THE GIVEAWAY: Thanks to book publicist Mary Bisbee-Beek, I have a finished paperback edition of The Life List to give away to one lucky book blogger. The really cool thing about the giveaway is that the winner will get to host another giveaway, as will the winner of that contest. It is a triple leapfrog giveaway for a total of three copies of Laurie Nelson Spielman's new novel.

The contest is for readers in the USA only (sorry) and is open until Thursday, August 1, 2013, at 4:00 PST. There are five ways to enter and each one is worth a chance to win. To enter, do any or all of the following, but you must leave a comment for each one and you must put an email address in a comment:

1. Comment on this post. You must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)

2. Blog about this giveaway. Posting the giveaway on your sidebar is also acceptable. Leave a separate comment with a link to your post. (1 entry)

3. Follow this blog with Google or NetworkedBlogs, or subscribe via email (or tell me if you already are a subscriber or follower). Leave a separate comment for this. (1 entry)

4. Tweet this post on Twitter. Leave me a separate comment with your twitter user name. (1 entry)

5. Post this on a social network. Put it on facebook, post it on Google+, pin it on Pinterest, Stumble it, digg it, reddit, or otherwise put it out there in the social network. Leave a separate comment with a link or explanation. (1 entry)

There are a lot of ways to enter (maximum of five entries), but you must LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each one or they will not count. I will use to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is open to entries from the U.S. only. The deadline for entry is 4:00 PM, Pacific Time, on Thursday, August1, 2013. I will draw and post the winner's name in my Book Beginning post going up at 5:00 PM on August 1, 2013. 

Review: Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore


When Thomas Moore talks about caring for the soul, he does not mean in a religious, save your soul for the eternal hereafter sense. He is talking about the soul in the sense used by psychiatrists like Jung, poets like Keats or Rilke, Renaissance philosophers, or Greek playwrights. He means that part of our self connected with genuineness, depth, imagination, ambiguity, mystery, myth, and ritual.

Moore’s book, Care of the Soul, is difficult to get into because his concept of soul is so hard to grasp for a busy, contemporary reader, distracted by the buzz of daily life. His whole point is that the soul is not something that can be scientifically defined and examined, fixed or fine tuned. As he says, “Soul is the font of who we are, and yet it is far beyond our capacity to devise and to control.”

Moore’s thesis is that our lives are fuller, richer, and deeper, with a greater recognition of our individual selves the more we cultivate and care for our souls. Conversely, ignoring and starving our souls leads to disillusionment, loss of values, ugliness, and even neuroses.

He explores his thesis first by looking at common issues in everyday life that he argues “offer the opportunity for soul-making, once we stop thinking of them as problems to be solved.” Some of his scenarios and explanations are confusing – for instance, how the myth of Narcissus builds the soul, while the psychological condition of narcissism demonstrates a week soul dominated by the ego. Discussions such as this seem to pre-suppose a familiarity with classical psychoanalysis beyond that of a general reader.

But Care of the Soul has a lot to offer the reader willing to dig in and give due consideration to Moore’s message. In particular, the later sections comparing the soul and the spirit and on tending the soul through artful living are worth pondering and re-reading. For instance, this passage inspires closer attention to day-to-day ritual:

To live with a high degree of artfulness means to attend to the small things that keep the soul engaged in whatever we are doing, and it is the very heart of soul-making. From some grand overview of life, it may seem that only the big events are ultimately important. But to the soul, the most minute details and the most ordinary activities, carried out with mindfulness and art, have an effect far beyond their apparent insignificance.


If you would like your review of this book, or any other book by Thomas Moore, listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


I've read a couple other "soul" books by Thomas Moore, but this one has been on my TBR shelf forever. I finally read it now as one of my books for two of the TBR challenges I am doing this year, the MT. TBR CHALLENGE (hosted by Bev on My Reader's Block) and the OFF THE SHELF CHALLENGE (hosted by Bonnie on Bookish Ardour).

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