The first diet book

William Banting published one of the first diet books in 1863. Banting suggested a diet based on protein and liquor, says Jessica Lamb-Shapiro in her book Promise Land—My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture. You should eat five ounces of meat, fish or kidneys with tea and a little biscuit for breakfast. For lunch, you should […]

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No pat solutions

Fayteen and I agree that there are no simple solutions to life’s complex problems. There are solutions. But, generally, finding them requires time and work. That’s why we like Jessica Lamb-Shapiro’s book Promise Land—My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture. Lamb-Shapiro observes: “No pat solutions can resolve, or even address, the complex challenges of life. “Self-help […]

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Better yourself or accept yourself?

“All of us would probably like to be slimmer, smarter, richer, more popular, more successful,” says Jessica Lamb-Shapiro in her book Promise Land—My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture. “To what extent should you accept yourself for who you are, and to what extent should you attempt to better yourself?” Fayteen and I think that this […]

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Part rock and part flower petal

Kala Shaima, the wise aunt in Nadia Hashimi’s book, says, “The human spirit…is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.” The aunt reminds her niece Rahima, “Don’t forget that you are part flower petal and part rock, too.” Shaima’s book is The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.

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Tough and tender

Fayteen and I both have summer birthdays. That’s why we like this quote from Maya Angelou. “Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible—and live long lives. –Joy

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A Thousand Lives

Some good friends gave me a Spiritile—a magnificent tile made of copper, glass and wood. Mine glimmers with a picture of a stack of colorful books. Along the side of the books is this quote: “A reader lives a thousand lives.”—George R.R. Martin –Joy

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Letting go of books

While my shattered femur has been healing, I have been inspired to do a little cleaning. I’ve been sorting through old business and personal papers—and even getting rid of some of the books that I’ve accumulated through the years. I was comforted when I found an article that I had saved from 2006. “Letting go […]

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A good book awaiting me

“Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes the day happier,” said Kathleen Norris. And this has been especially true when I’ve been home for days with a broken leg. I found Kathleen Norris’ quote on stationery for book lovers. –Joy

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A state of tolerance

“There are few prophets in the world; few sublimely beautiful women; few heroes,” says George Eliot in her novel Adam Bede. “I can’t afford to give all my love and reverence to such rarities: I want a great deal of those feelings for my every-day fellowmen, especially for the few in the foreground…whose faces I […]

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Appreciation for simple pleasures

My husband Jerry and I were sitting in one of our favorite Mexican restaurants carefully surveying the menu—even though we knew that we would order the same thing we always order at that particular restaurant. All of a sudden, I blurted out, “I think I’m going to cry.” “Why?” Jerry asked, looking puzzled. “Because,” I […]

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