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Shelf Life: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

 

There are many novels that tell the tale of a love story, a marriage, a breakup, a divorce–intimate tales of emotion and relationships. But when it comes to divorce, one thing that people often forget–or for that matter, never even consider–is that it’s not about emotions at all. Divorce is about business. Yes, of course, we are often emotional about divorce, but the reality is that it is, at it’s core, a business and legal matter. With that in mind, it was refreshing to read The Divorce Papers, by Susan Rieger, which is the story of a high-profile divorce, told through the literal papers of the divorce–letters, emails, legal documents and filings, pages from the law books of the fictional locale of “Narragansett,” etc. 

 

The book brings out the best and the worst of it’s characters, much like an actual divorce does to those involved, and it offers many moments of much-needed (in the book and in real life!) comic relief. It manages to be both heartfelt and humorous and I felt engaged and invested in the futures of Mia (the client) and Sophie (her lawyer).  Rieger kept me reading and I’m glad she did. 

 

Sig.Melaina

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Shelf Life: January and February

I’ve made some headway on my Shelf Life Catch-Up goals. (Not a lot, but some.)

Here are some quick reviews:

FICTION (Novella):

The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn

I’ve been rapt by everything of Gillian Flynn’s that I’ve read, and this novella is no exception. In the span of a mere 62 pages, Flynn manages to draw you in, make you curious, give you goosebumps, surprise you, and make you question everything. And then make you question everything again. Her characters are so well-developed they are recognizable, knowable, but all untrustworthy enough to keep you questioning them well past the last page.

 

NONFICTION:

Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change
by Louise Phipps Senft and William 
Sent

(Technically, I read this in the fall, but I’ve referred back to it so many times since I’m not willing to take it off the shelf just yet.) Whether you are looking to improve your business, social, or personal relationships, Being Relational should be at the top of your reading list.  A self-improvement book on the surface, it carries a very important message about the good that can come for all when, instead focusing on “winning” in our dealings with others, we focus on sharing the win with the other party (or parties) involved–on creating a win-win result in every interaction.  Taking the spotlight off the transaction and putting it on the relationship, the Senfts (who, between them, have decades of experience as mediators and negotiators) have outlined not only a way to improve our personal experience, but a philosophy that can change our society one relationship at a time.

HUMOR/ANIMALS:

Plumdog, by Emma Chichester Clark

Meet Plum, a “whoosell” (Whippet, Poodle, Jack Russell mix). At times, brave, at times crafty, and always lovable, Plum has been entertaining readers with his stories and antics on the blog Emma keeps for him (of the same name). But whether or not you are familiar with his blog, you will love Plumdog, the beautifully full-color illustrated (by Ms. Clark) diary of a year in the life of Plum. Starting with his new year resolutions (which include “To be braver” and “Not to unstuff my new toys immediately”) and throughout the seasons you will fall in love with Plum and become remarkably involved in his four-legged life and learn a thing or two from his personal dogma.

 

 

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Rainy Day Reading

It’s been raining on and off all week (mostly on), but today the rain has yet to stop. Personally, I don’t mind at all. I like the rain; I like way rain makes everything smell, the coolness of the air, and I love the sound of the rain on the roof. If I can get a thunder and lightning as well, I’m in heaven.

rainydayMost of us don’t have much during our busy week to curl up and read a book, but the downpour changed my mind about riding today and so I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up on my reading (no matter how much I read, I never seem to keep up!).

While it’s no matter to me how long or short a book is, sometimes it’s especially satisfying to be able to start something you can finish in one sitting. So I’ve compiled a short list of good reads that you can read in one sitting (though I guess that depends on how long you’d like to sit, I suppose).

The following are older titles, all of which are rather short (novellas, really).

84 Charing Cross Road  by Helen Hanff

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson

Walks with Men by Ann Beattie

Disquiet by Julia Leigh

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

If you’re in for hurricane weather, here are some longer titles that nonetheless, kept me sitting still through to the very last page.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison

Superstition by David Ambrose

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (it was a very rainy day–and night!)

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s* Stone by J. K. Rowling (*I read the Canadian, aka British editions of the series)

For even more suggestions, visit this link at Read It Forward–a great source for finding your next good read!

What books kept you reading until the very last word? Please share!!

Sig.Melaina

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Leave Your Mark, by Aliza Licht: Are You Willing To Do the Work?

My “to read” pile is big. Huge, really. I am definitely behind on my reading. But as soon as I read a pre-release excerpt of  Leave Your Mark, by Aliza Licht, I knew I would have to fall just a little further behind. Ms. Licht’s approach and tone hooked me and I immediately navigated to Amazon and pre-ordered the book, which instantly landed at the top of the ever-growing tower of titles.

You see, while Leave Your Mark is a perfect read for a twentysomething just figuring out their passions and their career paths, it’s also an ideal read for someone like me, who finds themselves in need of some inspiration, and a change of  course. A re-launch, so to speak.

The advice in Leave Your Mark is the best, most serious you’ll find available. But what sets this career guide apart from the rest is that beyond being so sensible, it’s highly accessible and engaging as well.

Ms. Licht shares many stories from her career and highlights myriad examples of what to do, what not to do, and essential “Insider Tips,” not one of which should be ignored. As the author states herself, this isn’t a “how-to” book, it’s a “must-do” book.

Like Ms. Licht, I started working in New York in the same pre-internet era and went through many of the same career growing pains. Those starting out today can’t comprehend how different things were, how much more effort was required for the most basic tasks.

As she describes in her book, in order to land a job in the magazine industry she had to load up on recent issues from her local newsstand and find editors names in the magazines masthead (no Google!). Resumes and cover letters were actually printed out on paper, and the process from application to offer seemed endless.

Reading Leave Your Mark reminded me of where I’ve been and all that I’ve accomplished. It inspired me to review and reevaluate the various phases in my career, and  it reaffirmed the value of the workplace wisdom I’ve accrued over the years. (Thank you, Ms. Licht!)

Leaving your mark in today’s job market almost always requires some kind of social media presence, and by presence I don’t just mean that you have a Twitter feed or a Facebook or LinkedIn profile void of content.

A social media profile is something that needs to be curated in order yield results, and there’s no better person than Aliza Licht to help you engage and and build your network online.

Ms. Licht is honest (at times, I’m sure, painfully for some) about what it takes to get where you want to be in your career and encourages that honesty from the reader, providing opportunities for self-evaluation.

Throughout the book, Licht includes “Take a Selfie” sections in which she asks the reader questions essential to figuring out when and if to take the next step. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others–especially when we are all sharing so much online–that self-evaluation is especially vital now.

Ms. Licht offers the best kind of constructive criticism: the kind that points out the potential problem while simultaneously offering the reader a solution. She also urges readers to discover and foster their own strengths and creativity.

You may not know why what you’re currently doing isn’t providing you with the results you’re seeking. After reading Leave Your Mark you will. You might even have a brainstorm or two.

Another critical issue that Leave Your Mark addresses is the (often overlooked) difference between social/casual communication and professional correspondence. It’s easy to forget in this era of text-speak that even though you may be using the same medium to communicate with both friends and potential employers and colleagues, there remains a vast difference in the way one should construct these messages. Take a cue from Ms. Licht on what to say and how to say it.

Just because Ms. Licht is a social media maven, the voice of twitter’s DKNY PR Girl (with over half a million followers), don’t think for a second that she accomplished all that she has using the same friendly (and sometimes cheeky) tone that she uses in her tweets.

I won’t go on and on (though I could) because Leave Your Mark is simply a book that you #MUSTREAD (and learn from) for yourself, and I won’t presume to paraphrase Ms. Licht any further.

Ms. Licht should not merely be respected for her success, she should be admired for her work ethic, her dedication, and her generosity. The advice and experience shared in Leave Your Mark is a rare gift to anyone who is serious about their career success, and who is both humble and hungry enough to earn it.

If that sounds like you, click here and get on with it! (What are you waiting for? GO!)

Sig.Melaina

 

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