Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke, MD

From GoodReads about Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence:

This book is about pleasure. It’s also about pain. Most important, it’s about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. We’re living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting… The increased numbers, variety, and potency is staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such we’ve all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.

How could anyone not want to read further?

What I liked most about this book was that it is accessible to the layperson and highly readable. If you like the super-sciency type book that goes on for days with hard-to-decipher examples, you may not like this book. It may be “too simple” for you.

I felt like it was a long conversation with someone who has expertise in the field, but who is a regular human being. (Dr. Lembke shows us her own weaknesses rather frequently in the book.) I found lots of interest in this book, and just enough science to back it up. I kept reading.

It even kept me away from obsessive social media scrolling…or maybe not? Note: this was a joke. But actually, it did make me rethink my online activities.

It was a good read. Recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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On Libraries


“A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.”

Josh Hanagarne,
The World’s Strongest Librarian:
A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

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The first time I was shot at was after I got out of uniform. I was at a bus stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after my closing shift at the chocolate shop. I can’t recall if it was late at night or still daylight. I was seated on the wooden bench and the shot entered the glass shelter, just above my head.

The glass shattered. My head didn’t.


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The Body Papers by Grace Talusan

An excerpt from the Goodreads description: Born in the Philippines, young Grace Talusan moves with her family to a New England suburb in the 1970s. At school, she confronts racism as one of the few kids with a brown face. At home, the confusion is worse: her grandfather’s nightly visits to her room leave her hurt and terrified, and she learns to build a protective wall of silence that maps onto the larger silence practiced by her Catholic Filipino family.

It’s rare that I read a memoir so quickly, and rare that I’m emotionally affected by the narrator’s life. The Body Papers by Grace Talusan hit both.

The pacing was brisk, the images vivid. Grace Talusan connects us with her story and what it was like to grow up in one of two Filipino families in a small town in Massachusetts. We travel back to the Philippines with Grace when she’s an adult and see the country through her eyes. This book was better and more vivid than any movie.

She also shares her childhood trauma with us in a way that is relatable and poignant.

Recommended. 5/5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Bury the Past by James L’Etoile

From Goodreads: Sacramento Police Detectives John Penley and Paula Newberry are enlisted to investigate a case involving the trafficking of stolen street drugs. But they quickly find it’s more difficult than they first imagined when the crime is being committed by a group of corrupt cops undermining the system.


This is actually book #2 of the Detective Penley series by James L’Etoile. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Bury the Past is set in Sacramento, all the key locations are familiar to me. It’s also obvious that the author has great insider information on California prisons, CSP-SAC (California State Prison – Sacramento) in particular. The protagonist is complex and interesting. The bad guy is creepy and smart. The cops are three dimensional. I liked the author’s approach. It made everything more credible.

Only one problem with the book that bugged me–I know the Sacramento locations too well. When the author describes Southside park, he mentions 15th Street. Southside is a little further up, on 5th. Must have been an editing error, because nearly everything else is on right on point, including the author’s dry wit about the condos around the park.

This was a page-turner. Recommended. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Tenacity

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

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