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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Blood and Circuses

I first became acquainted with Phryne Fisher via the TV series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” that stars Australian actors Essie Davis and Nathan Page. I loved the original series.

Eventually, I got around to the books that inspired the series, and they have been quite fun to read. The most recent one I picked up: Blood and Circuses, book 6, was no less entertaining. 

Blood and Circuses

Phryne is, as usual, a daredevil. And a bit more promiscuous than I recall. Perhaps it has something to do with the circus and the carnival. I usually don’t equate physical intimacy with the circus, but Kerry Greenwood created a few unusual scenarios. In fact, a couple of times, they might have been too unusual for me!

No matter, the book was a generally quick read and I did keep coming back to see what Phyrne would do next. There were interesting side characters and the outcomes seemed just and righteous.

This is book 6 in a 21 book series. I hope the next ones are just as entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I did get a little creeped out by at least one sex scene.

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Napoleon Hill’s A Year of Growing Rich

I’m working my way through this book and I’ve just read the section on Sincerity.

I was inspired by this short anecdote.

A friend of Abraham Lincoln once told him that his enemies were saying terrible things about him behind his back.

“I don’t care what they say,” exclaimed Lincoln, “so long as they’re not telling the truth.” Sincerity of purpose made Lincoln immune to fear of criticism.

– Napoleon hill


The book itself is in bite-size pieces, each section meant to be read multiple times per week before moving on to the next section.

I like the messages, so I’ll probably read it faster than over a year.

This next great quote is from the section titled “No One Drifts to Success”.

If you want to achieve success, make today the day you stop drifting. Decide upon a definite goal. Write it down. Commit it to memory. Decide exactly how you plan to achieve it. Then begin by putting the plan into action immediately.

– Napoleon Hill

All good advice.  I couldn’t phrase it better, so I’ll leave you with the last lines from Week 1 as a parting gift.

“Your future is what you make it. Decide now what it shall be.”

– Napoleon Hill

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A Rogue of One’s Own – Book Review

I woke up really early yesterday and decided I would read some “light” reading. I finished A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunsmore a few hours later, after getting totally immersed in the story. This book was a treat to read. A true brain bon bon. Romance and a bit of history. It’s the second book in a series called A League of Extraordinary Women.

Here’s the book blurb for those who like to know what they’re getting into:

The back cover of the book

My review on Goodreads

This was a treat to read. I liked the humor and historical items throughout. It has all the elements of a good romance novel, but adds in some historical bits along the way that give it depth. I also enjoyed the portrayals of certain types of characters with modern openness, but without preaching at the reader (sometimes quite difficult to do). The Married Women’s Property Act is a real thing, and was a huge change in how women could control their own property after marriage. The book touches on it, but again, not preaching.

An enjoyable read. I gave it 5 stars for the genre and extra layers of interest.

The first book of the same series is also quite good. I include the link here if you want to check out the first few pages through Amazon.

Bringing Down the Duke

Here’s the lead in from the Amazon description: “England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. ”

I read this one a few months ago, and enjoyed it. Five star rating.

My Goodreads review of Book 1

A lively, engaging romance with a bit of history tossed in. Surprisingly good for a debut novel. I would have thought the author had written many books already. Strong voice and entertaining scenes.

Note: Amazon links may include an affiliate code.

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Black Gangster by Donald Goines

This is not a new book. In fact, the first publication date in the new paperback I picked up from the library is 1977. But some of the themes are timeless and relevant.

I found myself engaged and interested in what happened next. How could you not get hooked into a book that tells you the two main characters “…take down Detroit one hustle at a time” ?

Here’s the story in the blurb on the back of the jacket:

The back of the book

And I’ll include my Goodreads review here, too.

I’d heard about Donald Goines for years. He is one of the more popular authors in California prisons and always in high demand in those libraries. I can see why. His stories are still relevant and believable, even though he wrote over 40 years ago.

This particular book is pretty bloody and violent, but effective. The only section that was a little difficult to believe was how the cops talk to each other. They sounded a little stilted, but perhaps that’s how they sounded to the author when creating the dialogue.

Other note: there’s some discussion of a political campaign in this book to create chaos related to police and the black community–some of the observations in the book seemed like they could have been plucked from 2020. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life

Dr. Edith Eger’s books: The Gift and The Choice

This week I finished reading The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life, by Dr. Edith Eger. The Gift is Dr. Eger’s recently released second book. The first one was the highly acclaimed memoir, The Choice.

I read The Choice by Dr. Eger in May of 2019, and it was an astonishingly good read. So many poignant moments and so much great advice for those who suffered through trauma.

My May 2019 Goodreads rating of The Choice:

An inspiring account of one woman’s life through unspeakable trauma and the healing afterward. Dr. Edith Eva Eger shares her compelling story with us, and shows how it is possible to release ourselves from victimhood. Must read for just about anyone who has experienced trauma or suffering. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.

The Gift is also good, but not as emotionally compelling as The Choice.

The Gift is Dr. Eger’s practical guide, of sorts, with stories of clients and personal experiences presented as lessons to the reader. Each chapter has three exercises, perhaps journal prompts, to help the reader do her or his own exploration of the topic.

I particularly enjoyed some of the marriage discussions and one question resonated for me. 

Would you like to be married to you?

Whoosh, that’s a tough one to answer. Because, oof, maybe not. Who among us can say we’d like to be married to ourselves?

As far as self help goes, The Gift is eminently readable. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, as I felt it was solidly good, but not a knockout book. I’m likely to be reading it again soon.

I recommend both books.

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