Wired for Love, Stephanie Cacioppo (2022)
In this wonderful book, Cacioppo masterfully weaves together her own neuroscientific research into romantic love, her surprising romance with her late husband, and his revolutionary research into the negative health impacts of loneliness. I’ve often criticized this type of science-memoir hybrid, but this is an example of just how powerful it can be when it’s done well.
I genuinely loved this book, which I can only describe with words like ‘masterful’. However, I will say that some of the content might be triggering for people experiencing long-term loneliness, or who are experiencing prolonged, unwanted periods of singleness. Even here, though, she helpfully offers some solutions for how these readers can engage healthily with the material and mitigate the negative impacts of loneliness — and maybe even begin the long road from damaging loneliness to a healthier place of solitude.
Read this if you’re interested in:
- Grief and Loss
My Rating: Premise 10, Intrigue 10, Information 10, Authority 10, Responsibility 10, Success 10, Structure 10, Writing 8, Enjoyment 10, Meaning 10: TOTAL: 98
- Evil Spy School, Spy School 3, Stuart Gibbs (2015), 84: In this installment of the Spy School series, our hero Ben is kicked out of spy school under strange circumstances and finds himself recruited into evil spy school. Is this all part of a master plan? Or is he on his own to bring down the bad guys from within? This was another fun story in this fun world told by a master of the genre. It’s nothing more or less than a fun ride. (Middle Grade, Spy, Adventure, Teenagers doing Espionage)
- Rooted, Lyanda Lynn Haupt (2021), 84: This is a delightful mixture of personal reflection, tradition-informed spirituality, and popular science, brought together to increase readers’ sense of awe and wonder within the natural world and to live more deeply rooted lives accordingly. She was largely preaching to the choir in my case, but it was still a delightful read. (Science & Nature, Ecology, Spirituality)
- The Manager’s Guide to Systems Thinking, Stephen G. Haines (1998), 90: This is a practical introduction to General Systems Theory specifically as applied to the workplace. Despite being close to a quarter-century old now, it felt remarkably current. I gleaned quite a bit of wisdom from this. (Business, Strategy, Systems Thinking)
- Jungian Dream Interpretation, James A. Hall (1983), 77: This a classic introduction to Jungian dream analysis and there’s a lot of good content here, particularly in its basic definition of terms. Once he moved away from this basic framework, however, the book felt a little unfocused. Additionally, the book is showing its age in terms of certain cultural conversations and understandings of mental health. There are better, more recent, introductions out there, but I still found this helpful. (Jungian Psychology, Dream Interpretation)
- Flying Solo, Linda Holmes (2022), 65: Fresh off a canceled wedding, Laurie is convinced she’s destined to be single for ever — and she’s okay with that. But when she returns to her home town to clean up her beloved late great aunt’s house, she reconnects with an old flame, and uncovers a mystery surrounding a duck decoy. There is all the makings of a great book here. Laurie and Nick are both great, relatable, and contemporary characters, and the relationships with their friends and family were realistic and endearing. Unfortunately, all this good was couched in a silly caper plot about a duck and a con artist that I absolutely could not get myself to care about, lessening my enjoyment of the book quite a bit. (Romance, Second Chance Romance, Small Towns, Caper)
- The Rose Garden, Maeve Brennan (2000), 83: This a collection of short stories by the New York-based Irish writer Maeve Brennan, written from 1950-68. The stories in the volume mostly fit into three categories: stories about the small lives of the residents of an exclusive New York suburb, stories of people who frequent hotels, and a particularly charming collection of stories about a black lab named Bluebell. The stories excel in the quality of the writing and their uncomfortably accurate depiction of relationships and human nature. (Short Stories, Lifestyles of the Rich and Petty, Dogs, Mid-Century Americana)
- Crash from Outer Space, Candace Fleming (2022), 92: This is a really smart book. It’s a thorough investigation into the Roswell UFO mystery that is designed to teach kids critical thinking skills. It’s a great idea and executed so well! (Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, UFOs, Conspiracies, Critical Thinking)
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