Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finally! Time to Read Non-Fiction: OUTLIERS

This weekend I was able to read OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS(Little Brown & Co., 2008) by Malcolm Gladwell. Previously I had read with interest his publications BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING and THE TIPPING POINT: HOW LITTLE THINGS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

OUTLIERS is one book I would advise anyone with grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews to read.
Success is not necessarily defined as having a genius-level IQ, but having intellectual ability that is 'smart enough'. Gladwell reviews such successful figures as Mozart,Robert Oppenheimer, Bill Gates, and others who have been 'smart enough'-some prodigies and some not; but all having been nurtured to a level of comfort with their culture, who have spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their passion, who happened to have been born in the right decade and even for some outstanding people, in the right months. He delves into the fields of sports, fine arts, technology, engineering, law, business, and education. I had never seen an explanation of math prowess among Asians versus American students based on an analysis of the languages of each, the culture of effort, and dignity of work. He even discusses the selection process of Harvard's freshman class. So many concepts making so much sense!

In addition to being an important contribution to our understanding (and misunderstanding) of success, OUTLIERS is an interesting read with great examples, easily-understood research stats, and a broader understanding of the accomplishments of successful people. Since we're interested in strong women who influence those in their lives, Gladwell's "Epilogue: A Jamaican Story" is not to be missed. He describes his grandmother and his mother, both strong, admirable women who have greatly influenced the man he is.

If you choose one non-fiction read this summer, consider OUTLIERS-you won't regret it. You can find Gladwell's most recent work and commentary on many areas by accessing his blog:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Fashion or Not! Our Conversation

A group of us talked recently about clothes, why we can't find outfits that fit and are still professional and in fashion. In our 60's and 70's, we aren't finding much between the skimpy mini skirts/crop top lines and the very matronly styles. Thanks to all of the smart and sassy women taking part in our conversation!

With all of the baby boomers ready to look for nice, flattering clothes, we did acknowledge the value of the Chico's catalogue offerings. You can browse Chico's at http://www.chicos.com/.

With the advent of the sleeveless sheath worn by Michelle Obama, readers of MORE magazine asked where to find sheaths with sleeves( Thank you! Thank you!), noting that sleeves are better than 'arm spanx' (Yikes!) Editors gave some suggestions that we can access on the web:

Jones New york at http://www.bloomingdales.com/.
(MORE, April, 2009, 18).

With the demise of some of my favorite stores, I've gone to the web to search out and purchase many items, including clothes. Hopefully, these websites will let us search the possibilities and order online--or find items we like before the 2-hour trip to the stores listed above.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally! Time to Read

Two (fiction and non-fiction }books have been suggested as well worth the read. I haven't read either but can summarize a little based on my sister's recommendations.

The first is an epistolary novel, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Shaffer and Barrows. The authors used letters written by people living on the Isle of Guernsey during the Nazi occupation of WWII to describe the ways in which the inhabitants met covertly to plan strategies for getting around the occupation mandates. Even though many of the members couldn't even read, they all attended the 'literary society' meetings to plot their strategies under the noses of the German soldiers.

The second is STILL ALICE, another true story. A woman who has been a well-known published professor falls victim to early-onset Alzheimer's. The story is told by her daughter who, along with the rest of the family, has to decide whether to be tested for the early-onset gene or not. Considering the rise of the relatively new profession of genetic counseling, the struggles of this mother and her family are in the forefront of issues that swirl around this devastating disease.

Why Travel?? For Relaxation and Unexpected Rewards!

My sister traveled to Florida with her friend recently. While waiting for the play, WICKED, to begin, they sat in a small park on the Edison College campus. As purple blossoms from an overhanging tree fluttered all around them, my sister mentioned that they looked like purple butterflies.

Her sharp-as-a-tack friend then recited a poem she learned in high school! (Wish I could do that!) The anonymous author likened the morphing of caterpillar into butterfly to a sign of immortality. Below is the last stanza of the poem. If you'd like the entire poem, email smartnsassywoman@gmail.com.

"Low Spring comes forth with all her warmth and love
She brings sweet justice from the realms above
She breaks the chrysalis and resurrects the dead
Two butterflies arise encircling her head
And so this emblem shall forever be
A sign of immortality."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Good Read But with More Complexity

If you want depth in a mystery novel, try Elizabeth George's CARELESS IN RED(Harper Collins, 2008).Even with its 720 pages, this is a relatively quick read because the reader's interest shifts constantly among three families whose in-depth lives touch the murder victim and intersect with Thomas Linley (Scotland Yard-now bereft because of the murder of his pregnant wife) and the mysterious Daidre Trahair(sometimes visitor to Polcare Cove, veterinarian, and secretive woman intent on hiding her past from the investigation). This is a mystery that you will try to solve from the beginning with your suspicions moving from one character to the other until, at 600+ pages, you begin to see what's really happening.If you read the book, enjoy it(or not), and want to comment here,I'd love to hear your take on this.. If you want to contact Elizabeth George,her website is http://www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com/

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Over 60 Women Make the News

Kathryn Winkfein, 72, was speeding along in Travis County, Texas, on May 11. As reported in many sources, she was pulled over by a policeman, became contrary, and was tasered.

You can see the 'unedited dash cam footage' on www.topix.net/county/travis-tx and judge for yourself if she should have been tased or handled differently.
I think I'll slow down a little, though, when cruising the open road!