Reviewed – The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

You are likely an empath if you grew up being told you were too sensitive and needed to toughen up. (Spoiler alert: this is me!)

The author describes the difference between ordinary empathy and being an empath in this way: “Ordinary empathy means our heart goes out to another person when they are going through a difficult period … or during times of joy. As an empath, however, we actually sense other people’s emotions, energy and physical symptoms in our bodies… Empaths feel things first, then think, which is the opposite of how most people function in our over intellectualized society.” (pg 5)

The purpose of the book is to describe the experience of being an empath, and then to teach empaths self-care strategies. Chapters include how to manage at work (including how to choose an empath-friendly job), in relationships (the ideal types of partners), and how to raise sensitive children.

Not all of the book will be applicable to everyone. However it gave some great strategies for coping with sensitivities. I believe it will also help people recognize that being an empath is a gift and not something they need to change.

Reviewed – Magic: A Novel

I have been in vacation mode, so today’s review is fiction. Danielle Steel is my favorite author when I need light reading for a trip. Yes, her books are formulaic novels and the end is obvious (everybody falls in love). However there’s enough plot to keep me interested and I generally like the characters.

Magic follows one year in the life of Benedetta Mariani (a childless Italian clothing designer), Chantal Giverny (a screenwriter and mother to three grown children) and Valerie Dumas (a young mother and Vogue executive). In traditional Danielle Steel fashion, all three women have exciting careers and need a little magic in the romance department. Magic is a decent, easy read if you’re looking for something for the beach.

Reviewed: A Dog’s Purpose

I had no desire to read this book, because I knew it included passages about a dog dying. However I was stuck at an airport with very little choice in books and decided to go for it. Yes it is the story of a dog’s many lives (and deaths), so be prepared to cry! More than that, it is a first-person story of a dog’s life whose perspective makes you laugh out loud. These include the dog’s analysis of people and other animals (including cats, which he thinks are stupid).

I thoroughly enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose and would recommend it to anyone who loves dogs. While there are a few sad passages, overall it is totally heartwarming and a great read.

Reviewed – Rescuing Penny Jane: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes

Rescuing Penny Jane  is a fascinating look into the world of dog rescue, written by shelter volunteer (and dog lover) Amy Sutherland. Ms. Sutherland begins her journey as a volunteer dog walker in an animal shelter. As the book progresses, we meet some of the animals she’s encountered and learn about the many challenges that occur in re-homing and rehabilitating dogs. Some of the stories have happy endings and some do not.

Along the way, the author interviews shelter directors, animal behaviorists and public policy experts about how we can better serve man’s best friend. I learned that shelters have made it much harder to surrender animals and that many are willing to assist with challenges (such as behavioral problems and vet bills) to help keep the dog in a home. I also learned that thousands of small dogs are transported from the southern United States to New England for adoption.

Overall this was a very interesting and informative book. I think it would be of special interest to anyone who has adopted a shelter dog.