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Mindfulness and Meditation: Handling Life with a Calm and Focused Mind by Whitney Stewart discusses and conveys the significance of mindfulness, as it expresses the importance of comprehending your emotions regarding stressful events or situations. This book also states that meditation is characterized by the ability to remain poised and intent while maintaining a relaxed and calm disposition and mind since this will cause an increase regarding the aspects and structures of the brain that are associated with the ability to retain memories and the processing of information, such as gamma waves within the brain, as they are considered to be the swiftest classification of brain waves. Moreover, another essential benefit and aspect of meditation are that it increases the amount and level of happiness within the brain, as it activates the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is connected to happiness. Multiple examples and positions of meditation are presented throughout this book, as it describes the correct position regarding meditation, as well as various methods to perform it, such as the “Lotus”, “Half Lotus”, “Burmese”, “Chair”, “Seiza”, and “Prone”. Additionally, Buddhism, an ancient tradition and religion that originated within Asia, is perceived as being an essential aspect of Buddhism, as it provided the foundation for meditation and mindfulness, as the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, had observed multiple instances of sicknesses and pain that was considered to be an aspect of suffering within human society, which caused him to depart from his previous position within society, a prince, and attempt to experience and endure the conflicts and difficulties that the members of society had encountered, although this caused him to engage in meditation, which allowed him to eventually attain enlightenment. The Buddhist religion also inspired several people that were mentioned throughout this book to adopt the Buddhist religion. Throughout this book, multiple instructions and suggestions are included to explain the various types and components of meditation and mindfulness. Therefore, this book expresses the importance of mindfulness and meditation through various suggestions and ideas that are presented.
Regarding the content of this book, I thought that it was quite extensive and informational, as it provided multiple examples and suggestions regarding mindfulness and meditation, and it also encompassed detailed explanations regarding the steps that are required to effectively perform meditation, such as assuming control concerning emotions by focusing on your breathing, as it will gradually relax your mind. Moreover, this book was also quite personal, as well as convincing, as it included interviews from teenagers, concerning the subject of social media, as well as methods regarding coping with stress. Additionally, this book also served as an insightful novel, regarding methods and categories of meditation that is designated to remove the influence of detrimental thoughts, and it also provided information and advice regarding attempting to ensure happiness, as well as coping with painful experiences. Regarding the plot of this book, I considered it to be insightful and thoughtful, as it incorporated multiple benefits of meditation, such as an increased level of focus, as well as an increased level of happiness. This is indicated by the frequency of ideas, suggestions, and advice that are present throughout the book, as well as the pictures that illustrate the various positions for meditation. Therefore, this book was quite insightful and informational, as it discussed the benefits of meditation, and it also supplied a variety of questions that encourage mindfulness and meditation.
One memorable thing about this book was that it stated various factors and aspects that could potentially result in happiness, such as engaging in exercises, experiencing sunlight and nature within the environment, and by engaging in a sufficient amount of sleep. This was a memorable moment regarding this book, as it implied that it was quite simple to increase the levels of happiness within your life. Furthermore, this book also provided advice and suggestions regarding the various factors that can increase happiness, as it stated that exercise possesses the ability to increase the production of chemicals within the brain, such as dopamine, that is associated with happiness. Moreover, this book also included various sections that offered examples and instructions regarding methods that increased happiness, such as recalling a joyful memory or engaging in compassion regarding oneself. Regardless, aspects of this book that I liked were that it incorporated multiple examples of mindfulness, as well as methods of ensuring happiness, although an aspect of this book that I disliked was that it uses a variety of contrasting fonts and colors throughout the book, which could potentially produce an unnecessary distraction, as the various fonts could potentially cause the reader to divert all of their focus regarding one section of the book, instead of focusing on all of the sections of the book.
Reviewed by Grace, Twin Hickory Library
Into the Deep: Science, Technology, and the Quest to Protect the Ocean by Christy Peterson illustrate and discusses the various organisms and habitats of the marine environment, such as jellyfish, whose lives are not completely understood, as scientists had originally concluded that jellyfish were unable to be considered as being a source of food and prey regarding the various organisms of the ocean. Turtles and rockfish were also discovered to be one of the multiple organisms that depend on jellyfish as a source of food, based on samples of DNA originating from the bodies and systems of the organisms. Furthermore, this book also describes the connection between human society and the ocean since it states that humans from ancient civilizations and cultures, such as the Polynesian people, utilized the ocean as a method of navigation by reading and analyzing the currents of the oceans. This also indicates that humans have depended on the ocean as a method of navigation, as well as a source of food since communities and villages that were established along the coasts of the ocean utilized seaweed and salt to create tools and items, as well as to preserve food and to serve as a source of food. Additionally, this book also focuses on the experiments and research that was devoted to discovering the extent of the currents of the ocean, as this book mentions the experiment of Georg von Neumayer, an explorer, and a scientist, who placed bottles into the ocean to analyze and observe the currents of the ocean. Buoys were also created in an attempt to observe the path of the ocean currents, as they were designed to float on the surface of the ocean, similar to the bottles that were deposited previously. The currents of the ocean are also continuous, and they transport warm and cold ocean currents throughout the globe. However, climate change appears to have an adverse effect on the environment and the ocean currents, as this could cause a rise in the level of seawater at the poles, as a result of an increased rate of melting, due to the rising temperatures of climate change. Since this effect of climate change possesses the ability to alter the composition of the ocean, multiple “dead zones” could begin to form, and this negatively impacts the vast number of organisms that reside within the ocean, as it can decrease the levels of oxygen in the ocean environment, leading to a state that is referred to as “hypoxia.” Though fish are able to recover quickly from this condition, organisms such as crabs are unable to recover rapidly, due to being “slow-moving” in nature. Additionally, the scientists and researchers who participated in this experiment also analyzed samples from whales and other organisms to determine the effects of climate change concerning the ocean, such as an increase in “blooms” of algae, which possess the potential to become toxic to the marine environment, even though coral depend on algae in a symbiotic relationship. The conclusion of this book states that in order to save the ocean from the detrimental effects of climate change, the people of a society are required to convince the officials of the government to realize that the ocean is required to be protected from experiencing and enduring the effects of climate change.
I thought that this book was insightful, and it also introduced me to a new perspective regarding the effects of climate change since I was previously unaware that “hypoxia”, low levels of oxygen, could result from the impact of climate change, as I had previously thought that the primary effects of climate change concerning the ocean were rising seawater levels and an increase in the number of bleached corals. Regarding the plot and the setting, I considered the plot to be extensive and persuasive, as the book provided a vast amount of information regarding the organisms that reside in the various zones of the ocean, such as the epipelagic zone and the bathypelagic zone. This book also incorporated a large number of experiments that were conducted regarding the health and condition of the ocean, as well as various experiments that analyzed the path and extent of the currents of the ocean. This is indicated by the usage of buoys to analyze the path of the ocean currents and to prove that they are continuous. I also obtained new knowledge from this book since I previously was unaware that scientists had previously assumed that jellyfish did not possess any predators and that samples from multiple organisms had indicated that they had consumed jellyfish, such as samples from sea turtles, albatrosses, and rockfish. Therefore, this book was an eye-opening experience, and it also allowed me to experience a new perspective concerning the effects of climate change on the ocean.
One memorable thing about the book was that it had mentioned that the effects of climate change had also impacted the path and status of the ocean currents, as I did not previously consider this to be a detrimental effect of climate change, and its impact on the ocean. Furthermore, this also contributed to the idea that the composition of the ocean was being altered by climate change, which also negatively affected the organisms that depended on the ocean as a source of food and as a shelter. This indicates that they would be less likely to adapt to the changing conditions of the ocean, due to the harmful effects of climate change, which would eventually lead to their demise and their extinction. Regarding aspects of this book that I liked and disliked, the writing style and tone of this book was insightful and persuasive, and it was also effective regarding the purpose of this book, as it served as an enlightening and eye-opening experience concerning the effects of climate change on the ocean, and how scientists and researchers utilized bottles and objects that floated on the ocean to observe and analyze ocean currents, which connect all of the oceans of the world. However, an aspect of this book that I disliked was that it mainly focused on the effects of climate change on the health and condition of the organisms of the ocean, instead of focusing on other prominent factors, such as over fishing and pollution.
Reviewed by Grace, Twin Hickory Library
This novel follows the stories of four main characters, each of whom are from a different place in the world: Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Collette. Under normal circumstances, there is no way that any of these four people would’ve found their way into each other’s lives. In the 1940s, however, there were two things that brought people together: love and war. These characters all played important roles in the war, whether it be as a soldier in the British army, a musician in the 369th infantry, or a volunteer assisting at European camps. Regardless, the war had profound impacts on everyone involved, and this story recounts their experiences in this worldwide conflict and how they desired to see the people they loved the most again.
I thought that the entire story line was planned out very well. World War II was definitely a time when love was a motivating factor for people to pursue certain actions, especially soldiers, since their ultimate goal was to be able to come home to the families that they left behind. In times of conflict, everyone must make some kind of sacrifice, and each character clearly did that throughout the course of the novel. It was also clear that a lot of research was conducted before writing the book. In a short afterword, the author provided factual information that was integrated into various characters and story lines, adding a sense of realism into this fictitious work.
In my opinion, the most memorable thing about this book was the vivid description of war-like situations during that time period. I have learned that the conditions in the trenches were not pleasant and that the living conditions there were not great in my history classes. After reading this book, along with the historical notes written after the story was over, I now have a better understanding about what a soldier’s experience was during the war.
Reviewed by Griffin, Gayton library
Cassandra Cain is not your average teenager. Raised as a perfect and mute assassin by her father, she runs away from home when she realizes that being an assassin isn’t what she’s meant to be. After finding herself in the comforting noodle shop of Jackie, the kind owner, she discovers the legacy of Batgirl, a prominent vigilante of Gotham City who disappeared years ago. While trying to seek out Batgirl for advice, Cassandra finds herself working with a certain wheelchair-bound librarian named Barbara Gordon, who asks questions that Cassandra can’t answer. Between finding Batgirl and trying to start anew, Cassandra must also deal with the ever-present threat of her father and her old life coming back to claim her.
As one of DC Comics’ lesser-known Batman-related characters, Cassandra Cain rarely gets the spotlight, and I truly appreciate Kuhn trying to give Cassandra the attention she deserves. I will say that the book does stray from the comics canon with elements I can’t spoil, but overall, the book really tries to live up to the comics by forging its own path while still hitting the right notes. In the comics, Cassandra Cain has always been in her own internal struggle between what’s right or wrong due to her upbringing, and Kuhn translated this aspect fantastically well in this book. One of the strongest moments of this book is also the addition of Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl. This may seem like a spoiler, but truthfully it is just background knowledge that is optional to read before this story. I believe that having Barbara in the story as one of Cassandra’s mentors truly helped Cassandra’s characterization, as that incarnation of Barbara had retired the mantle of Batgirl and had a very similar experience to help Cassandra. The only part of this book that could have been better was developing the personalities of the original characters created for this story, especially Jackie. Although I understand the focus on Cassandra and Barbara’s relationship (due to their similar backgrounds and motives), Jackie could have been more of moral support besides having a safe place for Cassandra to run to. Personally, I believe that Kuhn just didn’t explore Jackie’s character a lot, and that could have definitely made the story better. Other than that, this story was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for more YA books like this from DC Comics.
The most memorable part of this book was when Cassandra mistakenly knocked over the stacks of books that Erik, another character in the book, had set up for his book club meeting. The uniqueness of this moment was that Cassandra had thought the stacks of books were for training, while Erik had simply put them in that way for holding a discussion. The moment also started Cassandra and Erik’s relationship through Erik’s sympathy for Cassandra’s situation. The chemistry between the two made a breakthrough in this moment.
Review by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library