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Flick the pages, flick ’em good

Another Reading Time post! You guys, since I started reading Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi’s blogs, I feel like I’m always getting word of rad new books to read (they host the 10 Things I Learned While Writing… and The Big Idea posts, respectively, in which authors talk about their experiences and motivations in writing). Add to that the book-related podcasts I’ve been listening to, and I feel like the book news is constant. It’s wonderful.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

I am absolutely not alone in eternal gratitude for the presence of the Hyperbole and a Half blog. Between coining the phrase “ALL the things!” and being the first artist to successfully depict the Alot, Brosh is a justly famous artist. The book contains about half already-seen blog content and half new content, which is just fine with me — the already-seen blog content is some of the best from the blog, and the new content is equally great, so I consider that a big win. Brosh’s artistic style is probably already familiar to you if you’ve spent any time on the ol’ internet: it’s bright, simple, and expressive in a way you don’t expect when you first start reading it. It’s great. The book includes the art that discusses her depression, which I thought was wonderful (the art, not the depression): her explanation of depression presented it in a way I had never considered and it really stayed with me. It is well worth reading for the same reason reading any great biographical work is: for the potential to learn to see an experience through different eyes. Funny, fun, and touching. A really excellent book.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

‘Fessin’ time: I’ve not seen a full-length episode of Parks and Recreation. I’ve seen lots of clips and gifs around the place, and I know I like it.  And having read this book, I realise I must resist my fate no more. Poehler’s book is wonderful: her writing is funny, warm, and inviting and I felt like I was hanging out with her for a few days. Maybe at a house on the beach. Too cold to go swimming, so we just hang out and have four pm champagne. (This did not actually happen. I am far too uncool to be friends with Poehler.) Anyway, the book touches on her life and career path, her commitment to doing something she loved and, happily, was good at, the people she has come to love and cherish, motherhood, and other life-changing incidents. There is some humbling stuff about learning to apologise with sincerity and some sturdy, encouraging stuff about learning how to work and work hard. There is a strong ethos of encouragement without entitlement, being kind and polite and loving people, and absolutely no punching down. I genuinely laughed out loud while reading it, and read long passages to M (who also laughed) because they were so great. After reading, I felt encouraged and hopeful about my own ambitions and aspirations, and like I would seriously enjoy being mates with Poehler if she’d have me.

Functional Anatomy of Yoga: A Guide for Practitioners and Teachers by David Keil 

So I recently became a yoga teacher, and jolly good fun it is too. One of my favourite parts of the training was the anatomy studies. Hoo boy I love learning me some anatomy. We had colouring-in sheets and anatomy games to play (less sexy than it sounds, I tell ya now), and I loved every minute. Despondent that such a carefree and giggly time would never come again, I decided to comfort myself with a yoga anatomy book. I’ve been following Keil’s blog for a wee while, but I have to say: the book knocks the blog outta the way and takes centre stage. It’s great. It’s divided into two parts: the first part deals with general and then piece-by-piece anatomy.  After an overview of how muscles and tendons and bones work, it goes into a detailed chapter for each body area. The anatomy of the foot, lower leg, knee, etc. It’s thorough, interesting, detailed and beautifully illustrated. The second part of the book explores the way anatomy functions within groups of yoga poses. There’s a discussion on hip openers, twists, backbends and arm balances, and explains how one’s anatomy is working in each group. The book throughout is beautifully illustrated with drawings and photographs that clearly show where the muscles, tendons and bones are placed. It’s readable, too! Holy cow is it ever. Clear, engaging, lightly humorous and really delightful. If you’re even slightly interested in either yoga or anatomy, I really recommend Keil’s book!


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