Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Power of Habit, Karin Fossum, Elixir, Jackie Kennedy, and Theodore Roosevelt

Reported by Meygan

Nevermore opened with the discussion of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. The book discusses the neurons in our brains and what exactly causes habits to form. The reader said it goes like this: first there is a cue, then a routine, then a reward. For example, if someone gets a cue to eat something sweet at a certain hour or on a specific day, then the routine is to eat that something sweet; hence, the reward is eating something sweet and tasty. But what happens when you are trying to watch your diet and cut out sweets? Well, the author states that the cues never go away. However, you can change the routine. Therefore, when you get the cue that it is time to eat something sweet, do not give into the routine of eating a chocolate cupcake or a glazed doughnut, as difficult as that may be. Instead, change your routine and do something different to “reward” yourself! The reader said although there are very interesting parts, there are a few pages she skimmed over due to the information not being particularly interesting. Another Nevermore member recommended that she read the beginning and the end but skip the middle. There is even a section about a habit that the author had to break and how he did so. Duhigg also talks about corporations and advertising and how they have changed culture by creating products, such as Febreeze, that cause consumers to develop habits. 

We have discussed Broken by Karin Fossum in Nevermore before (it is a mystery novel where  the narrator, who is an author, is awakened by a man that she has created through her own imagination and asks her to write his story). Another Nevermore attempted Broken but could not finish it. Most Nevermore members have a 35 page rule, meaning that if the reader doesn’t like the book within 35 pages, then it is a sign to move on. The story could not hold her attention. But this is why we love coming to Nevermore—it is wonderful that us book lovers can agree and disagree about books, all while enjoying our doughnuts, hot coffee, and the company of one another, of course. 

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming was discussed next. This book focuses on Jackie Kennedy’s post-traumatic stress disorder that developed after her husband, John F Kennedy, was assassinated. Our Nevermore reader said Barbara Leaming approached the topic with a narcissist view about Jackie Kennedy and her opinions are not very flattering. The reader isn’t sure if she would recommend the book and thought the book would really dish the dirt about Jackie but didn’t. 

Next was Barbara J. Martin’s Elixir: The American Tragedy of a Deadly Drug. This is the true story of a deadly drug, which was created in our very hometown! The drug, called Elixir Sulfanilamide, was developed to help patients take sulfa drugs without the bitter taste of sulfur. However, shortly after the drug was prescribed, some of the patients started dying. The Massengill Company ordered a recall but did not specify why. This book focuses on the deadly drug and how it killed more than 100 people, many of them children.

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard was highly enjoyed. The Nevermore reader said this book reminded her why paper books are better than online books because the paper book had pictures while her Kindle did not. The River of Doubt is about the true adventure of Theodore Roosevelt and his trip down the Amazon. On this trip, he encountered Indians with poison-tipped arrows, piranhas, snakes, and rapid rivers. Roosevelt survived a treacherous trip that killed three men, but this book gives a deeper insight to Roosevelt’s actions and feelings. The Nevermore reader was fascinated with the story and couldn’t understand how Roosevelt and the others could have been so careless when planning for this trip.

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