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I am a reader. I read to expand my worldview, to expose myself to new ideas and ideologies, and to share in the experiences of other people who have journeyed before me. In short, I read to grow. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, I read between the lines to see the motives, learn the lessons, and broaden my perspective to in turn, better understand myself and my place in this world.

Once in a while, what you may refer to as “Chance” (or what I believe to be Serendipity) tosses a book into my lap that shifts my perspective…

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So what in the world do the rules of grammar have to do with living your best life? This is likely not something you have ever asked yourself. At first thought it seems like one of those “What does ___ have in common with ___?” jokes. I was therefore surprised and delighted by Lawrence Weinstein’s ability to marry the two, resulting in a thoroughly engaging, enlightening read.

Needless to say, this book is unlike any I have read in the past. As a mindful librarian who enjoys writing I have done my fair share of grammar study. I have also…

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Coffee House Press publishes, “literary fiction, essay, poetry, and other work that doesn’t fit neatly into genre categories,” as per the blurb in the back of my latest read, Temporary, by Hilary Leichter. How fitting! The book, which kept me turning pages until my vision started to blur, had me simultaneously amused, depressed, and enlightened. Not an easy feat!

Temporary reads like a twisted Odyssey in which our nameless heroine (the “Temporary”) traverses land, sea, and sky in search of the elusive PERMANENCE. …

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I am often amazed at the restorative power of nature. Any metaphorical weight on my shoulders… any stress, confusion, sadness, or anger manages to lift and drift away (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) when I spend quiet time outside. Whether I am walking, biking, kayaking, or simply sitting, a little time alone in nature helps me get closer to an energetic equilibrium. Every sort of natural setting… forest, meadow, jungle, desert, lake, or ocean, provides an opportunity to channel the power of the elements for healing.

Beaches, however, offer a special sort of transformative magic. It is at the…

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Feeling insignificant? Powerless? We all do from time to time, especially when situations large or small seem to be spiraling out of our control. Our inability to make things the way we want right now, or the helplessness we feel when reading about current events can make us feel like specks of dust being tossed around at the will of a wind storm.

We are indeed way more powerful than we are aware of. The reason for this is we don’t ever get to see the full extent of our impact on the world around us. Sometimes our influence is…

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Ah, language. Isn’t it great? Through speech and through writing we convey complex messages for infinite purposes. Words help us inform, comfort, instruct, warn, entertain, question, and commiserate. But first and foremost, it is through language that we label and name.

Classification: /klasəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/ noun. The action or process of classifying something according to shared qualities or characteristics.

Way back when, in biology class, we learned about taxonomy which is the classification of living things. I wasn’t a fan. I saw no purpose in memorizing things like the domain, phylum, genus and species of a lemur. …

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I recently finished the New York Times bestselling memoir, Educated, by Tara Westover. It is a book club’s dream title, as there are multiple themes and topics for discussion. The author delves deeply into family relations, mental illness, women’s roles, off-grid living, holistic medicine, and more. Like any good book, it made me think… a lot.

The biggest takeaway for me is summed up in Westover’s final lines which inspire the title of the book. She writes of a turning point in her life when her decisions henceforth were made by a new version of herself. She was suddenly no…

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Hygge. The Danish word may not have an English equivalent, but the concept resonates strongly and wordlessly in my American soul. It’s a brilliant little term; a single word which manages to describe a mood, vibe, mindset, atmosphere, and belief system in just five letters. “Cozy” is a word often used as an English synonym, but hygge is much more than that.

My understanding is that for something to be “hygge” it must embody a degree of warmth, security, and charm, while fostering serenity, connection and conviviality in the simplest possible way. This in turn creates gratitude and peace with…

I love to walk in the morning. There is nothing more invigorating than a burst of fresh outdoor air to oxygenate the brain. Add the surge in adrenaline and endorphins (and with luck, a nice sunrise), and I am ready to take on the day. Usually, time permitting, I complete one or two miles. It’s not exactly the kind of exercise that could help me to lose weight and gain muscle, or be considered cardio (I do an actual workout later in the afternoon). …

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Feeling lucky today? If so, why? If not, why? Believe it or not, your current situation or circumstances don’t matter. It is your perception that determines whether or not you are fortunate, charmed, blessed, or indeed lucky. This idea became crystal clear to me the other day when a seemingly unfortunate experience left me counting my lucky stars.

My son called me from his girlfriend’s house. He began with the bone-chilling opener, “Mom? I’m okay, but…”


I took a breath and waited for the inevitable bad news. What followed wasn’t terribly reassuring, “I may need some stitches.”

Oh dear…

Jennifer Bleicher

The Mindful Librarian

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