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Review: Option B

417t2blcp9rl-_sx292_bo1204203200_Recap: Grief is no easy thing and like addiction, it is not something people can “overcome.” It’s something that simply becomes a part of our lives forever, and we are tasked with learning to manage it. If anyone knows about grief, it’s Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who several years ago lost her husband suddenly. He died from heart-related problems at the age of 47 while working out at the gym.

Sheryl feared not only that she would never get over his death but that her children would never be happy again.  She turned to friends, family and experts to help her work through her grief. Along the way, she became close with psychologist, author and University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant, who helped her co-write Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. As she writes in her book, “Option A (having her husband) is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.”

Speaking to Grant and other psychologists, she writes about many theories that helped me to better understand why some of us make grief harder for ourselves than others. For instance, Sandberg talks about “The Three P’s: personalization, pervasiveness and permanence. The goal is to avoid the three P’s; avoid thinking this situation is all your fault, avoid thinking this will affect every part of your life and avoid thinking you will always feel this way.

Analysis: Sandberg’s Option B works in a way that many other self-help books don’t in that she offers concrete, easy-to-employ tactics for dealing with not only grief, but any kind of loss: unemployment (loss of job), divorce (loss of marriage), etc. They’re easy to put into everyday use, like stop saying “I’m sorry,” allow yourself cry breaks, do good deeds for other people, find ways of honoring the person you’re grieving so they don’t feel forgotten and talk about them with others, including co-workers.

She does this while still offering the same theories, analysis and results of psychological studies that other self-help books might also include. But she also tells short stories about people all over the country who have gone through horrific, life-changing events and overcome them. These real-life stories work as great examples for some of the psychological theories that we may not otherwise understand because of therapist jargon. They also worked for me as examples of people who have been forced to work through situations much more severe than mine. The thought process becomes: if they can get through that, I can certainly get through this.

I’d been wanting to read this book for so long after the death of my father, and while I (thankfully) found I had already employed some of these tactics into my own life to help deal with my grief, I also found this book helped me to better understand grief in general and understand why I’m still having trouble working past certain aspects of my grief. As Sandberg explains, grief is not considered to be a linear process, and it’s different for everyone. I have accepted my Option B. Thank you, Sheryl, for showing me what I need to do now to kick the shit out of it.

Get Option B in hardcover for $7.83. 

Or get it on your Kindle for $13.99.

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Bestseller To Become a Movie

lean inFacebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg made waves last year when she released the nonfiction bestseller Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Despite the controversy (keep reading…), it seems the bestseller is headed for the big screen.

According to Los Angeles Times, Sony put in a bid for the movie “Lean In” to be written by Sandberg’s co-writer Nell Scovel. Execs promise the movie will not be about Sandberg, but a “narrative film from the themes contained within the book.”

Focused on the social issues that face women in the workforce, the book got a lot of praise from some, but hate from others. Some complained that Sheryl Sandberg doesn’t face the challenges of the “everyday woman” because she is one of the richest and most powerful women in the country. Others felt she claims that it’s up to women to make the changing needed to the workforce, and not corporations and companies themselves.

It’s not easy to make a fictional movie out of a nonfiction bestseller, though it has been done; take He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, which was turned into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper, among many other well-known actors. That movie didn’t do nearly as well as the book, and I imagine it will be a similar case for “Lean In.”

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E-Readers Are Getting More Social

Here are a few reasons why e-readers are great: they’re portable, can hold hundreds of books in one device, and have wifi and Internet capabilities. Here are a few reasons why some are still hesitant to purchase an e-reader: setting bookmarks can be difficult, as can adding notes and highlights — though they are all still possible, and of course there’s just nothing like reading a real book.

But the e-reader experience may just be getting started. According to the Los Angeles Times, reading is becoming more and more like a social network. It’s called “social reading.” For instance, on the Amazon Kindle, people can post favorite passages to Facebook and Twitter. On Canada’s popular Kobo e-reader, you can see what people are reading, if they’re reading what you are, and join in on their comment string about the book. It not only bookmarks your pages; it keep statistics about your reading habits.

On an app called Subtext, readers can even connect with the author, as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

Built for the iPad and launched less than two months ago, Subtext offers all of the social reading elements with the added bonus of content from authors themselves. “I was very excited about this,” says Amy Stewart, author of “Wicked Plants” and “Wicked Bugs,” an L.A. Times bestseller….Marginal icons show where she added links, video, color images and commentary, including a “Spoiler Alert” warning just to see how the function worked (the determined reader has to tap a second time to see the spoiler). Just like on Facebook, Stewart can respond to reader comments, which also are indicated by icons in the margin.

For some, I imagine social reading could be a bit much. But since we’re social about everything else nowadays, why wouldn’t we be social about more clever habits, like reading? And as the article points out, it’s also the perfect way to enhance reading in a classroom. For those who are not interested in social reading, stick to a good old-fashioned book. But I wouldn’t entirely discount it.

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Archie Comics Makes Bold Digital Move

Just as e-books are rapidly growing in popularity, so are digital sales of comic books. Just last week, Archie Comics became the first to offer digital copies of its comic books on the company’s Facebook page.

According to this article by Huffington Post, it’s the largest publisher to add their Facebook fans to their digital sales plan. Archie Comics will work with Graphicly to provide the digital copies. Archie is now being touted as one of the more forward thinking comic book companies. This digital move is considered a bold one.

Archie Comics already offers digital copies of its new comic books to readers the day the comics are released. The company’s Archie Comics app has been downloaded 4 million times. They’re also the first to offer Spanish-speaking copies of their comic books. Co-CEO Jon Goldwater explains toHuffPo why this move is such a big deal.

Facebook has been a huge source of fan interaction, feedback and energy. The ability to merge that with our significant digital output is really a no-brainer. No company with our level of reach on Facebook has done this. It’s in the numbers. Having the chance to make our Facebook page a place for fans to not only learn about the company’s news and initiatives but also to sample our titles and build a collection right on Facebook. It’s really a major move toward connecting the potential reader to the product. We make it easy and hopefully create a new, lasting part of our fanbase.

Goldwater explains that once you like the Archie Facebook page, you can click “Comics” and start reading the first few pages of a title. If you’re so inclined, you have the option to purchase the comic book. It seems like a relatively simple process. It blows my mind how little I know about the comic book world, but it IS kind of amazing to imagine a world where you can log onto Facebook and buy whatever digital copy of a book or comic book you want — instead of having to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Authors’ Words in 140 Characters

More and more nowadays, authors are using their literary prowess to not only write novels, but write tweets as well. And while their 140-character thoughts might not take as long to type, it’s equally as fun as writing a novel — and equally as fun for us to read.

This fun essay by The New York Times explores modern-day authors’ intrigue with Twitter. Some who use it see it as a marketing tool; others use the popular micro-blogging site as way to interact with their readers. And some authors hate the idea altogether. For them, the reader should remain distant from the author, as Anne Trubek explains.

In “A Note From Jeffrey Eugenides to Readers,” he described his joy at meeting them, but concluded by saying he doesn’t know when or if he’ll post on the page again: “It’s better, I think, for readers not to communicate too directly with an author because the author is, strangely enough, beside the point.”

Eugenides makes a good point. But the ability to directly communicate with your favorite author is exactly the kind of thing that inspired me to join Twitter. When I learned celebrities were on the site, I said, “Wait. I HAVE to join now.” And to me, these authors are  celebrities. Of course, I’m interested in what they’re doing, what they’re writing, and what they have to say. My theory is, if I like their books, I’d probably like them too. And based on their tweets, I do.

I think Jennifer Weiner (@JenniferWeiner) is one of the most hilarious authors out there, and her tweets confirm it. I also follow Jodi Picoult (@JodiPicoult) and Judy Blume  (@JudyBlume) . Authors who tweet form a strange, but lovely online bond with their readers, which I think is a win-win situation for everyone involved. If an author can’t be bothered to use 140 characters to communicate with me, so be it. But I rather like the ones that do.

And if you’re interested, follow me on twitter @LaraBryn.

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