Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 13, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page B:2



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 13, 2016 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown

On the Marquee: 

Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse

The Book of Awesome 

by Neil Pasricha

 Sometimes it’s easy to forget the things 
that make us smile. Sometimes it’s 
tempting to feel the world is falling apart. 
But awesome things are all around us: 
Popping bubble wrap, The smell of rain 
on a hot sidewalk, The other side of the 
pillow,Hitting a bunch of green lights 
in a row, Waking up and realizing it’s 
Saturday, Fixing electronics by smacking 
them, Being the first table called up to the 
dinner buffet at a wedding, When the 
cashier opens a new lane at the grocery 
store, The moment at a concert after 
the lights go out and before the band 
comes on stage, When you’re really tired 
and about to fall asleep and someone 
throws a blanket on you,Sleeping in 
new bedsheets, Finding out from a 
doctor or mechanic that nothing’s 
wrong,The last day of school,High-
fiving babies,Bakery air,Snow days.The 
Book of Awesome reminds us that the 
best things in life are free. Based on the 
award-winning, multimillion hit blog, it’s a high 
five for humanity and a big celebration 
of life’s little moments. With wise, witty 
observations this treasure trove is filled 
with smile inducing musings that make 
readers feel like kids looking at the world 
for the first time.

The Happiness Equation: Want 
Nothing + Do Anything = Have 

by Neil Pasricha

What’s the formula for a happy life? Neil Pasricha 
is a Harvard MBA, a Walmart executive, a New 
York Times–bestselling author, and a husband 
and dad. After selling more than a million copies 
of his Book of Awesome series, he now shifts his 
focus from observation to application. In The 
Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to 
want nothing, do anything, and have everything. 
If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply 
haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to 
Happiness.Each secret takes a common 
ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in 
a completely new light. Pasricha then 
goes a step further by providing step-
by-step guidelines and hand-drawn 
scribbles that illustrate exactly how 
to apply each secret to live a happier 
life today.Controversial? Maybe. 
Counterintuitive? Definitely.The book 
will teach you such principles as: Why 
success doesn’t lead to happiness · How 
to make more money than a Harvard 
MBA · Why multitasking is a myth 
· How eliminating options leads to 
more choice. The Happiness Equation 
is a book that will change how you 
think about everything—your time, 
your career, your relationships, your 
family, and, ultimately, of course, your 

The Summer Dragon (Evertide) 

by Todd Lockwood 

The debut novel from the acclaimed 
illustrator--a high fantasy adventure 
featuring dragons and deadly politics.
Maia and her family raise dragons for 
the political war machine. As she comes 
of age, she hopes for a dragon of her 
own to add to the stable of breeding 
parents. But the war goes badly, and the 
needs of the Dragonry dash her hopes. 
Her peaceful life is shattered when 
the Summer Dragon—one of the rare 
and mythical High Dragons—makes 
an appearance in her quiet valley. The 
Summer Dragon is an omen of change, 
but no one knows for certain what kind of change he 
augurs. Political factions vie to control the implied 
message, each to further their own agendas.And so 
Maia is swept into an adventure that pits her against 
the deathless Horrors—thralls of the enemy—and a 
faceless creature drawn from her fears. In her fight 
to preserve everything she knows and loves, she 
uncovers secrets that challenge her understanding 
of her world and of herself.


By Artistic Director, Christian 

 Another roadtrip. This time 
with my family. We’ve had a 
wonderful time visiting family, 
friends, and incredibly beautiful 
sites. Part of our tour took us 
to Ashland to visit my son’s 
Godmother. She happens to be 
the Costume Director for the 
Oregon Shakespeare Festival – 
the largest theater in America. 
Regular readers will remember 
that I was here last year and 
wrote about the “machine” that 
this place is producing eleven 
shows in repertory. I worked 
here many years ago as an actor 
and my memories of being here 
are sweet. I did one of the three 
best plays I’ve ever been involved 
with when I was in Shakespeare’s 
Henry V here.

 This trip I saw two plays: a very funny adaptation of 
Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard. It was 
reset in the Wild West and was played fast and loose 
in and amongst the audience – making them part of 
the show. It was filed with wonderful singer/actors 
who were cheeky in their dealings with the audience 
gathered around them. The set featured two adult-
sized hobby horses that patrons could sit on during 
the show and a bar from which we could get drinks 
and treats while the action was underway. My son was 
delighted and so was I.

 The night before we saw The Wiz – the adaptation 
of The Wizard of Oz which was originally produced in 
1978. It was a disappointment. The show itslf is not really 
very good – I think it relies too much on the audiences 
familiarity with the story. That familiarity allows the 
audience to fill in the holes in the story. The director did 
not solve the problems of the show and I was not very 
engaged. There were some particularly wonderful actors 
in the show – working their hearts out, but all in all, I was 
surprised that the Festival would have allowed this mess 
to go forward.

 Notwithstanding the quality of the show, the 
Elizabethan Theater (the outdoor space in which The 
Wiz was playing) holds 1,143 seats. So in one night The 
Wiz played to more people than many of our shows do 
in their entire run. It got me thinking of our current 
production of Putnam County Spelling Bee which has 
not found its audience despite great reviews and happy 
audiences. I was so disheartened to think about the great 
work we are doing at SMP that is going unseen while the 
very mediocre show that I saw in Ashland was selling out. 
There is no justice.

* * *

 Spelling Bee closes on August 21. I do hope you will 
plan to see it before it closes. Then we’ll bring back John 
Carney for Carney Magic for four shows August 25-28. 
His two show run sold-out in the Spring and these are 
bound to, as well. On Monday, August 22, we also have 
our free reading series play – this time Alison’s House 
by Susan Glaspell which won the Pulitzer in 1931. I’ve 
always wanted to hear this play out loud. It is rarely done.

 This is your Playhouse. Please let me hear from you. 
Please visit our website at or 
call Mary at 626.355.4318 to purchase tickets. 

All Things Considered By Jeff Brown



Maybe, according to a new study that has found 
that book readers aren’t only smarter, nicer, and 
more empathetic – they may even live longer.
The study, sponsored by the National Institute 
on Aging, looked at 3,635 subjects over 50 who 
were divided into three groups: those who didn’t 
read books, those who read up to 3.5 hours a 
week and those who read more than 3.5 hours 
a week.Even after accounting for variables 
like health status, education, and income, the 
study found that those who read more than 3.5 
hours per week were 23 percent less likely to 
die during a 12-year follow-up period. Those 
who read up to 3.5 hours per week, about 30 
minutes per day, were 17 percent less likely 
to die.Book readers experienced a 20 percent 
reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years 
of follow-up compared to non-book readers,In 
other words, just like a healthy diet and exercise, 
books appear to promote a significant survival 
advantage. The research on this is new and it’s 
important to point out that so far it only shows 
an association between reading and longevity, 
not necessarily causality.And the study specified 
that the longevity benefit lies only with reading 
books, not newspapers or magazines. “We found 
that reading books provided a greater benefit 
than reading newspapers or magazines. We 
uncovered that this effect is likely because books 
engage the reader’s mind more – providing more 
cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the 
lifespan,” Yale researcher Avni Bavishi wrote 
in the study.Finally, while the book genre being 
read was never surveyed, the researchers have 
said they believe most test subjects were reading 
fiction.Other research has connected a host of 
benefits to reading, including improved brain 
connectivity and empathy.researchers have 
concluded two specific reasons why reading 
books boost longevity. First, deep reading 
promotes a kind of “slow, immersive process” 
that leads to cognitive engagement, which helps 
a reader “draw connections to other parts of 
the material, find applications to the outside 
world, and ask questions about the content 
presented.”“Cognitive engagement may explain 
why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration, and 
critical thinking skills are improved by exposure 
to books,” Second, books “can promote empathy, 
social perception, and emotional intelligence, 
which are cognitive processes that can lead to 
greater survival,” they say.

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