In my continuing Kindle excursion through the worlds of Louisa May Alcott, I read Jo's Boys. It is indeed very preachy, and I confess to skimming past a lot of the sermons to find out what happens to everyone. Oh, and if I'd written it, everything would've turned out differently for Dan. I sometimes envy 19th century writers--I'd give a lot to be able to introduce my characters with a nice backstory synopsis like Jane Austen does, for example--but I'm glad I don't have to set up characters for punishment as Moral Examples.
Staying in YA but on a much lighter note, I curled up with The Ex Games (Jennifer Echols, 2009). The heroine, a snowboarder with fear of heights left over from a childhood accident, has to overcome her fears to defeat her ex-boyfriend in a battle of the sexes that engrosses their whole high school, and incidentally to take advantage of a chance to take lessons from a pro.
Refuse to Choose (2007) was my second self-help book by Barbara Sher. In it, she describes "Scanners"--people who have trouble settling on one single direction in life. I recognized myself in almost every page. I've always felt like I should have some grand passion or vocation. And in one sense I do--my love for history and my hunger to write have been with me all my life--but at various points I've wanted to be a reporter, a theologian, a paramedic, a professor, etc., etc. And because I've never been able to make up my mind which one is my One True Vocation, I haven't done any of those things. Sher's book helped me see that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. She suggests that many Scanners search for a "Good Enough Job"--one that will match their interests and work style well enough to give them stability and contentment, while leaving them enough life space and mental energy to pursue other interests at the same time. Somehow that phrase alone was a revelation for me. A day job isn't quite the same thing as a Good Enough Job, you know?