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Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits Hardcover – July 22, 2008


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Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits + For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing + The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061494151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061494154
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

O’Shea approaches journal writing as a therapeutic tool and an aid to helping journal keepers discover new strengths and develop others, find previously unsuspected dimensions and depths of their personalities, and uncover and confront painful realities. This self-discovery combines depth with breadth, so as the writer records both life’s mundane minutiae and family-altering crises, he or she acquires knowledge of the most valuable kind from dreams and candid accounts of personal crimes and misdemeanors. O’Shea includes her own journal entries in each chapter, covering different eras in her life, and provides writing tips and journaling exercises developed to empower the act of externalizing thoughts, feelings, and, ultimately, oneself. She also includes instructive passages from the journals of notable writers, such as Louisa May Alcott, who records her winter’s earnings in 1855: $120, which includes $20 for her stories—“if I am ever paid.” A listing of sources rounds out this interesting addition to journaling aids that emphasizes “it’s not the rereading where one finds solace but in the writing itself.” --Whitney Scott

About the Author

Samara O'Shea is the author of For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post.


More About the Author

Samara O'Shea has been blonde, brunette, and currently enjoys life as a red head. She is the author of two books that praise the written word--Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits and For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing. Her third book, entitled Loves Me...Not: How to Survive (and Thrive!) in the Face of Unrequited Love, is now available. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Marie Claire and Woman's Day and she is a blogger for The Huffington Post. Samara is currently pursuing a master's degree in social work at Temple University.

www.SamaraOShea.com

https://twitter.com/SamaraOShea

https://www.facebook.com/IrishSamara


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Customer Reviews

Samara O'Shea has written THE BOOK on journaling.
M. L. Mccarthy
I've kept a journal for three years, and I've read multiple books about journals.
Sophia
I highly recommend, for any avid writer, to buy this book and enjoy.
Ashley Belanger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mike Donovan on June 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has some truly solid advice on beginning and keeping a journal. Much of that advice may be simply culled from other journaling books, as there's nothing original here, but it IS here. However, I think it's VERY important to point out (without passing judgment)that the author has loaded this book with not just sexuality/sensuality, but GRAPHIC sexual content. Some of this book, frankly, I could not even begin to quote here and Amazon allow the review - some of it is THAT graphic. She pulls no punches. She's very young and it shows. Clearly, young people make up the target audience but the cover doesn't necessarily make that known. A lot of people will read how this or that guy "rocks her world," and will get a straight-up dose of just why - even how (if you catch my drift) with the graphic sex talk. No judgment - just a warning. This isn't something you give certain people without their being shocked that a book, seemingly so innocent, could be so full of the author's constant references to her own rather busy sex life. Finally, with what I have said above, this is obviously not something you would give a young teen as a book on starting a journal.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Seven Kitties on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book targets more of the "WHY" of journaling than the "how." While most of the journaling books generally give you the standard folderol about journaling being good for you and then jump on to exercises, O'Shea dives into her own journals and shows you, literally, what that means.

She does give some questions to help you journal, but there's none of the 'how to pick a journal' stuff here. She assumes you can manage to pick up some paper and pen on your own without sage advice. In fact, she avoids the "Journal Guru" voice throughout the work. Instead of feeling that you're sitting at the Feet of the Master (as many journaling books tend to do), she's more like the good friend you haven't seen in a while dishing, no-holds-barred, about journaling and her life. (The feminist in me applauds the frankness of this little 'sistah-fest').

Because, oh yeah, you get a lot of her life in here. At times it verges more on memoir than journaling, but no one can accuse O'Shea of holding back or being shy. She ruthlessly exposes extracts from her own journals, and not-very-admirable episodes from her own life (including her decision to cheat on a boyfriend). You certainly come away from this book feeling as if you KNOW this woman, and that she learned to know herself through her journals. More, that you see parts of yourself in her.

So, part of the possible appeal of this book is 'whether or not you like Samara O'Shea.' I can only suggest you look at her other book, or browse this in a bookstore, to see if her personality appeals to you. (Or, publisher, *hint hint* put on a 'look inside' thingummy for this book!) Warning: If you're a hothouse flower, the references to drugs and sex might turn you off.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Mileto on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thank you for helping me to feel NORMAL, Samara!! I am a 33 year old mother of two young children who has been journalling for over half my life at this point. I started journalling as an awkward and unsure tween and my journals have certainly seen me through much change since then (motherhood!). And, hey, change is scary! Note to Self has allowed me to look back on those scary changes in my life and say, "You are not a freak!"

Samara explains, "We collectively breathe a sigh of relief when we realize we are not alone in our thoughts, words, or deeds." From the start of the book, the reader feels as if Ms. O'Shea is sitting right across the room from you, sharing knowledge, laughs, and little snippets out of her life -maybe all over a pot of tea! She's not afraid to share with the world what she has learned from it in her time here. And best of all, she is encouraging us to look at our OWN path in life by keeping a journal.

"But I'm not the type to. . . " Okay, there's room for you folks who are not current journallers! Chapter 1 begins with reminding those of us who have bashed ourselves for not journalling the way you *thought* you would in that pie-in-the-sky preconceived notion you may have held at once point about what a journal should look like. Maybe it's at this point you gave up, but Samara is on the sidelines cheering you on to give it another go! There are chapters filled with advice on tapping into your own experiences to find something about which to journal. Samara encourages the reader to find his or her own personal connection to journalling. And hey, she admits, maybe the only connection you will ever get is pleasure in reading other people's journals. Well, pull up a comfy armchair, because Note To Self is chalked full of these . . .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theodore J. Remington on April 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Samara O'Shea's "Note to Self" doesn't provide endless writing prompts to jump start your journaling habit. She gives the reader something more profound: insights into how journaling provides you with equipment for living.

Sure, she gives a number of suggestions for possible areas to explore in a journal or diary--some that you might not have thought of, others that might have occurred to you but you dismissed as silly, juvenile, or dangerous. But the pith of the book is the insight on how a journal can illuminate our lives. O'Shea does this with specific examples, some from journals and diaries of famous writers, but mainly providing unexpurgated samples from her own journals throughout her life, along with reflections on how/why she wrote what she did.

At first blush, this might seem like a tactic that could end up producing a book that tells you a lot about O'Shea and why she keeps a journal, but precious little about why you might do the same. That's not the case. For those of us who might like the idea of journaling but haven't been able to get into it, O'Shea shows us that when it comes to journaling, anything goes. There is no right or wrong way. Even starting and stopping, ending up with erratic entries rather than dutifully making a daily record of ones thoughts is fine and dandy. The takeaway (at least for me) is that you can use your journal in any way(s) you want. Perhaps the only sin is to be dishonest with yourself, and O'Shea's numerous personal examples (and her willingness to share them publicly) make you feel much less self conscious about writing about anything in your own journal. Heck, if she can write about doing drugs and cheating on her boyfriend in her journal--and then publish it!
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