Thursday, July 28, 2011
I read about this book on a friend’s blog months ago. There was a wait for it at the library. Absolutely worth the wait, and I will be purchasing a copy of my own.
I consider myself to be a fairly organized, clutter-free (other than books – that’s my weakness) person. However, I also believe there’s always room for improvement. And, hello, a book that offers me a plan to completely spring clean my house in just 10 days – count me in! I’ve been working on spring cleaning all summer and have finally decided my plan is just too complicated. The one Tsh Oxenreider offers seems much more…achievable.
She also takes the time to address the mindset of simplicity. And to approach life and decisions and purchases intentionally. What do you want your home to be and do for you? What is your family’s mission statement and goals for each room? Are you accomplishing that? She helps you to look at the bigger picture and the “why” behind organizing and removing clutter.
Of course, as with all organization books, there are things you can’t/won’t use. I will not be making my own shampoo out of baking soda and water; I have enough hair issues as it is. But I added far more things to my “tool box” than I left behind.
A great reference to have.
Wyatt Blaine desperately seeks a reason to continue. Devastated by the senseless deaths of his wife and son at the hands of a drunk driver, he remains unable to forgive, and to love again. Searching for a sense of peace, he decides to revive his late wife's equine therapy program for troubled teens at the Blaine family ranch. By honoring her memory in this way, he hopes to find the sense of closure that has long eluded him.
Book club book for July. And as one member pointed out – one of the few books we’ve read that had males as dominant characters (or even was written by a guy).
This book been compared to Nicholas Sparks. I don’t really feel it is in the same league, but I enjoyed the story over all. It was a quick read. I had heard of equine (horse) therapy being used with autistic and Down’s syndrome children and adults. However, I had never heard of it being used for those with emotional issues. So that aspect of the novel was interesting.
I didn’t get as connected to the main characters – Wyatt and Gabby – as I did to some of the more auxiliary ones like Ram (Wyatt’s father) and Aunt Lou (the Blaine’s cook/house manager). I felt they were more interesting and less predictable.
I did have a few issues with the book. In a few places, the time sequence was off. That always annoys me. Also, I was disappointed by Ram’s letter at the end of the book and confused by the three year wait for it. That just didn’t make sense to me. Finally, the title of the book is mentioned in Gabby’s thoughts, but I didn’t really understand it.
All in all, though, it’s worth the read.
Posted by becki at 3:02 AM
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Before I went to O’ahu with Jeff (who had to be there for work), a friend recommended I pick up the “blue book” about O’ahu. She had purchased one before her first Maui trip and said it made all of the difference. So I went to my local Borders (A moment of silence, please, over the fact Borders is going out of business.) and found the “blue book” for O’ahu. It is by Wizard Publications, Inc. and proved itself to be absolutely invaluable.
I started reading it before we left for our trip. And it was our constant reference while we were there. The directions were great. The majority of the descriptions and prices were accurate (some prices/hours changed and one restaurant closed down – no doubt since publishing). They did provide an online tool for all in the book as well. I didn’t use that though. We even used the GPS coordinates to figure out how to get to a spitting cave. And spent another day reading through the pages/driving around the coast (Jeff drove – I read), stopping as things in the book struck our fancy.
My only gripe is that I felt some of the maps could have been better. But I’m a horrible map reader, so that could be accounted to user error.
I finished reading the book upon our return, marking notes about what we did and saw. The book and O’ahu itself has entirely too much to cover in the amount of time we were there. But we’ll just take the book next time and know what we still want to see or what we want to see again.
However, if you are traveling anywhere that Wizard Publications has done a guide book too (I know they’ve done 4 of the Hawaiian Islands). It manages to be both entertaining and informative, all the same time.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This book details both the history of ‘Iolani Place, the only (former) royal residence on United States soil as well as touches on the lives of the Hawaiian monarchs. It’s a very approachable take on the past. The photographs are absolutely beautiful and capture the essence of the palace that I felt when I was there.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t read this entire book. I only got to chapter 11. Perhaps I’m burnt out on marriage and relationship books. Perhaps the one five-minute conversation I did try wasn’t well received.
I had hoped for a bit more practical application from the book. It does seem that Ms. Puhn knows what she’s talking about and sites many examples from couples she has mediated or counseled with. But personally I didn’t have many light bulb moments. So I will return it to the library to be revisited another day. After all, summer break is almost over. I need to be reading fun stuff!!!
Monday, July 11, 2011
The second “journal” in The Walk series was a bit slower of a read than the first and then seemed rushed at the end. Perhaps that is because most of the book takes place during Alan’s recovery. So he is not walking and making progress on his journey.
One of the things that I liked about both books were the nuggets of wisdom you receive from Alan and his journal. For example, one of the overriding themes in Miles to Go is that it is not just what we are able to accomplish ourselves. But it is equally important that we inspire others to do great things.
I think of this in my teaching career. Most days, I don’t feel like I’m doing very great things at all. I believe that education is important, and I love what I do. However, many days I walk away from my classroom in the evening wonder if I accomplished anything at all. Then I think back on all the great teachers (both in and out of school) I had – the ones who inspired me to read and dream and think and write…and to ultimately become a teacher myself. Did they always know what they were planting in me? Or did they have those hum-drum days as well? My guess would be it’s the latter.
So we do what we can. We set goals. And then, ultimately, we set one foot in front of the other and move forward.
This book was a really quick read. The chapters are short (some just a page), and the narrative really moves along.
I love Al’s determination to just walk away from it all. I don’t know if it’s courage or stupidity on his part. He really doesn’t have anything to stay for. But still, that takes guts.
This first book in the series covers only the first leg of his walk. He doesn’t even move past his home state of Washington. However, he journeys many miles emotionally and learns from others along the way. And the reader gets to learn from him.
It’s written as a personal narrative with some bits of journaling thrown in. I can’t wait to read the second book (which is next up in my stack). Unfortunately, I’ll then need to wait until April 2012 for the third book.
Friday, July 8, 2011
I make no bones about the fact that I am a Jane Austen fan. The satire, the romance, the fun. So I was interested to read this book subtitled: “How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter.” To look at Austen’s work from a more cerebral and educational perspective than from a purely entertainment one.
William Deresiewicz starts out his literary critique by stating that he was not a fan of Jane Austen and her work. It wasn’t highbrow enough for him. So I started out my reading not being a fan of him. However, as he progresses through Austen’s books and grows to like and learn from her, I also come to like him as an author.
I found it unique how Deresiewicz parallels the lessons he’s learning from the Austen novels to what he was currently experiencing in his own life.
Jane Austen does, indeed, have a lot to teach us all. And William Deresiewicz takes the time to point that out to us. Emma helps us to see and appreciate the little things in life. Pride and Prejudice is a story of growing up and becoming a better person. Mansfield Park can show its reader where to find true happiness if one only takes the time to look. The education continues through her six popular books
At times, he is a bit redundant. However, overall it was an interesting and informative book to read. And it helped me to look at one of my favorite authors from a new perspective. I can’t wait to go back and reread some of her books and see if I can connect to the lessons there.