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Tag Archives: life

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

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If you are looking for a quick read, a low energy, low concentration book, with a smooth story line and little to focus on….

This isn’t it.

Jumping between memory and current happenings and back to memory again

Stegner’s Book is a wordy read.

Full of the academia expected of a renown professor/writer

but once you get passed some of the wordiness

and figure out

the story line and connections you have a a great story, that, in the end had just the right amount of words.

A novel about two couples how they meet, how they live, how their lives cross.

A novel that starts in the midst of the Great Depression and works through and around the lives touched by the two couples

Sid and Charity

Larry and Sally

Eventually, Births, near deaths, polio, cancer, arguments, and forgiveness, all find their way into this beautiful narrative.

Perhaps the most telling segment of the novel comes in these words from page 278:

“…We live as we can, we do what we must, and not everything goes by either Freudian or Victorian patterns. What I am sure of is that friendship–not love, friendship–is as possible between women as between men, and that in either case it is often stronger for not having to cross sexual picket lines. “

There is a Wallace Stegner Website you can check out: wallace stegner

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A Breath of Fresh Air….

A Breath of Fresh Air

by

Amulya Malladi

Wow

Where to begin.

as you read it is as if you are sitting with a person from India and you can hear his/her voice in your head as you read

the tragedy lies in that the Bhopal Gas Tragedy….Happened( no really….it happened, this part of the story is historically accurate!)

this video shows the aftermath

Back to the book,

Through her writing,

Amulya makes it clear that

dysfunctional families are universal

that loving your child so much you would do anything to cure them is also universal

with a rawness I’ve not seen in other books

she deals with life, death, betrayal, and forgiveness.

The story is one

told in different voices

each chapter headed with whose side of the story is being told

Anjali: The divorced/remarried school teacher, mother of a child affected at birth because of the incident at Bhopal

SanDeep: The Second Husband, mild, calm, accepting,  the father of the child affected at birth/Bhopal

Prakash: The first husband, undergoes transformation(no plot spoilers so you’ll have to read to find out more about him)

This book transcends boundaries, international, racial, economical.

It is descriptive, and beautiful,

enough said?

Go buy!

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler….meh….sort of….

OK I read this book because it had “New York Times Bestseller” on the title.

and is from something called the Ballentine Readers Circle.

This was not a favorite book of mine but it did touch on some topics I felt made it worthy of a review.

-divorce and the tragedy it afflicts on all touched by it

-a child of the now dissolved marriage,

-and most importantly: a young mans “coming of age” type story, where he begins to see the importance of his job(serving others) and more importantly he discovers his own self worth. Through misadventures with an angel(trust me not what you expect), and a child’s history that named his as a criminal….he overcomes…..not how you’d expect….not even necessarily how you want

but

that is what makes this book cool in my eyes.

Lately so many of the books I read are so Predictable, exciting at first then boring as the story line plays out just as expected

making the last half of the book almost unnecessary….

A Patchwork Planet...is not predictable….at least not as overtly as so many novels these days.

I recommend this book for high-school and up….it does having some swearing and suggestive spots…

but all in all a thoughtful read.

I recently just finished “Back When We Were Grownups” another by Anne Tyler, and although I did not feel it was worth my time to do a separate entry, it was a decent enough book to mention.  For me it was a bit too predictable.

I am B, i AM B, i am B…well that’s what the book told me…

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I am B

i AM B

 i am B

At least that’s  what Daniel Quinn insinuates at the end of his book:

The Story of B

An Adventure of

the Mind an Spirit

I began my journey with Daniel Quinn, in a college course by reading the Book

Ishmael

 

but recently looking for books at the local thrift store “The Story of “B”, by Daniel Quinn was facing me on the end cap.

I had to have it.  Having read Ishmael I knew somewhat to expect.

I do not fully agree with the ideas Mr. Quinn puts forth

but

I do think he has some intelligent thought-out phrases within the text.

Essentially “The story of B” is about a man, Father Jared Oborne, who has been called into his superiors office and has been sent off to seek out this person…known as “B”  and find out if  “B” is a threat to the church.

yadda yadda yadda….is B or is B not the Antichrist….is B out to destroy the church….blah blah blah

I had Quinn until it became too obvious …too soon….where the story was going

and yet….it is a good read….not a read in one day type of read….rather a read a chapter or two….and then stop and think for a day or two to let it sink in….how you feel about what you’ve read….and when ready…open the book and read more…

without spoiling the story(it is a decent novel)  I will share with you some of the insights I underlined while reading this novel.

The following are quotes from Daniel Quinn’s book “The Story of B” read them…think on them  (not for very long) then…go out and get a copy to mark up for yourself!

from page 49:  “Vision is the flowing river.  Programs are sticks set in the riverbed to impede the flow.  What I’m saying is that the world will not be saved by people with programs.  If the world is saved, it will be saved because the people living in it have a new vision.”

from page 51: “Programs are inherently reactionary. …They always follow, never lead….”

from page 52: “By contrast, vision doesn’t wait for something bad to happen it pursues something desirable”

this idea of visions….vs….programs….comes up again and again and again in the book

now a few more quotes I found interesting:

from page 77:  “Revolutions don’t occur among people who are thinking in the same old way.”

also from page 77 and I am putting this in Bold because it was an idea I had never considered before and found very interesting:

“…It’s naive because starving people don’t plant crops any more than drowning people build life rafts.  The only people who can afford to wait for crops to grow are people who already have food.”

from page 105:”…You never know when you might have planted a seed,…”

from page 140: “What appears to be kindand is meant to be kind can be the reverse of kind.”

from page 148: “…like neighbors everywhere, they tend to be much more aware of their differences than their similarities.”

from page 186: ” …Every track begins and ends in the hand of god, and every track is a lifetime long…Remember that your tracks are one strand of the web woven endlessly in the hand of god ”

 

As typical of Daniel Quinn’s works he divides history and contemporary culture in terms of Takers and Leavers…..either you are one or the other.

…and…

To Quinn there is not one GOD but rather a god.  He talks of animism(god in everything) as if is fully separate from believing scripture….but the scripture I know also talks of God as the creator of all and being with all thing in all ways.

Despite my disagreeing philosophical and many times theologically with what Quinn says…I am a reader and I like reading this sort of thing….it challenges me to think deeper…

and that…is more than just a good thing 😉

check out Quinn’s website here

so

although there is much interesting

A review of Good Grief by Lolly Winston

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On a recent trip I had time to read 2…yes 2 books

the first  “Good Grief”

the second

The Book Thief”(which I’ll write about in a future post){awesome…horrific….inspiring….more detail later}

Good Grief, by Lolly Winston

This book is a New York Times best seller for a reason.

If you’ve ever had a psych 101 course you’ve probably heard about Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross  and the 5 stages of dieing or what was observed of terminally ill patients.

In my psych 101 we used the word

DABDA

each letter standing for a stage

and the stages can come and go

and don’t necessarily follow in order but they are

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

essentially when you get to acceptance you die.

I believe when looking at chronic(not terminal) illness that when you get to acceptance you go on with your life…you go on living for real again.

Lolly Winston weaves DABDA into a novel, through the eyes of a wife dealing with the death of her husband.

I know sounds morose right?

There are sad moments

There are angry moments

There is an awful lot of denial

and a fair amount of depression

oh and bargaining…she covers that too.

all from the eyes of the widow

who in case I didn’t mention it is not even 40 yet!

and finally

she wraps up the book

with acceptance

acceptance that her husband has died

acceptance that her life has gone on( and that’s ok)

any one going through any major life change

can read this book

and come away feeling

they are not alone

on this earth

in this life

Lolly gives us laughs and heartache

smiles and tears

put into perfect words and thrown in thoughts of Sophie the widow.

(about her book from her site)

thankyou Lolly for this book

if you all aren’t already headed out the door to buy it…what are you waiting for???

What Direction Next?{The Smart Teens’ Guide to Living with Intensity}

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I read a lot!

I mean a lot!

I always have multiple books with bookmarks in

and magazine articles clipped.

But

My Goal of this Blog

is to post about inspirational books,

books that touch the heart and/or lift the mind or some combination of both.

So sifting through my memory and in trying to decide what’s next I’ve neglected posting about books…unable to make a decision…

until now.

I have a teenager…and in a few years I will have 3 teenagers

so I’ve been reading various books on how to deal with  and live with and love teenagers.

This next book stems from that.

The Smart Teens’ Guide to 

Living With Intensity

How to get more out of Life and Learning

By.Lisa Rivero

So the other day at the Library this book  jumped out at me

and

I thought my kid should read this

but

I read it

and you know what?

Every Parent Should Read This As Well

Although the books focus begins a bit on “gifted” students  really…all teenagers are intense in their own way and this book will likely be eye opening for parents and teens alike regardless “classification” or “labels”

She breaks down the different types of intensity displayed by people

Intellectual, Psycho-motor, Sensual, Imaginative, Emotional

If we understand what makes us intense and what makes our kids intense

we can grown in compassion

when we regard our

similarities

and

differences

with our children

Each “Intensity” gets its own chapter

with a breakdown of how it (the intensity)

affects learning

affects Relationships

Now Bring in Chapter 9

“The Care and Feeding of Intense Parents”

If only all children(teens and adult children)

would take a few minutes to read this book

perhaps some of the insecurities

some of criticisms we have of our parents

would turn more toward compassion and understanding.

Fast forward to Chapter 14

Waiting until the Last Minute:Procrastination, Perfectionism, and creativity.

Complete with a checklist and websites for creative inspiration.

Then the book ends with list of Habits of Mind

and different ways of thinking

for example

instead of too intense think wonderfully intense

instead of not fitting in think just where I should be

now run out and get your own copy

and while you’re at it

check out her website

Lisa Rivero

The Speed of Light, or opening up a can of worms…

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The Speed of Light 

By Elizabeth Rosner(click her name to visit her website)

The Speed of Light

 

It took me a few chapters to get into this book.

but once I did…

my heart sunk.

my soul flew

and my mind was opened to worlds I had never imagined

A story,

told by three people

a brother(Julian)

a sister(Paula)

the housekeeper(Sola)

Julian, a scientific mind, who in my opinion is probably suffering from high anxiety, severe depression, and OCD

Paula, an opera singer, an escapist who suffers from her own insecurities

Sola, a maid, with a heart deep and scarred, and a love and understanding of humankind, beyond words.

I want you to read this book

I want you to read it with wonder

as I did

I want you to

get into the minds of the characters

I want you to shudder

I want you to sob

I want you to feel with your whole being

as they did

so only a few quotes to tempt you

a few short sentences that will hopefully draw you in

From page 25

“My Father had no capacity for joy: it was squeezed out of him long before I entered the world.  Perhaps the years of being with my other saved him for a little while, but even she realized it was impossible to resurrect someone standing so close to his own grave.”

From page 81:

“Matter can be neither created not destroyed? No. Matter is constantly being created and destroyed, the eternal motion of the cosmos.  From the center of stars to the edges of my skin, to the chambers of my heart and the bones in my ear, singing  your name”

From page 161:

“‘People are animals. Beasts,’ my father said, more than once.  Then he would shake his head, frowning at the evidence eon the page, confirmation of everything he already knew about the world.”

and finally from page 241:

“We could live in two places at once- carry the past inside the present. We could travel faster than the speed of light.”