I LOVED this book and read it very quickly. His story is amazing, and I gained a much greater knowledge of the trials and tribulations refugees face i...moreI LOVED this book and read it very quickly. His story is amazing, and I gained a much greater knowledge of the trials and tribulations refugees face in their new countries... let alone the horror they've escaped.
I feel that everyone should read this book - it's a unique perspective and has a lot to say about our commonalities and differences as humans. One can gain a better understanding of humanity by reading this.(less)
I love all of the books in the Catherine LeVendeur series, but will just write a review of this one since it's the first.
These books are set in the 11...moreI love all of the books in the Catherine LeVendeur series, but will just write a review of this one since it's the first.
These books are set in the 1100s in France. I love learning about that period of time and what a family's routine might have been like. I also love the historic figures that make appearances - getting to learn about them.
Specifically about the series - so well written and interesting. The heroine is a very smart, independent, and deeply religious woman. For the Catholics of that era most Jews were something not to be associated with, but she and her family have a secret. Her father was originally Jewish and converted to Catholicism...and during the course of the series converts back. She, Catherine, also discovers that a Jewish family she thought were friends, are actually family. It forces her to widen her understanding and tolerance.
I'm always fascinated by stories of people who push against the accepted norm in ways which further compassion and understanding. (less)
Much like the Catherine LeVendeur series a lot of what appeals to me about this series is the time period, and all that I learn about it.
This series i...moreMuch like the Catherine LeVendeur series a lot of what appeals to me about this series is the time period, and all that I learn about it.
This series is set in the 1300s, and once again follows the adventures of an intelligent and independent woman - in a time when there weren't many like her. Again- she's deeply spiritual and religious, but has talents that bring her into conflict with the church.
It's just a fascinating series, and very well written. Been one of my favorites for a very long time.
Again - like with the other series, I appreciate that those who come into contact with her are forced to widen their understanding. Almost without fail the people who encounter her are much changed for the better.(less)
I've long admired Abraham Lincoln, but this book increased that admiration by leaps and bounds.
It's almost ridiculous how politically adept Lincoln w...moreI've long admired Abraham Lincoln, but this book increased that admiration by leaps and bounds.
It's almost ridiculous how politically adept Lincoln was - especially given his childhood, self taught, etc. It made me (the book) long for another president like Lincoln. He picked the men of his cabinet by their merits and by their spheres of influence. He had people from differing parties and people who flat out hated him. He was unswerving when he made up his mind - and 9 times out of 10 he was correct.
He consistently did what was best for the country, gave his whole heart and soul, but was no simpleton as his enemies would have people believe. People who hated him in the beginning often grew to admire and love him. What a genuinely good man, and genius.
It was very interesting to read more about his views on slavery and what motivated a lot of his policy. I can't say enough about this book and the man himself...
I fell in love with Anne from the first moment I read about her. She was what I imagined myself to be, or at t...moreWhat can you say about these classics?!
I fell in love with Anne from the first moment I read about her. She was what I imagined myself to be, or at the least wished to be.
The Anne series is about an 11 year old red headed orphan adopted by an older brother and sister on Prince Edward Island. It's the stories of her many adventures, friends, and love. Takes place turn of the century 1900s. You get such a lovely glimpse into a simpler more idyllic era. True there were problems as with anytime, but Anne unfailingly regards life hopefully (even as she is descending into the 'depths of despair').
The series is written so beautifully and the imagery is second to none. I read these books over and over.(less)
I LOVE Madeleine L'Engle books. They speak about such beautiful things - about spirituality and love in a way that is so unique. And they're kids book...moreI LOVE Madeleine L'Engle books. They speak about such beautiful things - about spirituality and love in a way that is so unique. And they're kids books to boot. They're about connections and interactions - we are all connected and we all affect one another.
They are also about intelligence. Such smart people and characters in her stories. There is a part of this book where she (through the voices of her characters) is describing light and dark (good and evil) and talks about the points of light through out human history. Jesus was a point of light, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. Anyone who tries to improve things for humanity as a point of light.
Lovely metaphor. So different than a lot of books for kids out there. She doesn't talk down to children. She requires thought and compassion.(less)
I've copied and pasted a much better review of this book than I can write.
From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Gloria Bauermeister:
"There is no su...moreI've copied and pasted a much better review of this book than I can write.
From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Gloria Bauermeister:
"There is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you." The Mists of Avalon is a story of another time and place. It's the legendary saga of King Arthur and his companions at Camelot, their battles, love, and devotion, told this time from the perspective of the women involved. Viviane is "The Lady of the Lake," the magical priestess of the Isle of Avalon, a special mist-shrouded place which becomes more difficult to reach as people turn away from its nature- and Goddess-oriented religion. Viviane's quest is to find a king who will be loyal to Avalon as well as to Christianity. This king will be Arthur. Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen, is an overly pious, fearful woman who successfully sways her husband into betraying his allegiance to Avalon. Set against her is Morgaine of the Fairies, Arthur's sister, love, and enemy - and the most powerfully believable person in the book - who manipulates the characters like threads in a tapestry to achieve her tragic and heroic goals. The Mists of Avalon becomes a legend seen through new eyes, with details, majestic language, and haunting foreshadowing that hold the reader through its more than 800 pages.
**My own thoughts: all that she says is so true. Also - if you have any interest in Arthurian stories this is an indispensable addition. It does make you wonder if there are supernatural forces at work in the world. It's written so compellingly and realistically that you begin to wonder if it's possibly the truth...**(less)
Morgan Llywelyn writes most often about Ireland. I love Ireland and reading about Irish history, especially ancient Ireland. It seems like the one cou...moreMorgan Llywelyn writes most often about Ireland. I love Ireland and reading about Irish history, especially ancient Ireland. It seems like the one country that really is out of a fairy tale.
I also love reading about the historical/mythical figures of Ireland's past - she makes them become very real.
Bard is the story of the 'founding' of Ireland - well of those who we consider 'Irish'. The Milesians come to the island and make contact with the Tuatha Da Danans...a mythical 'fairy' race. This tells the story of their settling the island and making it their own.
This is my favorite of Morgan Llywelyn's books...and one of her non Irish books. Here's a review from Publisher's Weekly:
Publishers Weekly Caesar's Ga...moreThis is my favorite of Morgan Llywelyn's books...and one of her non Irish books. Here's a review from Publisher's Weekly:
Publishers Weekly Caesar's Gallic Wars are recounted from the viewpoint of the losers in this highly readable evocation of the culture of the European Celts. Ainvar of the Carnutes, a young orphan druid-in-training, receives instruction for the ``manmaking'' rituals with prince Vercingetorix of the Arverni, forging a bond that will later unite them in an effort to free Celtic Gaul from Roman domination. As young men they travel through the Province (southern France, long settled and ruled by Rome), the warrior studying military strategy, the priest observing the society and developing arguments against assimilation, which has proved tempting to many of the free Gauls. When Vercingetorix is king of the Arverni and Ainvar the chief druid, the two strive to unify the intensely individualistic, frequently warring and suspicious tribes, with little initial success. But when Gaius Julius Caesar, pro-consul of Rome, seizes on the migration of the Helvetii to escape German depredation as an excuse to take action against Free Gaul and the Germans, the other kings place themselves under the leadership of Vercingetorix, who mounts a swiftly moving campaign against enormous odds. Llywelyn ( Red Branch ) imaginatively and vividly portrays the druid rituals and their close ties to nature, and authentically depicts daily life among the Celts as well. (Mar.)
**My notes: I clearly love books about history, even if they take fictional license, that make historic figures come alive. This is an astounding book. (less)
Hmm, what I learned from this book...that alot of the reason the country is in the state it's in is because of too much power being given to the execu...moreHmm, what I learned from this book...that alot of the reason the country is in the state it's in is because of too much power being given to the executive branch.
And that happened because the first man to hold that office was such a man of character, integrity, and principle that such power was safe in his hands. He always did what was best for the country - and oftentimes that had little to do with his own feelings about a thing. He was the ultimate statesman.
Like Lincoln he gave his heart and soul to this country, and was sorely abused and used by those proclaiming to be his friends.
I cried at the end of this one as well. It's a great book, and I learned so much about a president who was basically a mythic figure to me previously. He was a great man. (less)
This is my favorite book. Has been for a few years, butI have a hard time describing it and why I love it so much...
Here's the description of the book...moreThis is my favorite book. Has been for a few years, butI have a hard time describing it and why I love it so much...
Here's the description of the book from this website: (In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being "human." When the lone survivor of the expedition, Emilio Sandoz, returns to Earth in 2059, he will try to explain what went wrong... Words like "provocative" and "compelling" will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.)
This is a serviceable description of the book, but would lead you to possibly believe it's a hardcore sci-fi book... and in theory it is sci-fi, but beyond the set up, it isn't really that to me. Those sci-fi conventions are just a way to help tell a story.
To me the story is about so many things: first contact with another race, the search for God, the meaning of God, what is faith - real faith? It's really about a crisis of faith. It's also about making judgments without knowing the whole story. Hindsight is 20/20! I tell people it's the only book that I have ever read that has really changed the way I think. And that has mostly to do with the hindsight is 20/20 part of things. We'd all like to think we have all the answers and would know how to behave perfectly in any given situation. But until you've been there...you just don't know! This book helps me fight against the moral certainty and self righteousness I have a tendency to get swept up in.
The sequel, Children of God, helps answer a lot of the remaining questions you have when you finish the Sparrow. It also gives you a lot more information from the other side of things - again we all make judgments without knowing other people's motivation and belief in what is right and wrong.
It also speaks to me about 'foreign-ness' and whether or not different cultures can really move beyond differentness into true knowing and understanding.
And lastly..the characters are INCREDIBLE. They made me desperately want to be part of them, to talk to them and know them, and to be on this adventure with them - in spite of knowing what is coming. This is the part that also makes rereading this book so lovely. You get to revisit old friends, but you wish to be able to warn them and can't.
I'm not really describing what the book is about, and that's ok with me - I don't want to spoil it for people. But, just know that it has had a profound impact on me and the way I think. I reread it at least once a year and find new pearls each time through.(less)