The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity.
I've read several self-help-ish books lately by Christian authors,The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity.
I've read several self-help-ish books lately by Christian authors, and they all seem to tackle the same subjects--making the most of your time; harnessing your creativity; finding the place where your passion meets your career; curbing excess (in eating, spending, alcohol, or anything). I'm drawn to these books because I appreciate the little nuggets of wisdom these authors share. While I don't find every tid-bit to always ring true or to be super-realistic and helpful, I find enough good stuff to keep me coming back for more.
"Living Well, Spending Less" was my favorite of the contemporary books I have read regarding a healthy lifestyle. I felt like the author's philosophies were in line with mine. She was re-iterating a lot of principles that I already knew and practiced--but she was doing what I couldn't do or hadn't tried to do--she was eloquently and efficiently getting them down on paper to share. And she was also offering some perspectives I had not yet considered but appreciated.
I underlined ALOT of this book, and that's meaningful. I also read aloud some underlined parts to my husband which was also telling that I was connected to the words. I enjoyed this. I would recommend it. I will probably eventually read it again.
P.S. You don't have to be a mom, a wife, or a woman to appreciate this book, despite the blurb up there mentioning motherhood....more
“Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair“Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted--wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.”
I had never heard of this book or this author when I picked this one up, despite it being an international best seller and winner of many awards, so thank you Robbie for broadening my horizons here.
This is a beautiful book. The story is beautiful and the writing is beautiful. The plot got a little confusing to me (probably because it's impossible for me to read without distractions), so I had to find a synopsis to catch up on one plot point. But, wow, what a story she weaves.
Alot of readers were deeply emotionally touched by this story. And I was touched. But not to the point of sobbing or even tears. The ending is beautiful, and this will make for a nice film if some one decides to go in that direction. It's very much in the same vein as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which was written by this author's husband Jonathan Safran Foer, as many of us now know. There must be a great deal of dramatic effect in that household!
In the past week I have recommended this book or brought it up in conversation at least a half a dozen times. My father-in-law is noI loved this book!
In the past week I have recommended this book or brought it up in conversation at least a half a dozen times. My father-in-law is now reading it, and he loves it too. Thank you, Shelia.
Awesome things about this book:
1. It's true, but it doesn't feel like it could possibly be so. Sometimes it feels like the plot of a black-and-white science fiction movie.
2. The author took ten years of her life to research and write this book, and every fact, every conversation feels entirely true and accurate. The author's journey to tell this story is inspiring and impressive.
3. Hela cells are amazing! Biology can be fun and so much easier to comprehend than one might ever imagine.
4. It's so interesting how medical ethics have changed through the years. As science intensifies and evolves, so do the ethics surrounding it. Informed consent, the privacy of medical records, what is or isn't ethical to do in the name of scientific progress and medical discovery...a fascinating and TIMELY journey.
5. It's important to realize how culture has shifted regarding racial equality in the past 80 years in America. It's important to understand how it was vs. how it is today, and to visualize how it should and can be.
We Were Liars or as I will remember it...Everyone Loved This Book Except Me.
I listened to this on audible.com while I drove a 9 hour distance. Over tiWe Were Liars or as I will remember it...Everyone Loved This Book Except Me.
I listened to this on audible.com while I drove a 9 hour distance. Over time, I came to dislike the author's voice and her reading of this novel.
Like many reviewers, I came to "uncover" the mystery about mid-way through the novel (for the most part). So for the second half of the book, I was just waiting for resolution to unfold so I could finish it and choose another book. The writing and setting were interesting, and the story somewhat interesting (and extremely sad and unnerving). Overall, this one wasn't for me....more
Someone found out I liked to read, and when they finished this book, they gave it to me in hardback. So I started out this book with good feelings.
ExtSomeone found out I liked to read, and when they finished this book, they gave it to me in hardback. So I started out this book with good feelings.
Extremely YA account of the alien-incited apocalypse. I WOULD recommend this for young teenagers, except it's way too violent for that age group. So...maybe people who can handle violence but still like stuff that's easy to read. ...more
I like Lysa. I feel like I have been so familiar with her work in the past year (Facebook, books, Bible Study, and Instagram), that we are on a firstI like Lysa. I feel like I have been so familiar with her work in the past year (Facebook, books, Bible Study, and Instagram), that we are on a first name basis. Her books I read with a pen to underline. But this one left me feeling a little lacking on insight.
“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamer“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.”
As I was walking and listening to Amy Poehler's "Yes Please" on the track at my gym, I was struck with many talking points. However, since I was in motion, and since last time I checked you can't underline an audio book, I'm going to try to remember just a few of them here for my future self who likes to read back over book reviews. (When reflecting back on a book these days I can not only remember nothing about it, I can't even remember if I've read it. Boo middle-aged, diet-coke fueled brain.)
First of all I enjoyed this book. I felt that listening to a memoir on audio, READ BY THE AUTHOR, was so much more compelling than listening to a novel on audio. When I'm listening to fiction my mind definitely wanders. And if I'm in a car, I find myself falling asleep...waking up only when someone is kissing or getting murdered, and then I have to rewind (not easy on your phone--you always end up going back farther than you wanted to) and figure out the set-up to said kissing or killing. And then it takes me nine years to finish a book.
Of course I enjoyed the guest readers. Who with a sense of humor wouldn't enjoy the sound of (and recognize the genius of) Mike Myer's voice. What women over 40 who loves to laugh can't cite Carol Burnett as a comic hero. Amy's parents--adorable. Kathleen Turner? A bit misplaced. I didn't get it. (Was it even her, or was it Amy doing an impersonation? Too much confusion when I'm supposed to be laughing).
I hung onto every word about SNL and the Golden Globes, as I am a bona fide life-long junkie-watcher of each. Amy was very kind when she spoke of guest hosts at SNL. No juicy gossip here. Only tidbits that endear you to each host. I love the stories about Amy kissing Bono or sitting on Clooney's lap at the Globes (I remember each of these bits and thinking that Amy was killing it at the time). I was inspired to re-watch some SNL sketches during the reading of this book--particularly Amy's classic Sarah Palin rap and perhaps the funniest SNL sketch of all-time...Debbie Downer at Disneyworld where everyone involved completely loses it and can barely get their lines out (Amy calls it Prozac and should be prescribed to the depressed). Say it with me now..."It's official...I can't have children."
Several brief things that I whole-heartedly admire about Amy.
1. She was totally devoted to her craft (improv) and went after it with blind abandon--waiting tables, co-sharing apartments, writing and working night and day, fore-going health insurance or a clear future for the sole purpose of "getting good at improv." That is a true artist, and I believe that level of commitment to art is rare (particularly among graduates of Boston College, I might add).
2. Amy is brave and ambitious. There is not much Amy would not do or say on stage to get a laugh. While some people are driven by dollar signs, big houses, or fancy cars, I truly believe Amy is driven by the sound of audience laughter, and for this she will fore-go vanity and instantly overcome any level of self-consciousness.
3. Amy has a ton of friends. Not virtual Facebook or Instragram friends. People that she could call or text or take a walk around New York City with or vacation with at any time. Funny people. And smart people. And for this I am enviable of Amy.
So why the four stars? I was a little off-put by some of Amy's advice. I acknowledge that she is an entirely self-made women who has found great financial success. And a ton of what she said about kindness and women getting older and creativity I can appreciate. However, I did feel that as my life path was so different than hers, some of the advice was not necessarily applicable to my life. And while Amy is funny and brave and smart and fashionable and weathly, she's not exactly my go-to person when I am seeking out the kind of wisdom that I seek out for guidance.
There's a lot to like about Yes, Please. It's not perfect. But it's funny. It's current, and for this genre, I believe it's a stand-out. Warning: there is some off-color language. And a good bit of talk about drug use. This is more risque than Bossypants, so if you enjoyed that, you're not necessarily going to automatically enjoy this as well. But it kept my attention and made me laugh out loud several times on the track, which elicited amusing frightened reactions from my track-mates (who tend to be sweet older people--I walk during the day). If Amy and I were friends, we would group-text about that and laugh....more
“It occurred to Clark that he should call someone, actually everyone, that he should call everyone he’d ever loved and talk to them and tell them all“It occurred to Clark that he should call someone, actually everyone, that he should call everyone he’d ever loved and talk to them and tell them all the things that mattered, but it was apparently already too late for this, his phone displaying a message he’d never seen before: SYSTEM OVERLOAD EMERGENCY CALLS ONLY.”
My husband: Have you really been sitting in that same spot for three hours reading that book? Me: It's been longer than that.
Station Eleven is the rapidly-engaging story of the collapse of society after a deadly virus strikes the planet. The virus has a very short incubation period, and those affected (just about everyone) are dead within 3-4 hours of exposure.
There's certainly nothing original about the premise. We've all read end of times scenarios--especially in recent years. However the almost-end of civilization is not the sole focus here. This novel, which opens and closes with a performance of King Lear, is a study of a group of characters and how their paths intersect before, after, and during their lives and deaths. It jumps back and forth through time to tell the overlapping stories of these main characters.
Station Eleven is beautifully written and poetic. Within the main story lies a comic book story--the saga of Dr. Eleven, a physicist who lives on a space station after escaping aliens have taken over Earth--so there's a bit of an underlying sci-fi vibe. Themes are of art, friendship, relationships, parenthood, fame, and survivalism.
I might add that Station Eleven is very mild in terms of language, violence, sex, drugs, and alcohol...all that stuff that seem to be very hard-core when one is reading a novel that is meant to be "bleak", (or post-apocalyptic). I believe this novel would be suitable for my 13 year old daughters to read. The violence is the worst of its offenses, but again, it is mild comparatively for this genre....more
“Blind luck, to arrive in the world with your properly formed parts in the right place, to be born to parents who were loving, not cruel, or to escape“Blind luck, to arrive in the world with your properly formed parts in the right place, to be born to parents who were loving, not cruel, or to escape, by geographical or social accident, war or poverty. And therefore to find it so much easier to be virtuous.”
There are a lot of wonderful synopses about this book found very easily, so I will not recap the plot here. It's very current in it's themes, and very brilliantly laid out.
I enjoyed this book because the writing is brilliant. Choose any one sentence, and it's a work of art, a small poem within a paragraph. Not only are the words giftedly strung together (I see giftedly is not a word. Or wasn't a word til I just created it), but the story itself seems so real and so interesting. It's short--it feels more like a novella--but it packs an honest punch. Ian McEwan is a master. I would recommend this to anyone....more
"Today's choices become tommorrow's circumstances."
I went through this book with a group of my mom friends. When I first heard the chosen selection, I"Today's choices become tommorrow's circumstances."
I went through this book with a group of my mom friends. When I first heard the chosen selection, I was a little leery. I didn't feel like I needed an entire book to counsel me about saying no to requests to avoid becoming physically and emotionally overloaded. I felt like by the age of 41, I had really gotten pretty adept at that.
There's a lot more to this book than the title suggests. This book is about wisdom--the kind of wisdom we need to help make all kinds of decisions. If offers up help to cure the "disease to please" and attempts to free us up to do our best at the responsibilities that were meant for us, as every responsibility is not our responsibility.
Lysa T. is a mother of five, an author of several books, and the founder of Proverbs 31 ministries. (Proverbs 31:10-31. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies....") She writes with a divine wisdom that was surprising to me, and her themes are contemporary and up-to-the-minute in their guidance. I enjoyed this book, and in January we will start to read "Unglued" by the same author.
“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, at“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.”
I cannot say enough about this beautiful book. It looks daunting in length, but is read rather quickly because each chapter is 1-3 pages. I heard they were called "vignettes"--just a little word on what is happening at the time, beautifully descriptive and composed like a poem, rather than a long, sprawled, unedited, overly-detailed account of events (you know who I'm talking to).
This is a book that will stay with the reader long after. The subject matter is dark and disturbing (war, mass executions), but the characters are innocents, yet full of the grit that it takes to overcome circumstances (my favorite kind of character). You aren't left feeling hopeless for humanity, but rather full of the feeling that despite the darkness and senselessness time and existence can spew forth, there are small rays of light, and that there is power, inspiration, and beauty within them....more
It’s because a woman’s entire self-worth rests on her looks,” said Jane. “That’s why. It’s because we live in a beauty-obsessed society where the mostIt’s because a woman’s entire self-worth rests on her looks,” said Jane. “That’s why. It’s because we live in a beauty-obsessed society where the most important thing a woman can do is make herself attractive to men.”
Among other things, Big Little Lies is about playground politics. It's about the way kids interact, and the way their parents interact.
There are three main female characters. Madeline, a married just-turned-40 mother of three. Her story involves how she relates to her 14 year old daughter and to her ex-husband and his new wife. Madeline is funny in a wickedly snarky way, and is not afraid to confront conflict head-on.
Celeste is a beautiful, married mother of twin boys. She comes off as emotionally conflicted despite having a Facebook-perfect family.
Jane is young and a single mom. She is new to the school and is raising her son Ziggy by herself. Her story begins on their first days of school and is of how she makes friends and enemies.
Themes include bullying, violence, beauty, friendship, blended families, how women treat each other, how women see themselves, adultery, and other hard-hitters. The main theme concerns the lies we tell ourselves to get by--the little ones, and of course the big ugly ones.
I read Big Little Lies in about 24 hours. The plot is gripping, suspenseful, and includes a couple of perfectly crafted mysteries. It's extremely addictive, and I couldn't wait to get to the end--which did not disappoint....more