I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. In fact, I keep renewing it from the library because I keep going back and re-reading parts of it. However, my life isI LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. In fact, I keep renewing it from the library because I keep going back and re-reading parts of it. However, my life is really busy right now and I can't devote quality time to writing a quality review so I'm going to highlight my favorite parts from this book. Maybe, someday when life settles down, I'll go back and edit this review... but until then, here is why I loved it so much.
In many ways, I've always felt like a creative person. Both of my grandfathers were highly creative people-- both in different ways. I was always led to believe that I had artistic ability (although that is certainly questionable!) and many family members turn to writing as a creative outlet-- and I do as well. For me, creating things-- anything-- has deep meaning to me. I feel most alive and like "myself" when I'm creating something-- be it writing or drawing or painting a pumpkin for my children at Halloween. Creativity is a huge part of who I am.
However, like many people, I often put off creating things because of more important things-- or more "productive" things-- or things that actually earn me a living. And while I certainly don't recommend quitting your day job to paint pumpkins, I definitely think there is something to remaining true to yourself by creating what you need to create.
This is where Liz Gilbert's book, "Big Magic" comes in. In this book, she continually talks about the importance of creating for YOUR sake. I can't even explain how much this hit a chord with me and how I truly want to incorporate more creativity into my daily life--however busy that may be. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the book: (the library copy is all dog-eared from me!! Sorry.)
*Ideas are a disembodied energetic life-form. T hey are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us--albeit strangely. Ideas have nor material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will.....Thus, ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners. When an idea thinks it has found somebody--say,you--who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention. Mostly, you will not notice. (p. 35) (OH MY GOD. I LOVE THIS.)
* You want to write a book? Make a song? dDirect a movie? Decorate pottery? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. Who cares? It's your birthright as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart. (I mean, take it seriously, sure--but don't take it SERIOUSLY) Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you. Keep in mind that for the most of history people just made things and they didn't make such a big freaking deal out of it. p. 88 (OH MY GOD. I LOVE THIS TOO!!)
* (Writing about a friend who loved to get tattoos all over her body)...She smiled and said, "No Liz. My tattoos are permanent, it's my body that's temporary. So is yours. We're only here on Earth for a short time so I decided a long time ago that I wanted to decorate myself as playfully as I can while I still have time. p. 91
* Oh and here's another thing. You are not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn't have to be original, in other words, it also doesn't have to be important. p.98
* I once wrote a book in order to save myself. I wrote a travel memoir in order to make sense of my own journey and my own emotional confusion. All I was trying to do with that book was figure myself out. In the process, though, I wrote a story that apparently helped a lot of other people figure themselves out--but that was never my intention. .....My point is that I wrote that book for my own purposes, and maybe that's why it felt genuine, and ultimately even helpful, to many readers. (p. 99)
* Instead of taking out loans to go to school for the arts, maybe try to push yourself deeper into the world, to explore more bravely. Take an honest inventory of the education you already have--the years you have lived, the trials you have endured, the skills you have learned along the way. (p 107)
* I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis...but simply because I liked it. (p. 118)
* Because if you love and want something enough-- whatever it is-- then you don't really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it. (p. 150)
* I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just a fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it's just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, I am not good enough and I will never be good enough. (p. 167)
* In fact, curiosity only asks one question, "is there anything you're interested in?" Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small? The answer need not set your life on fire, or make you quite your job, or force you to change your religion, or send you into a fugue state; it just has to capture your attention for a moment. But in that moment, if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look at the thing a wee bit closer. Do it. ....Trust it. See where the curiosity will lead you next. (p.238)
* There is a famous question that shows up, it seems in every single self-help book ever written. What would you do if you knew that you could not fail/ But I've always seen it differently. I think the fiercest question of all is this one: What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant? (p.259)
I discovered Liane Moriarty last year and have enjoyed all of her books, but this one is by far my favorite. "Big Little Lies" follows three women whoI discovered Liane Moriarty last year and have enjoyed all of her books, but this one is by far my favorite. "Big Little Lies" follows three women who appear to be very different from each other at first glance. Their relationships, tax brackets, and happiness all appear to be different in many ways. But as we get to know these women, we learn that they each struggle with an inner conflict--things that they tell themselves are nothing but in actuality, are a driving force in the way they interact with their world.
This book is humorous and light-hearted and Moriarty writes dialogue so well that it's just impossible not to actually hear the characters in the story. And while it seems that this is just an easy, light, summer mystery to read, Moriarty weaves an incredibly serious topic (domestic violence) through the story. Like her other books, this one will make you laugh with her characters, empathize with them, cheer and root for them, and also pause to think about the struggles that each of us face.
Favorite Quote: "It occured to her that there were so many levels of evil in the world. Small evils like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife and newborn baby or sleeping with your child's nanny. And then there was the sort of evil of which Madeline had no experience; cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls being sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts." ...more
I've been trying to read more children's lit and I'm so glad I read this one.
The story follows Heidi, a 12 year old girl growing up in unusual circumI've been trying to read more children's lit and I'm so glad I read this one.
The story follows Heidi, a 12 year old girl growing up in unusual circumstances. She lives with her mother, an adult with a severe mental disability, and her 'neighbor' Bernie, an agoraphobic woman who cares for both of them. Heidi sets out on an adventure to discover her mother's real name (Her mother calls herself So B. It) and any other information about her family. Along the way, she meets people and discovers things about herself. When she finally arrives on the East Coast, she is able to learn who her mother and father were and how she landed in Reno, NV as a tiny baby.
I loved this story and think it's a great read for upper elementary kids-- and their families. Plenty of topics to discuss throughout the book! Supposedly this is going to be made into a movie but I haven't heard anything about that recently.... ...more
In fact, I'm not sure where to begin my review. While I was reading, I read as a mother, I read as a teacher/ school counselor,I. Loved. This. Book.
In fact, I'm not sure where to begin my review. While I was reading, I read as a mother, I read as a teacher/ school counselor, and I read as a child. Regardless of who you are and where you are in life, this is a touching story about struggle and self and perceptions and love and kindness. (And many many more things)
August is a fifth grade boy, about to go to school for the first time. Up until now, he has been homeschooled by his mother. There is reluctance in sending him to school, as August has a severe facial abnormality called Mandibulofacial Dysostosis (or Treacher Collins Syndrome). From the time he was very young, he has been stared at/ gawked at/ ignored by other people. He has undergone numerous surgeries from the time he was an infant-- but still his face looks far from "normal".
When he enters middle school, he is not surprised to receive strange looks and field rude comments and questions. Other students whisper about him and avoid him entirely. But he is also unexpectedly befriended by a girl in his class, who forms a genuine friendship with him. The book follows Auggie, his peers, and his family members throughout the school year-- as things change for all of them.
Palacio writes from several character's viewpoints and does so extremely well. I think we can all relate to August and his peers on some level. Had I read this as a child, I hope I would have been inspired to act as those kind peers in this story. As a school counselor, I want to share this with my teachers and students-- and discuss the impact we have on each other as a school family. And as a mother, this book is now at the top of my read-aloud-to-my-children-someday list. The themes of friendship, belonging, trust, diversity, kindness, family, and ultimately unconditional love are woven throughout this beautiful story. I highly recommend.
I'm trying to read a few more children's books this year and wanted to start with a book by Sarah Weeks because I met her last spring. I think this boI'm trying to read a few more children's books this year and wanted to start with a book by Sarah Weeks because I met her last spring. I think this book is written for about a fourth or fifth grade level-- and I can see it appealing to both boys and girls. ...more
I'm not sure this can really be classified as a mystery... as there is absolutely no suspense or wonder at all in this book. I checked this book out fI'm not sure this can really be classified as a mystery... as there is absolutely no suspense or wonder at all in this book. I checked this book out from the library simply because I always like to read a holiday book at the end of December. I remember enjoying Mary Higgins Clark when I was a kid--- and now I'm thinking maybe there's a reason for that. ...more
Cami Walker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her 30's. The disease left her to deal with debilitating flare-ups and chronic pain. After seekinCami Walker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her 30's. The disease left her to deal with debilitating flare-ups and chronic pain. After seeking help from several alternative medicines, she receives advice from a medicine woman who instructs her to give 29 gifts in 29 days. The gifts do not need to be materialistic, but rather, must be given with significant intention.
At first, I couldn't help but think, "that's not really a gift! that's something you should do anyway!". But as I read more of the book, I realized that when the things you do for others come from a place of "gifting" rather than "obligation", it leaves you with a very different sense of reason. The book also talks about becoming gracious receivers and how our country is not very good at this. She explains that as we give, we become better at receiving-- which in turn, helps other people feel good as well. I love the quote, "A closed fist cannot receive." As I read more of the book, I became convinced that I should also try the 29 day giving challenge someday soon. Perhaps a goal for the new year?
"I now view giving and receiving as an exchange of energy-- a universal transaction that each one of us takes part in over and over, moment to moment. I am also seeing that each exchange, whether I am on the giving or the receiving end, is a divine experience... During these moments I am offering or accepting a gift, the part of me that is true spirit is connecting with the true spirit of another individual, and we are both in that instatn connected to the divine force that created everything out of nothing.."
"I've learned that opening myself up to receive freely is just as energizing and fulfilling"
I've wanted to read this book for awhile now, and finally got around to checking it out. I really loved the way that Claire Bidwell Smith writes-- it'I've wanted to read this book for awhile now, and finally got around to checking it out. I really loved the way that Claire Bidwell Smith writes-- it's almost like poetry and while some reviews criticize her style, I really found it intriguing. It seemed to help set the mood of the book.
Bidwell Smith writes about losing both parents at an early age-- and her struggles to find herself in the midst of that turmoil. I can't imagine having gone through her experience-- her writing is both heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.
While many parts of the book struck a chord with me, perhaps the most significant was when she was writing about not being anybody's "most important person". Without a spouse, sibling, or parent, she felt very alone in the world and seemed to crave that sense of belonging. ...more