There were parts of this book that I enjoyed a lot. I had never really thought before about whether or not heaven was a physical place, for example. A...moreThere were parts of this book that I enjoyed a lot. I had never really thought before about whether or not heaven was a physical place, for example. And if so, where is it located, exactly? Do we have bodies there? Are they our resurrected physical bodies, or are we spirits? How do we look? Like we did when we died, or how we did when we were young and healthy?
I liked reading about different religion's - and individual people's - ideas of heaven. It was also interesting to learn why conceptions of heaven changed over time - for example, it was during the Civil War, when 2% of the population died, that the idea of seeing your loved ones in heaven first became popular.
The main problem that I had with this book is that it often just seemed sort of - random, I guess. As I read it, it seemed like the author jumped from one theory or hope for what heaven will consist of to another, just sort of meandering around. I know that we obviously can't know an "answer," here, and it doesn't make sense for her to argue to a point - but I needed the book to have more direction, I guess, than it did. (less)
Meh. This book was sort of a slog to get through. I liked the idea of it - a sort of biography of a big, important family - but I thought it was way,...moreMeh. This book was sort of a slog to get through. I liked the idea of it - a sort of biography of a big, important family - but I thought it was way, WAY too detailed and confusing. (Even with the family tree to refer to, it didn't help that half of the family was named Nancy and that the English people's names would change halfway through the book when they got titles.)
It also didn't help that I didn't find very many redeeming qualities in any of the five sisters. I kind of thought they were selfish, rich, and spoiled. That being said, Nancy Astor's life (the third sister, also the first female in British Parliament) was interesting to read about, even if it just sort of pissed me off.(less)
This book pretty much totally broke my heart, in a good way.
EYE OF MY HEART is a book of essays written by grandmothers, about being a grandmother. A...moreThis book pretty much totally broke my heart, in a good way.
EYE OF MY HEART is a book of essays written by grandmothers, about being a grandmother. All kinds of grandmothers are represented here, and so many of the essays touched me.
Though the stories are all different, there are a lot of common themes. One is how, as a grandparent, it is very difficult to love someone - your grandchild - so much, and yet have so little control over how much you see that person, or what their life is like. Barbara Graham, the editor of this collection, wrote about her son's family moving away to Paris, and the injustice of it all almost made me cry. Also, two of the essays were published anonymously, and these especially brought issue of lack of control home for me. One is written by a woman whose son's girlfriend refuses to practice birth control and so they have baby after baby while trying to live on welfare yet somehow buy brand new TVs. Another was written by a woman whose granddaughter - to whom her access is restricted by her daughter-in-law's wishes - attempts suicide.
Another repeated thought how much less perfection is expected of oneself as a grandparent as opposed to being a parent. This quote from Beverly Donofrio's essay (despite the God business) sort of rocked my world: "I lay down, too, listening to my grandson's breathing, thinking about God and humility. I was not perfect; it was arrogant and self-centered to think I should be. I thought about how God loves me just the way I am - so maybe I should, too? It's my own self-judgement that gets in the way." I have always been a perfectionist, and I suspect that would make any attempt I made at motherhood far more difficult than it needed to be. I never thought of my perfectionism as arrogance - but it is, really, and how effing freeing it would be to be able to give that up.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that awesomeness that is La-Z-Nana, by Abigail Thomas. I laughed out loud at her response of "Land sakes, yes" when her gynecologist asked her if she'd had more than five sexual partners.
I surprised myself by choosing this book from the HarperCollins list. For one thing, not only am I not a grandmother, but I'm not a mother. I've been trying to get pregnant for a year and recently had a miscarriage, and just simple announcements from acquaintances that THEY'RE PREGNANT make me want to vomit. So I found it strange that I was drawn to this book about babies, but I'm glad that I was. It made me far more aware about my mother's and my mother-in-law's feelings should I ever have a child, and I hope I'll be much more thoughtful than I would have been if I hadn't read this book.
I highly recommend EYE OF MY HEART. I think it would be a great gift for a new grandmother, especially from her son or daughter. (less)
I skimmed this and mostly read the author's own story of getting in over his head on a mortgage. It made me feel better about my own financial situati...moreI skimmed this and mostly read the author's own story of getting in over his head on a mortgage. It made me feel better about my own financial situation, that's for sure.(less)
I started reading this book for work - one of the things I'm supposedly working on this year in my ability to have influence on project decisions and...moreI started reading this book for work - one of the things I'm supposedly working on this year in my ability to have influence on project decisions and be able to effectively provide input. I figured this would be unspeakably boring and decided to read some vampire stuff at the same time to get me through it.
I actually loved this book, though. He talks about all these methods that people - typically sales professionals - use to influence customers to buy more stuff. And I fall for this shit ALL THE TIME.
Take reciprocity, for example. The person trying to sell something - or get people to donate something - gives a small gift, and the rate at which people actually do buy or donate skyrockets. When I get preprinted address labels? I feel guilty for not donating, even though I don't want them in the first place. Or when I was in LAX and got accosted by some dude with a nametag who gave me directions and then asked for a donation? I totally gave it. Resentfully, but I gave it.
Another big one for me is commitment and consistency. If I make a commitment to buy something, or do something, I will almost always follow through on it, even if I no longer want to and the consequences for not doing so are minor. I don't want to look like a unreliable flake, even to myself.
He also goes through a lot of other things that influence people, such as social proof (what everyone else is doing), scarcity, authority, etc.
I really enjoyed this. I learned a lot about why I do certain things and how to defend myself against nefarious salespeople who try to convince me to buy stuff I don't want.(less)
I liked this very much. I detest being in financial debt, even "responsible" debt like a mortgage. I also do not like being in psychological debt - wh...moreI liked this very much. I detest being in financial debt, even "responsible" debt like a mortgage. I also do not like being in psychological debt - when someone does me a favor, I rush to repay it. This was an interesting look at how debt has functioned in society throughout time.
It also has a powerful environmental message. I have decided I need to start composting.
This is a slim book, and I thought it would be a fast, easy read. It is not. There is a lot to think about here, and she makes you work for it. (Though I have to say, she is actually really funny. I laughed quite a bit while reading it.) I'm usually not into audiobooks, but I think would have been a good one to listen to instead of read - which makes sense as it was originally a lecture.(less)
This book was great. The author strikes the right balance of taking a scientific look at miscarriage while understanding what it's like for the couple...moreThis book was great. The author strikes the right balance of taking a scientific look at miscarriage while understanding what it's like for the couple. I'd highly recommend it, I learned a lot and feel a little more hopeful.(less)
I did think it went a bit too in depth on some of the psychological analysis, which is why I'm giving it only three stars. I f...moreGood book. Made me cry.
I did think it went a bit too in depth on some of the psychological analysis, which is why I'm giving it only three stars. I felt like instead of I learned everything there is to know about "Rebecca's" childhood.(less)
I got this book from the library because I heard an interview with the author on NPR. I think I should have just listened to the interview. This book...moreI got this book from the library because I heard an interview with the author on NPR. I think I should have just listened to the interview. This book is full of exhaustive detail about every dump the Bushes have ever taken, and with who.
That being said, I think Baker is probably right on in a lot of his theories, scary conspiracy theories included. I think that this book is important, but I also think it would be far more readable if it were shorter and the connections between the Bushes and their cast of characters was more readable. (less)