I love the ideas contained in this story. Bradbury's a penetrating thinker, and his foresight on what would happen to a society that is increasingly cI love the ideas contained in this story. Bradbury's a penetrating thinker, and his foresight on what would happen to a society that is increasingly consumed with entertainment are amazingly accurate. I'm not a big fan of his writing style, though. I find it a little distracting....more
Linda M. Brandt truly went into the valley of the shadow of death. Her brain tumor and subsequent complications, preceded by the death of her son, tooLinda M. Brandt truly went into the valley of the shadow of death. Her brain tumor and subsequent complications, preceded by the death of her son, took her where most of us haven't yet been, and her wisdom is simple and humble yet deep and faithful.
Brandt tells her story in a straightforward, matter-of-fact way. There's no need to embellish or exaggerate anything with such a story. The events speak for themselves, and so does the author's faith. By relying on the Lord rather than shunning Him for the difficulties she has faced, Brandt finds the patience, understanding, and gratitude that are there for the taking if she can just be humble enough to reach for them.
Linda Brandt isn't just a survivor, she's also an artist and a writer. Her prose is smooth and easy, and the editing and copy-editing are excellent in this short, professionally produced book. It won't take you long to read, but it will give you a great deal to think about. Am I ready for my Jonah Journey?...more
John Allison does an impressive job of explaining the complex issues surrounding the United States' financial crisis. He uses everyday examples to helJohn Allison does an impressive job of explaining the complex issues surrounding the United States' financial crisis. He uses everyday examples to help explain banking, the monetary system, and how politics have come to play such an enormous role in what used to be a free market. It's a long book, but it's so worth the effort. It really helped me to fill the gaps on my understanding of the financial crisis and where we ought to go from here. ...more
The title and subtitle (and cover art) lead you to believe that this book will be about how addicted Americans are to sugar, the general dangers of coThe title and subtitle (and cover art) lead you to believe that this book will be about how addicted Americans are to sugar, the general dangers of consuming sugar, and how to overcome sugar addiction. Right? But it's really one guy's memoir of his struggle with diabetes along with his internal conflicts with his father. O'Connell is definitely a talented writer. I think maybe the marketing department at his publishing house didn't read it all the way through....more
Great book about Edward Hopper and his development and evolution as an artist. The author knew him personally, so there are charming little insights lGreat book about Edward Hopper and his development and evolution as an artist. The author knew him personally, so there are charming little insights like this one: "when I told him that in a lecture I had used a slide of "High Noon" together with a Mondrian, his only comment was, 'You kill me.'"
Life as a Vietnamese refugee may seem like a difficult topic for a children's book, but like Lois Lowry's child-portioned view of the Holocaust in NumLife as a Vietnamese refugee may seem like a difficult topic for a children's book, but like Lois Lowry's child-portioned view of the Holocaust in Number the Stars, Inside Out & Back Again delivers just enough of a taste of that tragedy to teach compassion and understanding without overwhelming anyone. Better than that, though, this novel-in-verse helps readers to feel more grateful and sensitive.
Ha is a ten-year-old girl, the youngest child and only daughter of a mother struggling to keep her family afloat while her husband is missing in action. When a chance to leave Saigon appears before them, the family takes it, leaving nearly all of their possessions behind. The journey to America is very difficult, especially before the United States navy finds their ship and replenishes their stock of food.
Once in the United States, the family finds a home in Alabama. In Vietnam, Ha was smart, but in Alabama, she feels stupid because she can't express her thoughts or understand what other people are talking about. She gets teased, and she suffers the indignities of not understanding the culture around her. For example, she wears a flannel nightgown to school one day, thinking it's just a soft, pretty dress.
With the help of a few understanding children and adults, Ha begins to feel like herself again. There are some things she will always miss--like fresh papaya--but she finds that she can feel whole and loved once more.
One of the remarkable things about this book is that it helps readers to see their own world in a new light. When an "outsider" describes your life, you can step back and see it with new eyes, and this is truly a gift. Thanhha Lai can offer this gift because she herself turned inside out and back again....more
I loved Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and I probably would have liked The Triple Package more if I hadn't gone into it with such high and spI loved Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and I probably would have liked The Triple Package more if I hadn't gone into it with such high and specific hopes. The premise of the book is that success in modern America depends on three traits: Superiority, Insecurity, and Impulse Control. This thesis is backed up by statistical and anecdotal data about 8 cultural groups. I'm not sure how Mormons were selected as a cultural group because all the other groups were ethnic groups. A religious group like the LDS church spans all kinds of ethnic groups all over the world and doesn't fit neatly among the very specific ethnic groups chosen for the book.
I can't speak for the assumptions made about Cuban or Lebanese immigrants or Asian Americans, but there were some pretty strange assumptions made about the group I belong to (Mormons), so it makes me skeptical about the rest as well. For example: "Success in business is for Mormons not only a way of proving the superiority of their values and way of life. It's also a proof of their divine favor." Huh?
All in all, there is plenty of interesting data in this book, but it feels like an article-length argument lengthened into a book by way too many statistics and quotes, many of which seem to leave you scratching your head instead of pushing you along to a decisive conclusion....more
It was an enjoyable read. Kate Morton writes really lovely prose full of lots of description. I just felt that the plot ran over the characters at timIt was an enjoyable read. Kate Morton writes really lovely prose full of lots of description. I just felt that the plot ran over the characters at times. Eliza Makepeace's wonderful characterization fell apart toward the end when she began to say and do things that seemed very out of character but were necessary to fit the puzzle pieces together....more
Here's something. Lincoln had a personal opinion about what the goal for the war should be (the abolition of slavery) and he had his conviction that hHere's something. Lincoln had a personal opinion about what the goal for the war should be (the abolition of slavery) and he had his conviction that his duty was to defend the constitution (preserve the union at all costs, which could mean the short-term acceptance of slavery). In the end, he achieved both his personal goal and his presidential duty of upholding the constitution, but this itty bitty book helped me to see how the way to reaching both of these ends wasn't always clear or even likely. Along the way, Lincoln had to make some very difficult decisions as he tried to preserve the union, knowing that the country likely couldn't last long-term if slavery survived. All in all, it's a well-crafted little book with several thought-provoking themes to hold it together and many inspiring Lincoln quotes....more
Rarely have I read a book that has made me think so deeply about relationships and ideas that I take for granted every day. Andre, the foreign priest,Rarely have I read a book that has made me think so deeply about relationships and ideas that I take for granted every day. Andre, the foreign priest, is surprised that Madame Wu has learned so much about the world within her small sphere of daily life, the high walls of her compound. Andre has seen much of the world and speaks many languages, but Madame Wu keeps up with his intellect and ideas, and this is surprising to him. She explains that everything that happens out in the world happens in the walls of the compound: birth, conflict, joy, sorrow, marriage, death. No sphere is so small that a person cannot learn all that the human experience has to offer.
Pearl Buck allows her characters to be dynamic, and this is one of the things that makes her writing so satisfying. Madame Wu isn't terribly likable at the beginning of the story. Although she's admirable, she doesn't seem quite real because she's so cold and calculating. Buck allows her protagonist to mess up bigtime, which can be tough for an author to do. And because Madame Wu wields so much power, she can really mess things up for other people.
So when she begins to change and her steely exterior starts to crumble, it's mesmerizing to see what happens. This is what we all hope for: the ability to overcome weaknesses (even when our weaknesses appear to be strengths) and have the wisdom and courage to try and right the wrongs of our former ignorance.
Madame Wu has always respected learning, but she has felt that some learning is dangerous and that it will ultimately ruin the family life she has so carefully orchestrated for her husband and children. The world of new ideas and learning, introduced to the Wu household through a foreigner, impacts everyone, whether they embrace the new ideas or not, and one of the sons really catches on to the possibilities for common people when they have the skills and power to read and write.
The subtitle on my library copy says, "A novel of traditional China," but it's really, "a novel of human wisdom," for any and all....more