This memoir is about many things: harsh realities of a Chinese Orphanage, living as an expatriate, being a mother and a wife, navigating culture and sThis memoir is about many things: harsh realities of a Chinese Orphanage, living as an expatriate, being a mother and a wife, navigating culture and serving your passions. Many passages are hard-hitting and tug at the heart-strings with unbelievable force. At times, the writing, which is presented in journal format/excerpts from the authors journal, feels like just that - raw emotions which paint a country and it's people too harshly and too drastically from the vantage point of Western ideology and prosperity. As an expat in East Asia, I can understand many of her frustrations toward cultural norms - I'm just not sure all of them are honorable to publish with such a critical tone.
In reading this story, I think it's important for the reader to a) recognize this is the story of one orphanage and one volunteer who happened to witness horrendous things - things which should be brought to our attention but may or may not be true for all of China's orphanages and likely happen throughout the world, even in developed nations and b) this is her journal, her raw emotions, it's not censored to be politically correct and that's fine, that's what journaling is intended for- a place to safely vent frustrations and wrestle with our perceptions of anything and everything including a nation and it's people.
I really, REALLY loved reading the letters at the end of the book and seeing how much hope there was in this place which so often showcased darkness.
"I wanted to transform the often vacant, detached expressions on their innocent faces to ones of animation, of joy, of life. My new goal became demonstrating to each child how it felt to be loved and nurtured." (location 129)
"I would never fail to be astonished that a child so young could cry so silently, without movement or expression, while so clearly craving human touch. It was as though they had given up on the hope of receiving even a moment of comfort or attention to alleviate the misery of their prison-like existence." (location 145)
"I had known helping these children would make me feel good in so many ways, but I'd never counted on the profound sadness I would deal with daily." (location 190)...more
I didn't really know what to expect from this book going in and was quite pleasantly surprised at the insights offered by Sam Torode through the narraI didn't really know what to expect from this book going in and was quite pleasantly surprised at the insights offered by Sam Torode through the narration and story of Tobias Henry. Not only was the writing often insightful, but also full of quips and humor that made for easy and pleasurable reading.
"Down south, most places had a surplus of Baptist pastors already. Texas's main exports are cotton, oil and preachers." (pg. 6/location 61)
"The little brown Bible lay right in the middle of his seat, looking like a sacred dropping from a man who ate, drank and shat Scripture." (pg. 45/location 472).
"And Tamar and Ruth weren't the fallen women of the Bible - they were the righteous ones. In fact, Matthew puts them on Jesus' family tree, along with that other seductress, Bathsheba. These women were Jesus' great-grandmothers! If they were alive today, I though, you wouldn't find them at a Sunday school picnic." (pg. 72/location 748)
"When the actors take off their costumed, they're all equal. So it is with life. When death strips us of our roles, we're all equals in the grave." (pg. 121/location 1249)
"Just because a story didn't actually happen," he continued, "you think it's a lie. But myths and fairy tales aren't lies - they're deeper truths." (pg. 139/location 1428)
"The problem with a lot of church people," Craw said, "is that they're trying to be holier than Jesus." (pg. 162/location 1654)
"Deep inside, every woman is a princess. And every princess has a dragon...the point is, every woman is a vessel of beauty, life and love - though most don't know it. And all the forces of evil in the world are dead-set against her. That's why loving a woman is the hardest battle you'll ever face. Love isn't going to fall into your lap - you've got to fight for it." (pg.244/location 2481)...more
Tell a Thousand Lies is full of complexities. From the very beginning the reader is pulled into a world of superstitions, rural beliefs, corruption, mTell a Thousand Lies is full of complexities. From the very beginning the reader is pulled into a world of superstitions, rural beliefs, corruption, marriage rituals, familial relationships and the driving force of love. Were the setting anywhere else, the twists and turns may be hard to fathom, however the author writes with authority and clarity making the story believable, insightful and engaging from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed this story for all of it's parts and pieces, for the truths it told, even if it took a thousand lies to do so.
"How could everything on the outside remain so normal, when everything on the inside had died?" (location 1243)...more
A bit more romantic and dramatic than what I tend to read and enjoy. Were there ever a story set in the early 20th century that was fit to air on JerrA bit more romantic and dramatic than what I tend to read and enjoy. Were there ever a story set in the early 20th century that was fit to air on Jerry Springer, The Typewriter Girl might just be it! A runaway heiress, memories of the Yukon gold-rush, a undesired engagement, a forbidden and sinful love, a crazy stepmother, an insane asylum. All capped off with a happy ending. I read the entirety of the story, but it's far from something I'd pick up and read again.
A few passages did, however stand out:
"The great gift of life and of wonder beyond clung to us and bound us together. Here we were, all on a quest for our own selfish hunger for wealth, and yet, in an instant everyone stopped and thought only of others." (location 297)
"Fletcher Van Elden was a friend of the sort on has in small towns, more from habit than choice. Elsewhere they may not have been close, but childhood and the years since had made them almost like family." (location 669)
"Her heart would have been safe with him. Safe from desire." (location 935)...more
Felt like a brief description of a few high interest aspects of Tokyo put together for a college-course requirement. I learned a bit since I didn't knFelt like a brief description of a few high interest aspects of Tokyo put together for a college-course requirement. I learned a bit since I didn't know much about Tokyo...but if you know anything about the city already, this will likely seem too basic and unfairly brief to do the city justice....more
This is was such an intersting compilation of reflections from Japan's March 2011 earthquake/tsunami. People from all over the world, primarily from JThis is was such an intersting compilation of reflections from Japan's March 2011 earthquake/tsunami. People from all over the world, primarily from Japan or with a connection to Japan shared their experience and emotions regarding the event. Via a man and his Twitter account (perhaps other social media) this book came together quickly and served to rasie funds for the disaster - really, an impressive and interesting project.
"To support Japan, what I would say is this: Simply do what you do everyday, but do it better. Go to school or to work but with passion and energy. Engage your neighbors or community but whit more sympathy and compassion than you ever have. Let these historic moments move you, inspire you and invigorate you for as long as the feeling lasts because, believe me, that initial adrenaline and humanitarian solidarity will wear off. Ride it as long as you can. Let it make you be a better person, and let it wake you up from the complacency in your life." (pg. 31/location 592)
"The depth of one's emotions is not necessarily proportional to the level of emotion being expressed." (pg. 82/location 1746).
"From the outside, we may act calm and cheerful to the point of seeming creepy. But do understnad: We are crying inside, we are gritting our teeth, often literally. I seem to have developed a constant crease in my forehead." (pg. 83/location 1760)....more
Until now, I haven't delved much into literature and common practices for landing interviews and preparing yourself as a stand-out candidate. AlthoughUntil now, I haven't delved much into literature and common practices for landing interviews and preparing yourself as a stand-out candidate. Although Michael B. Junge's advice primarily fits a business model, I found what I believe are appropriate tips and advice for pursuing positions in education and I imagine numerous other professions. Since I am unfamiliar with other similar types of literature, I cannot compare the uniqueness of his advice and insight, but am personally satisfied by his presentation and information and have been much more motivated to put together resumes, cover letters, portfolios and lists of potential employers than I would have been otherwise - so in that sense, a definite win!...more
I was utterly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. When I downloaded it, I knew it was an odd choice for a girl who was nearing on 5 years of maI was utterly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. When I downloaded it, I knew it was an odd choice for a girl who was nearing on 5 years of marriage (a marriage which started at the age of 22 nonetheless) and a girl who swore off dating of all-kinds upon entering college until 'the one' came along. Kristen McGuiness and I did not approach dating in the same way.
But I loved her story, the story of her, the honesty with which it was told and the rawness she so willingly exposed. I jived with the lessons she was learning about relationships, about self and about spirituality. And although I feel I've learned some of those lessons and via different paths, the truths are the same and the healing which they bring, just as life-giving.
Now, this shouldn't imply that the book isn't entirely entertaining as well - what better way to receive life's deepest lessons than through quippy writing and racy tales?
A few highlights:
"Because at a certain point, it stops being strange to be the last single woman on the block. It just begins to hurt." (location 72)
"Phillipe doesn't seem to notice that I am making life-altering resolutions across the table from him." (location 245, pg. 11)
"It always comes as a surprise to people that an educated young woman with preppy clothes and a deceiving set of dimples could carry such baggage, but I do." (location 543, pg. 33)
"to understand just one life, you have to swallow the world." (location 886, pg. 56).
"some people just want to live life with their hearts. They don't care that they'll be broken; they're not afraid to lose. They just know that they have to go wherever their hearts take them. Even if it's really hard." (location 1265, pg. 80).
"On my last visit to the shaman, she told me that some people get to do all their work within the space of a relationship, but some of us must do the work before we can even get into one." (location 2008, pg. 129)
"Sweetheart, we can only love as much as we are willing to be hurt. And I can't imagine that after years of loving your dad, and only being hurt in response, that you wouldn't be, that you could be anything but terrified to that in a genuine, real way with a man." (location 2159, pg. 140)
"I sit down and laugh and listen to the lives of those I love. Because I do listen now. I listen all the time." (location 2399, pg. 158)
"Our struggles, our fears, they're only as big as we make them. And we can let these little things stop us from reaching our potential, or we can see them for what they are and keep walking." (location 3234, pg. 220)....more
I really love memoirs, the stories of people, every-day people. I especially enjoyed this memoir because it I think it is a story that is, in parts, mI really love memoirs, the stories of people, every-day people. I especially enjoyed this memoir because it I think it is a story that is, in parts, more true and common in the states than most would perhaps realize. Poverty, religious-fanaticism, broken homes and the amazing ability of children to love their fathers/mothers. Having worked in a school with the poorer students of a small town, I felt like I was offered a glimpse of their lives, the stories they couldn't express and the humanity of us all. I suppose, in parts, I could even glimpse my own life at various intersections of the novel.
One passage that stood out, especially for the imagery:
"My stomach felt like a hundred bees were buzzing inside it, angrily stinging me as they bumped up against their prison walls." (location 142)...more
I enjoyed the way the naration of this novel changed, how it crossed generations and country borders. In these pages one learns about the power of famI enjoyed the way the naration of this novel changed, how it crossed generations and country borders. In these pages one learns about the power of family and history and the way we are connected to those who came before us. Really, well written and enjoyable - as well as insightful, I feel as I need to do a bit more research into the history of Iraq and the middle east in general.
"I must point out that in those days, women like my grandmother were considered peculiar; wandering through the villages and selling one's wares was not considered suitable work for women. Those who made a living in this way were treated as social outcasts, but my grandmother wasn't concerned with honor and status; she worried about how to feed her children. She didn't want to be a burden on her family, which was poor to begin with." - Location 467
"We never felt lonely. We experienced everything together: sadness, joy, hardship, prosperity." -Location 1059
"...to feel that no matter where they go, their home will always be there, in their heart. That's what we call roots. And thank God, we have strong roots." - Location 2523...more
I always enjoy memoirs. I enjoy stories, of people. People who are living out their passions and finding a side of a bigger story most people don't haI always enjoy memoirs. I enjoy stories, of people. People who are living out their passions and finding a side of a bigger story most people don't have the privelege of knowing. Manal Omar's Barefoot in Baghdad provided me a personal, emotional story of the not only her life but the life of many admirable woman from Iraq and the world over as well as a number of admirable men who mutually understand the value of women. At times, I wish there were more details of her experiences but enjoyed the story nonetheless.
"Walk barefoot and the thorns will hurt you." It is often used as a warning to those who challenge societal norms. (location 84)
"...you need to understand that we are tired of fighting," Asma said, "That's all I have been doing; it's all my mother did. We don't want to fight anymore. It doesn't mean we have given up. Far from it. It just means we want to find a more peaceful way to live something that may resemble a normal life." (location 1490)
"Years of humanitarian work had taught me that the smallest intervention could set loose an avalanche of unexpected consequences." (location 2405)
"Like so many others, her ability to empathize with human loss had been replaced with political zeal." (location 3574)...more
This was a cute and quick read geared toward young adults/teenage girls. Taking place in a bakery, this story provided me my own memories of high schoThis was a cute and quick read geared toward young adults/teenage girls. Taking place in a bakery, this story provided me my own memories of high school and the types of lessons learned during that stage of my life. As other reviewers mentioned, there is a great dose of surprise events and I definitely couldn't have predetermined the entire course of events although I was entirely satisfied with the way things culminated by the end of this read.
For me, the quotes and lines that stood out, were lines that I could relate to and found amusing:
"When your eyes are boring, dark brown, nobody comments on how your boring, dark brown sweater matches them." (Location 693)
"Something about me wasn't lovable and Parker found it." (Location 1280)
"They said I was charming, and mature for my age. What they didn't know was I'd run out of clean laundry that morning. Underneath the dressy black skirt I'd borrowed from Melanie, I wore blue-flowered bikini swimsuit bottoms." (Location 1308)
"Her hair was dyed that specific shade of purple-red favored by animal-print ladies" (Location 1401)...more
What I enjoyed most about this story was the inspiration to live boldly and adventurously regardless of whether you have careers and children or not.What I enjoyed most about this story was the inspiration to live boldly and adventurously regardless of whether you have careers and children or not. I found their back stories of travel and settling down as well as the general idea of traveling by bike around the U.S. refreshing and exciting. I could have used more development in the writing and as another reviewer mentioned, a greater explanation and elaboration on some scenes in the story. Regardless, I'm inspired, and I suppose that's about half the purpose!
A couple highlights:
"In my many years of traveling I've found adventure is, many times, only one step away from disaster. It springs from the unknown - from having no idea how we will meet our basic needs. It is stressful, but the kind of stress I can look upon and say, "What an unexpected turn of events!" It's those days that make for the most memorable experiences, and are, therefore, the most rewarding days of a journey." (location 1405)
"We continued talking well into the night about how it seemed like the poorest regions on earth was where generosity and warmth of human spirit flowed the most abundantly." (location 1446)...more
The writing and the story line were good and interesing enough, just not entirely within my style and genre norm, hence the 2 stars. However, the bookThe writing and the story line were good and interesing enough, just not entirely within my style and genre norm, hence the 2 stars. However, the book was interesting and I'd be interested to know people's feelings about this book who served or protested or simply lived during the Vietnam war. But, the story isn't just about one boys experience of the draft and avoiding the draft, it's also a story of love and love lost and the dirt and grit of life and Hockings did a fine job putting it all together.
A couple standout quotes:
"Danny had tated love, and would never be the same, even if love tasted sour this fall." (location 764)
"In the din of the bar and in the haze of a thousand cigarettes, this man had created an oasis of calm reflection that somehow pulled in a crowd." (location 2481)...more
A few highlights and passages that I enjoyed/stuck out from The Year of Living Biblically are as follows:
(Handing over a bottle of wine to a colleagueA few highlights and passages that I enjoyed/stuck out from The Year of Living Biblically are as follows:
(Handing over a bottle of wine to a colleague and the ensuing conversation)
"What's this?" "It's because you're depressed. The Bible says to bring wine to the heavy of heart." "The Bible says that?" "Yes. It also says that you shouldn't sing to people with a heavy heart. That'd be like rubbing vinegar in the wound." "So you're not going to sing to me?" "No" (pg. 70)
"I think there's something to the idea that the divine dwells more easily in text than in images. Text allows for more abstract thought, more of a separation between you and the physical world, more room for you and God to meet in the middle." (pg. 106)
"There's something relieving and paradoxically liberating about surrendering yourself to a minimal-choice lifestyle, especially as our choices multiply like cable channels." (pg. 143)
"If you roll up your sleeves, even the oddest passages - and the one about edible bugs qualifies - can be seen as a sign of God's mercy and compassion." (pg. 176)
"I find it a profound reminder of the murky instability of the future" (pg. 237 referencing his habit of tacking 'God willing' to the end of any future plans including 'See you tonight.')...more
When I first received my Kindle, I read the first book of this series by Maureen Lang entitled The Oak Leaves. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of CosimWhen I first received my Kindle, I read the first book of this series by Maureen Lang entitled The Oak Leaves. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Cosima from Ireland but wasn't as caught up in the story of Talie in the U.S. Nonetheless, I had enjoyed the first and the series and was eager to read the second.
The second did not disappoint. I loved the story coming from the letters of Berrie to Cosima as much as I loved the story of Dana (Talie's sister) and Rebecca. I love the way the family history was woven together from generations long ago until the present day and the way certain familial themes emerged, not only the genetic condition of fragile X but the faith, hope and love these family members were able to express in their actions toward one another and to the Lord.
A few highlights:
"Yet there is something about her that reminds me of myself. Perhaps it is her unflinching belief that she is where she ought to be, despite all of the challenges." (Location 1703)
"Worry, I have learned, seems to be a virus. Once caught, it is nearly impossible to cure." (Location 1949)
"The greatest hope comes after surrendering, whether that hope is fulfilled in our lifetime or not." (Location 5014) ...more
This is simply a quick, quirky, sweet read about a heavy-set bakery owner who works through her insecurities with the assitance of an attractive maleThis is simply a quick, quirky, sweet read about a heavy-set bakery owner who works through her insecurities with the assitance of an attractive male who is genuinely enamored by her beauty, as is.
The main character, the bakery owner, is also the narrator and has a lot of personality that shines through in the writing. She's snarky, sarcastic, real and unsure of herself and her image.
It was the perfect quick read to break up a string of more serious and heavy topics I'd been reading and for that, it was perfect....more