I have been too long away from non-fiction so this book was a slow and difficult read for me. However, it was definitely worth the read. We all know t...moreI have been too long away from non-fiction so this book was a slow and difficult read for me. However, it was definitely worth the read. We all know the story of Cleopatra, a story we've probably been told from novels and/or movies. Cleopatra was a beautiful seductress who loved and manipulated two great men, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. But she was so much more. She was a Ptolemy...from a family who was well known for murdering each other to gain power...yet she was rare in this family in that she actually loved her father. Her love for her father led to her passionate love of her country and this was most important to her above anything else. So yes, she did use some feminine wiles to protect and secure her position, but she did so shrewdly and without compromising her honor, at least in her own eyes and the eyes of her subjects. The Romans' opinion of her was entirely different and not favorable. Schiff really brings to the fore just how skillful Cleopatra was, whether we know the whole truth or not. So much of the accounts of Cleopatra's life were written by Roman (and other) philosophers who often did not have good opinions of her either.
I learned things in this book that I previously did not know. I did not know that Cleopatra had four children. I knew of Caesarion, her son with Julius Caesar, but did not know that she had three children with Mark Antony, two boys and a girl. I also did not know that the daughter, Cleopatra Selene, would go on to be a queen in Africa...pretty much following in her mother's footsteps in her rule there.
This is an excellent book for people who enjoy non-fiction and for people who would like to learn more truth behind the legend. There are rumors that a movie is being made based on this book and that Angelina Jolie may play Cleopatra. I am rather disappointed by this news, as it is clear from the book that Cleopatra was not a true 'beauty', her seductive ability aside. Someone less attractive, but capable of sultry gestures and manipulations would be more appropriate, in my opinion. Like Hollywood cares what I think, right?!
To say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded m...moreTo say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded me of another multiple personality book I read years ago called "Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The only thing similar about the two books is that both women were abused at a young age and both developed multiple personalities to cope and protect themselves from the abuse. Not to discount the trauma that Sybil suffered, I have to say that the abuse Jenny Hill was subjected to was far, far worse.
I know it really shouldn't shock me that things like this occur, and have occurred, in our society for years, but I'm still in a state of disbelief that anyone, including a child's own father, could sexually abuse a child beginning at infancy. What comes into the equation in Jenny's story is something called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Of course, we've all heard stories and accounts of the practice in the news and such, but it always seems like a horror movie. Not real. Unfortunately, it is real, or was. The level of abuse--emotional, sexual, physical--that Jenny was subjected to was horrific. Not only the horrendous abuse, but also the witnessing of the murders of animals and another child. It's a miracle that Jenny survived.
As I said, an extremely difficult read. I found myself in tears many times as I was reading. But this is an important read because we need to be aware that things like this go on in our world. It reminds us to be aware and watchful of children who may be showing signs that something is wrong. Don't just overlook it. It's also a cautionary tale for parents. Know what your children are doing and where they are going. Of course, back in the 60s, parents weren't as careful or aware of what could happen to young children, but it's still hard to believe that Jenny's mother did not think it was strange that her six year old daughter was gone all the time or that she returned home looking ravaged. That her mother was indifferent and mean to her daughter is just another layer of abuse that Jenny suffered, not to mention that she probably knew that her husband was sexually abusing Jenny, but instead of reacting and taking action, she only expressed jealousy.
Ultimately, "Twenty Two Faces" is a story of survival. Jenny did survive and went on to live a somewhat "normal" life, if it's possible after what she went through. She lived to tell her story and by doing so, she may just succeed in helping others and perhaps preventing abuse like this happening to others. (less)
This book really is amazing. It's the perfect length, for if it had been longer, it would have lost it's impact. Of course, this is a novel, but the m...moreThis book really is amazing. It's the perfect length, for if it had been longer, it would have lost it's impact. Of course, this is a novel, but the main character Joseph is so real, it seems almost an autobiography. Joseph has been tormented his entire life by nightmares and visions. Little does he know that these occurrences will lead him to his destiny in life.
It's funny how I keep reading books that deal with reincarnation. Each time I read about the phenomenon, the further I come in believing it. Something that was said in the book about reincarnation was, "Because it only makes sense. God is not cruel. He is trying to teach us what we need to learn, and giving us many opportunities to learn it....there is too much to learn in just one lifetime. Secondly, do you really think this little planet is the only place life exists in the universe?" That is a convincing argument, in my opinion.
I really liked the spiritualism of this book and that it touched on something I truly believe is the answer in our world. Kindness to everyone. At one point, Joseph says, "...God wouldn't mind if we spent a little less time telling him how great he is and a little more time loving each other, and not just the people we're supposed to love, but everyone." Wise words and ones I think we could all live by.
I have to say that this book did have a couple of problems. I found myself wondering what happened to the girl Joseph fell in love with. And the story didn't flow as smoothly as it could have at some points. However, in all it is well worth a read because of the message it conveys. We could all learn something from this book. (less)
I love books on writing. I have read my share of them too. I've read ones by Terry Brooks and Stephen King and others. So you'd think by now that I wo...moreI love books on writing. I have read my share of them too. I've read ones by Terry Brooks and Stephen King and others. So you'd think by now that I would have at least one novel under my belt. But I don't. Julie clarifies this issue in a nutshell...you have to write your way. Yes, you should pay attention to the advice and there are certain things the writer should not fudge on, like style and grammar. She recommends The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and there I couldn't agree with her more. I happen to have that book in my writing arsenal. A writer should also keep a good book on grammar handy. What she said that I really liked and agree with 100% is "write something that matters--if only to you." Great advice. Who wants to write something they don't care about? If the writer doesn't care, the reader certainly isn't going to. It doesn't have to be a big statement book, but the story should mean something, should touch the writer and, therefore, the reader. Authenticity and truth come in too. Don't skimp on the details. Do the research. The most important thing though...get it written. Set deadlines for yourself and this is one I like. Set a goal of five pages per day, five days a week. This works for Julie because she's a rule breaker so if she doesn't write on Monday, she can write Saturday to make it up. Or she can add pages on to other days. I think I like this approach better than so many words per day or hours even. Frankly, the word count thing makes me very nervous (I'm talking to you NaNoWriMo)!
Julie's core rules:
Start it--put one word after another. Put your heart in it. Part with it--get it written.
Simple and straight forward. I like it. In subsequent chapters, she discusses voice, plot, characters, and all the nuts and bolts when it comes to writing a novel, but she does it in a fresh way. She doesn't bog it all down with pages and pages of explanations. That's one beef I have with writing books. They are way too long. Hence why there are so many on my shelves that remain unread. Julie's 121 page dynamo is the perfect book on writing. This is a book that will stay in my eReader and I will be using it as I continue with the novel I started during NaNoWriMo and did not finish. I will finish it. Five pages a day, five days a week and I will write it my way. Thank you, Julie. (less)
The Old Rectoryis a very charming book...and it's a book that will make people want to add to their bucket list. What do I mean by this? Well, who ha...more The Old Rectory is a very charming book...and it's a book that will make people want to add to their bucket list. What do I mean by this? Well, who hasn't dreamed of owning and renovating an old Victorian era (or older) house, especially in the English countryside? Maybe not everyone, but I sure have. Julie Ibbotson has recounted the story of her quest to find the perfect home and, upon finding the old rectory, the journey of the renovation. Intertwined in the story, her love of cooking shines through. She breaks the book up into seasons and includes recipes that fit within those seasons. I can't wait to try out her recipes and the beauty of it is she includes the U.S. measurements too in the ingredients. This book will have a permanent place among my cookbooks and it will be nice to pull it out from time to time to dream of someday owning my own "old rectory" or its equivalent.(less)
This is a good book for anyone wanting to change their mindset. Glasser introduces choice theory which is basically that we have a choice in the way w...moreThis is a good book for anyone wanting to change their mindset. Glasser introduces choice theory which is basically that we have a choice in the way we treat others and ourselves. The proponent is that we have a 'picture' in our minds of the way we want to be or of how we want others to be and all we have to do is change that picture to change what's in our mind. This is choice theory. Basically, it's about learning to stop blaming external sources for the way our lives, or people in our lives, are and look on the inside to change the way we think about things. He gives examples of how the theory can be applied to relationship problems, parenting, and more. In all, this book is a useful tool for anyone looking to change their thinking and, ultimately, their lives.
Don't read The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook if you're hungry. It will have you rushing to the kitchen to eat God knows what and you still will not be...moreDon't read The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook if you're hungry. It will have you rushing to the kitchen to eat God knows what and you still will not be satisfied because it's not what's in the book. You've been warned!
This cookbook is an amazing concept. It's the marriage of books, recipes, and book reviews. Each recipe matches a theme or an element of the book it's paired with. We get delicious ideas for food to make while also learning about books and what some book bloggers thought of them. I think it's brilliant. I thought so last year with the 2011 edition and I'm of a same mind with this year's edition.
The books featured are predominantly of the young adult genre with a few middle grade titles and a couple of adult titles thrown in. If I had one suggestion, it would be to add more adult titles for those of us who read more adult books than YA. I can think of some amazing historical fiction titles that would be great in a future Book Blogger's cookbook.
I recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves to cook, or loves food in general, and to those who love books. I'm looking forward to the future editions. Keep them coming, Christy!
This slim little volume may very well become my bible. It's funny how simple things, things we already think we know, seem to click that light bulb on...moreThis slim little volume may very well become my bible. It's funny how simple things, things we already think we know, seem to click that light bulb on in our heads just by stating and outlining simple concepts. That's what this book does.
The book focuses on seven strategies to achieve our goals and they are all solid guidelines for those of us who struggle with goal setting and implementation. I am a master at procrastination. A book like this, referred to often, is the ticket I need to regularly work to overcome my "put it off until tomorrow, Scarlet" mindset.
The strategies that really spoke to me the most were Create a Plan of Action, in which you break your goals down in 90 day (seasonal, really) increments. Instead of making New Year's resolutions once a year, you make, work toward, and reevaluate your goals every 90 days. Ramirez also advocates creating a visual "map" which I love. Dealing with Fear was great because, let's face it, we all deal with fear when it comes to the goals we set, even if it's a small fear. The best thing to always be thinking is, "What's the worst that can happen?" If I write this story/novel, yes, it might be rejected, but then again, it might not. You can't let fear stop you from possibly experiencing that it won't be rejected. Ramirez says that "FEAR IS: False Evidence Appearing Real." Telling, isn't it? I think this last one is my favorite: Never Ever Quit. Yes, we might fail time and again, but the point is to never give up. We need to always hold onto that childhood mentality of the sky's the limit. This passage from the book nearly brought me to tears (yes, I'm an emotional wreck):
Do you remember what it felt like to be that age? Do you remember with what kind of anticipation you would respond when someone asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You couldn't wait. Being grown up was going to be awesome.
So what happened? Where did it go wrong? At what point did you take those dreams and place them in a box at the back of the closet to gather dust? At what point did you say to yourself, "Well, that would be nice...but it will never happen."
I believe it can happen. I believe it does happen for those who are too stubborn or too stupid (or maybe a little bit of both) to put their dreams in that box. I believe your dreams should be displayed proudly on the shelf where you can look at them every day and say with confidence and expectation, "That is where I am headed!", but you will never get there if you quit.
I want to display my dreams on the shelf! I want to say to myself every day, "That's where I'm headed!"...and I will. Ramirez also included in this chapter a favorite quote of mine from Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
"The best days of your life, regardless of your age, should be the days ahead; the days you have not yet lived," says Ramirez. I wholeheartedly agree! A lifetime of achievement is to have your dreams, strive toward those dreams, to not be afraid of the journey, and to never quit that journey. If you're searching for something to help you along on your journey, get this book. I know it will now be a constant resource in my life. (less)
There are two reasons I like this book. 1) It's short and to the point and 2) it make sense. I much prefer self-help/empowerment books that are not to...moreThere are two reasons I like this book. 1) It's short and to the point and 2) it make sense. I much prefer self-help/empowerment books that are not too long. I mean, you're trying to help yourself. Who wants it to take five years to read a book, right? And I want said book to make sense. I don't know how many times I've read a book like this and ended up scratching my head wondering what the hell it is the author is talking about. Robert succeeds in making sense by talking about ten words (or five principles) to finding your authentic self. After he describes the process, he then goes on to apply them to certain questions people have about aspects of their lives, such as: fear, regret, right and wrong, self, success, and others. What he says about the past is to learn from it and let it go. You are not the person you were so move on. Pretty simple, huh? Sometimes we have to be told it or read it again and again for it to sink in. And what does he say about success (and this is my favorite new quote)? "Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing. How can you succeed or fail at that? My new mantra! I really liked this book. If you're looking for some authenticity in your life, I recommend you check it out. (less)
The Women of the Cousins' War was written to bring to light the "truth" behind the women featured in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War trilogy, The Whit...moreThe Women of the Cousins' War was written to bring to light the "truth" behind the women featured in Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War trilogy, The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Lady of the Rivers. Jacquetta (The Lady of the Rivers), Elizabeth Woodville (The White Queen), and Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen) take center stage in this exploration of their lives and how they were very much a part of the Cousins' War, or the Wars of the Roses. I have to admit to not knowing much previously about the Wars of the Roses except for the most minute details. I found the accounts of the events very interesting and thorough in this book.
While Philippa's "essay" was supposed to be about Jacquetta (mother of Elizabeth Woodville), her section really centers on the unfolding of the events in the Cousins' War...we really do not learn too overly much about Jacquetta. However, I don't fault Gregory for this, as she does state in the introduction that very little is known about Jacquetta. What Gregory does reveal about Jacquetta is that she was a loyal and staunch woman who bore fourteen children--a major feat in that era.
I found that David Baldwin's account of Elizabeth Woodville (wife of Edward IV and mother to the princes in the tower and the future queen of England, Elizabeth, mother to Henry VIII) was the most interesting, as he explores both sides of what was said about her. On one hand, she has been maligned as a witch, that she obtained her marriage to Edward IV through sorcery and that once she achieved such high status, she became a cold and calculating person. However, in some accounts of the time, she is portrayed as a generous and charitable woman who was patron to many religious institutions. She also had a great love of learning and the written word.
The final woman featured in the book by Michael Jones, Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VI and grandmother to Henry VIII), would seem to have had one end in mind and that was the advancement of her son, Henry. According to Jones's account, this was quite the truth. Throughout the maneuverings of the Wars of the Roses, Margaret had only one goal and that was seeing her son on the throne and, as we know, she succeeded. Margaret was the most tenacious of the three women, in my opinion.
In conclusion, I have to say that I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I now have more knowledge about the Wars of the Roses (the Cousins' War) and I look forward to reading more about the all the other individuals who were involved in the events. Also, I have not yet read Gregory's Cousins' War trilogy (although I own two of the three books) and I feel that when I do, this book has given me great insight into the true events behind the fictionalized stories in the books.(less)
I've only read several pages and I can already tell that this one is a winner! Can't wait to implement with my sons. Ironically, some of the things sh...moreI've only read several pages and I can already tell that this one is a winner! Can't wait to implement with my sons. Ironically, some of the things she suggests, I already do. =O)(less)