Based on the story of the author's ancestors, this is a warm, sweet, and hard-to-put-down story of HaRomantic passion and history make a great read...
Based on the story of the author's ancestors, this is a warm, sweet, and hard-to-put-down story of Hannah and her choice between obeying her father or marrying the man she loved and who cherished her, but who did not meet her father's approval. What will it take to soften her father's hard heart and mend her own? If you need a good escape book, look no farther....more
Disclosure: I helped the author with the production of this book, but I am so impressed that at 94 years old, she took time to record these memories aDisclosure: I helped the author with the production of this book, but I am so impressed that at 94 years old, she took time to record these memories and recollections of a bygone era in Middleburg, Virginia, where fox hunting and horses were important during her childhood as they are today. The author has since passed on, and I am so glad we still have these lovely reminiscences.
This book is a gift to all those who know and love this beautiful part of Virginia....more
I was skeptical of this book's premise, but it worked beautifully. Edward, the British concierge of an upscale Atlanta apartment building, invites felI was skeptical of this book's premise, but it worked beautifully. Edward, the British concierge of an upscale Atlanta apartment building, invites fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey. Three of the participants—ostensibly very different in both personality and financial means—find themselves connecting at these gatherings and forging strong bonds of friendship. At the same time, they are gaining insights about themselves and finding the courage—with a little help from their friends—to break free of self-imposed limitations and find new reasons to believe in themselves and their ability to be happy.
The strength of the book, I belie e, lies in the well-drawn characters of these three women. Readers, especially women readers, are bound to identify with one or more challenges these characters face and be encouraged by the ways they overcome them.
Samantha Davis married for the wrong reasons to secure a future for her younger brother and sister. They are ungrateful and manipulative, and she is afraid her wealthy husband is driven more by pity for her than by love.
Claire Walker has invested her life savings into renting this apratment for a year so she can write her break-out novel. But writer's block and empty nest insecurities have paralyzed her.
Brooke MacKenzie is battling financial insecurity and low self-esteem as she deals with a jerk of an ex-husband and being a single mother.
Edward, the concierge, plays a vital role too, as he exerts considerable guidance and encouragement to his flock while he deals with both betrayal and family pressure in his own personal life.
Downton Abbey actually plays a relatively small role, yet there are threads to connect the themes from that story into this book's story. While being a D. A. fan is not at all crucial to understanding or enjoying this book, those fans will enjoy an additional layer of pleasure.
So in the end, this was a story about the power of connection, the importance of friendship, and the truth that good things can be forged in the furnace of adversity. I came to love those four characters and hope there will be a sequel....more
This was a delightful read, written by a charming man who has had a fascinating life and who, clearly, has the wonderful and rare combination of intelThis was a delightful read, written by a charming man who has had a fascinating life and who, clearly, has the wonderful and rare combination of intelligent listening skills and entertaining story-telling skills. Born in 1927 to a family with generations of public service on both sides of his family, one reviewer accurately said, "Witnessing history from the New Deal to President Obama's Cuban initiative, Symington is a willing recorder of eavesdrops, 'ranging in propriety from blasphemy to prayer.'" If you enjoy reading about the inside secrets of the rich and famous, you'll enjoy this book.
The book is not a chronological autobiography at all, but rather a collection of stories and vignettes from the author's remarkable life in service to our country in various elected and appointed positions. I could quibble with the organization of the book, as it was arranged by theme rather than chronologically, and I found this a bit distracting at times, but that is a small price to pay for the pleasure of traveling along with this gifted storyteller as he shared the secrets and insights of a world most of us will never know personally.
It had an added level of pleasure for me because the author has a home and connections in Virginia's hunt country, where I grew up, and my mother remembers him and his lovely wife well from social events of the past. Those who know him say he still, at age 89, is a highly attractive and impressive man. ...more
I had some mixed feelings about this book, but overall, the author's courage and willingness to expose her own fears, foibles, and poor judgment choicI had some mixed feelings about this book, but overall, the author's courage and willingness to expose her own fears, foibles, and poor judgment choices compelled me to give it five stars. The reason I felt conflicted was because the author, by her own admission, led a rather dysfunctional life before her decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I found myself judging her instead of rooting for her, and I didn't like this about myself.
What is indisputable, however, is that Cheryl Strayed is a gifted observer and writer with an addiction to truth-telling, even when it's not flattering to herself. Because of these talents, I hiked that trail right beside her and felt her experience and learned her lessons. This is a true story that should inspire others not to give up when they're down, not to turn back when they encounter obstacles, not to judge people by their appearances, and never to underestimate the power of the human spirit to overcome fear and loss. ...more
Exquisite language about a beautiful, spiritual people of the Hebrides. The author collected stories, prayers, and myths handed down from one generatiExquisite language about a beautiful, spiritual people of the Hebrides. The author collected stories, prayers, and myths handed down from one generation to another, each steeped in the faith of these people and their work ethic and connection with the natural world of their Creator. Their simple, profound faith--and the lovely they way express it--are both soothing and inspiring....more
I just finished "Death of the Dream," author JJ Brown's first book of short stories -- wow, she knows how to keep her readers on the edge of their seaI just finished "Death of the Dream," author JJ Brown's first book of short stories -- wow, she knows how to keep her readers on the edge of their seats! Once I had to literally stop and wait to finish when it wasn't dark and I wasn't alone. Each story was quite unique and featured characters with different mental disorders. Really great writing -- dark yet exciting. I listened to the Audible version, and the reader was excellent. ...more
We read this book for our church's Lenten study, and it is a lively exploration—and explanation—of the Bible, its origins, and the many ways its textsWe read this book for our church's Lenten study, and it is a lively exploration—and explanation—of the Bible, its origins, and the many ways its texts have seeped into our culture in predictable and unpredictable ways.
Dr. Swenson is smart, educated, and has a quirky sense of humor that makes a heavy subject accessible and informative.
It is in no way an attempt to convince a non-believer of the Bible's worth. She makes no bones about its discrepancies, inconsistencies, and possible errors. But in telling the remarkable story of the Bible's evolution, she has gifted me with an enriched perspective that will forever add depth to what I take away from my personal reading of the holy scripture....more
The book was not intended to be biographical, but it was inspired by a short period in anthropologist Margaret Mead's liThis book took my breath away.
The book was not intended to be biographical, but it was inspired by a short period in anthropologist Margaret Mead's life as a young, newly married, scientist in Africa studying natives with her husband, and working with another male anthropologist. As these three characters live with native tribes and seek new and sensational discoveries about native behavior, their relationships and encounters spin out in a tale of adventure, danger, illicit love, native rituals, dark secrets, and deep jealousies, both personal and professional.
The reader is immersed in a fascinating, strange, and beautiful world, seeing the native village culture through the eyes of an intelligent, eccentric and passionate woman, whose keen intellect and thoughtful observations about the native behaviors cause you to think about western culture and behaviors in a whole new way. The euhporia of the title shows up in ritualistic behavior, transcendent natural beauty, forbidden love, and the thrill of exchanging ideas and sharing one's life work with someone of equal intellectual curiosity and insight.
There were so many levels of excellence and artistry in this book. Well-researched in terms of anthropological techniques and theories, the book also revealed the author's deft hand at portraying universal human emotions, both dark and light, exposing the rather thin veneer we "civilized" humans want to believe hides our baser selves. The ending was as exquisitely crafted as anything I've ever read. ...more
This author has pulled off a challenging feat in weaving a rather dark tale with such well-drawn characters and perfectly-tuned emotional layers thatThis author has pulled off a challenging feat in weaving a rather dark tale with such well-drawn characters and perfectly-tuned emotional layers that it moves rapidly along without getting bogged down. In fact, I stayed up too late a couple of nights to see what was going to happen next.
Its characters run the gamut of loving and generous to selfish and immature, yet there is a finely drawn theme of the power of love in a world of people who need love so desperately, and the ending is strangely hopeful in spite of the main character's poor choices.
The author's medical background lent strength and credibility to the parts of the story involving AIDS transmission and the terrible threat posed by AIDS when it first began to spread so rapidly and the diagnosis was virtually a death sentence. The consequences of failing to practice "safe sex" became many magnitudes greater than they had ever been, and this took its toll on both health and relationships....more
I'm such a fan of Brené Brown and admire her research, not to mention her determination to stay true to herself and practice what she preaches. This bI'm such a fan of Brené Brown and admire her research, not to mention her determination to stay true to herself and practice what she preaches. This book felt almost too personal at times, yet her stories about herself and what she has learned from her research findings were compelling from beginning to end. She has a gift for immersing her reader in both the theories and the implementation of those theories into every day and an uncanny ability to empower her readers to rise strong right along with her. ...more
This small book evolved from a graduation address Ann Patchett gave to a graduating class at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence. Part memoir and part selfThis small book evolved from a graduation address Ann Patchett gave to a graduating class at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence. Part memoir and part self-help, it contains wonderful life lessons and interesting reflections from an author whose writing I admire....more
This was a delightfully inspiring and encouraging book from the Episcopal Church's new Presiding Bishop. He pulls us back in time and infects us withThis was a delightfully inspiring and encouraging book from the Episcopal Church's new Presiding Bishop. He pulls us back in time and infects us with the thrill and hope—as well as the shock—the early disciples must have felt in the presence of Jesus when they first heard His radical "crazy" message. Bishop Curry digs deep to the roots of our faith to make sure we're well-grounded and ready to get crazy for Christ in a world that's just as hungry for the message as it was 2000 years ago....more
This book grew on me, and I found the interweaving of myth, legend, and fantasy to be mesmerizing even while it was sometimes confusing. The writing iThis book grew on me, and I found the interweaving of myth, legend, and fantasy to be mesmerizing even while it was sometimes confusing. The writing is marvelous, and the mark of a rich story is one that continues to reveal itself after the book is finished. I found the tenderness shown by the two old people towards each other to be quite touching....more