This book (booklet, really) gave a really good outline for getting started on a path toward living with less. Obviously becoming a "rational minimalisThis book (booklet, really) gave a really good outline for getting started on a path toward living with less. Obviously becoming a "rational minimalist" was Becker's goal, and he definitely has a simple process for achieving that. I am not a minimalist and do not strive to be, but I do want to get to a point where everything in our house has a place, and we manage clutter (and clutter stations) better, and I found good suggestions in this book. Becker does emphasize that this is what worked for his family (and that their goal is not the goal for everyone), but most of the tips he offers are useful no matter what the end goal is. ...more
This is an excellent bible study, certainly the best I've done in a group setting. Alsup gets to the meat of Ephesians, and doesn't waste time on flufThis is an excellent bible study, certainly the best I've done in a group setting. Alsup gets to the meat of Ephesians, and doesn't waste time on fluff. I like that. it is a thoughtful and thought-provoking exegesis of Ephesians, and well worth the time for anyone - male or female - to study....more
I've read Ephesians twice this year...first on my own, and now as part of a bible study. The study definitely took it from a 4-star to a 5-star read fI've read Ephesians twice this year...first on my own, and now as part of a bible study. The study definitely took it from a 4-star to a 5-star read for me. It's not the easiest of New Testament books, but it is rich with life lessons....more
This is a beautiful presentation of the gospel, presented through the lens of foster care. I was touched deeply, in part because it is a subject closeThis is a beautiful presentation of the gospel, presented through the lens of foster care. I was touched deeply, in part because it is a subject close to my heart, and in part because I know Cayden's foster parents. If you are considering adoption or foster care, this books shows in a substantive way how fostering (and adopting) are ways of physically living out the gospel of Jesus Christ....more
Heartbreaking story, and made me wonder why it was apparently impossible to get the kids out of an obviously abusively situation, especially after DavHeartbreaking story, and made me wonder why it was apparently impossible to get the kids out of an obviously abusively situation, especially after David was removed. So many people knew and let it go on, and that just sickened me....more
Some good stuff, but overall, it was too long of a read. There were some great thoughts, but some that were a bit of a stretch, and frankly the questiSome good stuff, but overall, it was too long of a read. There were some great thoughts, but some that were a bit of a stretch, and frankly the questions were often stupid. I liked it ok, but wouldn't read it again....more
Great idea, and while I FAILED at my attempt to follow suit in 2012, I am challenging myself again in 2013 to read solely from my own library. FingersGreat idea, and while I FAILED at my attempt to follow suit in 2012, I am challenging myself again in 2013 to read solely from my own library. Fingers crossed....more
When I reached the end of this book, I was struck with the utterly overwhelming sadness I felt for the Collyer brothers. Their lives seemed to start oWhen I reached the end of this book, I was struck with the utterly overwhelming sadness I felt for the Collyer brothers. Their lives seemed to start out with some promise of normalcy. They had relatively normal parents - a bit overly prim and proper, perhaps, but with a large group of friends with whom they socialized regularly. They were wealthy, had a beautiful house in a posh part of New York City with a view of Central Park, and many valuable antiques and pieces of art. There was so much promise for them to have fulfilling and eventful lives until Langley was physically and emotionally scarred from the war (and mustard gas), and Homer slowly lost his sight. As the years past, the brothers became more & more reclusive, Langley became more & more paranoid, and Homer became more & more dependent upon Langley as he lost not only his sight but his hearing as well. Couple their physical and mental deterioration with Langley's uncontrollable compulsion to hoard EVERYTHING, and it became a recipe for disaster...which, of course, is what eventually led to their demise.
The utterly overwhelming nature of their hoarding provoked me to look them up online to see if I could get an accurate visual idea of their living conditions. After looking at the pictures, it seems amazing to me that they were able to function, even at a basic level, for as long as they did. I don't think I have ever heard of or seen anything quite like it before, and likely never will again. I thought Doctorow did a good job of bringing this story to life, and perhaps that most evident in the fact that when I came to the end of the book, I was looking around my own home with an eye for purging and reducing. I can not imagine a more miserable end than that of the Collyer brothers. It is extraordinarily sad given the completely unnecessary nature of it, and yet it makes for a mesmerizing story of how engulfing mental illness can be....more
There were some nuggets of awesomeness throughout what was largely a mediocre - and relatively nasty - book. After having read his first book, I expecThere were some nuggets of awesomeness throughout what was largely a mediocre - and relatively nasty - book. After having read his first book, I expected this one to expand in a good direction...i.e. creative and magnificent swearing. Well, it did expand, but mostly in areas related to crass & vulgar slang for various body parts and sexual acts. THAT might be "swearing," but I'm more inclined to call it nasty language. A good swear does not make you throw up a little in your mouth at the mental picture it creates. If done well, it is magnificent to the point of awe, and should rightly elicit a response of "WOW!" or utter speechlessness. The tripe that Sterling Johnson discusses in this book is for people who can do no better than parrot gross language about their anatomy and bodily functions.
This was (again) a great idea executed very poorly. It's base...and gross...and except for the occasional goodie, mostly definitely not funny. Especially...ESPECIALLY...if you have read the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, and myriad other phenomenal authors, whose awe-inspiring swears are worthy of any top ten list. Listen to George Carlin, a man who could swear with enviable ease. There are certainly others, but Sterling Johnson is most assuredly not among them....more
You'd think with that title that it would be better than it was. I thought it was sort basic and elementary, and frankly, there were a lot of really gYou'd think with that title that it would be better than it was. I thought it was sort basic and elementary, and frankly, there were a lot of really great swears left out. As it turns out, this is "beginner swearing" - I kid you not, and it's definitely evident when you read it. It was ok...I've come up with (much) better swears myself, and much more creative usage. ...more
Sebold's story is wrenchingly, brutally sad, but thankfully it is not hopeless. She writes an honest and unflinching account of being violently rapedSebold's story is wrenchingly, brutally sad, but thankfully it is not hopeless. She writes an honest and unflinching account of being violently raped and her existence in the wake of it. She does not shy away from describing the weaknesses in her family, including her own weakness of needing to prove time & again that she was fine, that she had surivived (even thrived), and that she was not the emotional basket case people expected her to be. When she had to deal with her closest friend being raped, she took the lead - at first - in helping her friend through it. She was experienced in this arena...she had done this before...she could shepherd her friend through the legal process. And this is the point where she begins to fall apart.
What Sebold didn't realize at the time was that she thought she had moved on, but she had really allowed herself to be defined by her rape. She was the girl who pressed charges against her rapist and one. She was the one who was the good rape witness. She was the strong one...the savvy one...the survivor.
We don't typically think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as something that affects those who haven't been to war, and yet it is very clear that Sebold does (or did) indeed suffer from it. She was functional in her day to day life, but not without the crutches of alcohol, drugs, men, the bravura she felt in "surviving" in New York City. It was only when she reads a self-help book in which she was quoted that she finally began to come to terms what the realities of her life, because she was finally able to truly see herself, to see the damage she lived with (and nurtured) for ten years, and to see that she defined herself in terms of before and after her rape. This is also when she began to make substantial and substantive changes in her life...and truly began to heal.
I loved this book, not only because it was well crafted, but because it lent an additional level of understanding to Sebold as an author. It's obvious, having read her own story, that the fiction she writes is cathartic and hopeful both for her and for her readers. I look forward to reading more from her in the coming years.
I was hoping this book would be more about Molly and less a self-help(ish) book, but ultimately that was not the case. She has lots of advice - some oI was hoping this book would be more about Molly and less a self-help(ish) book, but ultimately that was not the case. She has lots of advice - some of it good, most of it ok, none of it great - and she sprinkled in some interesting anecdotes about her life, but overall this was less about her than about what she has learned now that she's a 40-something. Interestingly, not much different from what most other 40-somethings who are reasonably accomplished have learned, albeit in a more glamorous setting (and with more money).
What I liked most about this (audio) book is that she narrated it herself. As with most books that are personal stories, they are much richer for having the author relate the stories in his/her own voice, as that factor lends a uniquely intimate quality that any other narrator would be hard pressed to duplicate. There were certain anecdotes that held more poignancy for me because she was relating them personally...particularly the story of her grandmother's issues with food and weight, because it seemed evident that the eating disorders and the dysmorphic view of her body consumed her, and that her interactions with (and judgments) of others were borne out of her disproportional focus on food and body image as compared to the rest of her life.
I was somewhat gratified that she didn't seem to take the typical laissez-faire approach to parenting that so many Hollywood types seem to have. She is clearly devoted to her family, and she & her husband seem to have rules and guidelines that they enforce. Even more importantly (to me) is her dedication to making sure her daughters do not have a distorted image of what their bodies should be, and that they have a good relationship with food. I think this is one of the great gifts we as mothers can give our daughters - a healthy body image, a healthy (and guilt-free) relationship with food, and an understanding of how bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and what is right for one person is not necessarily right for everyone.
Here's what I didn't like: She seemed a little over-confident that she was the go-to person for relationship advice, particularly given that any good sense she had seemed to fly out the window in certain of her relationships.
She had a very casual attitude about sex, and it made me wonder what she will teach her daughters when they reach the age where sex starts to become important. Her definition of playing hard to get (i.e. not giving it up on the first date) was to wait until the third, or maybe the fifth, date. Really? What about waiting until marriage? I know that is an unpopular concept with a lot of folks, but it's not a crazy idea.
I don't believe Molly is shallow, but she focused on so many surface issues (clothes, skin care, make up, shoes, handbags, hair, etc. etc.) that I wondered if she really truly got (even though she says it) that being pretty is much more about what is inside than what is outside. Some of the most physically unattractive people can be lovelier than the sexiest model when their beauty emanates from inside. In addition, one of the most important aspects of happiness, contentment, and true beauty was something she never really touched on...spirituality. To me you can't define beauty adequately without that element.
Overall, it was a reasonably entertaining read. Most of the "advice" she doles out is basic common sense, though there are a few goodies in there. I enjoyed her personal accounts more than the other stuff, and I'm glad I know a bit more about her....more
This book touched me in ways I did not expect. It is not a great piece of literature, but there are little nuggets in every chapter that pull at you.This book touched me in ways I did not expect. It is not a great piece of literature, but there are little nuggets in every chapter that pull at you. However, it is the final third of the book that I really responded to. I am thankful it wasn't preachy, and that it was written in a simple, straightforward style. Sometimes in order to really get the message, it needs to be soft-pedaled, and Jane Knuth's light touch was exactly right for the subject matter. I am grateful to have read it....more
I got this (audio) book from the library, and concluded as I approached the end that I MUST OWN THIS BOOK! Not only must I own it, but I want it in auI got this (audio) book from the library, and concluded as I approached the end that I MUST OWN THIS BOOK! Not only must I own it, but I want it in audio & hardback format. It's that good. I LOVE that Pat Conroy narrated this particular book himself, because it is so very personal. There is nothing in the world like hearing an author narrate his own life. Under any other reading circumstance, Pat Conroy should (and does) avoid reading his own work, as he does not have the voice to do any novel justice, but with this one he positively shines. The reason, I believe, is its intensely personal and emotional nature. It was so easy to hear how affected he was - and still is - about the experiences he relates, how passionate he is about books and words, and how grateful he is that he has had the opportunity to make a living doing what he loves to do. He does not see his life through rose-colored glasses, either. It's clear that he is not an easy person with whom to share a life, and it's clear that the traumas of his childhood, as well as the sweetest of moments, affected him in ways that made him both a superb writer and a emotional train wreck. He is candid about this frailty, and his writing about his experiences - even in fictional form - is clearly cathartic and healing for him. This book touched me completely, and I have more respect for him as a writer now as a result of being given this gift of his personal story...more