When I was a junior high romantic, my mother steered me away from smuttier stuff and toward the novels of Grace Livingston Hill. Hill wrote primarily...moreWhen I was a junior high romantic, my mother steered me away from smuttier stuff and toward the novels of Grace Livingston Hill. Hill wrote primarily in the early 20th century, and her books were as much about Evangelical notions of salvation as about romance. Rather than boy-meets-girl, her novels were as much about meeting Jesus as meeting one's future spouse. The bad girls smoked and wore makeup; the bad boys drank and were dishonest. The Christian heroes and heroines had quiet faith, read their Bibles, and told the unsaved how to accept Jesus. Broken down like this, it all sounds terrible and trite, but I still love Hill's novels, and find new surprises in them every time I return to them. They are full of melodramatic plot twists, adopted children, lost and found inheritances, and other unlikely but engrossing events. You always know what a hot fudge sundae will taste like, but that doesn't mean you don't want to have another, does it?
You might think (as I once did) that Hill must have been either a virtuous spinster or a quiet country pastor's wife, but her actual life was quite complex and difficult, including a violent marriage to an alcoholic. Perhaps her novels come from a desire to keep young women away from some of her bad decisions, or to create a better world to escape to, as well as the simple and obvious motive of survival as a single mother when such a life was stigmatized and difficult. This slim biography places Hill's work in her life's context. Probably only for someone who is already a fan; new readers of Hill should start with the novels and short stories themselves. (less)
Mild disclaimer: I am also a member of the ALA Learning Round Table, as are the authors. I'm pretty sure I've at least said howdy to them, but given m...moreMild disclaimer: I am also a member of the ALA Learning Round Table, as are the authors. I'm pretty sure I've at least said howdy to them, but given my face/name deficits, I can't really say. This is an unsolicited review of my library's print edition.
My only "gripe" with this book so far is a very good-natured one. Every few pages I have to stop and jot down notes about a web site I want to visit or a book I should read later. (less)
I'm fascinated by the negative and lukewarm reviews here that describe this book as "just common sense" and "the same as all the other time management...moreI'm fascinated by the negative and lukewarm reviews here that describe this book as "just common sense" and "the same as all the other time management books." While they are right to a certain extent, "common sense is not so common," to be sure. And what I like about this framing of the same basic principles is that his way of explaining them sticks with me.
What this book spells out more explicitly than others seem to is that there are many things we can't delegate or put off indefinitely, that are NOT part of my life goals except in the sense that they preserve access to food and shelter, **but they are still important to do**. Time management books that tell me to have my children or my executive assistant take care of these things, or hire someone else to do them, annoy me.
McClatchy understands that repetitive tasks like errands and laundry can eat up the whole day (and, if one is not careful, they will). He explains the psychology of scheduled vs. unscheduled tasks, and gives tips on how to reserve time and complete activities that will bring growth and accomplishment (Gain) beyond the relief of dodging bullets (Prevent Pain).
As with any self-help book, I now have that honeymoon feeling that This One Will Make a Difference. Only time will tell -- but this time, the actions the author recommends seem possible for the person I am today, not the person I will someday become. We'll see. (less)