I wind up not having tons to say about this book. There were essays in it that were charming - some that were hilarious, although not as many as I wouI wind up not having tons to say about this book. There were essays in it that were charming - some that were hilarious, although not as many as I would have hoped for. I do so love her writing style but to be honest, if she's not writing about knitting fiascos, I'm not quite as enthralled. I think if there had been a balance - more funny essays, perhaps, or at least one or two knitting-themed ones - I would have enjoyed this book more. As it was, it was fine and the first essay definitely had me laughing aloud....more
This book had so many fantastic suggestions in it that I still follow religiously. I don't agree with her about any of her blocking chapters - I thinkThis book had so many fantastic suggestions in it that I still follow religiously. I don't agree with her about any of her blocking chapters - I think that she just didn't have a good handle on wet blocking since it sounds like steam blocking was the big thing at the time, but other than that, I loved it....more
A cute book - I kind of like the low-key mom who doesn't mind if the kids get dirty. It's good to know that you don't always need to be uptight aboutA cute book - I kind of like the low-key mom who doesn't mind if the kids get dirty. It's good to know that you don't always need to be uptight about things, but that it's still important to look good for special days and occasions....more
I actually really loved this. When I was younger, I hated swimming too - mostly because I had a lot of near-drowning incidents. I vividly remember myI actually really loved this. When I was younger, I hated swimming too - mostly because I had a lot of near-drowning incidents. I vividly remember my mother and swim instructor trying to bribe me into jumping off of the diving board into the pool by the offer of a new barbie...and no matter how much I wanted it (and I ALWAYS wanted a new barbie), it just didn't seem like a big enough reward. But the idea of doing it to help someone who couldn't swim themselves...I think that might have worked....more
I think this a good book for anyone expecting a second (or third or fourth!) child - it really focuses on how just because you're excited to have a baI think this a good book for anyone expecting a second (or third or fourth!) child - it really focuses on how just because you're excited to have a baby sister or brother doesn't mean that it's going to be magically wonderful and easy. And then it shifts to examining how even when something isn't working out the way we wanted it to, that doesn't mean it won't get better....more
I do like this book series - the Ziz just reminds me so much of what it is to be a child and to constantly feel like you're not sure how to do the "riI do like this book series - the Ziz just reminds me so much of what it is to be a child and to constantly feel like you're not sure how to do the "right thing" to make your parents happy. This is a great description of how important it is to mean your apologies and make things right when you hurt other....more
This was a cute book. I love the description of golems that it gives, but there was a part of me that really wanted the rabbi to fire the maid at theThis was a cute book. I love the description of golems that it gives, but there was a part of me that really wanted the rabbi to fire the maid at the end...that part of it was a little weak for me....more
I actually love this one - I think the little girl in it shows such wonderful forgiveness and acceptance. Even when she discovers who is eating her goI actually love this one - I think the little girl in it shows such wonderful forgiveness and acceptance. Even when she discovers who is eating her gourds, she doesn't get angry or hold it against the - she decides to help them survive. Now that's forgiveness....more
One of the things I've always loved is the concept of doing for others ("tzedakah") and how each little action has meaning and thus, we need to do thiOne of the things I've always loved is the concept of doing for others ("tzedakah") and how each little action has meaning and thus, we need to do things with our whole hearts. I think this is a really lovely portrayal of how hard it is for children to begin to grasp the concept of God, let alone how hard it is for grown-ups to explain it!...more
I was just a little underwhelmed by this book, but I get the feeling it might be the kind of thing that grows on me over time. I was very happy to walI was just a little underwhelmed by this book, but I get the feeling it might be the kind of thing that grows on me over time. I was very happy to walk into it with no expectation of what it might be like, I think that's always the best way to come to a new book. I think that my biggest issue with it is that these are actual letters between real people - which is great, of course - but because of that, there are a lot of gaps in the information that we have about what is going on in people's lives. It's not like a novel, is it, where all the emotions and plot points are beautifully laid out? In any case, I did appreciate how long the written relationship went on for, and I do love that her love letter to reading and books and Charing Cross became this book....more
Being a gigantic fan of the Dark Tower series, I was thrilled to learn that Mr. King was publishing another volume in it. This story within a story wiBeing a gigantic fan of the Dark Tower series, I was thrilled to learn that Mr. King was publishing another volume in it. This story within a story within a story plays to some of the very common and lovely themes within the series itself - what makes a hero a hero? What part does courage play in our lives? Are things fated or chosen? And of course, there is always the focus on family - not only the family we are born into, but also the family that we find and choose along the way.
Mostly, I loved this book because I loved being back with Roland and his ka-tet. I love Oy - I LOVE OY - and still want a billy-bumbler as badly now as I ever did throughout the series. There's a part of me that would love to have Roland visit me and tell me bedtime stories, particularly during the darkest days in winter. I feel like this also neatly wrapped up some of the emotional baggage Roland still seemed to be carrying at the end of the original series, resolved it a little more and gave his heart a bit more compassion. It's certainly not the strongest story out of the now 8 books in that series, but that doesn't stop my love of it. ...more
I adore the Best American Short Stories series. The short story is a difficult form, and I have such respect for writers who can carry it off. The shoI adore the Best American Short Stories series. The short story is a difficult form, and I have such respect for writers who can carry it off. The short story is basically the middle child of writing. Longer than the poem, which can contain a flash of brilliance or insight and stand on its own, but shorter than the novel which can create a backstory and layers of conflict and self-discovery that the characters must work through. At it's worst, the short story can be perfectly awful - boring or self-important or incomprehensible. But at it's best, the short story can live inside of you and continue to grow, such as Jhumpa Lahiri's "A Temporary Matter" or Tobias Wolff's "Bullet in the Brain", one of the greatest stories I've ever heard read in my entire life.
This short story collection, like all short story collections, will live in my car, to be pulled out and read at rest stops and doctor's offices and restaurants and any other place where I find myself stuck for a 30 minute interval.
I just hit two stories that immediately became lodged in my brain. In each collection, there are always a handful that stand out as needing to be mentioned specifically. These two came one right after the other this time. (2.4.2014) The first one to leap off the page was The Hollow by James Lasdun. It tackles so many questions within its slim form - what it means to be ever moving with the force of industry and technology and what that does not only to the land we all live on but to the people who care for it and work it. What it is to be "neighborly" and how well we actually know and care for the people who form the tapestry of our everyday lives. The difference between how we perceive someone and what they actually are like. The difference between the stories we hear about someone and the reality they exist in. Plus, I just loved the voice of this particular narrator.
The second story was Painted Ocean, Painted Ship by Rebecca Makkai. I think that, in part, this one appealed to me because the main character in it is a woman who is going through the engagement and wedding planning process, something I'm currently doing in my own life. Unlike me, though, she becomes more and more upset with the entire process, what her emotions related to it actually mean, and who she thinks her fiancee is. I loved the parallels between this story and Rime of the Ancient Mariner, loved how this once incident in her life set in motion this chain of events which caused the world she thought she know to come crashing down around her. I don't know how much insight she had into her own hand in this - it seemed like the protagonist really struggled to see the world as anything more than "against her" and that she kept wanting anyone but her to take responsibility for things in life. But I loved seeing the inner workings of that struggle, of accidental loss and purposeful shoving away of things. And I loved the insight of how *little* insight she actually had. "But she wondered, even as she told the story, if she wasn't still missing the point." Don't we all sometimes wonder that about the stories we have told so frequently that we no longer take the time to look at the meaning behind them?
(April 2015) Another story that stood out to me - PS by Jill McCorkle. Maybe not the strongest story, but it's in a letter format, which always appeals to me. It's a letter from a woman to her former therapist. Naturally, this appealed to me. (As my dad would say, "The monkey likes to see the monkey do.") There are so many clients that I wonder about in the years after they leave me. Was I at all helpful? Did they find any peace or comfort? Could they tell when I liked them or didn't feel connected to them? Did they ever leave or marry or trust so-and-so? All those unanswered questions…sometimes it's nice to imagine those answers, and I think this story does a bang-up job of doing that....more
Oh God, I loved this book. LOVED THIS BOOK. Loved every single moment of it, right down to the last words. In fact, I loved the ending so much that IOh God, I loved this book. LOVED THIS BOOK. Loved every single moment of it, right down to the last words. In fact, I loved the ending so much that I had to go back to the last chapter and re-read both it and the epilogue. Even though it was 1AM, it was truly all I could do not to start the whole book ever again. Just like the other books, this one took me less than a day to read.
This one was easily my favourite book in the series. I found the second one to be kind of slow, until Kat stepped back in the arena. (Rob and I were actually discussing this the other night and I concur with his views - I expected the second book to follow the uprising more...although I think his idea of having Kat serve as a trainer for the new tributes would have been fascinating as well.) But this one grabbed me from the very first words. I think that a large part of that is just my current job as a trauma therapist. Everything Kat said in this book resonated so clearly with me. I can see it reflected in a lot of the people I work with. Miss Collins so clearly did her work on what it means to have PTSD following trauma and battlefield experiences. This one particular sentence resonated so deeply with me: "I try to follow Dr. Aurelius's advice, just going through the motions, amazed when one finally has meaning again." For me, that's a daily conversation that I need to have with one client or the other. Coping skills are an incredibly difficult thing to have when you're trying to recover, so people drink or feel depressed or anxious or angry or have flashbacks or hide or whatever it is that "works" for them...except it doesn't really work because everything is still there, sitting and waiting to invade the moment you feel vulnerable. So one of the biggest things I encourage people to do is just get up - just get out of bed or the house. Go out with friends, go for a walk, read a book, do the dishes. So many times, if you just start moving, life will follow.
Really, I don't know what else to say about this book that hasn't already been said in a million reviews, I'm sure. I know some people were disappointed by this book, and I can't for the life of me think why - for me, it was just the right ending....more