How the Germans themselves suffered at the hands of other Germans during WWII...especially those who harbored Jews. The wonderful angle here is that D...moreHow the Germans themselves suffered at the hands of other Germans during WWII...especially those who harbored Jews. The wonderful angle here is that Death himself is the narrator. (less)
Love these kinds of books. Great conversation starters. Like how, you ask?
Women account for the most traffic congestion because of "trip chaining"? Ap...moreLove these kinds of books. Great conversation starters. Like how, you ask?
Women account for the most traffic congestion because of "trip chaining"? Apparently, even if they have a full-time job, they still do the majority of the household errands and taxi driving. According to the book, men overwhelmingly drive as if they do not even have a family, i.e. just to work and back. The 90s saw an uptick in middle-aged male trip chaining...it's called the "Starbucks effect." No joke!
Cyclists suffer fewer traffic-related accidents when they ride away from the curb and without a helmet. Reason: cars are more careful around them. Also, eye contact is key.
Traffic is like pouring rice through a funnel. Everyone gets there in less time if entry into traffic is limited, i.e. lights at the bottom of on-ramps are a good thing no matter what traffic looks like.
Late merging works out better for everyone. Whaaaat?!!!
People are safer drivers when there are no signs and barriers between the cars and pedestrians.
Hit the gas in a skid.
I could go on and on...very fun read, if you're a nerd.
Fun and informative, although not entirely encouraging. ;) I appreciate his honesty.
One note: We'll agree to disagree about seeing evidence for a Crea...moreFun and informative, although not entirely encouraging. ;) I appreciate his honesty.
One note: We'll agree to disagree about seeing evidence for a Creator in the creation (or not, as you would have it) and some politics. But why the disdainful tone? Reminds me of the views of "Narrow Dog to Indian River" by Terry Darlington, an Englishman (coincidence?).
I suppose a teen without wise adult counsel may grieve this way--which is what I disliked about the book. I just wanted someone older and wiser to ste...moreI suppose a teen without wise adult counsel may grieve this way--which is what I disliked about the book. I just wanted someone older and wiser to step in and help her. Sad.(less)
I gave this three stars which may be a smidgeon generous. It's one man's nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality. That's my first problem with...moreI gave this three stars which may be a smidgeon generous. It's one man's nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality. That's my first problem with it. He says "Christian spirituality" a lot, and it grated on me a little. I get what he's saying. Be an authentic Christ follower not a rule follower--I agree--but the label is distracting. As is all the smoking, tattooing, motorcycle riding and beer drinking. Again, I get it.
My second problem was that he didn't reference the Bible much at all. It's very philosophical. I know, I know--the by-line says "nonreligious thoughts," but it would have had that much more impact if he had referenced a verse...or two.
That being said, the author is funny (mostly), clever (sometimes), honest, and vulnerable and what can I say, I enjoyed it. I loved his thoughts on why the human heart responds so deeply to stories given that God Himself created the elements of a story when He created us. It's good. And he had a lot of great things to say about the power of loving people like Jesus loves them. Oh and he has a priceless encounter with a girl from Bob Jones. Heehee!
Besides all that, I just love books that make me think!
I really enjoyed this book, which is interesting, because usually I am all about a good story--a good old-fashioned plot driven story. This book, howe...moreI really enjoyed this book, which is interesting, because usually I am all about a good story--a good old-fashioned plot driven story. This book, however, contains several stories and potential stories and stories about stories intricately woven around one amazing character, Essie Myles, 83 years old and still writing obituaries for the family newspaper. Schaffert has a beautiful way with words and paints such a lovely picture of a life lived and still being lived. He captured that sense in all of us that we are still the person we have always been despite the aging on the outside for all to see.
In one of my favorite scenes, Essie happens upon Bernice a dear friend from her youth. Essie thought she lived with her children now, but Bernice informs her that she kept falling and breaking things and now she's in the home. Essie:
"It did feel as if, even with my weakling's grip I could shatter the bones in her hand with little effort, and maybe that was what made me feel so overcome with affection for her just then. I wanted to take her home with me, where we could live our last days as eccentric relics, doddering and afflicted , our once-a-week curl-and-sets falling apart lock by lock together. We could endlessly reminisce, live in the past to an unhealthy degree, then politely kill each other some winter night before bedtime, stirring poison into our cups of whiskey-spiked chamomile tea, wearing party hats. Then, nervous about our double homicide, we could lie in bed together, holding hands again, frightened and waiting, still wondering, after all these years, if we even believed in our own souls. Bernice pulled her hand away. 'Well, you take care, Essie,' she she said with what I interpreted as a privileged tone of dismissal, and just like that, my fantasy of our last-ditch life together dissolved. Bernice shuffled off, content with how things had gone for her. She had no need for a pact of any kind."
If you want a neat little package all tied up in a bow, you'll be disappointed. But don't miss the beauty in this mess.
I loved this YA novel. It's a great fun read for the 5th grade/middle school set. Boys may not appreciate it as much, but it is funny enough to please...moreI loved this YA novel. It's a great fun read for the 5th grade/middle school set. Boys may not appreciate it as much, but it is funny enough to please some. It shows the characters struggling through doing the right thing and learning who they are and what they need to change all in the throws of a first crush.
I really like how the author portrayed the parents' and grandparent's role in this story. Their power to influence rang true.
In an era where questionable and dysfunctional relationships are being presented to our kids as the norm, I really appreciate being able to recommend a sweet love story for a change. Make that four and half stars!(less)
Can you say saga? This story of twins born in Ethiopia in a mission hospital and the subsequent course of their lives is long and involved and fascina...moreCan you say saga? This story of twins born in Ethiopia in a mission hospital and the subsequent course of their lives is long and involved and fascinating, if not exactly heroic. The characters are flawed some so much so that I had to put it down twice in disgust. The relationships--arrrgh!, but they drive the story, so there you go. And I kept coming back for more because it is extremely well written.
My favorite parts by far were those regarding the surgical field. From the slightly offbeat and cavalier sensibilities of those in the medical profession (which rang true after growing up with a RN and her nursing friends "yukking" it up by the pool--pun intended), to the comparison of U.S. style trauma surgery and mission style everyday heroics (the main difference being in Ethiopia, people expect to die), the detail of the procedures (I think even I could perform a vasectomy now), the fantastic quotes ("never operate on the day of a patient's death"), it was all very enlightening. I also learned a lot about Ethiopia's history and the importance of butter and where it comes from .
I'm leaving a lot out here, but, in summary, I really enjoyed this book. I wish there were a 4 1/2 star rating.(less)
I read this book aloud to my elementary age boys and, oh, how we loved it! We laughed and actually almost cried a couple of times. Holling Hoodhood fe...moreI read this book aloud to my elementary age boys and, oh, how we loved it! We laughed and actually almost cried a couple of times. Holling Hoodhood felt so real, and we still quote him. We also loved the interweaving of Shakespeare, a favorite of my older son and a new interest now for the younger.
Each reading ignited great conversations about war, peer pressure, bullying, fathers, power of great literature, relationships, and the men we hope they become. I highly recommend it for upper elementary and middle school. I do wonder if they would have loved it as much had we not read it aloud.(less)
This is a leisurely romance with a charming, albeit mature, lead character. The setting is a small village in England and the Major is written as your...moreThis is a leisurely romance with a charming, albeit mature, lead character. The setting is a small village in England and the Major is written as your quintessential traditional Brit--all doing his duty and keeping up appearances. After losing his wife, his time is spent shooting, tending roses and taking tea. Tension ensues between him and his grown son whose modern sensibilities and plain shallowness disrupt the Major's quiet life. But the real drama begins when he unwittingly falls in love with a Pakistani widow who is graceful and beguiling. Of course, they are surrounded by quirky villagers and naysayers who provide multiple subplots.
The author keeps this story from becoming too sweet by dealing with loss and prejudice. All of the loose ends do not tie up neatly in the end (have to keep it real these days), but enough that it feels satisfying and romantic. I definitely pulled for the characters to get together and loved the repartee between the Major and his son. Very wry and funny. Overall, I recommend this as entertaining.