Maybe 3.5 Maya has a great voice, but I was worried in the beginning. The first areas of emphasis were all about weight and appearance and I wondered,Maybe 3.5 Maya has a great voice, but I was worried in the beginning. The first areas of emphasis were all about weight and appearance and I wondered, 'Is this the message we want to send to teens?' But keep reading. Maya discovers that popularity is about kindness and acceptance - to others AND yourself. Maybe investing a little time in yourself helps to develop a little more confidence which then grows through good actions.
My heart ached with her about the party and the solo.
A few passages I 'marked':
p15 "I am average looking. Believe me, I'm not complaining. All my life, I've been more than happy to go unnoticed. When mean people forget I exist, the world is a much more cheerful place. But thanks to Betty, things are different. Now, I want to flourish, not just survive."
p147 "Maybe real popularity comes from when you take time to listen to someone else. When you actually care about them."
p172-173 "Sincerity, genuine interest in people, a natural ease in conversation, honesty, all do much to make a young person a truly delightful individual - on and off the job." from Betty Cornell's book [I would remove the 'young' since I think it applies to all people.]
p191 "...I wanted popularity; I wanted other people to like me. But it turns out most people are waiting to be discovered too."
Each of these three short stories is told with great love and a very conversational style. Capote paints a captivating picture of life with relativesEach of these three short stories is told with great love and a very conversational style. Capote paints a captivating picture of life with relatives during the depression. I found them to be beautifully executed....more
Sometimes grief is particularly ugly. This little family was in the clutches of that kind of grief - well, mom and eldest child were, anyway. The kindSometimes grief is particularly ugly. This little family was in the clutches of that kind of grief - well, mom and eldest child were, anyway. The kindness of strangers helped them out.
My family was once the recipients of a 12 days of Christmas campaign. We were just lucky to be chosen by friends to be receivers. One of the days toward the end was a magnificent train made from candy bars! I have thought of doing some version of this ever since, but never have.
One of the things I love about this story is how this deceptively simple act actually changed this family. They not only began moving through their grieving together, they also began being more thoughtful and helpful to strangers around them. So, while they received little gifts for 12 days, they received the incomparable gifts of reuniting as a family and of turning around to help others.
This was a beautiful book. I picked it up on a whim while at the library getting something else and I am so glad I did. I found the author's writing tThis was a beautiful book. I picked it up on a whim while at the library getting something else and I am so glad I did. I found the author's writing to be expressive and often funny and touching. Her decision to choose joy in the face of this terrible terminal disease was an amazing example to me. She is straight-forward and pretty non-flinching in describing the deterioration of her life, but it is not maudlin.
There are a few (but only a few) uses of strong and 'R-rated' profanity.
I loved so many sections. Just a few favorite quotes:
p140 Marina (her oldest daughter), you catapulted us into the parent years. That phase of life where days are interminable and years are over in an instant.
At the end of the Mango Madness chapter, there is a lovely story about ladybugs, what they mean to Susan, and the gift she received.
p299 I thought how fine my view at the top was, where I could see the color, the expanse of the sea. I actively tried to make it okay not to be able to get down there and swim and dance on the sand. That is the secret I learn more of every day. Not to want things I cannot have or cannot do. Remove the want, and you remove the pain....more
There is a great message about the powerful influence a mother/parent can have on children. There is aI get in trouble with this kind of book review.
There is a great message about the powerful influence a mother/parent can have on children. There is a great message about doing your best, even after falling short. There is a great message about chasing your dreams. There is a great message about family. Lots of great messages.
The problem for me is the writing. Ben Carson may have gifted hands, but he is not a gifted writer. About 20 pages in I wondered if I had somehow picked up the children's version of his book (there isn't one.) It got somewhat better when he started talking about his work as a surgeon. But that beginning biographical part was pretty rough for me - even though the messages were good. I just wish they had been told better.
Someone else said don't read it for the writing - it is not beautifully written. Read it for the message of his mother's life and his....more
What I liked best about this story is how it made Richie so aware of the love of God and how he could see that in others and learn to offer it himselfWhat I liked best about this story is how it made Richie so aware of the love of God and how he could see that in others and learn to offer it himself. That is a great lesson, whether or not you believe his experience. I recently was blessed to experience that feeling of love for all mankind to a degree the day my son was married. I felt this open love for every person who shared that day with us, those I knew and those I didn't. I hugged everyone and felt that we were all family. Oh that I could keep that feeling all the time. Something to work at....more
I have been curious about meditation, but not enough to do anything about it. I found this book to be very informative and helpful in demystifying theI have been curious about meditation, but not enough to do anything about it. I found this book to be very informative and helpful in demystifying the whole practice. The fact that he comes at it from a 'non-believer' viewpoint ends up being a very good thing, to me.
Dan Harris has an engaging voice and an intelligent but easy to understand writing style. He is open with his experiences and that always makes stories better to me. His life is so different from mine, but the mind games are the same as mine. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and hope to benefit from his experience.
I might have given 5 stars, but the profanity always knocks a star off in my reviews. Not horrible, but be aware. A couple of uses of the 'R-rated' word (one in a quote). But, I wouldn't let the language keep you from reading this.
And I went out and bought my own copy when I was at the very end....more
I bought this book because the author had sung in a choir with me for one season - not that he would remember me. And I have come to enjoy memoirs. AnI bought this book because the author had sung in a choir with me for one season - not that he would remember me. And I have come to enjoy memoirs. And I am interested in Tourette's.
I found the author's style to be straightforward and unsentimental. His journey is difficult, sad, happy, hopeful, disappointing, informative, and mostly interesting. His definitions of Mormonism are often simplistic and a bit flippant, but become understandable when you discover where he is in his faith - or lack of. But he is willing to share positive experiences as well as the negative, which I appreciated. And he introduces some interesting characters that have impacted his life.
The book is filled with an inside look at the life of a librarian in the inner-city. Who knew that such a viewpoint would be of any interest? I don't go to that library very often, but I will certainly see it with different eyes the next time I am there!
You also get a close-up look at Tourette Syndrome, a bit of infertility, and a little slice of weight-lifting and other health and fitness ideas.
Josh 'shocked' this reader on the first page by reciting the profanity of a library patron. These profanity-laced quotes appear throughout the book, which I didn't need, but they certainly defined the experiences that he has had.
The love and power of family may be the strongest message in the book, and that message is terrific....more
An uplifting, encouraging, at times beautiful story. Thankfully, I liked Chris Williams' 'voice.' It is evident that he had lived his life leading upAn uplifting, encouraging, at times beautiful story. Thankfully, I liked Chris Williams' 'voice.' It is evident that he had lived his life leading up to this tragedy in such a way as to be able to hear and feel and act on the Spirit during a desperate time. The amazing act of true forgiveness allowed him to cope with his grief and the trials that came as a result of the accident without the burden of bitterness, anger, resentment, or hatred.
I appreciated that he shared his struggles and how he cycled through 'disbelief, shock, grief, emotional pain, and then gratitude' over and over.
Chris had a beautiful insight of how the Savior didn't drink the 'bitter cup' all at once: "..in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Savior drank of it a little, and then He went back to His disciples, to His friends, for a little bit of support, and then He drank some more. He had an angel come and strengthen Him and support Him, and He drank a little more. He went back to His disciples , and was able to have a little bit of respite. Then He drank the remainder on the cross, until it was all gone, until it was finished." I love this thought.
Chris remains very humble throughout the telling, never accepting the 'praise' and honor given him for his brave actions, instead constantly giving credit to the Lord.
As is typical at funerals or when remembering a loved one, he makes his late wife out to be a little too much of a saint, but that's okay, I guess. The way he described their marriage sometimes made me shake my head a little, too, because Michelle certainly didn't sound like the saint he made her out to be - at least not to me.
The surprise of our book group discussion was finding out that the family in chapter 17 is our neighbor's family! That gave it all even that much more of a personal touch.
Overall, a great story of courage and humility and strength. An example to look up to. ...more
I would have liked to read more about the renovations. Batt was often his funniest in these episodes, but he was almost as often reflective at these times. The end of the 'story' is way too abrupt. So much more could have been written about the house and their experiences with and in it.
I didn't mind the weaving of the family situations with the story of the house - that's real life. Despite the title, there was more about the family than the house. It just never was quite enough of either one. It would have been much more satisfying to feel the overall change in the house from the disaster that it was to the place they called home.
My biggest 'problem' with the book is Batt's utter contempt for Utah and the 'church' and anyone who is a member of that church. You can make fun of things and people in a way that shows that you actually like them or have some grudging respect for them, but it is obvious that the author doesn't have any positive feelings about these things or people at all. I hoped that after living in Utah for awhile and around these people, Batt would soften. He did soften somewhat toward the natural wonders of the state, but never anything else. (I am not a native Utahn.)
I enjoyed the writing in general. The use of vulgarities and the course profanity were too much....more
Jana Riess is certainly intelligent and witty. The humor in this book was often right on ... and yet a little too irreverent for me for some of the toJana Riess is certainly intelligent and witty. The humor in this book was often right on ... and yet a little too irreverent for me for some of the topics she was addressing. I finally decided that her first goal was to write a book that would sell. If she learned anything that improved her spiritual life or helped to address what she called being 'hungry for God,' well, that was just a byproduct of the experiment and writing project. I found the book to be too glib overall. Her efforts and insights were fairly superficial.
There are some good points. I found something to think on in most chapters. There are great quotes from other sources throughout.
The very best thing she said in the book comes in the epilogue in the final paragraph. "In a culture that stresses perfection, I've often heard the maxim that 'good is the enemy of perfect'; in other words, when people of faith aim for anything short of godliness we miss the mark. I've learned the reverse is true: perfect is the enemy of good." That is a great insight. Not that we don't strive for the best, but we need to acknowledge that good is truly good and not discount the good because it is not perfect.
She is also LDS, but she doesn't say that right out. And I don't know if she just doesn't have a good grasp of LDS doctrine or if she chose to write some of the things she did to make a better story.
Bottom line is that I have done some similar things to this and was hoping for something more from this book. I graded up to 3 stars because there is some good material here to think about....more
"The miracles I believe in are mini-miracles, manageable miracles, biteInteresting read.
Some favorite bits:
"Hoping for miracles always makes me lazy."
"The miracles I believe in are mini-miracles, manageable miracles, bite-size miracles, miracles lite, one-minute miracles. They are miracles built of dreams, built of tomatoes, built of kisses, built of choice in the face of uncertainty and fear. They are miracles built of grace. As we open to grace, we are miracle makers."
"My face is an elaborately disguised gift from God. Oh, not a gift I was ecstatic about receiving. Did I open this gift and say, 'Ah....ah! Exquisite! How did you know what I wanted, God?' No, it was more like, 'You shouldn't have.'"
He tells about being prepared for his first confession at the age of eight and how he wanted to do a bang up job - "...I wanted to vacuum out my soul." He didn't know what adultery was, but his cousin had told him it was a terrible sin in the eyes of God, so he confessed that he had committed adultery 19 times. He says, "I saw a bare calf with a black sock on it rise up from the other side of the confessional screen as the priest roared with laughter. I jumped up and left, my adulteries unforgiven."
Unfortunately, he does commit adultery later in his life. His telling of this story is straight forward and open, but also has no sense of remorse. He married the woman after she divorced her husband and they are married still. This lack of remorse also ties into his ideas of living life fully and true to your heart. This is a great philosophy, but I believe in a different morality than Roche does.
Some great ideas and insights.
One sentence where he uses the 'f' word a few times....more
The title caught my eye at the library, so I picked this up. I wanted very much to give this just 2 stars, but had to grade up. The writing is peculiaThe title caught my eye at the library, so I picked this up. I wanted very much to give this just 2 stars, but had to grade up. The writing is peculiar to my American sensibilities, but still beautiful in many ways. Bennett doesn't try to explain anything that is unique to British life, but that was okay, too; I usually understood through context. If I cared enough I could always look it up.
I was concerned right off the bat when his mother is diagnosed with just plain old depression and it was stressed to the family over and over that she was struggling with depression, nothing more, when she was paranoid and delusional. Those are not typical symptoms of plain old depression. I wondered if that was the way it was in the '60s when she had her first bout and thought that the diagnosis would change as advances were made in understanding depression and other mental illness, but, no. So, to me, there was a level of incompetence in the medical personnel that I couldn't quite get over.
The author jumps around in the time line and I found myself a little confused at times when he mentions not knowing about something that he has just talked about at length in a previous section.
Interesting look at family dynamics and the impact of those dynamics on each family member....more
I was mesmerized, horrified, inspired, and just amazed at the story of this family. If you are ever feeling bad aboutHow do you rate a book like this?
I was mesmerized, horrified, inspired, and just amazed at the story of this family. If you are ever feeling bad about your parenting, read this book; you will feel like you are doing a terrific job.
With all the severe neglect and endangerment, these kids (or at least 3 of the 4) grew up to be resilient, industrious, ingenious, bright, capable, survivors. I don't know how they lived at all, much less became the capable adults that they did. So I have to wonder if there was something in their upbringing that, provided in a safer environment, would benefit anyone's children. The father was a brilliant man and alcoholic. The mother was bright and insightful but obviously had some kind of mental illness, if only narcissism, or an attachment disorder, or something.
I enjoyed the author's voice. Her love for her family, including her parents, is obvious. I kept wanting her to draw conclusions or explain how her experiences made her feel, but then I realized she was showing me everything I wondered about without telling me.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It is eye-opening to those of us who have lived a life with so much plenty to see how others around us live today....more
This book is only for extreme dog lovers or those who allow that other people sometimes love their dogs like family. No one who has ever said or wouldThis book is only for extreme dog lovers or those who allow that other people sometimes love their dogs like family. No one who has ever said or would say "It's only a dog." should read this, because they will suffer injury from excessive and extreme eye-rolling! I, personally, am a dog lover, so I could handle it. My father always says, "Never trust anyone who doesn't like dogs." :) I also happen to like Dean Koontz's writing.
Dean and Gerda Koontz never had children of their own. When they decided to take in Trixie - 30 some years into their marriage! - they became 'parents' in the way they treated that dog - lucky Trixie! But, lucky for the Koontzs too, as they were changed for good because of their love for her.
Trixie sounds like an amazing animal. I am aware of the tendency in us to read too much into our dog's actions, but there were really some fascinating experiences with Trixie. I also understand that Koontz is telling us what HE believes Trixie is thinking, etc, not necessarily what is really happening. That is something we simply can't know for sure. I like the way Koontz writes about life and religious ideas and faith and hope and trust and love in this little book. Life lessons abound as he tells us about Trixie and their lives.
I am of the belief that dogs are truly amazing creatures. I believe that the only place I have experienced 100% unconditional love 100% of the time is from a dog - they are quick to forgive and always ready to just be by your side - or in your lap - no matter what. Everyone could benefit from this kind of love and acceptance. It is life changing....more