This is one of the very best books I've read in quite a while, and I can not recommend it highly enough. I don't typically read military stories, but...moreThis is one of the very best books I've read in quite a while, and I can not recommend it highly enough. I don't typically read military stories, but my boyfriend recommended this one to me and I'm so glad he did. As the subtitle suggests, this is an eyewitness account of Operation Redwing, as told by the only survivor of that mission. This is such an eye-opening book, from what our Navy SEALS go through to prepare for the kind of combat they will face in the field, to the conditions in Afghanistan, to what the effect our political rules and media have on our soldiers, and so much more. I feel like every politician and reporter should have to read this book, and really every citizen. It should be a book required by high school social studies classes, just to teach them that what they hear in the media isn't always the whole story. Every citizen should know what our soldiers go through on a regular basis to protect our freedom and our rights, and how willingly and bravely they do it. I know there are many more stories out there, very similar to this one, and I also know that not every member of the military goes through quite what these guys did. But this is an important story that needs to be heard, and it is fortunate that at least one man survived to tell it. Please read this book, and then pass it on to someone else.(less)
I will start by saying that I think I read this book at the wrong time in my life to truly get the most out of it, hence the 3 stars. If I had read th...moreI will start by saying that I think I read this book at the wrong time in my life to truly get the most out of it, hence the 3 stars. If I had read this book at a different time, it would have spoken to me differently and I could easily have seen giving it 4-5 stars. This is a true love story, and a story about the grief of losing that true love. It's also a story of finding the way to a God you've never believed in. So, if I had recently lost a loved one, particularly my spouse whom I loved more than any other person in this world, or even a child or a parent, to where I could relate to the loss and pain Vanauken went through, then I think I would have loved this book. And for that reason, I'm glad I own it. When that time comes for me, I fully intend to refer back to this book, as I think it could help me get through my grief and deal with it in a healthy manner.
However, I read this book simply because it was our monthly book club pick, and to me it was just a story. It was a moving, and inspirational story, but it didn't absolutely blow me away. I don't know Vanauken, or his story, very well. And while I have read C.S. Lewis, and really enjoy his works, reading a book written by a friend of his, containing letters from him, didn't do much for me either. I will say that I enjoyed the letters from C.S. Lewis, and what this book did do was motivate me to read more of his works, or re-read some of my old favorites.
I also really enjoyed hearing about Davy, and about their love story. I think that their relationship was admirable and gives one so much to aspire to. I can only hope to have a fraction of the kind of love the devotion these two shared in my own relationship, and that was my absolute favorite part of the book - their story. Davy as a whole being is also very inspirational to me, and I would love to have met her. I found myself envying her friends, and the student groups that met at their house so regularly. I actually found myself wishing there were more about her in this book than there was. In fact, I would have likely much more enjoyed a book written by her, or have enjoyed this one more if it had contained some of her letters or journal entries. I found myself constantly wondering what she would have said in a situation or how she felt. I fell in love with her a little myself, and can absolutely see what Vanauken loved so much about her. I could see her through his eyes. If that was his goal in writing this book, then he succeeded.
Vanauken though, I didn't feel much for. His writing felt very detached, and I never found myself having any feelings for him, or about his perspective at all. To me he was just a man with a famous and very wise friend, and a wonderful wife. I think he found himself to be very insightful and inspirational, but I didn't agree most of the time, and that's why this book only got 3 stars from me. Most of the time when Vanauken himself was talking and sharing his thoughts/insights, or "reading" us his poems, I was bored. I only cared when it was about Davy, or his conversations with Lewis.
I also don't think there was enough meat with regards to their coming to love and believe in God to have much of an impact. This is really where I would have loved to know Davy’s perspective more in depth, and to hear some of her insights. Although Vanauken came to know and love God, he was always a bit detached, and his story wasn’t quite as inspirational to me as I feel Davy’s would have been, because there was no passion. I did really enjoy his conversations with Lewis in this portion of the story, but again, most of the time it was Lewis’s words and insights I was enjoying, not Vanauken himself. To be fair though, there was one analogy that spoke to me that was Vanauken’s, and it touched on a subject that I had always accepted on faith, because I didn’t have a good understanding of it, which would allow me to accept it on logic as well, and that was with regards to the Trinity. I loved his analogy about being the author of a book, and how God the Father is the author, God as the Son is the main character, and God the Holy Spirit is his essence in all of the other characters, even the bad ones. That was fantastic, and all Vanauken (pp. 116-117).
All in all, this wasn’t a bad read, or a waste of time, but, like I said in the beginning, my review is colored by where I am at in my own personal life right now. I do not yet have my great love. I have not recently lost a loved one, of any kind, for which I am grieving. And it didn’t bring me any deeper in my relationship with God. I think if I could have related just a bit more to any one of the three main themes of this book, I would have loved it all that much more. And I would recommend it highly to anyone who can – especially anyone who is grieving the loss of a spouse, or preparing for their death due to a terminal illness. The insights here, although they didn’t touch me directly, are likely to be the most profound and affecting to those who relate. His grief process was so healthy and so thorough, and that was inspiring to me. I hope that when the time comes for me to grieve a loved one, I can do it as well as he did. (less)
An inspirational story about a young man whose mission is to change his small corner of the world for the better. Conroy is a young ambitious teacher...moreAn inspirational story about a young man whose mission is to change his small corner of the world for the better. Conroy is a young ambitious teacher who ends up teaching on a small island off the cost of South Carolina, during the tumultuous time of desegregation. This is the story of his journey to help the children in his care to learn and grow in a way no one has ever done before.
I couldn't give this book 4 stars because there were many parts where I felt that Conroy was too wordy, and I found myself skimming paragraphs, wishing he would just get on with his story already. As a life story I think this is a great one, as a book though, it was just good.(less)
This was a fast and cute read. There weren't any major revelations, I didn't learn a lot, or feel moved when it was over. I did get a chuckle here and...moreThis was a fast and cute read. There weren't any major revelations, I didn't learn a lot, or feel moved when it was over. I did get a chuckle here and there. I did appreciate reading about how very normal JLH is despite being, in my opinion, adorable, famous, and rich. She writes this book as a dating advice book and presents it that way throughout. However, I don't know that I want to take dating advice from her, considering her own lack of success in that department. I did see it as a cute memoir and a small insight into how JLH views her relationships, as opposed to how the media presents it (and her opinions on that too). (less)
18 year old Tania has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: the opportunity to sail around the world. The catch: she has to do it alone, and she h...more18 year old Tania has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: the opportunity to sail around the world. The catch: she has to do it alone, and she has to do it in under 2.5 years, fast enough to set the world record. Tania is a troubled child and her dad is concerned she's going no where fast. So in an attempt to rescue her from this fate, he makes a risky proposal: he'll buy her a boat, but she has to sail it around the world and support herself while she's sailing. Tania jumps at this scary but exciting opportunity, and sets off to see the world. While she's out there she finds challenges, adventure, love, and herself.
This book was a little slow to start for me. I wasn't a fan of how she would introduce an important topic, such as why she was on this journey, but then not give any details. She seemed to jump around a bit too much, and would discuss seemingly irrelevant details, instead of getting to the point of how and why she was doing this. However, once the story got going, that jumpyness seems to smooth out, and the story finally hooked me.
I didn't love this book because there were a lot of details that I don't understand, being that I don't have any experience sailing. However, I did like this book and constantly found myself envious of this opportunity that Tania was given to see the world in such a unique way. I often found myself wondering how I would handle the challenges she faced, and I don't know that I could have done what she did. I would recommend it as it's an interesting story, particularly for adventure lovers like myself, but if you're not a sailor, then be prepared to skim through a lot of boat details.(less)
I really liked this book - it was so inspiring. I loved hearing all about the various challenges they faced, while eating locally, and how they creati...moreI really liked this book - it was so inspiring. I loved hearing all about the various challenges they faced, while eating locally, and how they creatively overcame them. I loved how they sprinkled in facts about the why's and how's of local vs. industrial farming and I really enjoyed hearing about all the various food items they ate and when they were seasonally available. I had no idea how many varieties of tomatoes there are, just to give one example. And the turkey stories were great. I have already recommended this book to several other people, and will likely read it again someday. It has changed the way I think about my daily meals and snacks, and although I am no where near as dedicated as the Kingsolvers, at least I have a greater awareness now and I really like that.(less)
Throughout most of this book I was extremly uncomfortable. It seemed like shock value was what Klein was going for, and shock value you got. I was loo...moreThroughout most of this book I was extremly uncomfortable. It seemed like shock value was what Klein was going for, and shock value you got. I was looking forward to understanding what it must have been like to deal with childhood obseity, but I felt Klein took the details too far (I do not need a description of your vomit, thank you). I kept hoping that this book would redeem itself, but I truly had to force myself to finish it and it did NOT redeem itself. I feel really sorry for Klein because it seems she clearly has not gotten over thinking her weight is all she is. Her mother taught her this obsession from an early age, and at this rate she is likely to pass it on to her own children too. (less)
I wasn't as impressed by this book as I wanted to be. It's a memoir of a time in Rhoda's life when after being left by her husband for another man, sh...moreI wasn't as impressed by this book as I wanted to be. It's a memoir of a time in Rhoda's life when after being left by her husband for another man, she goes home to see her family and recuperate. I went into this not really knowing anything about the Mennonite faith at all, but interested in learning about it. Unfortunatly there was very little of that until I got to the end of the book and found an Appendix where she filled in the blanks. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if she had worked these little tidbits into her memoir, or at worst, directed the reader to them early on. To add to that, although it wasn't painful reading, it was pointless. I didn't feel she had changed, or grown, or anything over the course of the story. It didn't feel to me there was a "lesson" or pivotal point in the story at all, it just kind of ended where it begun. I don't know that I would recommend this book to anyone. I don't feel it was an utter waste of my time, but there are certainly better books out there that I'd rather recommend to people.(less)
What a beautiful and inspiring story! Upon discovering that her cousin's wife has cancer, and will be unable to ever carry a child, Pam selflessly off...moreWhat a beautiful and inspiring story! Upon discovering that her cousin's wife has cancer, and will be unable to ever carry a child, Pam selflessly offers to be a surrogate for them. What follows is their story, which tells of love and hope and the important support networks and family ties that mean so much to all of them, and to so many of us. I was absolutely captivated by this story from the moment I heard about it and feel so honored to have won a Frist-Reads copy. I have always been fascinated by those generous souls who offer their own body as means toward making another couples' dreams come true and have even wondered once or twice if that is something I might one day consider. Upon hearing Pam's story, I learned that there are many challenges along the way that would be easy to overlook (and that make surrogacy quite different from a routine pregnancy), but if they are handled openly and honestly from the beginning, these can all be overcome if your heart is truly in the right place, as Pam's was. If you are considering surrogacy, I highly recommend this book as inspiration and support. And if you're not considering it, then I recommend this book as a way to understand how beautiful this gift can be if it is handled in the loving and generous spirit that Pam, Robert, Lauren and Henry had for each other throughout the process. (less)
I read this book a while back and it was way outside my usual genre at the time but it's a great book and has stuck with me over time. You find yourse...moreI read this book a while back and it was way outside my usual genre at the time but it's a great book and has stuck with me over time. You find yourself absolutely riveted and even frustrated at times as the story unfolds. It's terrible b/c it's based on a true story, and knowing how it ends before it begins makes the tension even thicker. It's the process of getting through the story that captures you. I definitely recommend it for people interested in hiking, climbing, and especially undertaking the climb to the top of Mt Everest. While I am interested in both hiking and climbing, I am amazed that anyone would undertake such a dangerous adventure. However, at the same time, I totally understand the draw... (less)
Julia Child certainly led a fascinating life... I didn't know much about her, other than the obvious, going into this book so I found a lot of this ne...moreJulia Child certainly led a fascinating life... I didn't know much about her, other than the obvious, going into this book so I found a lot of this new and quite interesting. She was certainly an inspiring woman and I would have loved to have known her and been friends with her. She seemed like such a fun and exciting person, always up for anything.(less)
I read this book about 12 years ago - way before I had a kid of my own - and even then I found it hilarious. It was my mom's book and I loved it so mu...moreI read this book about 12 years ago - way before I had a kid of my own - and even then I found it hilarious. It was my mom's book and I loved it so much that I haven't ever given it back to her and have bought more. I would love to read it again some day, now that I'm a mom too.(less)