I was pleasantly surprised by this book, having disliked every other Steinbeck I've read. It was a thoughtful and well-written narrative of his journeI was pleasantly surprised by this book, having disliked every other Steinbeck I've read. It was a thoughtful and well-written narrative of his journey across America. There were many sections that really resonated with me, others that I didn't particularly agree with, and several that were simply enjoyably descriptive.
There is some swearing (including names of diety, but no f-word), and some of his vignettes were a little distasteful to me, but there was nothing blatantly offensive. I would recommend it for older teens and adults.
p.s. I found it helpful to remind myself often that this was written in the early 1960s! Lots has changed since then......more
I'm not a big biography fan, so I'm not inclined to rave about straightforward non-fiction like this, but it was a well-written, interesting read andI'm not a big biography fan, so I'm not inclined to rave about straightforward non-fiction like this, but it was a well-written, interesting read and definitely worth taking the time on.
Sharlene came across as a unique, down-to-earth, girl - incredibly lucky in her talents and upbringing, but also a hard and determined worker. The writing was very balanced in its portrayal of Sharlene, her family, her successes and setbacks, and the Miss America Pageant in general. One slight disappointment was that I didn't feel like it would be particularly motivational for the average young woman reader... just interesting....more
This is a profound portrayal of the life of Michelangelo - a fascinating illustration of the early years of 16th-century Italy, as shaped by the creatThis is a profound portrayal of the life of Michelangelo - a fascinating illustration of the early years of 16th-century Italy, as shaped by the creative genius of several of the most influential artists in history. I enjoyed so much about this book: the application of historical events relative to Michelangelo's various works of art, the cultural and linguistic richness that Stone conveyed in his writing, and the sheer epic scale of such a portrait.
There were, however, several things that I did not like about it, which makes it rather hard for me to heartily recommend. First and foremost, I was completely disappointed in the fact that, although Stone explains that his sources include "the entire body of Michelangelo's four hundred and ninety-five letters, . . . records and art contracts, translated into English," as well as an extensive bibliography, there were absolutely no footnotes. The book is written in an intensely personal style, which made the story more interesting, but left me constantly wondering what was literal fact versus interpolation or pure fabrication.
Another drawback: I would rate it PG-13 for repeated instances of innuendo and sexuality....more
This is a profound and sensitive book that explores a serious cultural issue of our day. More and more adults are facing the challenge of not only sayThis is a profound and sensitive book that explores a serious cultural issue of our day. More and more adults are facing the challenge of not only saying goodbye to their parents, but making their goodbyes over a drawn-out period of exhausting caretaking. The story and lessons Dr. Spring shares are told in a personal and realistic way - at times, I felt she was even too personal, too realistic. As I progressed through the pages, however, I realized that, rather than being a draw-back of the writing, the sometimes stark narrative was actually making her feelings more real to me. The personal, awkward moments she shared were tastefully related - never shocking or grotesque... just very real.
This is not a journey I have personally traveled yet, but my mother & aunt are facing this situation in their own lives right now. Still, I learned many important things from this book - things that have benefited seemingly unrelated issues in my own life, and things I have been able to share with my mother in the challenge she is dealing with. I am very glad to have read it, and highly recommend it to adult readers of all backgrounds....more
This is a fascinating book on a number of levels. The whole concept and detailed description of the author's wrecked perception after his stroke was aThis is a fascinating book on a number of levels. The whole concept and detailed description of the author's wrecked perception after his stroke was amazing and thought provoking. I also loved reading his thoughts and feelings about the writing process in general - both before and after the "insult" to his brain. It was a very quick and easy read, but one that left me pondering for a long time....more
I'm afraid I was rather disappointed in this book. I was hoping for wisdom and encouragement, but it was mostly full of only mildly engaging musings.I'm afraid I was rather disappointed in this book. I was hoping for wisdom and encouragement, but it was mostly full of only mildly engaging musings. Some of the essays ("The Eternal Silver Screen" and "Violence", for instance) were completely random and uninspiring. There were some funny ones ("Senegal" and "Bob & Decca"), and several that were just... ho-hum, interesting, I guess. I was just not very impressed.
I would have given the book three stars, but there was content that lowered my rating to two: it contains occasional language and discusses adult topics (rape, abuse, premarital sex, etc.) in a worldy, almost casual, manner....more
I have decided to abandon my attempt to read this book, and I'm almost afraid of posting my reasons why, because I'm sure it will seem childish, defiaI have decided to abandon my attempt to read this book, and I'm almost afraid of posting my reasons why, because I'm sure it will seem childish, defiant, or intolerant. I guess the most politically correct way to put it is that this is not a book that interests me. I read for pleasure and insight, but have received none from this book so far, despite being almost half-way through it.
Besides my general dissatisfaction from feeling nothing but depressed by every page I read, and a little bit of language that I'd rather do without, I also have two specific complaints that have convinced me to lay it down:
1. I am not interested in reading about the details of child molestation and rape, as described in this book. I am not naive on the subject - loved ones very close to me have had their childhood darkened by such pain. But Angelou's detached and almost amoral narrative made me sick. As if that weren't all, she stoically describes children showing other children how to have sex, a premarital and loveless sexual encounter that leaves her pregnant, etc. Considering the amount of explicit content, I am horrified that some schools make this required reading for young adults.
2. I'm tired of reading so much about bodily functions - about "passing gas and urine" because she was laughing so hard in church, or about how the sound of a truck was like "a giant's fart," and on and on.
If anyone is aware of a reason I really should finish it, I would be open to hearing your opinion, and might be willing to push forward. At this point, the only other people I've talked to who have read it disliked it as well, so I don't think I'm missing much....more
It's rather hard to describe my experience with this book. I think the most confident statement I can make about it is that it's a great source for prIt's rather hard to describe my experience with this book. I think the most confident statement I can make about it is that it's a great source for profound and well-expressed quotes about books, reading, literature, and intellectualism in general. Several of the essays were delightful, and I very much enjoyed them. The linguist, compulsive grammarian, and voracious reader in me could identify with many of Fadiman's quirky experiences.
Others, however, were simply too odd for the average person to connect with. I agree with many other reviewers who have noted that Fadiman is not at all what I would consider "the common reader." I found myself often feeling completely out of depth with her deluge of references and historical analysis.
The book is conversational in tone - almost stream-of-consciousness at times. There were a few swear words here and there. Fadiman used several sexual references that made me roll my eyes, but as most of them were written in the "wink-nudge" style of married adults who presume themselves to be speaking to others like them, it didn't ruin the book for me.
I would read it again, but probably only once - with a highlighter or pencil to identify the wonderful one-liners and illuminated moments that I noted with pleasure in passing the first time. I would only really recommend it to people who love to read about reading in books about books...like Anne Fadiman....more
Cassie was born less than a year after I was, so the Columbine tragedy hit when I was a senior in high school. All I remember of the news at the timeCassie was born less than a year after I was, so the Columbine tragedy hit when I was a senior in high school. All I remember of the news at the time was the horrifying, graphic, negative reports regarding the massacre. I tuned it out, because I had no desire to learn the grisly details. I wish that I had read this book back then. I learned a lot about rising above pain and tragedy.
On the other hand, this book is not so much about the Columbine shootings. It is about a real teenager. It is about struggling mom and a persistent dad. It is about a family that could have been labeled as "dysfunctional" coming back from the brink of despair to a point where love had breached the past and religious conviction could heal and unite parents and children, even while none of them are perfect.
It isn't an incredibly skillful piece of literature - as is to be expected. The family could have handed the story to a professional author for a well-written biopic, but that wasn't the intent of the book. In an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative, a mother shares her profound grief at the loss of a daughter, but also her joy at the knowledge that her daughter could answer the question "Do you believe in God?" with a sincere and confident, "Yes." ...even in the face of death....more
This was an interesting and thought-provoking memoir by a woman whose children's books are some of my favorites. It was written near the end of BenaryThis was an interesting and thought-provoking memoir by a woman whose children's books are some of my favorites. It was written near the end of Benary-Isbert's life, as a book of reflections on aging.
There were several sections that would probably have meant more to me if I were in a similar period of my life to hers, but I still learned quite a lot and was inspired by her blend of serenity and anticipation regarding her coming years. It also touches on the subjects of loss and grieving, nursing & retirement homes, and the role of a grandmother.
My religious views are different from hers, and in many ways I felt that I would have responded differently in the experiences she related, but her expression was so gentle and genuine that I felt as if, differences aside, we could have been great friends. I wish I had known her in person....more
This book is absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed it even more when I realized that there were additional notes at the end of the book - I highly recommendThis book is absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed it even more when I realized that there were additional notes at the end of the book - I highly recommend following up on them at the end of each chapter.
Anyway, the book: I loved how Bodanis managed to make all the "science stuff" understandable and interesting without ever feeling like it was "dumbed-down" or patronizing. The best part is the Bodanis is a great storyteller. I felt bogged down a bit with all the names, but it was really interesting to realize how much politics, religion, romance, wars, and family relationships played into some of the most incredible discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries.
I recommend this book to readers of all ages and backgrounds, and will definitely be reading it again....more
This was a fun, easy-to-read book about family time and togetherness. I really enjoyed this author's take on several issues, especially communicationThis was a fun, easy-to-read book about family time and togetherness. I really enjoyed this author's take on several issues, especially communication and family activities. He discusses everything from family finances to chastity to grandparenting, but it is all done with a warm, encouraging tone and lots of positive suggestions and ideas....more
This is a darling collection of stories by an author I really enjoy. His tenderness, compassion, and dry humor show up on every page. It may be a littThis is a darling collection of stories by an author I really enjoy. His tenderness, compassion, and dry humor show up on every page. It may be a little over-board cutesy for a reader who isn't a whole-hearted cat lover, but cat owners of all kinds will be able to relate to it. I think most children would enjoy the stories as well, especially with the lovely illustrations about every other page....more
I understand that the historical, social, and genealogical ramifications of this book were monumental, but it was disturbing and painful to read. PoteI understand that the historical, social, and genealogical ramifications of this book were monumental, but it was disturbing and painful to read. Potential readers should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of the circumcision of young boys and of sexual abuse of slaves. It is well worth the effort for a history buff, but not the casual or escapist reader. ...more
A powerful and motivating read that touched me personally on many levels. Pamela Hansen is a wonderful example of the power of prayer, family support,A powerful and motivating read that touched me personally on many levels. Pamela Hansen is a wonderful example of the power of prayer, family support, and the human spirit. Although the story relates her experiences in overcoming obesity, the insights she shares are valuable to anyone facing challenges, addictions, or physical limitations.
The book isn't perfectly constructed - as to be expected of a first-time writer sharing an emotional experience - but it was fascinating to follow the way she layered her experiences: stepping out of chronological order, to emphasize the symbolism of running a marathon.
Mothers who read this book should know in advance that she shares the very personal struggles of losing a child within hours after birth and having another child still-born, as well as multiple severe health challenges in two other daughters. That part of the story was hard for me to push through, even without yet having children of my own. It is, however, well worth the effort to read....more
Though a little long compared to our usual fare, this was a great choice for our Book Club: before reading it straight through, I skipped around and rThough a little long compared to our usual fare, this was a great choice for our Book Club: before reading it straight through, I skipped around and read about some of my favorite scripture heroines first, which really drew me into the author's concept and intentions for this book.
I found it to be insightful and thought-provoking in many ways. The image of a portrait gallery in a museum was a beautiful conceptual thread to tie the chapters together. I also appreciated that the author limited his references to scripture, prophets, and a few cultural insights from the ancient historian Josephus.
The writing was sometimes a bit repetitive, and I felt that I didn't always entirely agree with the author's commentary; but the very fact that so many new ideas were being presented actually made it a positive experience to ponder and consider whether I found his interpretations valid. I learned a lot from him - even if it wasn't exactly what he may have intended to teach....more