Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The World Without You

by Joshua Henkin

I have the impression from his emails that Mr. Henkin is a very nice  man and I felt bad that I didn't read the first book he sent me so I vowed to be sure and read this one.  He dedicated this book to his father who died on October 4, 2010.  That made me choke up because my mother died the month before.  I saw that as a sign that we had a bond and I was for sure going to love his book.

So much for signs.  I didn't love this book.  It was well-written but I did not like any of the people and the family drama was too much for me.  Another time it may have  appealed to me but when I read it was not that time.

That said, I think it is a book that many people will like.  There were some pretty funny spots - like when the wife hit her husband in the eye with a tennis racket.  He so deserved it!  I cheered.

The Frankel family gathered at their beloved summer home in the Berkshires where the mother and father were going to inform the children and grandchildren that they were separating.  They had been married 39 years.  It was a shocker to be sure.  The kids couldn't believe that they would divorce after so long.  That part I could understand.  Don't get me wrong - I love Candleman and all, but there are days.  In the Frankel's case their only son had been killed a year ago while on assignment to Iraq.  I have heard that the death of a loved one can create quite a wedge between couples.

I definitely think you should read other reviews about this book.  Don't cross it off your list based on my review.  Like I say - at another time I may have loved it.

 ** I received a free copy of The World Without You from Joshua Henkin. No other compensation was received.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann shaffer & Annie Barrows

There have been many good reviews about this book posted elsewhere and I'm just going to add - I loved it, too.

The book is written in letters back and forth from a journalist in London and some folks on Guernsey Island. It is the end of WWII and Europe is trying to put itself back together.

This beautiful story tells of the Nazi occupation of the Guernsey Island for five years during the war. We learn of hardships suffered by both the islanders and the soldiers and yet the overall feeling of the book is one of hope, resurgence, and love.

I very seldom cry while reading or watching movies, but there was one part of the book that I couldn't hold back the tears. Don't put off reading this because it contains a little sadness. I thought the book was delightful. I strongly recommend it to all my blogger friends.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Healthy Shame: How to Spank Your Inner Monkey

By Joseph W. Dopp

I was offered this book to review.  I wasn't interested but Candleman was sitting in the same room and had been reading a few self-help books lately and I asked him if he would be interested.  "Sure I'll take a look."  So I wrote back and let Joe know that I wouldn't be reading it, but that my husband would if he still wanted to send a copy.  He did.

Here's Candleman's review:  You can also read it on his blog: Live and Learn.
I've learned that Shame is a fundamental cause of addiction.  Shame as opposed to guilt.  The definition I accept is:  Guilt - I did wrong.  Shame - I am wrong.  Clearly shame is damaging as is presupposes that I am fundamentally flawed rather than being a person of divine potential who has made mistakes.  Even terrible mistakes.  So this title held a bit of intrigue for me and I decided to give it a try.  I didn't get very far.  While Dopp is witty, I didn't find him to be all that funny, which he was clearly shooting for.  Instead I found him irreverent and crass.  Even that I endured until he explained that a fundamental principle of his method decried what he called the prideful notion that we might ever become like God.
I believe God is my own Father and that His greatest desire is for His offspring, me and you, to grow to become like Him.  Dopp says we are clay in God's jar.  I declare that we are not clay in Gods jar, nor are we pawns on His chess board, nor sheep in His pasture nor art in His Gallery.  We are not rats in His laboratory we are His own sons and daughters, endowed with divine potentiality.  Dopp sees my position as blasphemous.  He can think as he wishes.  I however, couldn't find enough common ground in our philosophical approaches to change to warrant finishing the book.  Our views are built on entirely different foundations.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Katie's Book Club Summer Reading Challenge

I'm joing Miz Kate for her summer reading challenge.  Like her, my local library used to host a wonderful reading challenge every summer - one for the kids and one for the adults.  As the school year closed I anxiously looked forward to my summer reading and to this challenge.

Adults were challenged to read 9 books from the 12 suggestions: 1 mystery, 1 romance, 1 nonfiction, 1 western, 1 Newbery, 1 jur classic, 1 adult classic, 1 sci/fi or fantasy, 1 biography, 1 volume of short stories, 1 volume poetry, and 1 fiction of choice.  This program urged me to read outside my usual choice of mysteries.  I learned so much, developed tastes for just about everything, and I felt growth taking place inside my little cells.  I decided growing - learning new things - is what keeps us young.  I still shy away from westerns, romance, and poetry but I'll read one on a challenge.

Alas, my local library changed their summer reading program a couple of years ago.  Last year was fun because they had the adults choose from several different learning activities, such as learn to twitter or use Facebook, try a new recipe from a library cookbook, go on a 'staycation' by seeing one of our local history sites, download a book from the library's Overdrive digital media collection,  learn to Zentangle, learn a foreign language with interactive audio using Mango, etc.  I was disappointed not to see the usual list of book choices, but I jumped in with both feet and had a ball.

This year the adult program is to simply keep track of how many chapters you read and for every so many, enter our name to win a price.  So very sad and so very whimpy!

So I was thrilled when I ran across Kate's Book Club Challenge.  Her choices are a little different from my libraries, but they are just as fun.  Thanks Katie for rescuing my summer.

Here are the challenges and the book I'm going to use for each one - these are not written in stone and are subject to change.

1. One Book Recommended By A Friend - Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David     Margolick 

2. One Book That Has Been Sitting On Your Shelf For Over A Year - War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen

3. One Book You Read A Long Time Ago And Want To ReRead - The Little Country by Charles de Lint OR if 3 years ago qualifies as a long time ago I would like to reread The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

4. One Book From Your To Be Read List - The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

5. One Book You've Never Heard Of - On Hitler's Mountain by Irmagard a. Hunt

6. One Classic - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith  (I hope this counts since it over 60 years old and still highly regarded.)

7. One Book You Started But Never Finished - The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy

8. One New Release - Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz and/or The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny and/or Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

9. One Book That Is Outside of Your Typical Genre - Pรจlagie :The Return to Acadie by Antonine Maillet

10. One Chunkster (A Book That Is Over 400 Pages) - 11/22/63 by Stephen King (848 pages!)

This is going to be so fun.  I already had fun choosing some books from my shelves and kindly caressing them as I made my choices. I looked longingly at many others and promised them our time together was coming.  I was checking on some new releases from favorite authors.  There's a natural pecking order on the new Louise Penny novel - me first, my husband second, and my daughter third.  After that it's available for sisters, cousins, or anyone else waiting in line. 

Thanks again Kate for challenging my summer!  Love it!