Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

The second installment in the Twilight series. So now there's a werewolf and the girl might want to turn into a vampire.

The writing so far in these books is not so great and sometimes the storyline drags. But alas, I already checked out the third one and started it. Hum. Will I make it through? Do I want to make it through? I dunno. We'll see. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm checking the books out from the library and haven't spent any money on them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Gospel of Matthew Volume 1, Interpretation by William Barclay

For the last several years, I have read, trudging at times, through the entire Bible in one year.

2009 is different. I decided to give myself a break. Instead of plowing through the whole Bible, I'm reading this Commentary, starting in the New Testament with the book of Matthew. Sometimes I only read five verses a day, but I learn so much from the Commentary that follows them. Sometimes, I spend several days on the same five verses. Already, I have learned a lot about Jewish history and culture and have deepened my understanding of text that I've read so many times before.

I'm still in Chapter 3 of Matthew and I'm planning on going through as many of these Commentaries as I can this year. I'll see how many books I can get through. But the goal for this year is Depth, not Breadth. So far, I like it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

There is a Warning on the back of this book that reads: "Do not read this book unless you want to quit your job."

How do you quit your 9-5 job, make $10,000+ every month, travel the world in style, and spend only four hours/week managing your business? Well, this book tells you how to do that. The author proposes that instead of working like crazy for 40 years and then retiring, we should find a way to take mini-retirements and do the things that we long to do in retirement (travel around Europe, become a master gardener, live in Thailand) NOW.

I read this book because I've seen it around a lot and wanted to know what it was all about...and doesn't the title sound enticing? I'm not really interested in running my own business or making tons of money. What I did learn was some tips for time efficiency. For example, the author suggests getting something checked off your To-Do list by 11am every morning and also only checking email twice a day at noon and 4pm. I tried those two things this past week and they have increased my efficiency and have made me question how I spend my time (do I really need to read so many blogs?...well, besides Sandra's and Ruth's? :D).

This book raises the question of What do I want to do with my life? And it proposes a way to make that happen. I think it can be taken at any level that is appropriate for each individual. It's just good stuff to think about. I mean, how many of us are stuck in jobs we hate waiting for someday to come? This book encourages the reader to do something and to get unstuck.

A quote: "Getting fired, despite sometimes coming as a surprise and leaving you scrambling to recover, is often a godsend: Someone else makes the decision for you, and its impossible to sit in the wrong job for the rest of your life. Most people aren't lucky enough to get fired and [they] die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating the mediocre." --Timothy Ferriss

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

This story takes place in a South American country when a birthday party is taken over by terrorists wanting access to the president. The president is not in attendance and so the terrorists take the party-goers hostage for weeks.

I found this book very easy to read. The writing is really smooth and some of the characters were developed quite nicely. However, the very end was unexpected and not so satisfying, and actually a little weird.

Ah well. This book would serve well as a fast afternoon read.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Dinner Diaries by Betsy Block

The full title of this book is The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World. And we certainly do live in a White Bread World. This is the author's journey of finding healthy, local, toxin-free food that her family of picky eaters (her husband and two kids) will actually like. She researches meat, seafood, milk, buying local, school lunches, advertising targeted to kids, and advice from nutritionists. Entertaining and useful at the same time.

I found this book helpful as I alter my own diet to fit my doctor's recommendation (based on results of my last three blood tests) to cut out sugar and starches from my diet. Oh yeah, and to increase fiber. It's quite the challenge to eat well, especially when I love cookies, bread, hot chocolate, and lemonade. So this book was fitting for me as I try to eat better. It also made me glad I don't have any picky eaters to feed...I just have to focus on my own diet right now.