Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner

This is another memoir by the author of Girl Meets God. In that book, she writes about her conversion from Judaism to Christianity. When I reviewed Girl Meets God two years ago, I noted that the author's pretentiousness was a turn-off. Her pretentiousness still remains a turn-off in her latest book.

Winner wrote this book after divorcing her husband of five years. She writes about the aftermath, but not in detail at all, so it's kinda hard to know what's going on, or what she might be healing from.

The book is made up of random "chapters" (although they are more like brief reflections, some only half a page long). The topics ramble around. Winner writes that "structuring this book was hard," and boy, does that show. I had no idea how the chapters or sections were organized. I stopped trying to figure out how they all related, and just read each one as a stand-alone reflection.

I'm not really sure if the title is accurate...was this about a "mid-faith crisis"? Not sure, as I said, I didn't figure out how the whole book worked together.

If you read this, I recommend just looking at it as a collection of journal entries. Then, it might make more sense.

I can't strongly recommend this book. I'll mildy recommend it. Even though it was disorganized and confusing, there were some tidbits of wisdom and some stories that did touch my heart.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

I am two weeks into a six-week trip around Europe. It's exciting to travel and see new things. I've seen some things and places that I've dreamed about seeing for a lot of my life.

It can also be tiring and stressful to navigate new cities and be around tourists all day.

So on Day 14, as I walked through the hotel's lobby, I was delighted to find this book left on the book exchange shelf. A light, easy read was just what I needed. It was our last day in Florence, Italy and I didn't want to carry the book with me to our next city (Venice), so I told myself, "I'm gonna read this today." Well, I almost did. I finished the last 50 pages about an hour or so before we checked out of the hotel the next morning, and I put the book back on the book exchange shelf.

It's an unoriginal, but lighthearted read. Lexi wakes up in the hospital after a car accident to find that she's forgotten the last three years of her life. She doesn't recognize herself anymore, and she has to piece together who she has become, and she doesn't really like who she's become. 

You might be thinking that it was a shame to spend my last afternoon in Florence reading a fluffy book. But that's not all I did. I also ate gelato twice....within an hour. (First, chocolate, and then banana.) I also walked up to the Michelangelo piazzale for a beautiful view of the Florence skyline. That, along with spending some time reading this fluffy book, was the perfect ending to a week in Florence.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon

This was a nice book to read after Bringing Up Bebe. Bringing Up Bebe discussed the French way of parenting, and this book (written by a different author) focuses just on the eating habits of the French and how they teach their kids to be healthy, unpicky eaters.

French kids are exposed to a lot of different fruits, vegetables, and flavors early on. They are taught to enjoy eating and to notice different tastes and textures. But the French seem to have a different perspective on what eating is and how it should be done. Eating is for pleasure, and it should be enjoyed slowly (as opposed to in the US where we feel guilty for eating dessert, and oftentimes eat on the run). Eating is also for our health, so there's a focus on fresh food (instead of processed).

Three meals plus one afternoon snack are eaten each day, so kids are not snacking all day. Then, they're actually hungry when it comes to a meal.

Even if you don't have kids, this is a great book to read. I've been trying to add some more French style to my eating - not snacking as much, and instead, having one larger and healthy snack around 4pm.

I'm also trying to get my cats to be more French about their eating. They ask for snacks pretty much all day, but I've been making them wait until meal time to eat. I don't think they like being treated like French cats.

There's also recipes at the back of the book (including purees to start introducing babies to different vegetables), and I've been making the vinaigrette this week for some salads. Tasty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard

A pastor recommended this book in a sermon, so I checked it out. It's gonna be difficult for me to write a review of this book. Although I read the book, it's one that I'm gonna have to read again...and maybe again. It was rich and deep, and I'm certain that I didn't not understand everything in it.

This book explains discipleship as a renovation of the heart. Real, deep change takes place through inner transformation, and it's the little, intentional steps that we take that can lead us there.

Not a light read at all, but one that was challenging.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City by David Lebovitz

I will be in Paris for a week in July, so books about France have been catching my eye.

This one is written by David Lebovitz, cookbook author and pastry chef. He writes short little essays about his adjustment to living in Paris. His observations are quite funny and witty. He also includes recipes. At the back of the book, he lists bakeries and cafes that serve, in his opinion, the best hot chocolates and pastries. I'm thinking I should make a copy and refer to it while I'm exploring Paris.

An enjoyable book, especially if you're interested in French culture. Not a book I'm raving about, but I definitely enjoyed reading it.