Sunday, March 31, 2013

News From Heaven by Jennifer Haigh

This is a collection of inter-related short stories all taking place in Bakerton, Pennsylvania.

I read one per night right before I went to bed, and it was a pleasant way to end the day. I can't say anything really spectacular about this book, but I can't say anything negative either. Just pleasant and okay.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kids Reading

My older sister sent me this video! I love it when kids read!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right? 100 Doorways on the Journey to Happiness by Robert M. Alter with Jane Alter

"Like all journeys, getting the soul right takes a while. It means to be on a journey from our present state of consciousness, in which there is much negativity, to another state of consciousness, a better and higher and happier state that is completely positive. This better, higher, happier state exists in us. It is, in fact, our natural state. It is who we are in our heart. In other words, we already are what we are trying to become, and getting the soul right is really a matter of learning to be who we already are." --Robert M. Alter

My sister gave me this book for Christmas 2011, and I just finished it today. It's made up of short essays covering everything from The Mind, Meditation, Feelings, Addictions, Compulsions, and Obsessions. It took me over a year to finish because I read one essay every day or so, and that was plenty to think about.

Looking at Facebook is probably much easier than reading this book though. This book will take you on an inner journey of yourself and help you face some things are aren't easily faced.

"Getting the soul right is to engage in a long, interesting, intrepid inner journey of looking at all our negative stuff, understanding where it comes from, feeling some of it, talking about most of it, and ultimately getting rid of all of it. It's a journey of complete self-purification. Getting the soul right is having the belief that there is that journey to take, and then taking it." --Robert M. Alter

Not recommended if you're looking for a light read. Not recommended if you're not willing to do some soul-searching. But if you want to settle in and think about some things over the next year, this might be a good place to start.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton

Marton was an ABC News correspondent. This is a memoir, so Marton writes about her early life and her experiences in Paris throughout her young adult and adult life.

Paris always holds a special place in her heart and she returns again and again. Marton was married to ABC News anchor Peter Jennings for 15 years, and then married to Richard Holbrooke, so she writes about her marriages as well.

This was not a good book. Some parts were interesting, some parts were really not interesting. Marton has affairs during her marriages, and that made it more challenging to like and respect her. I am NOT recommending this book to you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Audio Book Review - Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving by Lorilee Craker

I listened to this book, read by the author, about tips from the Amish about saving money and living well. It touches on a bunch of different concepts such as "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without," shopping at second-hand stores and garage sales, and eating at home. Craker also challenges the reader to value the things that are really important in life like health, family, and friends.

Overall, I liked listening to this book. It's kinda cheesy at times, and there wasn't anything that I hadn't heard before, but I do appreciate being reminded to be more mindful about how I use money and what I value.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Kate Moore is a mom with two young boys. She's working full-time and caring for her kids when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg. Within weeks, she quits her job and they relocate to Luxembourg. However, Kate brings with her secrets about her past and finds that even in Europe, she can't get away from her past.

I was semi-engrossed in this story. I also found it to be quite clunky and in need of some editing.

Skip this one. Thanks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

The other day, I was telling Boomer about some friends of ours who are sleep-training their six-month old son. I told him that they just realized that just because the boy shifts or whimpers, it doesn't mean that they need to rush in and feed him every single time.

Boomer's reaction: "Does no one read Bringing Up Bebe???" Hahaha. Yes, Boomer has read Bringing Up Bebe and understands that babies move around in their sleep and make noises, and this doesn't necessarily mean that they are awake or in need of feeding or soothing.

Anyway, if you haven't read Bringing Up Bebe, I highly recommend it. It's funny, informative, and even if you don't agree with everything Druckerman writes, it's nice to have a different way of looking at parenting.

Bebe Day by Day is a very short book that summarizes the concepts in Bringing Up Bebe in 100 key statements with brief descriptions. It was written so that babysitters or relatives could quickly read about the ideas instead of having to read Bringing Up Bebe which includes a lot of Druckerman's own story. And it's effective in this sense. However, I still think that if you have the time, pick up Bringing Up Bebe.

The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships by Patrick J. Carnes

A mentor recommended this book to me with the warning: "This book is not easy to read." He was right. This is not a fun or easy book to read. Even the author in the introduction writes, " Sometimes I have been accused of writing books that are painful to read at some points...I believe this book on the betrayal bond may also present similar challenges to some readers. "

This book is about trauma bonds, or the connections we have with a person/people who have been abusive or toxic in some way to us: "Exploitative relationships create betrayal bonds. These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her."

The first half of the book is about trauma, the bonds that are formed, and the cycles of betrayal. The second half is about how to break free from the bonds. There are exercises and questions included that really get to the heart of healing.

Intense, thoughtful, very clear and direct. Helpful for anyone in relationship with someone in an abusive relationship, or if you're in one yourself. This is material best covered with the support of a community and a therapist.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

Erica returns to her hometown of Fjallbacka after her own parents have died. When she's back in town, her childhood friend, Alex, is found dead in her bathtub with her wrists cut. It looks like a suicide, but is it?

I was engrossed in this book. I carried it around wherever I went just in case I had time to read a page or two. It's a twisty, readable, suspenseful book with a surprising end. Recommended if you're looking for a fast, light, fun read.

Thanks to Mia for this recommendation!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story by Rebecca Dana

Rebecca Dana always dreamed of living in New York City and having the perfect New York City life. She lives this life for awhile with a great job, nice apartment, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. Then, her and the boyfriend break up, and she needs to find a place to live. She rents a room from Cosmo, an ex-rabbi learning jujitsu.

This book was just okay for me, so I'm not gonna go into more detail. I just never really clicked with Rebecca, and she doesn't seem to change so much over the course of the book. It was a meandering story about this and that with no real direction.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Check this out!

Posted by a librarian at my local public library: 

A sculpture made of 25,000 Dr. Seuss books by the New York public library was funded by Target, then all the books were donated to local schools and libraries.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This is the third book by Gillian Flynn that I've read (I think she only has three out). It was the darkest, and my favorite one.

Libby Day is seven years old when her mother and two sisters are murdered. Libby escapes, and her then 15-year-old brother, Ben, is blamed for the murders and put in prison for the rest of his life.

We catch up with Libby Day as an adult in the present day. To earn some money, she gets involved with the Kill Club, a club with members obsessed with various murders. She starts investigating the murders herself.

The book goes back and forth between the present day and the day of the murders.

Dark, creepy, twisty....and yet very enjoyable.

One word of warning: I knew that it wasn't a good idea to read this book before I went to bed. So I would just read one page or two...and then quietly push the book over onto my husband's side of the headboard shelf. It just made me feel better having that dark book further away from me at night.