Tag Archives: Book Review

Butterfly In The Sky

The past week has consisted of me going through my normal routine and a lot of reading. While I’m not a fast reader, I definitely think my reading is getting faster. It may be because I’m reading more, or maybe I just think I’m getting faster! This past week I read a couple of books that don’t fit in my normal reading repertoire.

First, I picked up Holly Gerth’s latest book:

This book is one I would normally pass up because it appears to be one of those “touchy feely” books which may be great, but just aren’t that exciting for me. So, what made this one different? Honestly, it was the cover. Yep, I judged a book by its cover and I do it all the time! The simple elegance made me pick the book up, but after reading the first few pages I decided to give it a try. Holly’s writing style is very conversational and witty. It took me roughly 2-3 days to read this book. There are multiple tools you can use to examine your place in God’s journey and whether you’re headed in the right direction.

Sure, I hear all the time that God has a plan for us, blah blah blah. I mean no disrespect in saying that, but that’s all it has felt like for the most part. Someone saying it because every one else does and it’s what we tell people who are going through a hard time so they can cope better. However, Holly brings that to a different level. She helps you to see what that path may be for you. I found it inspiring and thought provoking. When I have some quiet time, I still ruminate over my LIFE plan (AKA mission plan). If you’re floundering a little bit and feel your life doesn’t really seem to have much purpose at the moment, I’d recommend giving this a read.

The second book I finished this week was Nancy Makin’s 703:

It’s important to note the “A Memoir” part of the title. That’s exactly what this book is. It chronicles Nancy life from early on through when she lost her weight. If you’re looking for a book that describes how she lost the weight, what she ate, what exercises she did, this is NOT the book for you. You will hear her story and be moved by many of the hardships she faced. To date, she’s lost 500lbs without the aid of gastric bypass, strict diets, or any other lose weight quick tools. She conquered her battle of the bulge my finding her self worth and moving more.

While I enjoyed her story, I do wish she would have focused more on how she was able to lose the weight as opposed to what lead to her gaining the weight. How was she able to pull herself out of the merck? Yes, the internet’s anonymity helped, but there was a lot more going on inside of her than she put on paper. Nancy injects her humor throughout the book which lightens up some of the more serious moments. I was shocked by some of the snide comments people would make about her with her being right there, like she didn’t even matter. It’s truly upsetting to think people can have such a lack of consideration. Yes, she was large, but she was still a person. There is no doubt that Nancy is a fighter and I wish her luck for the rest of her speaking career.

While we’re speaking of books, I got my first library card in over a decade this weekend! Previously, I’d been buying the books and donating them when I was finished. Now, I can go and reserve books that I’d like to read but not necessarily own.

Plus, there’s a library right by the park and waterway where I can sit back and enjoy the lovely Spring weather!

All in all, I enjoyed both books even though they aren’t my norm. However, I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and explore new territory!

What’s the most recent book you’ve read to date?

Everyday Paleo

A couple of weeks ago, I got a present in the mail from Barnes and Noble (ok, so I bought it for myself, I still enjoy opening them!). I had been patiently waiting for Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo to be released, so it was a happy day! The first thing that struck me was the fact that the book was much larger than I had anticipated.

The pages are thick and the overall book has a great feel to it. I love heavy books! Plus, with the pages being as stout as they are I’m not as concerned about possibly getting some olive oil or other cooking goods on it. I cracked it open and I have to say, this book is beautiful! If you don’t want to lick the page, there’s something wrong with you! (j/k)

With the book being the size it is, I was expecting a couple of recipes per page, but that’s not the layout. Each recipe has its own page, which is fine but you don’t get as many recipes! They include a picture, which is great. Sometimes I wonder if the dish is supposed to look like it’s done when I’m finished with it!

So, after opening to the middle and looking at the different recipes, I finally flipped back to the beginning and worked my way through the entire book. The start of the book tells Sarah’s story and gives the reader information about the Paleo way of eating. Not too shocking. What did surprise me though, was at the back of the book she includes a 30 day meal plan complete with shopping lists for each week! Too cool!

And wait…there’s even more! If you order right now we’ll throw in some exercises…FOR FREE! How many times have I seen exercise descriptions and explanations in a cookbook? Once…just with this book. The pictures are great because you see the actual progression of the exercise as opposed to just the starting and ending positions.

You may be saying “yeah that’s great, but I never know which ones to put together for a workout. There’s too many choices.” True, and Sarah is kind enough to give you some workout suggestions using the exercises she’s laid out in the book!

All in all, I’m very impressed with this book. I have only made one of the dishes so far, but if someone with my cooking skills can make a tasty meal from this book, I’m sold!

When Wallflowers Bloom

On National Buy-A-Book Day, I picked up two books; one that I had been wanting to read (Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison) and one that drew my attention by it’s lovely cover (The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky).

This is the first novel written by Mr. Chbosky. He’s most well known for his screenplay for the movie Rent and being a writer for the well loved series Jericho.  Some of you may remember that the season finale caused a great upset among fans, which led to over 40,000 lbs of nuts being shipped to the studio!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age story; however, it is far from typical. It’s an epistolary novel written over a year’s time from August 1991 – August 1992. Charlie’s story is told over a series of letters to a “Friend”. Chbosky did a great job of creating this book in a way that the reader can place themselves in his position. The “friend” is not named (which he explains why for Charlie’s point of view in the novel) so it’s easy for us to plug in someone we would more than likely write these letters to. Charlie explains that the names have been changed so the “friend” can’t figure out who anyone is. Another brilliant move as the reader more than likely knows someone they can substitute in the other characters’ places. Such as, Charlie is talking about a well known actress being interviewed by a magazine. He chooses to exclude her name and only put a blank line. This way the reader automatically inserts their choice of actresses popular in the world at the given time.

The book pulls you in and involves you in Charlie’s world where innocence is lost and identity gained.

Potato Peel Pies All Around

I just finished a lovely story by Mary Ann Shaffer called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s an epistolary novel containing several personal letters from the different characters to, and about, each other. The era is right after WWII, 1946, when the Germans have ended their occupation of the Channel Islands and the Islanders are getting their life back in order. Ms. Shaffer did a great job letting each character’s personality come through in their letters. It was a little difficult at first to keep Sophia and Susan separate. Honestly, I’m still not 100% sure of Susan’s relationship with Juliet (the main character), but I think she’s an office manager or something at the Publishing house.

The occupation brought together several people that would otherwise had never formed a close friendship, through the formation of the literary club. Ms. Shaffer handled the tough subject of Nazi camps and the War with respect and regard. There weren’t any over the top descriptions, but you felt the depth of emotion regardless. If you’re looking for a book to curl up on the couch with, this would be a good choice.

Stuffed Animals Have Feelings Too

Nothing says timeless like Margery William’s The Velveteen Rabbit. When I was in elementary school my teacher read the book to the class and I remember being so excited to hear that toys actually came alive at night while you were sleeping (yeah, I missed the point!). From that point on, it became my mission to catch some of my toys walking and talking.

I had a stuffed panda bear, Susan, with a red coat that slept with me every night. She has been part of my family since I was 4. Tasha, a lovely little elephant, was given to me with her so they were best friends of course. After hearing the story I would try to “trick” Susan by playing like I was asleep while listening to see if she would start talking. Surely she and Tasha had important things to discuss at night! What a great thing it would be to be able to actually play with Susan and Tasha like another kid.

Unfortunately, they never took the bait and I always fell asleep waiting for voices that never came. I became exasperated at one point and told her that I knew all about how the toys came to life after all the humans were asleep and that it was ok if she came to life while I was awake. I wouldn’t tell anyone. Their secret was safe with me!

Alas, they never took me up on my offer! I still have Susan and Tasha, some 30 years later. Both of them have been loved and are still loved, although they sleep on the top of a bookcase now. Susan had been through a lot over the years but Tasha was able to avoid punishment. My brother felt it necessary to tear arms and ears from Susan when he was bored. Thankfully my Mother was a licensed field nurse (for stuffed animals) and was able to stitch her back up, good as new.

So, while my two stuffed friends never came to life the story stayed with me over the years. The Velveteen Rabbit is such a sweet tale that it’s no wonder it has survived 120 years and probably many more to come.