Friday, August 15, 2014

Grateful.

Every now and then a book comes along that rattles you a little bit.  Especially when you know it is grounded in true experiences.  I have a handful of pages left of the book, but for intents and purposes I am done, and I have a moment to throw down a few thoughts.

Wow.  What a life experience Amanda Lindhout and her friend Nigel Brennan went through.  I applaud their courage to write their stories, and to open themselves up to public opinion by offering up their stories.

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it out.  I knew the cover was appealing (yes, choices can be that base), and that it was a recommended book that made a few top reads lists.

I am not sure where to begin about a book such as this.  This is the autobiography (of sorts) of Amanda, starting with some experiences previous to her capture by Somali teenage militants whom were looking for ransom money from Amanda's and Nigel's family in Canada and Australia. As I started to read this book, I realized that I could remember hearing about their story in the news a few years ago (2008) but really didn't dwell on it.  I remember images of them when they were free, but really, did not even grasp a glimmer of what they had survived.  In many ways, this is much like how you can't really appreciate the experiences of someone else until you have a few of your own, or have the luck (??) to be able to read or experience a slice of what happened to them through whatever form the story journey takes us on.

This is a beautiful and bleak novel.  Reading parts of it I could feel my insides clench with something, and feel my opinions shifting.  If reading 419 was one thing about Nigeria, this was a whole other thing reading about a personal experience in Somalia.  I am glad that I live in a culture that values life, and women.  I am glad that I am married to a good man, who loves me for who and what I am. After reading this book I am grateful for many things, including my freedom and the culture and land that I call home.  This is not the same around the world and the price of a life here is not the same as other places in this amazing world.  This is an important book to read.  It is very well written, and as I said in the beginning, I appreciate the courage and honesty it takes to make yourself vulnerable by telling this story.  I also appreciate Lindhout's honesty, and humble acknowledge of her naive mistakes and the costs so many people paid.  The grace she found within terrible circumstances, it reminded me of reading the "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl.  Compassion and forgiveness, and consciously choosing to be positive in a world that can be a far cry from this is something that can set any of us apart.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The ever changing ocean, down at the end of the lane

I would have to admit, this book caught me by surprise.  As I sit and reflect about my response to it, I think this is the kind of book that I would love to pick up again in a few years, and see how my perceptions and reactions to it have changed. 

This is one of true spinoffs to having a library card, a book club, and friends that read.  Being exposed to new and different books, ideas, dreams, poetry, and thoughts. I have always read a lot, and there have been times in my life where I have been far happier with the books that I have chosen to be reading, and this is one of those times in my life that I feel like there have been many, many good books crossing my desk and it is has been a pleasure to spend time between their covers.  I could not imagine a life without books.  I am so happy to see B totally immersed in the world of Harry Potter, and I can't wait for the next year to happen and to watch the gift of literacy truly take shape in C.

Back to the book at hand, this is well worth a read.  It is very short, like a long short story (175 pages).  It is poetic, whimsical, a little dark, exporatory, wonderfully vague, magical... I am sure I have missed a few adjectives that I could throw in to the mix.  There are website that summarize novels such as this better, but this is one that I think will stick with me for a while... it is profound, and poetic, and in some ways, it does defy description.

Novels like this explore our fears, and what it is like to be a child, growing up, and what we lose in reaching adulthood, that is not always accessible.

This was a pleasure to read, and I would recommend it as an intriguing and thought-provoking novel.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to a familiar series...

Definitely a summer read.

I have been spoiled by the last few books that I have been reading. I found a bit of the dialogue a bit stilted, and the content not nearly as inspiring (or as interesting) as the last few books that I have been reading.

Again, a quick read, and it was good to discover some of Reacher's backstory.  In a way, I wish that I had read these books in series, although you do not have to.  I can't say much profound about this book, except that it was a decent, quick read with some character development and plot twists, not neccessarily grounded in reality, but an escapist read. I do enjoy this for a bit of a break from the more literary books that I have been favouring as of late.  I must also note, that this book pushes me past how many I read for 2011.  Is this a result of going to the library and requesting books or because my kids are getting older and I have a little more breathing space?  Likely both, LOL.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beach Bums.

I love going to the Beach.

This week, it feels like my summer vacation finally got started.

I also think that it takes me about 10 days before I start to relax.

Of course, now that I have started to catch up on sleep, it is almost 1am and I am catching up on my blog instead of my sleep.  Seems fitting.

Monday, was Centennial Beach.  What a find.  I loved it.  The only real downside is that the sand goes out forever.  I am not kidding.  For EVER.  Almost too far. Next time we come, I will plan it for when the tide is coming in.

Tuesday was Lynden City Park and then to Birch Bay.  The boys were a bit perturbed at how fast the tide came in.  Noted.

Today was White Rock. I love this beach.  Who am I kidding? Perhaps we should have just come here every day, but variety is good and I am glad that we checked out a few new beaches.  Fingers crossed we make it back to Centennial Beach on Friday - I have a hankering for a picnic with the whole family and to watch the sun go down.

Tomorrow is likely a spray park and then CW's graduation potluck from preschool.  Wow.  It is hard to believe that here we are.

Friday, local park in the morning to walk the dog since we will have Duke visiting, and then in the afternoon to the beach.

Caught by the cover, a nice surprise

At the library the other night, the cover of this book caught me.  It was a 7 day express read, so I really hesitated whether or not I should grab it, since I had already started a different book, and well, I saw it was only 250 pages so I thought - what the hell.  Worst case scenario, I take it back - no foul.

It was a lovely book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would categorize it under "chick lit". Or belonging to what I would widely label as such.  I have never heard of this author before, and this is one of the things that I am loving about my library card - new books, different authors. I will admit to more than one geeky moment because of my library card.  Only drawback is remembering when books need to go back and avoiding late fines.

It really feels like what I have been able to read lately has really taken off.  It does help having the card, and I enjoy being able to request books and have them magically appear on the hold shelf, it is a bit gratifying.  Much like how I really enjoy having my car insurance delivered rather than trying to figure out where to get it done and making sure it happens on the right day.  That it is my BFF's mom, makes it even sweeter.

Back to the book - maybe one of these days I need to come up with my own rating system rather than a few scribbled thoughts.  I really don't want to craft long winded reviews of books, but it is nice to track how I responded to the books that I am reading since I have discovered that I really do like being able to look back in to this window of "where my head was at" and what was I in to reading at the time.

Once again, back to the book at hand.  This is a partly a love story, and partly a feminine journey of rediscovery at age 60.  I like that the female lead was strong, and was likeable, and did make mistakes.  There are some very poetic passages, and I feel like Quindlen captured something in their story that left me with a nice, warm fuzzy.  Every now and then, books like this are lovely to pick up and enjoy without having to delve in and solve life's mysteries.  A satisfying read - quick, and perfect for summer.

Monday, July 28, 2014

No snappy title coming to mind. I blame the time.

Between this series, and the Hunger Games trilogy, the quality of the Twilight series really pales beyond comparison.

This is the beginning of another trilogy in a distopian, futuristic world in which society has broken down, and the solution is to divide people in to one of five factions based on your personality type.  This book focuses upon a 16 year old girl (Tris) that chooses a different faction than the one she is born in to when offered a choice.  By the end of the book, fractures are beginning to show, and war/a rebellion of sorts by one/two factions breaks out.

Books like this do raise the question of freedom, justice, and happiness and with it, they carry their own political warnings.  I do find it interesting the current young adult novels that are popular dealing with this theme - the aforementioned Hunger Games trilogy, the Giver, and now this series.  All three have also been made in to movies.  Hollywood cashing in perhaps to huge trends?

This was an entertaining book in the way that a summer blockbuster movie is - definitely science fiction adventure and I will read the next books in the series - it was a quick read.  I am happy that Tris connected with Four/Tobias, and their shared history adds an interesting twist to the book.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I can't say that I planned on reading a lot on my vacation, but it seems that this has been a goal that is definitely being accomplished.

I picked up the book based on a text from my BFF as we exchanged random notes about what we were reading one morning.  In her typical, dramatic fashion, I was pretty much told to "read this".  Which translates loosely to "this is an amazing book and you really need to read it".

Well, she was right.  I will never look at Bees the same again.  I even think I leaked out a tear at the very end! Who was that?? What a total surprise this book was.  I was caught a bit off guard, and it really wasn't a book I expected to enjoy as much as I did.  Yup.  Once again, a good call about this book.  It will stay with me  for a while, I am sure.  Today (okay, not really the posted date but today, the day I am working some date magic again to get caught up since the last time I did a bunch of posts) when I was mowing the lawn I watched for bees as I mowed through the clover.  I didn't want to send a forager bee to the jaws of doom!  It was a quick read, and as I said, once you read this book you will never look at bees the same again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And how is the weather today?

Hay's writing and story telling sneak up on you.

I really enjoy her books.

I wish I would have been able to read more authors/stories like this when I was doing my undergrad.