Friday, May 30, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I am still trying to process the premise, theme and outcome of the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The book follows the author through an adventure as she travels for a year through Italy, India and Indonesia to find out how to balance passion and devotion. I enjoyed reading about her time in India, where she spent four months in a yogic ashram, meditating and concentrating about the things of God. After surviving a divorce and and bad breakup she harbored some harsh feelings toward certain others, herself and even toward God. While in India she became free from these feelings and found herself not willing to give refuge to any thought that had the ability to harm her spirit. This was a breakthrough thought for me. I have repeated her words, "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts" many times in the past couple days and it has helped free my mind for more important purposes. I will forever be grateful to Elizabeth Gilbert for those simple words. I am not delighted about how the book ends, but I loved to watch as she comtemplated many of the hardest questions ever asked. As for the book, I am not going to endorse or discourage reading this book, if you do read it, lets discuss.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Wheel on the School by Meindert Dejong

The Wheel on the School is a cute book about 6 classmates who try to do something impossible; bring storks to their town. My niece and her family read this book together. During the same time her doll's hat was lost. (I have to claim some responsibility since it was my daughter that lost the hat). She worried about the hat for this was not just any doll this was her absolute favorite doll. While reading this book, she found her answer. The teacher assigns all the students to find a wheel, "look where a wheel could be and where it could not possibly be." After hearing this from the book, my niece knew what she should do for discover the hiding place for the hat. She looked where the hat could be and where the hat could not possibly be and found it in a place where no one would have looked. After she told me this miraculous story, I realized this is what books should do for us. They should help us live our lives better and give us other people's experiences to learn from. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a fun, easy read. This is also a great read aloud book for families.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is a book filled with icky characters and a sad and depressing story line. I decided to read this book because it was mentioned in two other books that I recently read. Understandably this book was read often by Bella in the Twilight series. Her relationship with Edward was intense and risky and so is the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights. But, I have no idea why Julie in "Up a Road Slowly" was so interested in this book.

I was under the impression that this was going to be a sweet love story. I guess that there is a little romance but the love story is depressing and drives certain characters to madness. This book did not help me in anyway to become or feel like a better person. I do appreciate Emily Bronte's writing style and I think that she is a beautiful writer, but for the reason stated above, I do not recommend this book.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Lily Owens has a hard life, she lives with T-Ray and here is her description of him: "He didn't believe in slumber parties or sock hops, which wasn't a big concern, as I never got invited to them anyway, but he refused to drive me to town for football games, pep rallies, or beta club car washes, which were held on Saturdays. He did not care that I wore clothes I made for myself in home economics class, cotton print shirtwaists with crooked zippers and skirts hanging below my knees, outfits only the Pentecostal girls wore. I might as well have worn a sign on my back: I Am Not Popular, and Never Will Be." She has one faint memory of her mother and a gun, but does not remember what happened.

Throughout this story Lily comes to understand her past, accept her present and look forward to the future. She needs to learn a few things first, including the secret life of bees. I love the part in the book where she talks about forgiveness and says that some people would rather die than forgive. This is true.

"Bee yard etiquette: ... the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved."

I recommend this book. There are some great characters that are full of life and are very lovable and some that are easy to despise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Remember reading Charlotte's web as a child and bawling so hard that the last chapter was difficult to finish. For me it is easy to remember what I thought about this book since I read it for the first time last year. The themes of friendship and watching for the good in others run rampant through the story. The friendship that Wilber and Charlotte share makes a huge difference in both of their lives.

Fern is also a great friend. She sees something good in Wilber that no one else can see, at first. What would have happened if she did not wake up early the morning of Wilber's birth. I love the beginning after Fern saves Wilber from the chopping block and her brother Avery asks if he can have a pig also. Their dad answers "No, I only distribute pigs to early risers. Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig, a small one, to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly..."

This is the first chapter book that I read to my son. After reading the book we watched two different versions of the movie. My advise, skip the movies, they are not worth it. This is definitely a book worth reading.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eloise Wilkin

I tried to come up with my favorite children's book, but I can't possibly narrow it down to one, so I have three. They all are written and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Her books are hard to come by, but a collection of her books can be purchased on for around $8.00. This collection includes stories like Busy Timmy, Baby Dear and We Help Mommy. Eloise Wilkins books are very collectable and some are hard to find. She is an amazing illustrator and anyone who has read her books loves them.
Here are my three favorites:

Baby Dear. My parents gave me this book sometime when there was a new baby in our home. It is about a little girl who takes care of her baby doll while her mom takes care of the new baby. When I had my second baby my sister gave me another copy of this book, I read it to my children all the time. It is such a cute story. Copies of this book start at around $20.00.

My Goodnight Book. What a sweet book. This book shows all the things that a little girl does before she goes to bed. I love how this book includes saying prayers before going to bed. I recommend this book to anyone who has a baby girl. There are plenty of used copies of this book for sale for $1.00-$37.00.
Fix it, Please. This story is about a little brother and sister who are always breaking things. A plate, a button, and a doll are among the things that need to be fixed. Mom, Dad and even a doctor are called upon to "fix it, please". I can't even estimate the amount of times that I asked my parents to read this book to me. This book is out of print and hard to find. I saw a copy for sale for $20.00.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Bug

I have caught it: the book bug. I have the desire to read and read often. My hope is that this disease spreads like wildfire across our nation and even around the world. Thank you to all my friends and family that have helped me to develop need to read.

Statistics are scary regarding reading. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey in 1992, "44 million adults in the U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child." "21 million Americans can't read at of high school graduates can't read their diplomas." (Department of Justice, 1993)

Jerold Jenkins, a publisher, lists these statistics:

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

I do not want to be part of these statistics. Reading can be entertaining, educational and enlightening. And of all books, those are the ones that I search for.