Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 Off My Bookshelf #9

Valley of Amazement
by Amy Tan




I wish I could recommend this book because I am an Amy Tan book lover. But I can't, not with a clear conscience. There is a big chunk of this book that was, basically, a manual on how to be a prostitute. I had to skip over that section. I liked the story, but there's too much graphic material to make it receive my blessing, which is too bad because Amy Tan can weave a masterful story.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Off My Bookshelf #8

Grounded
by Heather Ordover




I bought this as a Kindle ebook through Amazon.But it is available in paperback also.

 I've been a faithful listener of Heather's podcast, CraftLit, for years. Heather is a literature teacher who selflessly studies the classics and then weekly podcasts. She picks a book and each week covers a chapter or two by initially, explains words, phrases, concepts that may be unfamiliar or unclear, then plays the audio of those chapters, and finally concludes by sharing at the end. It's like being back in lit class with a teacher who is passionate and well studied. She brings books to life and makes difficult classical literature understandable for everyone. Check her podcast out.

So now Heather has written a book, a young adult novel, full of magic, teen angst and an insiders perspective of New York City life. Try the book and the podcast. I think you might enjoy them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Off My Bookshelf #7

Allegiant
by Veronica Roth





The conclusion of the Divergent trilogy was heart-achingly perfect for me. I know many teens, especially teen girls dislike it. Could it be an age thing? I not longer need a happy ending. I want a "right" ending, an ending that may make me cry, but leaves me deeply satisfied. I won't spoil the ending for you. But I will say I shed tears while reading this book, good tears, tears that let me know I had gone deep into relationship with the characters and was grateful for their honesty and acts of bravery.


Here are my two favorite quotes:

There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known or everyone you have ever loved for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through the pain and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

(How many of us are willing to walk toward that better life? Isn't it sometimes easier to lie down under the pain and work load of every day?)


Since I was young I have always known this, life damages us, everyone. We can't escape that damage. But now I'm also learning this, we can be mended. We mend each other.

(True words: now to allow community to pour salve onto our broken lives.

Monday, May 5, 2014

First Day at the Park this Spring

Okay, folks. I took these pictures several weeks ago.  I'm not sure why this isn't already out there. Scatterbrain...the only excuse I have.....

It's finally spring! There's nothing like a little journaling, knitting and reading at the park. 

"She said, 'Perhaps you have always known everything important but will need a lifetime to discover what you know.'"
-Gwyneth from "Innocence" by Dean Koontz, page 154

2014 Off My Bookshelf #6

Insurgent
By Veronica Roth




I read a lot of books because my daughters tell me I should. That means I read a good amount of Teen Fiction. Of all the dystopian series I've read, the Divergent trilogy is my favorite. There is a good amount of moral, virtuous advice and action taking place, if you can get past how easily it is for teens to kill.

My two favorite quotes from Insurgent:

Sometimes," he says, sliding his arm across my shoulders, "people just want to be happy, even if it's not real." Pg 68

(Isn't this a problem for our society?)


"'Let the guilt teach you how to behave next time,' my father would say." Pg 158

(I'm not sure any of us want to pay attention to that voice inside telling us we've done wrong, let alone listen long enough to learn from it.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hope for the Afflicted

"...the hope of the afflicted will never perish."
-Psalm 9:18

When I read this I think of my mom. The cruelty of Alzeheimer's has afflicted her. She cannot see, cannot feed herself, sometimes cannot speak, cannot remember so much. Yet she never responds like Job, with a "woe is me." Her prayer is the prayer of the hopeful, filled with thankfulness for a God who is her best friend and constant companion. She always prays for help to "do what she should do" and thanks for "God's presence."

I need to learn to live more like her, less concentration on what is "going wrong" and more on what God is doing. I have been promised a "hope and a future." The hardships of this life are temporary, while the rewards are eternal.

Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 Off My Bookshelf #5

The Goldfinch
By DonnaTart


"There was motion and stillness, stillness and modulation, and all the charge and magic of a great painting."
-page 721

"And isn't the whole point of things - beautiful things - that they connect you to some larger beauty? Those first images that crack your heart wide open and you spend the rest of your life chasing, or trying to recapture, in one way or another? Because I mean - mending old things, preserving them, looking after them - on some level there's no rational ground for it -"
-page 757

"Can't good come around sometimes through some strange back doors?"
-page 758

"And I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality."
-page 760

"And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky - so the space where I exist, and to be quite frank I hope to die in, is exactly this middle ground: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime."
- page 770-771

"That maybe even if we're not always glad to be here, it's our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open."
-page 771