Format: hardcover

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird) by Harper Lee

Posted October 1, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 0062409859
Book Review: Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird) by Harper LeeGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Published by HarperCollins on July 14th 2015
Pages: 278
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.

my review

I really wanted to like this book. I mean the author wrote a classic and all of her works should be good right? I know some say it is good, but for me it lacked depth. I felt that there was no meat to the story. Like there was very little action and character development. I can see why it wasn’t published before and it is a crude reminder to tell my friend to burn all my writing when I die. Some of what I write is complete shit and I never want them to see the light of day.

As for the racism thing. I can see both sides. I am from the south. I was born and raised in Central Appalachia. I like to think of myself as liberated from my views that I grew up with but deep down inside it is still there. This was evident I couldn’t understand why Scout made such a big deal out of her father and boyfriend..(THAT DUDE WAS HER BOYFRIEND RIGHT?!?) went to that meeting. I mean I was completely on her father side. You go to see what people are up to. I completely failed to understand why going and sitting in a meeting sparked such anguish in Scout.

Then I thought about it and after a week, I began to finally GET it. If you sit in a meeting and do nothing then you are in a way supporting it and that makes you involved in it. I was glad that I could see that point. But deep inside me I am still like, but it is no big deal.

Maybe that is why I did not enjoy this book. Maybe I felt as if this book was airing the souths’ dirty laundry so to speak.  It is always hard when you are confronted with your deepest beliefs and find out that you are maybe a secret racist. This made me wonder if we can ever become unchained by where we grew up. Or are we forever chained by the beliefs that we were taught in our formative years? This would make a good discussion. I have no answers and I doubt anyone does. I can tell you that the south has not changed much. When that rebel flag conserver sty happened most of my white southern friends were like It is a SYMBOL of southern pride. And that is how I saw it also. Then again I am an upper-middle-class white woman so I have quite a few privileges. It is hard for me to unpack them. In my head, I can see it booth ways. In my heart, I subscribe to the southern belive. My friends from all over say that I am southern to my core and I think this book proves it.

I want to give this book 5 stars but deep in my heart I am like eh.  Then again this book exposed some things that I really did not want to confront. Plus I think the author needs a better editor so three stars it is.

three-stars

Book Review:The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Posted September 22, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

ISBN: 0062255657
Book Review:The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Published by William Morrow Books on June 18th 2013
Pages: 181
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

my review

Neil Gaiman seems to get better and better with each new book. This book was outstanding. I literally couldn’t put it down. It is a page turner all the way through but that ending! I am not gonna post it for fear of spoilers but if you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts.

This book took me back to when I was growing up in the central Appalachian Mountains and had my own hidy places. I loved his descriptions of the environment in the book. It felt as if I was right there with the main character who never has a name in the book. That’s ok because he does not really need a name. It starts out like a normal fiction book then it adds in the supernatural elements. Yes, books like this require you to suspend disbelief but Gaiman writes so skillfully that this is not at all difficult to do. In this world, all the schematics makes sense so that you are never like, how did THAT happen?

Like I said I really enjoyed this book, but I was awed at the ending. I want to discuss the ending but again spoilers. I will say this, it is interesting how events that happened to you can change shape in your mind. You think you remember it correctly then you revisit it as an adult and find that your environment and who you are and the blocking out painful bits can shape the event in your mind. Things are not always as they seem. Or are they? This got me to thinking about events in my own childhood and how I remember them and I wonder if my memories are clouded with the stuff that I have accumulated along the way.  How many of my really bad memories have been distorted by time? It is interesting to think about.

five-stars

Review:The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Posted June 5, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781401308582
Review:The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch AlbomThe Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Published by Pearson Education on 2012
Genres: Fiction, General
Pages: 93
Format: hardcover
Source: own
Goodreads
five-stars

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer.

In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"

 

 

my review

 

This was a reread for me. I first read this book when I was in Africa, and It made an impression on me. I was feeling kind of down a few weeks ago so I read it again. This is one of those books that no matter what kind of mood you are in, it will bring a smile to your face.

The plot is simple. A man dies, and he meets the five people that most had an impact on his life. However, it goes deeper than that. It will make you think of the people that had an impact on you and the impact that you have had on them. It is not always who-who believe it would be either. The part that I liked most is that even though he feels like he has wasted his life in the end he was excakly where he was supposed to be. He found out that he did have a big impact on people. Often we think that we lead small lives when in reality we are making an enormous impact. We should not fail to underestimate what we deem insignificant. This was a fast little book that you could read in a couple of hours, but its impact will be there long after you have finshed.

loved-it

 

five-stars

Book Review:Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Posted February 9, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780385496094
Book Review:Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne LamottTraveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Published by Anchor Books on February 1st 2000
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Literary, Religious, Women
Pages: 275
Format: hardcover
Source: own
Goodreads
five-stars

From the bestselling author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Birdcomes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church or the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.

why I read this book

 

All of last year my faith took a very serious nosedive. I am trying to build it back up to where it was but I was not in the mood for a “preachy” book and I LOVED her book Bird by Bird so I decided to pick this book up.

 

my review

 

When you thinks about Christian writers most of the time we conjure up someone who has never had any problems and is very into the rules. Traveling Mercies is a breath of fresh air in the Christian book industry. Anne Lamott talks about overcoming her drug and drinking issues. She does not hold back in any way and you never get the feeling that she has such holiness that you feel like throwing the book across the wall and that you can’t possibly meet that level.

She also talks about getting pregnant and her son and about being a mother. I do not have kids but I love her honesty about the things she does and the mistakes she makes. It seems that I am surrounded by perfect mothers and I know if I ever had a kid I would probably lose my cool more often than not. To read about this kind of mother and to know her kid turned out OK gives me hope.

While reading this book I wondered why I couldn’t be exposed to some of the more liberal religious people that she is. I grew up in Eastern Ky and all my life it has been who can follow the rules in the bible the best. Anne Lamott is surrounded by people that seem to GET life in this fallen world.

Over all I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who feels more like a sinner than a saint.

loved-it

five-stars

The Right to Write

Posted January 28, 2015 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781585420094
The Right to WriteThe Right to Write by Julia Cameron
Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam on 1999
Genres: Authorship, Composition & Creative Writing, Creativity, Language Arts & Disciplines, Self-Help
Pages: 236
Format: hardcover
Goodreads
four-stars

What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron's most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist's Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life. Cameron's instruction and examples include the details of the writing processes she uses to create her own bestselling books. She makes writing a playful and realistic as well as a reflective event. Anyone jumping into the writing life for the first time and those already living it will discover the art of writing is never the same after reading The Right to Write.

why I read this book

 

I liked the book The Arist Way so I wanted to read more by the author.

my review

I am not sure what I expected with this book. Maybe more writing advice? What I got was some essays on how she writes and over come writers block. It explored how some things can hold us back and how we need to grant ourselves permission to write. The essays were good and entertaining but again I was expecting something different than what was in the book.

Buy

 

 

  Amazon 
 

 

 

 

four-stars

Book Review: The Art Of Happiness in a Troubled World

Posted December 17, 2014 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 0767920643
Book Review: The Art Of Happiness in a Troubled WorldThe Art Of Happiness in a Troubled World by Dalai Lama XIV Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtshoHoward C. Cutler
Published by Doubleday on 2009
Genres: Happiness, Personal Growth, Self-Help
Pages: 338
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Blending common sense and modern psychiatry, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World applies Buddhist tradition to twenty-first-century struggles in a relevant way. The result is a wise approach to dealing with human problems that is both optimistic and realistic, even in the most challenging times. How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the modern world seems such an unhappy place? His Holiness the Dalai Lama has suffered enormously throughout his life, yet he always seems to be smiling and serene. How does he do it? In The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, Dr. Cutler walks readers through the Dalai Lama's philosophy on how to achieve peace of mind and come to terms with life's inherent suffering. Together, the two examine the roots of many of the problems facing the world and show us how we can approach these calamities in a way that alleviates suffering, and helps us along in our personal quests to be happy. Through stories, meditations, and in-depth conversations, the Dalai Lama teaches readers to identify the cultural influences and ways of thinking that lead to personal unhappiness, making sense of the hardships we face personally, as well as the afflictions suffered by others.

My Review 2

I am all about reading books on how to be more happy and how to make this world a better place. I first heard about this book from unfinished Person. I had high expectations of this book buts sadly I felt sort of let down. I thought this book would be all about the Dalai Lama and how to better achieve happiness but rather it was more of the author Howard Cutler M.D writing about his experience with the Dalai Lama and then as an after thought what the Dali Lama says about how to live.

To be fair the book does have some good ideas about how to discuss poverty and violence and such. It talks about how the Dali Lama uses nonviolence to try to bring change and freedom to his people. I could have done without Howard C Cutler interjecting his thoughts and how he feels about stuff in the book. I wanted to read the book because I was interested in what the Dalai Lama had to say not some unknown American Dr. Cutler talks about some of his patients and how what the Dali Lama says can benefit depressed people and such. While I am interested in such, this is not the reason that I picked up this book so I was conflicted about this. There are times when a book goes off tangents that it turns out well but this was not one of those times.

it-was-ok

three-half-stars

Paleo Chic

Posted October 15, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

ISBN: 1476707693
Paleo ChicCavewomen Don't Get Fat: The Paleo Chic Diet for Rapid Results on December 31st 2013
Pages: 304
Format: hardcover
Goodreads
five-stars

So maybe you’re not flaunting the latest in saber-tooth style. Or beating your dinner to death with a club hours before you eat it. You’re a twenty-first-century woman. Life has changed drastically since your ancestors discovered fire. What hasn’t changed is how your body works. You’re still sporting the same metabolic ten­dencies as your lean, toned Paleolithic sisters. Which means that achieving a strong, healthy physique is simpler than you think.

BURN, BABY, BURN

What’s a modern woman with ancient needs to do? Return to her roots with a back-to-basics approach to eating that is tailored specifically to her nutritional, hormonal, and real-world needs. The Paleo Diet isn’t just for hard-core CrossFit­ters and meat-loving men. Today’s cavewoman can enjoy protein-rich, hormone-balancing, de­toxifying, and satisfying foods that will help her lose those annoying extra pounds, build lean muscle mass, and feel like the gorgeous god­dess she is meant to be. When you are able to understand the relationship that carbs have with your body, you’ll finally get the results you’re looking for—for life.

LOOK GOOD IN YOUR GENES

The ultra-feminine Paleo Chic Diet will help you hit your metabolic reset button, lose weight, and maintain your physique with a balanced, clean way of eating that won’t put your body through the same metabolic trauma that makes traditional diets so ineffective. Ready to achieve the svelte, sexy, healthy body you’re designed to have? What are you waiting for? Go wild!

My Review

I have talked before how I am on the Paleo diet and how good I function on it. They weight loss is just the icing on the cake. I am always  reading about stuff I am interesting in and this book is no exception.

Most books like this are boring and dry. They contain good information, but they put you to sleep while doing it. I am not naming any books but if you have read at all about the Paleo world you can probably guess which books I am talking about. This book has almost the same info as any other paleo book but it entertains you while doing it. I read it in a sitting and not once did my brain wonder or my eyes close in boredom.

Think of you favorite friend telling you like it is or your favorite snappy blogger and you can imagine the tone of this book. It covers all the basics and has some of the authors take on things but like I said there was no new groundbreaking info in this book.

I would recommend this for a refresher reading on the Paleo Diet for someone who is easily bored. This book will keep their attention and educate them to this way of life.

five-stars