Thanks again for everyone's participation this week! Here's another big pile of creative goodness for you:
First of all, Kelly W. cracked me up with her excuses:
- The dog ate my book
- I was reading it outside and the wind blew it away
- I lost the book
- I loaned it to a friend and never got it back
Here's an entry from a buddy of mine in Wales.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
Love them anyway.
Do good anyway.
Do good anyway.
Be honest and frank anyway.
Think big anyway.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
Patrick: um, I couldn't find a book review on Patrick's site. But I did find how to do the Fox Trot. That's got to be worth something, right?
Adam S might get the prize for the most interesting sounding book:
This week I read a very good book about a guy that builds schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is called "Three Cups of Tea". There are several thoughts I had about this book. First, he makes a strong point of the fact that what he does in rural development is a probably doing more long term to fight terrorism than much of what the US military is doing. It is certainly much more cost effective. He said that the cost one smart missile would build about 80 to 100 schools in a rural area or provide for the cost of supplies and teachers for about 80,000 students for a year.
Jason is proud to have nothing to offer (see below to see how I was proved wrong!):
Sorry, no review this week. Been a bit busy. I am in the middle of “The Shack” by William Young. So far, it’s not living up to the hype for me. More when I’m finished.
The Pawn by Steven James
Storyteller Steven James weaves a twisting and turning tale of murder and political intrigue. FBI Agent Patrick Bowers is called in on the case of a serial killer abducting and and murdering women in the Asheville, NC area. The killer is playing a deadly game of chess. He taunts the investigation team by making contact with future victims and leaving clues at crime scenes. (In chess, if you touch the opponents piece you must then take that piece in your next move.) He is always one step ahead.
To complicate matters, Patrick is trying to come to terms with the death of his wife. He struggles in the role of single parent to his teenage stepdaughter.
The setting of this story was of particular interest to me. The characters fly in and out of my local airport. The monuments and location markers referenced in the story are familiar to me. Because I could picture so many of the scenes, I felt even more involved in James' narrative.
Tracey has gone all literary on everybody:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I grabbed this book a while back without knowing anything about it. It's a classic and I like to feel smart by reading as many of those as I can (or I'm just trying to make up for not reading anything in high school). After reading the description, I was a bit hesitant... it follows the main character's psychological breakdown. Hmm... sounds thrilling. Surprisingly, I really loved this book.
Esther Greenwood is a very successful college student/writer taking her first steps into the world. Something happens to her and she cracks. It's hard to put your finger on just what happened. She was plunged into fabulous NYC life after winning a contest to act as a guest editor of a magazine. On returning to the Massachusetts country life, she receives the disappointing news that she was not accepted for a summer class at her college. Throughout all of this she feels increasingly trapped. Maybe it was the total of all the changes and pressure. She ends up trying suicide. Her mother has her committed and she slowly returns to herself. The book follows her breakdown and recovery.
Tom Soto has me intrigued with a review of one of my favorite authors:
- Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield. (Week 0) Presents a stark, shocking and yes, graphic portrayal of the Spartan battle at Thermopylae. However, it is much more than warfare. Spartan courage, loyalty, society and love of family are mingled with the horror of battle. Great storytelling but not for the faint of heart!
Lori should get some kind of prize for organization! In her case, even though she's listed books for this week, i"m going to highlight a book I've been meaning to read for about 5 years now:
Margins: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard A. Swenson
Yeah, I'm cheating here too. I read this first a couple of years ago. I'm re-reading it though because I need to hear these lessons again. This book teaches us to live with margins. It gives practical advice for living with less and being happier. I'll write more about this when I finish re-reading it.
Lisa is reading a Sesame Street themed book for next week! For now she offers this:
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva - This is the first of the international spy thrillers featuring former Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon. The Kill Artist introduces us to Gabriel Allon. Having read the 3rd book first, I did not fully understand Allon’s past and what caused him to be the way he was. After reading the first book, I now understand Allon much better. Allon is an assassin with a conscience who lost everything important to him because of his involvement in the Israeli secret service. Allon left the service after losing everything, but is coerced back into service by his old mentor, supposedly to help restore the image of the service. In actuality, Allon has not been given the whole story and ends up as a pawn in a much larger game his mentor is playing. Overall, this was a good book with well paced action, interesting twists along the way, and a couple of very complicated characters who are very interesting to observe as the story progresses. I’d recommend it to a friend.
My fellow MHS alum Janelle has been reading about vampires!
The book I did finish is Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. My husband picked it up at the bookstore last weekend and it intrigued me. I me, come on, how can you not read a book that starts out with "I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar". See? Now you want to read it too, don't ya?
Overall I found it to be a good book, great mystery with the added quirk of vampires who have all come "out of the coffin" and are now semi-accepted members of society. The main character of this mystery is Sookie, a waitress in a little town where everyone knows your name. And then things start happening, women start dying gruesome deaths, and Sookie has reason - good reason - to believe she may be next in line! Sookie's got a couple things going for her though. She has a "disability" as she calls it, in which she can reads people's minds. Not all people read clearly though, and some not at all. And her newfound vampire, Bill, is one she can't read...could he know who is killing these women? Or worse - is he?
Genesis, on the other hand, has been reading about pirates!
Book one: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
When a map of the famed Treasure Island, which leads to Captain Flint’s legendary treasure, seemingly falls into the lap of young Jim Hawkins, he and his friends Dr. Livesey and the Squire Trelawney, embark on what appears to be a routine journey. Their adventure turns into one of fear when Jim learns of ship cook Long John Silver’s plan to kill the good men aboard.
It comes to a final standoff in which Jim learns that life is neither black nor white most times.
I'm liking Jason's sticktoitiveness! He comes back with a review of The Shack:
I finished “The Shack” by William P. Young last night on the plane.
This book has received tremendous reviews and even been compared to
“Pilgrim’s Progress”. That’s pretty high praise. The set-up is
simple. Mack experiences a horrific tragedy that brings about The
Great Sadness on his life. He decides to go visit a shack where the
events took place. Once he gets there, he meets God. Actually, he
meets all three parts of the trinity in person form. Over the next
three days, they explain to Mack the true meaning of who they are, deal
with his pain, and bring him to a new understanding of what life is all
about. Young does a good job of answering many of the questions and
addressing misconceptions about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is
all about relationships; and this book explains that well.
Now for the parts I didn’t like. First, this is a fiction book that pretends to be non-fiction. Normally, that’s ok; but with a subject this important, it feels almost subversively deceptive. Second, the writing in this book is over simplistic. I understand that Young’s goal was to be accessible to most everyone, but the style he chose bored me. Third, the framework of the narrative bothered me. Can one only come to these understandings following a tragedy? If nothing really bad ever happens to you, will you not get to commune with God? Also, the “was it real or only a dream” felt a bit trite. I almost expected someone to say, “And I’ll miss you most of all”. Of course, there had to be something about reconciling with your inadequate father. What is it with baby boomers? Fourth, there were a few issues that I felt were glossed over or ignored. The mini-discussion of hell felt almost PC. The part about there being no rules or expectations rang a bit hollow as well.
“The Shack” is a good book for new Christians or for those who feel trapped in religion and are looking for spirituality. I just wish it had been better written and more complete.
Stephanie read a cool book called Together:
Together by Tom Sullivan with Betty White
The Tru (great name BTW) has been reading a book by my favorite Arkansas Republican:
Character Makes a Difference, by Mike Huckabee
I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while now and once i started, it was hard to put it down… a large part of the book talks about how Gov. Huckabee became the governor of Arkansas and it appropriately begins in the midst of the action which is where character is revealed… it also talks a lot about the factors that effect and tend to squash the development of character in the world today, as well as Huckabee’s thoughts and policies regarding them…
I’d say that the book is a cross betwen a biography and a societal self-help book and it proved to be enjoyable and easy to read… reminded me several times of why i supported the Governor’s bid as a presidential candidate…SPREADING THE WORD
And yes, Wendy, you do get credit for a book you've read five or six times:
Can I get credit for a book that I've read at least 5 or 6 times? I did actually read this book again. I take this book with me everytime I travel. It only takes me about an hour or so to read it but I get out of it everytime I read it. Louie tells us that we were made to worship. We will worship something or someone no matter what. Some people will claim they don't worship anything but that is impossible. God made us to worship and although we may reject Him we cannot change how He made us. This book helps me get perspective on what I put on my front burner so to speak. Where do I spend my time and money? Conviction usually follows after I read this book but that's good. I was made to worship....I want to worship my Creator.