Review: While I Was Gone

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This book is one for people who love Boston and Massachusetts.

This is also a book that was selected for Oprah’s Book Club years ago.  Again, in my own list of I-finally-got-around-to-it.

This is a coming of middle age life story.  The narrator, Jo, is forced to confront her past when someone from her past shows up in an unexpected context with shocking secrets revealed at the end.

This is a very calm book.  Jo calmly goes through her personal past and her current life.  We all know someone like Jo, perhaps Jo is you reading this.  I didn’t find her hateful or likable, just Jo.  Jo could be anyone.

A great book for settling yourself down into bed.

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Something in pre-motion….

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

This should be your pre-motion, premonition every-single-day of your life.

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

Say it again: Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

Whether or not you believe in God, religion, higher powers, you are still here…..

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

I am alive.  I exist.  I am breathing.  I have a purpose.  I have people who support me.

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

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Review: Jack and Jill

A local high school was giving this away in their Little Free Library.  I was shocked and saddened to see they cleaned this one out.

This book is by Louisa May Alcott, the same author who wrote Little Women.

Jack and Jill, in this story, get into a sledding accident and the book goes through their year of recovery and how it changes their lives and how people around them react to their tragedy.

It’s a very calming, charming, well-written book about preteens and all of their shenanigans.  Jack and Jill aren’t the only ones who get into and find themselves in a bit of trouble.  There is plenty for boys to read about, and identify with, as well.

I’m surprised I haven’t seen this one on any reading lists.  Preteens can identify with the characters and Alcott’s prose is top notch.

Get a copy and share with the preteens in your life.

Review: Fifth Business

Don’t look up information before you write a review.  Yet I did find out Tokyo Police Club wrote a song based on this book.

Ramsay, the protagonist of Fifth Business, could be Everyman and Anyperson except that historical and world events move through his life and become up close and personal.

Fifth Business is a story that no matter how much we don’t believe that we impact people’s lives around us, we find out about it at the weirdest moments and when we least expect to. Then at some point everything will come to a head and perhaps not the way we expect. It’s also about belief, love, being yourself, being part of something and being part of other people’s lives.

This book talks a lot about magic and has a magic all of it’s own.

Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

For mature audiences only and for those that can handle tough issues and graphic portrayals.

The copy of this book that I found contains notes and a lot of highlights.  I’m wondering if someone, or two, used this for a class or book group, or both.  Finding scribbles and highlights is fascinating because it shows what other people reading the same thing latched onto during the reading.

In today’s day and age, Michael’s relationship with Hannah would be treated as a major crime, the setting for a show like Law and Order’s Special Victim’s Unit.  Olivia Benson would be on the case of a woman having an affair with a teenager half of her age.

This book could only take place in the setting that it does.  Everyone has secrets to hide yet justice is being handed out on a continual basis.

I just wonder for a country like Germany that has forced and compulsory state sanctioned education, just like the United States and a few other countries, how someone like Hannah would have fallen through the cracks and would have never learned to read or write, even functional literacy.  That is the major gap that is left by having the story from only Michael’s point-of-view.  He says that Hannah would never answer his questions.

Having worked with English Learners and with clients who can read barely beyond a second or third grade level as adults, Hannah’s complete lack of anything really makes me wonder.  Did the system just pass her along, so to speak, as happens today even though not many people are willing to discuss the subject.  Did she come from a poor family that the system missed somewhere?  Who knows?  It is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hannah preyed on Michael and the feeling seemed to go the other way as well.  No one is a good guy in this story.  Heartbreaking in some ways, yes, but these are two imperfect human beings.

Daily Prompt: Snack

via Daily Prompt: Snack

Snacks are good.  Snacks are bad.  What makes a snack good or bad?  When it takes the place of a meal?  When it becomes a meal?  When you use snack food to count as a meal?

I hate all of the snack food packaging more than I hate the idea of a snack.  The British have it right with a 4 p.m. tea time.  How did earlier societies and cultures do without snack food and this idea of a snack?  Was the concept always there but in different forms?  Maybe I’ve read too many books and stories about war time, yet no one makes mention of snacks and snacking.

Some people say small meals are the way to go, others say no.  Even doctors and nutritionists can’t seem to make up their minds about meal vs. snack.

An apple to take the edge off of hunger is my view of a snack.  A bag of chips is not.  Yet chips are always cheaper than a single apple in some stores.

“I’ll have a snack” seems to be a very deadly thought and statement in the English language.  Cutting out the sugar, the ice cream, and the late eating helps curb the want for snacks in my experience.  When I say sugar, I mean the processed, the natural sugars in fruit and vegetables that our bodies are made to absorb.  Exercising helps as well.

And sometimes snacks seem to make you more hungry.

I still vote for tea time.

Strawberry Moon

The full strawberry moon is out tonight.  A full moon is always awesome to watch as it rises in the sky every 28 days.

The superstitions surrounding full moons are many yet I find working two or three days after a full moon are usually worse than the full moon itself.

All creatures seem to stir more with a full moon.  The moon tugs at the Earth more than we as humans seem to realize sometimes.

Someone I know has been watching for the horseshoe crabs coming up on shore.  I wonder if the Native Americans watched for them.  In all of the research I’ve done, I’ve never found anything about native Americans and horseshoe crabs.  Are there any stories or legends that have been preserved about them in Native American mythology and oral traditions?  Horseshoe crabs were named so by the colonists due to their shape. What did they think of these creatures as they came up on the beaches?

These are some of the questions I’ve been pondering watching the full moon rise.