Friday, June 6, 2014

Questions About Happiness

I wanted to ask you some questions about happiness, as related to an earlier post:

  1. How do you feel/find joy in your journey?
  2. Is finding joy in the journey something you have to work at - one that you have to concentrate on everyday? If so, what techniques do you employ?
  3. What do you do to empower your faith?
  4. Do you feel that searching for happiness is counterproductive? Why or why not?

I would love to hear from you.

Book Review: I Need More Time to Read!

It got to the point that I would rather read a book than have a conversation with my sweetheart. My dishes piled in the sink (which is actually my worst pet peeve), important documents and such laid on the kitchen table for days with no regard (bills, what are those?), and my back hurt from all the positions I tried in order to get comfortable so I could read for hours on end. Yes, I love reading. And no, I haven't discovered how I can get the most out of reading unless I lock myself in my room and read for hours on end. 

Once I discover the secret, I will tell you. Unless you have already figure it out. Have you?

Here is my book review for the past two months:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - 5*
I love this book. It opened my mind to what someone who has cancer might feel. I was pleased with the character development, humor, and realness of the story. I pondered the author's note and have to admit, it put a bad taste in my mouth. I thought, just let me believe what I want to believe. I questioned whether or not the statement was intended to stop fan mail inquiring about the realness of the, I guess I can understand that. It was also apparent that this notion, or bias, made it into the story. I feel that while real and valid, it came across as pompous.

Otherwise, I enjoyed his character's pros about life and what it means to feel fulfilled, what each person thinks their value is to society, and how a teenager might react to deep rooted beliefs when 'doomed' from the beginning. I have no doubt I would have challenged my belief system knowing I was born to die a potentially early death.

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt - 3.5*
It was fun to be a teenager again when I read this book. I loved the premise of a teenager doing away with technology in response to her boyfriend who cheated on her with an online girl, and as a way to heal. The story line was clever and witty. I really got into the book, seeing that one of my dreams is to be a consignment/antique dealer. I would love to own a store! In that way, I loved it. The characters were well developed. Sometimes I was lost from chapter to chapter, and I had to make some assumptions in order to make the story feel more smooth. However, I have found this phenomenon (jumping) in Young Adult fiction, so it may be a common denominator in this genre. Perhaps due to our ADHD society??

The Titan's Curse (book 3 of the Percy Jackson series) by Rick Riordan - 3.5*
I love the Percy Jackson series. I have started looking up the different Gods and Goddesses to understand their powers and dominion. It would be nice if the book had an index of these different characters and their roles. As mentioned before, I have a hard time with how adults present a young person's behavior and reactions. Sometimes I felt that Percy was portrayed more like a 6 year old rather than a 14-16 year old. But, I only know how I was at that age, not how boys are - so I can't say. I loved the story line, but felt that the development of the story was shortened because of the timeline of events (days). 

There was too much too fast. I felt this way about The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis. I think if the development and speed were more tied together, I would have liked it more. The book was also a little predictable - key words and phrases to introduce the plot turns and twists were a little too noticeable, but perhaps this was done for the real demographic of the book series.

Out to Canaan (book 4 in the Mitford series) by Jan Karon - 5*
I thoroughly enjoy this series. I like how in the past several books, I have escaped into this wonderful little town, and have become my own character in the book. The characters have come to life for me. I find myself wishing the best for them, rooting them on during turbulent moments, wishing and praying that there were more people like Tim Kavanaugh, who only sees the good in people (even in his nemesis..on occasion).

The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland - 5*
Fantastic series. In the end, I was sad for our dear Josephine. The period dramatizations led me to explore this era even more - I ended up learning more about Marie Antoinette. While it may have been fiction, I appreciated the referenced dates and timeline. The character of Josephine throughout the entire series remained fluid and within controlled dimensions - in fact, all Gulland's characters were well characterized and never stepped out of their individual spheres.

Recently my friend posed the question of what books she should read. I copied down the responses to her query and have included them in this blog post. In addition, the BBC often has great recommendations on books, although I personally exercise a screening test based on the book description. Here is that list. My apologies if some things are spelled wrong:

1. Seabiscuit - Hildebrandt
2. Unbroken – Hildebrandt
3. Monkey Wrench Gang – Edward Abbey
4. Wrenched: The Legacy of the Monkey Wrench Gang
5. The Other Typist: Suzanne Rindell
6. Orphan Master’s Son: Adam Johnson
7. The Alladin factor: Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen
8. Thorn birds: Colleen McCullough 
9. Gone with the Wind: Margaret Mitchell
10. Art of Racing in the Rain: Garth Stein 
11. Glass Castle: A Memoir 
12. These is my Words: Nancy Turner 
13. The shoe makers wife: Adriana Trigiani
14. The rent collector: Camron Wright
15. The historian: Elizabeth Kostova
16. The crocodile on the sandbank: Elizabeth Peters
17. Bartimaues series: Jonathan Stroud
18. Tasha Alexander's series
a. The Counterfeit Heiress
b. Behind the Shattered Glass
c. Death in the Floating City
d. And only to Deceive
19. The Name of the Wind: Patrick Rothfuss
20. Mistborn: Brandon Sanderson
21. Wheel of Time series: Robert Jordan
22. Blackmoore: Julianne Donaldson
23. Mortal instruments series: Cassandra Clare
a. City of Heavenly Fire
b. City of Bones
c. City of Lost Souls
24. Fabric of the World: Lee Hardy
25. Memoirs of an imagery friend: Matthew Dicks

27. Storyteller: Jodi Picouit