Archive for the ‘book recommendations’ Category

Owen Meany cover

THE LIBRARY texted me: “Materials due soon.”
I was only on disc 13 out of 22 of the audiobook version
of John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”

Turns out you can’t renew materials when there’s a waiting list.
I am sympathetic –
I was on that waiting list a year –
but when there are 22 discs
and you have only a short commute to work,
it can take some time to get through.

I wrestled over this,
whether to keep the audiobook and pay the fine
OR return it and read the rest of the book the old-fashioned way.
After all, there are TWO copies on my bookshelf.

(Can you believe I waited a year when there were two copies in the house? I have no defense, Your Honor.)

Now that I’m completely hooked,
maybe I will pick up the actual book and read it.

B-u-t I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
so I decide to be a scofflaw.
I decide to keep the audiobook until I’m done with it and that’s that.

I drove to the library after work on Thursday to return it,
but the school next door was about to let out
and the street was crowded with people picking kids up
and there was traffic, which we never have here –
an honest-to-goodness 4 car back-up at the red light –
and all the parking was taken up by minivans.
I took this all as a sign to hold on to Owen a little longer.

When you are looking for a sign your choice is right,
almost anything will do,
have you noticed?

But now
Owen has gone back.
Turns out 15 cents is the tipping point,
the deciding factor in whether to be a scofflaw or not.
The fine for overdue books is $.10/day,
but the fine for audiobooks is $.25/day.
And since, as a matter of policy,
I had already decided
if I was going to keep Owen Meany,
I was keeping him all the way to the end,
which could be another 2-4 weeks,
I was compelled to return him let Wally return him
on his way to an evening meeting.

Owen wasn’t overdue even a single day.

Ten cents is one thing; 25 is another.
But it wasn’t the cost so much as
I couldn’t bear running up a fine that high
and having it be a matter of public record . . .
. . . in case I should ever run for public office. :-)

All of this is my way of saying what a fabulous book this is.

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Little Black Sheep
I read Ashley Cleveland’s memoir,
“Little Black Sheep”
and felt she was sitting next to me,
telling the story.

So many things she wrote
I heard Ma say,
like how all she could think about
for so many years
was how to get a drink.

“Nobody understands what that’s like,” Ma said.

I would say to Ma,
“You should write that down somewhere,”
but Ma couldn’t commit to paper
stuff she wished wasn’t true about her.

“But if you write it,
someone may read it one day
and feel less alone.”

* * *

I think of all the people
with a story they wish wasn’t true
and how the words in their head,
“Nobody will ever want to read about this”
keep them from writing it.

And I hope they all find a way.

I’m writing from 6 to 8 AM these days and get more done than I did when I had all day. Go figure. :-)

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Really Good Book

WE ARE ENJOYING the book Love Does by Bob Goff. Our Care Group is going to go through it together beginning next week and I’ve been shamelessly quoting sections to anyone who will listen. You might like it!

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In my fantasy life, I am an illustrator. :-)
Since I have no talent for it, I enjoy the work of others.

All from this book . . .

WHEN THE WORLD IS READY FOR BED by Gillian Shields. Illustrations by Anna Currey. Published 2009 by Bloomsbury USA. A book I could read again and again.

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The Hundred Dresses

I FELL IN LOVE with a story and its illustrations last week.

Images from the book “The Hundred Dresses” by Eleanor Estes. Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. Published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1944.

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“Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers..”

* * *

WISH I HAD A QUARTER for every time someone offered to help cure me! :-)

THANK YOU to Susan Cain for writing this book. I intend to pick up a copy tomorrow and I expect it to be right up there with Rumors of Water as far as professional development goes.

Click HERE to read more of the NPR interview with Susan Cain, author of “Quiet, Please: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.”

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OUR SMALL GROUP is working through Max Lucado’s “Out Live Your Life.” This week’s homework is to think of 5 people to whom we need to extend grace. We won’t be called upon to share details or names with the group.

Count me in.

#1 and #2 pop right to mind. The usual suspects. We all have them. But heading home Thursday evening, I wonder who the other 3 will turn out to be. I know I won’t have to think too hard. They’ll be brought to my attention in due time.

#3 Next morning, a new friend I’m liking more and more all the time keeps flitting through my thoughts. To my surprise, I find I am beginning to harbor an ill feeling. Lately I am taking note of every time the person does a certain thing. Now if it was some other person doing the very same thing and giving the same reason for it, I would not only let it go, but I would also feel compassion and sympathy. So why am I holding the hoops higher for my friend? Hmmm.

#4 comes while running errands and finding, as I go, the loop in my head keeps replaying a scene from several weeks ago when I bumped into an acquaintance. Something in the encounter seemed “off.” Since then, my imagination has been filling in the blanks. Another “Ah!” and I know it’s time to stop assuming I know the cause and resenting the person for what I perceive to be the issue. In other words, I need to extend grace. Also, if the opportunity arises and it seems appropriate, to ask.

#5 still hangs out there as the new week begins. But then, an unexpected call comes, and just as I pick up, I can feel an inner “Ugh.” Before a word is spoken or heard, before my hello or the hello that comes back at me, I’m already ugh-ing this exchange. I’m expecting a complaint. No complaint comes. Just wait, I think. Just wait until the next call. Uh-huh. I’ve got my #5.

Thanks to Belinda. Her post about what her group is studying reminded me of all this.

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