Thursday, August 20, 2009

Eat Pray Love III: Summary (Sorry it's such a quickie summary. I've got stuff I'm trying to get checked off my list, here.)

I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love. It was well-written, engaging, personable. It made we want to keep reading. It also made me want to pause so that I could digest a little of what this woman wrote.

However. I will not be keeping it. I will not be selling it used. I'll be destroying it. It's got the very worst permissive, postmodern "there are lots of roads to the top of the mountain of holiness" theology I've read in a long time. It's blasphemous. I'm not going to let it fall into anyone else's hands at could do a lot of damage.

That being said, let me list some things I really liked about this woman's writing.

1) She explains the cultures of the three places she lived during her 'year of odyssey.' It's a travel book. I love getting a peek into the minds and hearts and ways of the Italian people, and of the religious Indian people, and of the Indonesian people. They way others think and operate fascinates me, and I feel like I gained a new perspective on these people groups for reading this book.

2) I never did get why yoga-people do yoga. It's good for your body, to be sure: your balance improves, your muscle tone and your core muscles get stronger. But the religious yoga-people do yoga to increase their ability to meditate.

3) For that matter, she explains why she's so drawn to meditation and religious-yoga. She does a good job clarifying that for little old me. I'm curious, and I get to find out what the big deal is.

4) She openly shares about her struggles with loneliness and depression. She's a good writer, and she makes me feel like I could overcome them too, should they ever come knocking. She writes like she's sitting down in my living room, chatting with me like I'm her good friend.

5) She also writes with purpose. Each chapter seems haphazard as you read it, but when you look back on the structure of the book, look back on the beginning from the end, it's a brilliant book.

Summing up: if you have godly, Biblical discernment and the strength to tell truth from lies, then go ahead and read this book. It's brilliant.

Eat Pray Love II: First Sentence

This book has TWO first sentences. (Well, it actually has four.)

From the beginning of the book:
I wish Giovanni would kiss me.

From the beginning of the foreword:
When you're traveling in India--especially through holy sites and
Ashrams--you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks.

Heck, why not. From the beginning of the 2nd part of the book:
When I was growing up, my family kept chickens.

Aaaaaand from the beginning of the 3rd part of the book:
I've never had less of a plan in my life than I do upon arrival in

Eat, Pray, Love I: Why I Even Own This Book

I saw it at a garage sale. It was 75 cents. I was headed to the beach. I needed a cheap, but good, book.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Books to Blog About (or, Written but Not Documented)

The Village School
Eat, Pray, Love
Julie and Julia
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thrush Green: Quote

The hush which enveloped Thrush Green threw its spell over the excited little boy and his pace slowed down as soon as he emerged from his own garden. There was no breeze now. The bright caravans, the trees, the daisy-spangled grass of Thrush Green lay, like a painted back cloth, motionless and unreal. It was an enchanted world, doubly arresting to the child who had been house-bound for several days.

He looked, with new wonder, at the blossoming cherry tree, which overhung the low stone wall of the next-door garden. For the first time he nocited, with a thrill of joy, the delicate white flowers suspended by threadlike stalks to the black tracery of the boughs. Those threads, he realized suddenly, would dangle cherries later where the flowers now danced, and he would be able to hang them over his ears and waggle his head gently from side to side for the pleasure of feeling the firm glossy berries nudging his cheek. It was a moment of poignant discovery for young Paul , and he felt a thrill of piride as he realized that he knew now exactly how the cherries came to be. In the future they would be doubly beautiful, for he would remember the glory of that pendant snow even as he sensuously enjoyed the feel of the fruit against his face and the cool freshness in his mouth as he bit it.

Read, Miss. Thrush Green. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959. pp.87-88.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families I: First Paragraph

The first section of this book examines the lost of old-fashioned communities, the rise of an electronic community and a consumer mentality, and the influence of popular psychology. I want to explore the relationship between this family psychology and family well-being. I tell two main stories, that of my grandparents, who homesteaded on the harsh plains of Colorado in the early part of this century, and that of a family I saw recently in therapy. I'll compare these families on a variety of dimensions--their relationship to the broader culture, their tools, their media exposure, the importance of time and money and the involvement of mental health professionals in their lives.


Not exactly a scintillating story opening, is it? Well, it's not a story, it's a nonfiction by one of my favorite authors (Mary Pipher also wrote Reviving Ophelia, a book about adolescent girls). The paragraph says it all: it's a summary of what she'll write about in the first part. The book is a lot more interesting than this paragraph sounds. It's really very readable for a layperson. So, if you're intrigued by the family and how our families interact with the broader culture, you should consider reading this book for yourself.

Under the Tuscan Sun V: Recommendation

I'm glad I read this book. It's not a storybook, a fiction book, but it tells a story in the midst of the description of the narrator's cross-cultural home renovation. It talks thematically about home, longings, building and rebuilding lives. It moves from earthy topics such as eating and cooking to purely intellectual topics like 'what is home?' and 'how does place affect my self?'

Wow, this book is hard to sum up. Suffice it to say these things: 1) the book is oodles better than the movie, and 2) if you only read one travel/nonfiction book this year, let this be the one.

A is for Alibi II: Character and Recommendation.

Isn't that a brilliant first paragraph? It tells us that it's a first-person narrative, important facts about the narrator...and what the character herself thinks is important about herself.

It tells us that she killed someone recently, and sets up the plot right away. Who did she kill? Why did she say 'kill,' not 'murder?' What led up to such a terrible ending? Did her action strengthen her or harm her?

Why does she interject her recitation of herself with a description of her housing situation? We each have a standard self-decription, don't we? Why isKinsey's bookended with her cold statement that she killed someone two days ago?

Whew. Makes me want to read it! I already did, and it was a page-turner. I finished the whole book in about 4 days; I barely put it down. Even better...the plot lasts till the very last page...even to the last sentence. Good job, Sue Grafton!

I recommend it--but be warned, it was a bit too sexual for kids to read without parents' pre-assessment. (ie, I would not give it to my teenager to read.)

A is for Alibi I: First Sentence/First Paragraph

My name is Kinsey Millhone.


My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yeserday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind. I'm a nice person and I have a lot of friends. My apartment is small but I like living in a cramped space. I've lived in trailers most of my life, but latey they've been getting too elaborate for my taste, so now I live in one room, a "bachelorette." I don't have a pet. I don't have houseplants. I spend a lot of time on the road and I don't like leaving things behind. Aside for the hasards of my profession, my life has always been ordinary, uneventful, and good. Killing someone feels odd to me and I haven't quite sorted it thorugh. I've already given a statement to the police, which I initialed page by page and then signed. I filled out a similar report for the office files. The language in both documents is neutral, the teminology oblique, and neither says quite enough.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Under the Tuscan Sun IV: First Paragraph

I am about to buy a house in a foreign country. A house with the beautiful name of Bramasole. It is tall, square, and apricot-colored with faded green shutters, ancient tile roof, and an iron balcony on the second level, where ladies might have sat with their fans to watch some spectacle below. But below, overgrown briars, tangles of roses, and knee-high weeds run rampant. The balcony faces southeast, looking into a deep valley, into the Tuscan Apennines. When it rains or when the light changes, the facade of the house turns gold, sienna, ocher; a previous scarlet paint job seeps through in rosy spots lke a box of crayons left to melt in the sun. In places where the stucco has fallen away, rugged stone shows what the exterior once was. The house rises above a strada bianca, a road white with pebbles, on a terraced slab of hillside covered with fruit and olive trees. Bramasole: from bramare, to yearn for, and sole, sun: something that yearns for the sun, and yes, I do.

Under the Tuscan Sun III: First Sentence

I am about to buy a house in a foreign country.

Wuthering Heights: Why I Quit

The dialect. I quit reading because of the dialect. Bah. Humbug!

Under the Tuscan Sun II: The Choice of Place

For me, house, set in its landscape, always has been crypto-primo image land. Bachelard pushed me to realize that the houses we experience deeply take us back to the first house. In my mind, however, it's not just to the first house, but to the first concept of self. Southerners have a gene, as yet undiscovered in the DNA spirals, that causes them to believe that place is fate. Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.

Under the Tuscan Sun I

Whew! It has been a long, long time. I'm sorry. I've been reading...just not blogging about it. So sue me! Hah.

I have been reading Under the Tuscan Sun and loving it. Frances Mayes' descriptions...her vivid language, verbs, adjectives....her observtions of Italian life and consequently, American's been great.

It's nothing like the movie. I like the movie, but the movie is no Citizen Kane or Little Women. It's not a watch-again-and-again movie, if you get my drift. But the book! It's been good, good, good to read a book 'thats more setting than plot.