Thursday, January 14, 2010

Might As Well Laugh About It Now, by Marie Osmond

Never did I ever think I'd read a book written by Marie Osmond.  It's not that I don't like her, I just never really knew much about her other than who she is.  I never thought I'd be interested in her life, but, then again, I never knew much about her life.  When I think of the name Osmond, I think of the classic Christmas album my dad would play for us every year and my sister and I doing our dance routine (cartwheels included) to "Sleigh Ride".  (Good times.)

My mother-in-law called me one day and told me I had to read this book.  So, I got it from the library and it sat on my shelf, patiently waiting it's turn.  This is a book I'll never regret reading.  I loved it! After reading it, I felt like I was able to sit down with Marie, herself, and have her tell me this story from her own mouth.  It's a compilation of her memories of life growing up as an entertainer, being the daughter of her wonderful parents, the sister to her awesome brothers, the mother to her amazing children, the wife of not one, but two different husbands.  She talks about her divorces, a house fire that devoured her memories and journals and things handed down to her from her mother when she passed away, issues with her weight and therefore her perception of herself, traveling, her career.  She shares lessons learned from other people, sharing moments of triumph and defeat with friends and family, and even laughs about fainting on national television.  She talks about her charity work, her doll collections and all the while keeping her faith and focus on what's most important.

I learned so much about her, about life, love, and happiness, about not sweating the small things, about determination, and about being human and accepting yourself.  She always remembered to laugh!

This book had me laughing, tearing up, sympathizing, and determining to see my life differently.  If you are a fan of Marie or just want an uplifting book to read and make you feel good, I recommend reading this one! 

Check it out HERE!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

I love Holocaust books, if you couldn't tell, but this is the first fiction one I read... and I have to say, I'm so glad it's fiction.

This book is from the point of view of a nine year old little boy who happens to be the son of a Nazi Commandant.  They move from their house and life in Berlin to live in a place he knows as "Out-with".  He's incredibly bored to begin with and can't understand the purpose of the large fenced area he can see outside his bedroom where all are men or boys and wearing the same striped pajamas.  It's so interesting to see, from what a child's point of view would be, the things that really did happen.  One day, he ends up walking along the fence and finds a boy who soon becomes his best friend.  Everyday they meet and talk but are always seperated by the fence.  They compare their lives and the things they like and don't like and soon find they actually have a lot in common when it comes to not liking where they live and things that go on in their lives.  Well, one day the german boy's mother decides she's had enough of the place and wants to go back home to Berlin.  So, as a final goodbye, they german boy dresses in some striped pajamas his friend acquired for him and crawls under the fence to have "an exploration" and some time to play with his friend whom he will greatly miss.  After over an hour of exploring, the german boy (who's name is Bruno, by the way) decides he better be getting back home.  At that moment, soldiers start rounding up hundreds of people in the area they're standing in and marching them.  Bruno doesn't like this but is trapped in the middle of this crowd.  They are then marched into a building where it is so crammed no one can hardly move.  He tells his friend (who's name is Shmuel) that he's his best friend for life, and holds his hand, not knowing what's about to happen next.  The story ends with one more chapter saying Bruno was never heard from again.

Having read many books on this subject before, it's sad to realize what happened to him, how he was marched into a gas chamber and, of course, the rest is history.  Bruno never knows what was going on in the camp, or that it was even a camp for prisoners.  He's envious of Shmuel because, from his point of view, he has lots of friends to play with, where he has none.  He sees and dislikes the soldiers that come in and out of his house.  He definitely doesn't like being in the camp once he's there, and even feels fear seeing the things he sees there.  He doesn't understand that "the Fury" who came to dinner and gave his father this important job at "Out-with" is Hitler, nor does he know why his mother doesn't like him or his grandmother, for that matter.  The innocence of a child is greatly portrayed in this touching story, and it opened my eyes to yet another point of view of this horrific time in history.

Reading this, I'd like to find a book from a Nazi's point of view, or even a german's point of view who went along with all of this to avoid death themselves. 

I can't tell you why I'm so fascinated with this, but I am just the same.  This book was definitely a good one, and, even though it's fiction, still gives an accurate account of what happened to so many people.  I love that it was from the view of a child, of innocence.  It was written well and reads quickly.  If you're interested in the Holocaust, this is definitely one I'd add to your mind's library.

For a different review and perspective, click the link above or here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My, oh, my! Christmas in April!

April 6, that is!!!

Richard Paul Evans is releasing his newest book, The Walk, this April 6th and I am just giddy! Usually, we RPE fans have to wait till October, give or take... but not this year, baby! Woohoo!

Check it out, here.  You can even read the first chapter.  And what's even more exciting, is that's it's the first of a series.  That is just so fantastically awesome!

Ahem.  Now back to life.  ;)

You've probably noticed...

I sort of abandoned the idea of finishing The Worst Hard Time.... it was due back at the library, anyway. 

It wasn't that it wasn't good, it truly was, I just got to reading other books and the zest for what happened next just left me. 

If you didn't know, it's about the Great American Dust Bowl, something I didn't care to learn about in school when I had the opportunity.  This book is a great way to learn about it because not only does it give the facts, it gives real people's perspective on what happened and how it affected them.  What I did read was so very shocking.  The way people basically robbed the land of all it's goodness then wondered why the severe dust storms were happening just blows me away.  Some of the dust storms started in OK and KS and blew as far as New York and even out to ships 400 yards into the sea.  Amazing, really.  What also baffled my brain is how this country suffered.  What it all boiled down to was someone was too greedy to lower their prices until no one had money to spend and all suffered greatly.  I fear that's where this country is headed even now, but to those who are prepared, no worries, I guess.  I found it interesting that banks took people's savings money and invested it, losing it all, of course, in the stock market crash.  It really was the worst hard time for America... a time I see us heading into again, if things don't start changing for the better.  *sigh*

One thing's for sure, my family and I are going to get some food into storage, money in our own safe keeping, and stay close to the Lord.  I don't want to be unprepared, that's for sure.

It's a very fascinating book... I hope no one uses the fact that I didn't finish against it.  In fact, now that I'm typing this, I'm going to put it on my list to re-check out and finish, because it really was a good read.  It didn't read like a history book, as it was the story of those who survived the Great American Dust Bowl. 

My mom used to say that those who don't learn their history are doomed to repeat it... this book is something we all should learn from, in my opinion.

On to the next!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

This book was nothing short of amazing.  I loved it so much, I'm going to obtain my very own copy - and I don't do that with just any book.  I'm a library girl unless the book is RPE or something worth reading more than once.  This is definitely one of those books. 

As a Christian myself, this book meant a lot to me.  I have read several Holocaust survivor books before, but none of them came close to this one.  Yes, they were sad and it's unimaginable that someone could be filled with such hate and do such horrific things to other humans and it's beyond incredible that someone could actually survive that, but this woman and her family, her sister, especially, gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "triumphing over evil".  The most recent survivor book I read, the man turned his back on God.  This woman's faith and the faith of her family is so awesome.  She managed to see the smallest and sometimes most ugly things as blessings.  I'd like to think I have the ability to see the good in the bad, but going through what this woman and so many others went through, I wonder if I would still be able to come out of it with as strong a spirit? This woman did, and so much more did she accomplish in her life, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all.

Corrie ten Boom's story takes place in Haarlam, Holland, where she and her family live and own/run a watch/clock repair shop.  As the germans start to take over parts of Europe, including her part, she finds herself becoming the hub of an underground operation aiding the flight and hiding of many Jews.  She and her family have a special love for God's "chosen people" and have no hesitation in doing this great and dangerous work.  After a while, they're found out and are arrested.  She goes from prison to prison, somehow never being seperated from her sister, and finally ends up in a concentration camp.  She experiences the direst of circumstances but meets and befriends many along the way while sharing the word of God.  The miracles she encounters and the prayers she's been answered can only strengthen one's testimony that God's hand truly is in all things.  Even when Corrie fails to see Divine intervention (which was rare), her sister never fails to remind her.  I loved how things weren't so much a matter of faith with them, but a matter of fact.  It truly is an inspirational book and will stick with you and perhaps even strengthen your own spirit while giving you a strong dose of perspective.

If you haven't read it, do.  It's worth it.  You'll not regret it, I promise.