#5 of 52:We Should Hang Out Sometime (Embarrassingly, a True Story) by Josh Sundquist

book
Love my flannel pants. So comfy.

My daughter is not particularly crazy about reading, a fact that I take with a grain of salt since she’s an exceptional student. I feel like that makes up for my utter disappointment that she will never know the infinite pleasures of reading. But this doesn’t mean that I haven’t done everything in my power to browbeat her into literary submission. One of the many things that I have done in the past and the most obvious one, I would imagine, is that I have purchased a fair amount of books for her; all of which she personally selected. I think there are a total of thirty or so books in her room of which she has read a total of one. Her primary excuse for not reading for pleasure is that she already has to read mandatory books for school. Just so you have an idea of how these conversations typically transpire, here is our conversation from last Sunday night:

Me: What can I possibly do to get you to read more? I’ve even offered to pay you.

Her: I dunno. Get me audio books?

Me: That’s not reading. (Insert eye roll)

Her: Listen, I WISH I enjoyed reading if not for any other reason, I wish I loved it just so that I could get you off my back. But the reality is that I already HAVE to read a slew of truly crappy books for school. Right now we’re reading the Lord of the Flies and every time I open it a piece of me dies. It’s the WORST book EVER!!!!

Me: Hahahaha! You’re so dramatic. Fine! Be that way. Then I guess I’ll start reading your books so they won’t go to waste. I’ll let you know whether they’re any good.

Her: Excellent! You do that. Wanna read Lord of the Flies for me?

Me: No. I already have. And I concur, it is indeed a crappy book. Stop being lazy and hop to it.

Her: (Tips-over on her side, slowly melts backwards off my bed and lethargically drags herself out of my room, all the while complaining.) I haaaaaaaate school!!

bear
What she looked like as she left my room. Ha!

And this, my friends, is precisely how I ended up reading We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist. As implied earlier, this is a teenybopper book. I kept having to remind myself of that fact. We Should Hang Out Sometime is a true story about a twenty-five year old single man that retrospectively analyzes his many failed quasi-romantic relationships. In this book he tells the stories of six failed attempts at love and one final successful one; though not mentioned in this book, I am fairly certain he may have attempted to date more than seven girls. Josh is a cancer survivor and an amputee as a consequence of the aforementioned. He had to have a leg amputated when he was ten years old.

So…here’s the deal. This critique is about the book and ONLY the book. I do not pretend to know the author. The book was okay. It had it’s funny moments and I loved the quirky graphs that were inserted sporadically throughout the book. A couple of times I even chuckled out loud.

graph

In spite of the few funny moments, there was plenty of content in the book that made me extraordinarily uncomfortable. Yes, I did intend to say “extraordinarily”. It was that painful to read at times. I often cringed and gasped out loud. That’s how awkward it was. I’m not sure if the author was intentionally embellishing for comedic purposes or if he was being naively, fiercely candid. Either way, it made for an uncomfortable read. If he was embellishing for comedic effect then it was agonizingly obvious and therefore lost its effectiveness because it felt contrived. If, on the other hand, he was truly being brutally honest then it STILL made for an uncomfortable read because of his failed attempt to veil his insecurities with affected bombastic humor.

And by the way, this book is not about love. It’s about an amputated leg. The entire book revolves around the missing leg. He tries to blame all of his romantic misfortunes on his insecurities about his missing leg. But if you read the book, you’ll notice the missing leg or the insecurity about it is not what kept him single for so long. It was his complete inability to relate on a personal level. He over-analyzed the heck out of every situation whether it was minimal or significant. He memorized the names of every person in his year book so that he could greet them by name. He wrote down speaking notes prior to calling girls. He mentions on more than one occasion “She made a face that I could not read”. He planned and timed “serendipitous” encounters in order to meet a girl that he had essentially been stalking for months. He was unable to keep simple conversation. He got nervous and completely shut down at the sight of a girl that he liked. The list of examples of his social awkwardness is long…

He was easily embarrassed by pretty much anything. Based on his reactions to people mentioned in the book, he leads the reader to understand that he was very emotionally fragile while painstakingly displaying relentless self-deprecating humor to deter from the real issues. Unfortunately, he somehow always managed to make it worse by doing something socially awkward that would draw more attention to his social ineptitude. For example, he spent one summer calling a woman once a day for sixty days! Holy guacamole! Sixty phone calls???? And that was AFTER she had already said she wasn’t interested. One would think he would have possibly gotten the message after I dunno…the third unanswered phone call?!

Finally, the most uncomfortable part of the book was the heavy dose of self-pity which I really struggled to understand. You see, I had had a little “boyfriend” one summer while at horse camp when I was eleven years old. He too was an amputee. He was missing his right arm. But he was the coolest kid in our group. He was very confident and had no issues addressing the non-issue about his missing arm. If people asked him about it, he’d show them the stub and tell them the story about how he had lost it to cancer. He would even show off the fact that what was left of his arm was surprisingly strong. He had so much strength. He was a skilled equestrian. I was his little girlfriend but not first without putting up a good fight to thwart off another five contenders.I’m telling you. He was popular because he had realized early on that the everything else that he had to offer overshadowed the fact that he had one arm less than most.

Thankfully the book ended with a success story. I needed it because I was already hallucinating that  Joni Mitchell was playing in the background and that I was battling through a recent bad break-up (which I wasn’t). Ha! I felt bad for the guy but not as much as he did. Like I said, thankfully it all worked out but getting there was harrowing. I gave the book three stars on Goodreads. I’d say, leave this one for the teenyboppers. I’m sure they’d love it.

Much love,

Globetrotter Momma

 

 

 

#4 of 52: Silence by Shusaku Endo

silence

Silence by Shusaku Endo tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who go on a mission to Japan to find their mentor and fellow priest who has recently apostatized. The main character is a priest by the name of Sebastian Rodrigues (played byAndrew Garfield in the movie). Father Francisco Garrpe, played by Adam Driver in the movie, is his companion. Together they set off to find Father Christovao Ferreira, played by Liam Neeson in the movie, to discover if in fact he has apostatized. But more importantly, they set out to discover why he had taken such an unexpected change of heart if in fact he had committed such an unthinkable spiritual infraction. From the elementary first two pages of the book, Shusaku prematurely divulges precisely why the Japanese had recently developed an aversion to the religion of the Portuguese interlopers, “The greater part of the Chinese show no interest in our teaching. On this point Japan is undoubtedly, as Saint Francis Xavier said, ‘the country in the Orient most suited to Christianity’. However, ironically enough, as a result of the Japanese government’s forbiding ships of its own country to go to foreign lands, the monopoly of the silk trade in the whole Far East has now fallen into the hands of the Portuguese merchants in Macao so that the total income of this import is expected to rise to four hundred seraphim as opposed to one hundred seraphim last year and the year before.”

This book is two hundred and twelve pages long. Typically, a book this short would take me three to four days to read if I were interested. If it fascinates me then it takes me a couple of days to read. It took me twelve days to get through this book. It was a slow and cruel torture. When a book has been made into a movie, I like to watch the movie first since it almost always falls short of the distinction of the book. This was not the case with Silence. But then again, I’m sure you’re thinking that this was to be expected since it is a Martin Scorsese film. The movie was beautiful, calamitous, nostalgic and affecting. The book however reads more as one incessant and unnecessarily prolonged whining session. The author spends an exhaustive amount of time describing wooden prison cells in excruciating detail. How much could one possibly say about four wooden walls with a mud floor???? He does the same with smells, sounds and food; almost to the point of making me think he may have had OCD. He insisted on describing dried fish on numerous occasions.

Shusaku also has a bizarre obsession with feces. He turns the repugnant act of relieving oneself or the final result itself almost into a ingenue all of its own. He describes feces in full detail in five important scenes in the book. Why this mania? I’m not sure about other readers but for me, it was off-putting to have to relive the full description more than once. I get it! The surrounding environment and circumstances were deplorable. Understood! Why did he feel compelled to characterize the warmth of excrement with such peculiarity??? It was just one of many irritating distractions in this book. The other was that of one of the supporting characters, Kichijiro. He was a Japense man turned Christian who could not seem to stop apostatizing for the sake of saving his life. Just like the feces served as the means to repeatedly describe the unavoidable filth and rashness of the impoverished land and people , Kichijiro’s character too was used to drive a point well past painfully obvious. The point being that of a man’s struggle between keeping one’s faith or saving one’s neck. After awhile, I unwittingly superficially read over the parts where he was mentioned out of sheer disinterest. The point had been sufficiently made after the first two times that he had apostatized. “Men are born in two categories: the strong and the weak, the saints and the commonplace, the heroes and those who respect them. In time of persecution the strong are burnt in the flames and drowned in the sea; but the weak, like Kichijiro, lead a vagabond life in the mountains.”

Father Sebastian Rodrigues faced a painful struggle in this book between remaining faithful to the Man that he had spent his entire life loving more than life itself and having to abandon all belief for the sake of saving the lives of the persecuted Japanese Christians.He was more than willing to die for his faith but was never given the option. The Japanese magistrate refused to make him a martyr. Besides, he didn’t want to put him out of his misery. He wanted to break him and make an example of him. This battle between these two opposing forces starts to take a toll on Rodrigues’ faith. “I myself do not quite understand. Only that today, when for the glory of God Mokichi and Ichizo moaned, suffered and died, I cannot bear the monotonous sound of the dark sea gnawing at the shore. Behind the depressing silence of the sea, the silence of God…the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with folded arms, silent.” “No, no! I shook my head. If God does not exist, how can man endure the monotony of the sea and its cruel lack of emotion? (But supposing…of course, supposing, I mean.) From the deepest core of my being yet another voice made itself heard in a whisper. Supposing God does not exist…”

praying
My sentiment exactly. I actually prayed, “Dear Lord, please help me get through this book.” Ha!

The book gets good halfway through. Then there is another painful lull three quarters of the way through to the end. There is some interesting banter between the magistrate, Inoue, persecuting the Christians and Father Rodrigues which reads more like a riddle than simple banter. This part is entertaining. And the message of the story truly is beautiful which would have been heightened if only the author could have made the book more interesting. But there are so many points about this book that weaken it’s potential. The author excessively uses the word “however” to transition from ending  one point to move onto another. He repeatedly says that the characters smile in a “servile” manner. Certain birds and insects such as flies are used in scenes as trite depictions of an impending doom. They always appear right before Rodrigues receives more bad news or is put through another trial. Once you pick up on it after the second time, all the other times simply drain the mystery out of the next part of the story. The story finally becomes interesting when Father Ferreira appears and explains in full detail why he apostatized. But then, the story suddenly ends in a most uninteresting, dull and vacuous fashion. Martin Scorsese however, was having none of it and wrote a few small differences into his storyline which made a world of difference for driving the point of the movie to its culmination.

To sum it up, rent the movie. Scorsese makes a few minimal changes but does an impressive job of managing to stay true to the story while making it more interesting. Andrew Garfield’s performance will floor you. I know I never thought Spiderman was capable of such great acting! The book, in my humble opinion, isn’t worth it. Though it did have a few good lines it really didn’t live up to all the hype that Mr. Scorsese offered in an interview that I had watched on YouTube. HOWEVER, there is a big however here that must be mentioned (pun intended, Shusaku loves “however(s)”)…I have been known to not enjoy a book in my day that I have picked up again a year or two later only to finally fall in love with it the second time around. Perhaps this too will be the fate of Silence by Shusaku Endo. In the meantime, I highly recommend you watch the movie. Enjoy!

 

Much love,

Globetrotter Momma

 

 

 

#3 of 52: If not for the Grace of God by Joyce Meyer

grace-of-god

Whenever I have a rough day, I tend to remember certain bible verses or excerpts from books that have impacted me. Sometimes I remember the words well; other times, I remember them vaguely. For some reason, I’m more adept at remembering where in the book the message is located. I know…odd. Either way, when I get home I open up that particular book to help refresh my memory. I like to jot down my observations afterwards so that I can retrospectively reflect on them in the future. Today was such a day and the book that came to mind was one that I had finished earlier this month, If not for the Grace of God by Joyce Meyer. Reading Christian faith based material is my vice. I usually read one history book, one current events book or novel (though rarely) and two or three Christian faith based books per month. Reading a couple of Christian books per month provides just enough palliation needed to keep me grounded.

My grandmother always told me never to make a promise I couldn’t keep because as soon as I made it I would be expected to keep my word. She explained that if I were unable to keep my promise then I would lose all credibility and my word would be perceived as being meaningless; therefore, tarnishing my image. A month ago, I was put in a position where I had to back someone else’s promise. I was involved by default due to the nature of our relationship. That person reneged on the promise and left me empty handed to deal with the would-be recipient; making me in turn, look capricious and doltish. I was embarrassed. But the matter was entirely out of my hands. So…I became frustrated with the situation.

My initial reaction was to call one of my friends for a futile nagging session. Oh please, as if you wouldn’t. You know what I’m talking about! LOL But then I remembered that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop gossiping. But more importantly, my second most important New Year’s resolution other than this blog challenge is to stop complaining. Oh but sometimes it’s just so necessary even though one NEVER feels better after complaining. I resisted the urge and instead decided I’d pray about it. As soon as I got in my car, I started with “Dear Lord, help me control my mouth and the urge to tell off my friend…blah blah blah blah….” And then it hit me. I was complaining. Ugh! I miserably failed that test! Then I started remembering Joyce’s book and how she described the Holy Spirit as a person in If not for the Grace of God. She described Him as One in whom we should confide and rely on. “The Holy Spirit is a gift from God bestowed upon us by His grace, requested by us in prayer, and received by us through the channel of faith. His multiple role as Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby can be summarized by saying that His purpose is to get right in the middle of our lives and make them all work out for the glory of God.” And she was right, so yes, even though I was complaining, I WAS complaining to the Only One in whom I should be confiding rather than going out into the world looking for a willing listener and for answers. He is the ultimate Counselor and Fixer of all problems.

grace-of-god-notes

I love reading Joyce Meyer books. They’re uncomplicated, personal and ameliorating. They’re delectable serviceable light reads. She has no formal higher education yet possesses an exceptional ability to explain the Word of God. She has a truly remarkable ability to explain complicated biblical concepts such as grace; not academically complicated but rather spiritually complicated to comprehend. That is precisely why I picked up this book again today. I never really understood the meaning of receiving God’s grace. How? Why? Or why me? God knows I’ve messed up enough times in my life to not deserve it. Joyce explains it best, “Grace equals unmerited favor, His favor.” “It is hard to give credit to God when we think that we deserve whatever we receive from Him. It is hard not to give credit to God when we know that we do not deserve anything we receive from Him. It is also hard to worry when we know that it is not by worry but by grace that all our needs are supplied.”

As Joyce so kindly reminds us in this book, “You and I cannot expect God to intervene on our behalf in a situation if we are constantly grumbling, fault-finding, nit-picking and being jealous and envious…There is also no way to receive God’s grace while seeking sympathy from others or fellowshipping with self-pity. God will heal our wounds if we do not seek others to nurse them.” So I told Him my plight and left it in His hands knowing that He’ll take care of it because of His grace bestowed upon me. Now all I have to do is sit back and let Him handle it on His terms and at His pace. I gave it to Him but not first without thinking of the most important words in this book, “Often we are told that we must keep our faith on the line, that we must keep believing that what we need we are going to get by faith. But if we are not careful we can get our eyes fastened on the blessing rather than on the Lord. There is a fine line here. We must be very careful that we seek the Lord’s face and not His hand. He wants us to seek Him, and not just what He can do for us.” Yes! This book is so good!

If not for the Grace of God was even more helpful today than the first time I picked it up to read it. I loved this book from the moment I started it. I gave it five stars on Goodreads. I highly recommend it to everyone. Let me know if you get a chance to read it. I’d love to hear from you. Enjoy!

 

Much love,

Globetrotter Momma

 

 

#2 of 52: How to Think Like Einstein by Daniel Smith

einstein

According to my Goodreads account, I actually finished reading this book on January 13th, 2017. I started reading it sometime in October or November of last year…lost interest…picked it up again in December while on vacation…lost interest again. This lack of determination and decisiveness is not indicative of the quality of the book. It’s simply how I read. It happens to me all of the time. I’ll buy a book fully intending to read it as soon as I get home. Sometimes I really do read it on the spot. Other times, I will put it down only to pick it back up weeks, months or even years later. It could be that it simply isn’t resonating with me in that particular moment. While I may not find it very interesting the first time around, the second, third or fourth time around I may finally think it’s the best book ever. It really depends on my frame of mind, current events, level of interest in that topic at that particular time, whether I’m in the thralls of another book that has captured my attention or whether it’s the kind of book that’ll take my mind off of something else that’s going on.

Such was the case with this book. I even took it with me to North Carolina during Christmas break to try and “get into it” as they say. But it didn’t work. I was in a different frame of mind when I was up there. I was primarily focused on hiking and didn’t fit in too much time for reading which is rare for me. Clearly, at the time, I needed to hike more than I needed to read. I went hiking almost everyday. Taking a little break from reading was so worth it. My surroundings were so beautiful and I wanted to take it all in by being as present as possible.

image-1
View from our breakfast table at the hotel.

When we finally got back home, I picked up the book again and finally read it. Ultimately, the book is entertaining though not groundbreaking. It’s more of a brief biography than an actual expository narrative on how to actually think like Einstein. It talks about his younger formative years, his education, his failed initial conjectures, his life in Europe, his accomplishments, his political inclinations and his move to the United States of America. Had it not been for the titles given to each chapter, I would never have understood the author’s intent to use the aforementioned as step-by-step lessons beyond what was clearly simply more biographical narrative. The chapters’ titles were great but the content that followed was somewhat lacking for their intended purpose. It really wasn’t as instructive as the book’s title alluded.

However, the book was interesting for the most part. It did contain a fair amount of biographical information that I had never known before which made for interesting water-cooler idle chit-chat at the office or with friends. I had no idea that Einstein had been quite the sly Lothario. I was happy to see that his discoveries and contributions that ultimately resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb, had haunted him until the day he died. I would have been greatly disappointed in his humanity had he not expressed any type of remorse or regret. The author offers a very detailed chronology of his life at the beginning of the book. I really enjoyed this resource because it helps to easily place him throughout the rest of the book in the different times of his life. I also absolutely loved that the author dedicated a whole chapter to Einstein’s reading habits and favored books. Of course, most of them ended up on my “To Be Read” list.

I also enjoyed some of the quotes that the author selected to display in the book. Einstein was a fervent follower of current events, politics and a staunch pacifist and defender of civil rights. He was a just and respectful man; respectful of all races, nationalities and colors. He was a stalwart proponent of independent thought and refused to let society dictate his thoughts and actions. Always one to stand out from the crowd in defiance of their intolerance, he opened his home to Marian Anderson, an African-American singer, whom had been turned away by the local hotel when she had arrived at his town to perform. He despised racism commenting, “Race prejudice is a part of a tradition which – conditioned by history – is uncritically handed down from one generation to another. The only remedy is enlightenment and education. This is a slow and painstaking process in which all right-thinking people should take part.”

einstein-2

As for the book, if you’re picking it up to learn more about Einstein then I highly recommend it. If you’re picking it up to truly learn how to think more like Einstein, think of it in social terms and not in terms of learning how to master his scientific genius. Let’s face it, realistically speaking, only a handful of people will ever achieve his level of scientific greatness. Whatever your reason for reading it, I hope you enjoy it! Meanwhile, I need to finish reading “Silence”.

Much love,

Globretrotter Momma

#1 of 52: Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

testament

As a preamble to my first blog post for this challenge, I should clarify a few things about my nutty methods. Firstly, just because I write a review about a book doesn’t necessarily mean that I just recently finished reading it. You’ll notice that that’ll be the case with my second blog post. That book I finished more than a week ago. Secondly, even though I committed to reviewing fifty-two books doesn’t mean I intend to read merely fifty-two books. So far this year, I have read four books of which only two will make it on my blog. I still intend to read another two before the month is out and those reviews will make it to this blog. Thirdly, I have severe ADHD so I typically read anywhere between three and seven books at a time to keep me interested. I switch them up intermittently just like channel surfing on cable TV. Not only do I read many books at a time but I will very likely re-read some of my books. I tend to do that so be prepared for it. Lastly, I am the first to admit that I am always up for a good debate. I genuinely enjoy receiving insight into other people’s psyche. I creatively thrive on the myriad of world views that can stem from a question posed as simple as “What is love?” But I will ask that we please opine at all times with civility, mutual respective and consideration.

With that said…let’s get on with it. Shall we?!

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain is a book based on the author’s early life from her uneventful bland Edwardian upbringing in Buxton to her death-defying volunteering as a wartime nurse during the Great War in her early twenties which would then lead her into her writing career as she approaches thirty. With the exception of living through a war, so much of her book resonated with me that I simply could not put it down. She divulges with unadulterated impartiality her constant struggle between keeping true to herself and meeting conventional societal norms. Her inner conflict between rationale and what the heart dictates is the voice that sets the entire tone for this book; a voice that is simultaneously maudlin and poignant. The book starts off a bit meek. She provides a synopsis of her family’s history before transitioning into the detail of the constant battle that she faces with her antiquated father. He fully supported Edward, Vera’s brother, in attending university but saw no purpose in Vera striving for the same. This is a battle that she would soon learn was not unique to her father’s view of the world but that of the world’s which had inculcated the belief in her father that a woman had no place in university. A family friend comes to visit, talks about the benefits of providing a woman with a formal education, her father is finally persuaded and there starts the rest of Vera’s life.

From the moment Vera is permitted to attend university alongside her brother, her entire life completely changes. In short, she meets the love of her life. She goes off to Oxford. After the Great War breaks out and both her brother and her lover go off to war she then decides to take a hiatus from her education to serve her country as best as she could. She spends four years as a nurse caring for British soldiers and injured German prisoners of war alike. She loses her love first in the first year, then her two close friends and finally her beloved brother just six months before the end of the war. She reluctantly goes back to Oxford after the war to continue her education. She changes from being an English major to being a History / International Relations major. After she graduates, she struggles to find her footing in the professional world. She finds her place in the League of Nations and as a writer. She meets her future husband. She faces yet another struggle between keeping her independence and the convention of marriage. Ultimately, she succumbs to the idea of being someone’s wife but not before setting several rules as to what that will look like to someone of her independent nature. She marries. And thus ends the book.

Here is what I loved about the book. The language! I absolutely love how Vera expresses herself. I’m not sure if you are the same way but I like to highlight and annotate my books as I’m reading them. I wrote ALL over this book.

book-notes
Some of my scribbled notes

“But I suppose it’s no use weeping over last year’s dead leaves. All the tears in the world cannot make them green again. Perhaps when it is all over we shall find that other and better things have taken root in the mould of their dying.” Who thinks or speaks this way?! Apparently Vera did. I love it! I also absolutely love her authentic and realistic views on love.

“‘I could have done so well without love – before it came – I with my ambitions and life work…’ I wrote in my diary. ‘I shall never again now be able to work towards worldly triumphs with the same disinterested concentration. It was so pleasant when I had only myself to care for most instead of someone else. My peace of mind gone for ever – it will never completely return.’ People talked so foolishly’, I thought, about the ennobling effects of suffering. No doubt the philosophy that tells you your soul grows through grief and sorrow is right – ultimately. But I don’t think this is the case at first. At first, pain beyond a certain point merely makes you lifeless, and apathetic to everything but itself.” This is precisely how it is. Vera completely floored me by being able to put this experience into words.

The grandiose language and her ability to so poignantly describe her love for Roland were definitely the most important factors. But those two factors were only the beginning of all the things I loved about this book. I also loved how much she loves nature and her uncanny ability to describe its beauty. Her descriptions take me there. I too have walked there alongside Vera. “Wherever we went the spring flowers, lovely and benevolent, mitigated the invisible antagonism of the rocks. Their colours, so clear, so delicate, so generous, smote our eyes with their candid beauty. I still remember the exquisite pang with which, after crossing a field carpeted golden and orange with oxalis and single wild marigolds, I suddenly saw for the first time the silvery pink of tall asphodels lifting their heads from the deep grass of a half-hidden glade. Between the boulders beside the road, giant irises waved their purple flags, and among the rocks a deep scarlet vetch grew from so shallow a soil that it seemed to spring from the very face of the stone, and created, quite startlingly, an illusion of spilt blood.”

She must have been the loyalest and most passionate of friends, a patient and methodical woman. She never gave up on any of her relationships whether it was with her lover, brother, closest friends or family. She was a care-taker at heart. She was compassionate. She was also strong-willed. She did everything in her power to graduate from Oxford and to move on with her life after the war. I have the feeling that we would have been great friends had I been able to go back in time and had been given the chance to meet her. Day dreaming…

Most of the book was interesting and a fairly fluid read…UNTIL…the last hundred pages.

img_3739
The struggle was real.

The last hundred pages were drab. They were essentially an excruciatingly exhaustive and long-winded account of the making of her career. It read as the longest resume in the history of resumes even though I was not looking to hire. It was brutal. But that was not the only part that I did not enjoy. Her lack of self-confidence, constant presumptuous fatalistic outlook and her self-deprecating assessments were a tad disconcerting and disturbing. Her undying love for Roland and her struggle to come to terms with it even whilst considering the marriage proposal from the man that she would ultimately marry were distressing. What made it all the more painful to read was that she actually expressed in full disclosure her apprehensions and the basis for these to her fiance. (Insert: face palm) The man must have been a saint to put up with that. And finally, though as petty as it may seem, I was easily distracted by the fact that she had a tendency to abuse certain favored words. The biggest offender of them all was the word “incongruous”. After the third chapter, I made it my mission to count all the times she used it in all its variations. After awhile I lost track and interest. It was too irritating. Second runner up to this pique was the word “benevolence”.

Aside from those pesky reiterations, her uncomfortable sanctification of her deceased lover, the interminable carta vitae and the blatant disregard for the ego of her future husband, this book was marvelous. She was definitely honest. I like that. I gave this book four stars on GoodReads. It could have been a five had it not been for the incessant utterance of the word “incongruous”. Ha! Let me know your thoughts if you get around to reading it or if you’ve ever read it before.

Next up on my “To Be Read” list is “Silence” by Shusaku Endo. So excited! Until next time my fellow bloggers!

Much love,

Globetrotter Momma

2017 Goal: 52 posts about 52 books!

book

The year…2017…the goal…52 blog posts on 52 personal book reviews! And one introduction blog post, for a total of 53 blog posts…just in case you aren’t able to do the math (insert a wink and a cheeky expression). This is one of my 2017 new year’s resolutions. Obviously, the other is to read at least 52 books this year. As you can see, today is January 13th and I’m already slightly behind schedule. Off to a poor commencement! But not all that starts poorly, ends poorly. I’ll catch up without a problem (of that I am perfectly certain). I didn’t want to start on such a predictable date as January 1st so I went with Friday the 13th instead. A bit ominous…I know. But I like it!

I’m still in the inchoate stages of creating my reading list for the year and will indubitably make changes to it on a whim depending on my mood at the time. Another aspect of my resolution is to read more fiction. I practically completely gave it up many years ago when I outgrew my romantic novel phase in my late teens. I have, however, remained faithful to Jane Austen and Neil Gaiman though the latter is not really of the romantic sort. Every year, I typically reread my favorite of their books.

Here are just some of the books that I intend to read this year:

  1. We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist

  2. Theorising the Responsibility to Protect by Ramesh Thakur

  3. Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America by Eugene Puryear

  4. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

  5. Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

  6. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt #1) by Edmund Morris

  7. Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic by Reinhold Niebuhr

  8. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray

  9. Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi

  10. Lincoln’s Battle with God: A President’s Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America by Stephen Mansfield

I’d love to hear about your book lists, resolutions and whether you have any great recommendations that I should consider reading. I truly enjoy good book suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Here’s to a marvelously book-filled year!

Much love,

Globetrotter Momma

Quick update because I thought it serendipitously apropos:

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-7-37-33-pm

As of 7:39pm tonight (still 01.13.17), I have officially reached 52 followers!! Could this be a fortuitous omen of a favorable outcome? I like to think so. And…I’m off!