25 May 2013

Passing it on: 25 ways to tell you are addicted to books.

I just saw this on another website and I had to pass it on.  For all of us who are addicted to books, this is priceless.  I certainly see myself in several of these steps.  I think, though, that my favorite part is at the top where it says. "The first step is to admit it.  The second step is to keep right on reading."
Here is the link:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/signs-youre-addicted-to-books-reading

Hope you all enjoy and get as many laughs as I did.  Thanks to BUZZFEED for this one.  You made my day.

23 May 2013

Thursday's Reveiw: Life in the Land of IS.....the amazing story of Lani Deauville, the world's longest living quadriplegic by Bette Lee Crosby

Book provided by author in exchange for review

Publisher: Bent Line Publishing
Price: $16.99 Paperback
               $6.99    eBook
Genre: Biographies and Memoirs
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Like every Bette Lee Crosby book that I have read (and I have read all of them except two), Life in the Land of IS...the amazing story of Lani Deauville, the world's longest living quadriplegicwas an enjoyable read. You may ask how a book about the life of a quadriplegic can be termed enjoyable. Well, there are two main reasons why I see this book as an enjoyable read. 

The first is it's subject, Lani Verner Deauville. Lani became a quadriplegic in the 1950s, in a time when people with severe disabilities largely retired from life. It was the time before the Americans with Disabilities Act, Political Correctness, or Equality and Equal Rights. Lani Deauville was different though. A diving accident left her in critical condition, her doctors holding out little hope for her. Not only did she survive, though, she went on to live an extremely full life and eventually become listed in the Guinness Book of World Records and the longest living quadriplegic. 

When I first decided to read this book, knowing that it was about the life of a quadriplegic, I expected a book filled with angst, fighting against the odds, frustration and guilt. Instead what I found was Lani, a woman that is as upbeat and positive as a person can get. Yes there were many instances where she described herself fighting against not only the odds, but the societal paradigms that relegated most of the disabled to the back burner of life. What there wasn't though, was a lot of angst, frustration, or recriminations. In fact, I think that Lani actually had a more positive view of life and its possibilities AFTER her accident than she did before. Her spirit and enthusiasm certainly shine through in this book, making her story one that I enjoyed reading and will not soon forget. 

Along with Lani's incredible enthusiasm for life, wit, and energy,Bette Lee Crosby's incredible ability to put the story together was the other factor that made this book so enjoyable. There is just something about Bette's wonderful way of telling a story that allows me to devour anything that she writes. I swear, I think that she could write about anything and make it an enjoyable read. While many writers stick to one genre, Bette is able to write successfully across many genres, and has. In this case, she has managed to put forward Lani's story is such a way that I felt I was sitting with Lani listening to her reminiscences in person. Another plus was the way that the book interspersed experiences after the accident with her life before the accident including many stories from when she was a child. I think it is the inclusion of these stories that allow us to see what a truly amazing person Lani is and how she was programmed to overcome obstacles way before her accident. 

As I said, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a great read. It is ultimately the story of someone who has been handed a challenge, risen to the occasion, beaten the odds, yet manages to stay as normal as you or me. A big thank you to The Sisterhood of the Traveling book and Bette Lee Crosby for making this book available to me in exchange for my review.

21 May 2013

Tuesday's Review: The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman

Book provided by publisher in exchange for review

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Price: $25.99  US, $28.99 CAN for Hardback
           $11.04 US for eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Naomi Alderman's new novel, The Liars' Gospel is definitely not a book for everyone. The book is set in the first century and centered around the life of a Jewish prophet, Yehoshuah (Jesus to us). Although it is ostensibly a retelling of the story of Jesus, I found Alderman's detailing of the political climate in Jerusalem during the rise and fall of Jesus much more interesting. The story is told from four viewpoints. That of Marym,Yehoshuah's mother, His friend and follower Ieudah of Queriot, the Roman High Priest of Jerusalem, Caiaphas, and the rebel Bar-Avo. As you read, it is easy to see that Marym is Mary, Ieudah is Judas Iscariot, and Bar-Avo is Barrabas. 

I thought that Alderman's decision to tell this tale from 4 vary different viewpoints was a brilliant idea. Each character had a different relationship with Jesus and none of them alone could have told the tale completely by themselves. The switching of voice throughout the book allows the author to cover, not only the different times periods of Jesus' life, but also the different facets of his life. Of the four tellings (or gospels, per the title) I feel the best one was the telling by Judas. It is here that we first get to see what political forces are at work in Israel between the occupying Romans and the Jews. This political background was the most interesting part of the book to my thinking. Since I am not very well versed in the history of Israel, the Jewish faith, or the Roman empire during the time of Tiberius, I found this part of the book illuminating. The idea that the political forces at work during this time period could play such a major role in allowing Jesus to gather a following, and therefore, to become both who he was and who he wasn't, was what I liked best about the book. 

One reason that I see this book as more than just the retelling of Jesus story, is that the second two "gospels" those of Caiaphas and Barrabas do not seem to have much to do with Jesus at all. Although Caiaphas was the High Priest of Jerusalem during this time, he never really came in contact with Jesus in a large way. His focus was more in the arena of the political strife between the occupiers and the native populations, and his efforts to reconcile the two. In the case of Barrabas, he went on to continue to lead the rebellion of the Jews against the Romans long after Jesus was dead. In fact, his story began with the death of Jesus and continued on with the focus on the political. For me this was the second best section of the book. 

All in all, I found Alderman to present a thought provoking work that captivated me. Both her excellent prose and her development of the characters in the books were definite pluses. Not only was she adept at fleshing out the four characters telling the stories, but her attention to the supporting cast of characters was also well done. In addition, her ability to tell the story of Jesus from and alternate perspective and make it both believable, and more importantly, not disrespectful or preachy, was appreciated. As much as I enjoyed the book, at no time did the writing make me question my faith, or give me the idea that Ms. Alderman was trying to change my beliefs. Only that she was looking at the same story with different eyes. 

As I said, this book is not for everyone, but if you are looking for something that is a little different, looks at something from a totally different direction, and has the ability to bring to light questions and new information, than this is the book for you. I am giving it 4 stars, and in fact, enjoyed it much more than I thought I might. 

This book was provided to me by Little, Brown and Company through Netgalley in exchange for my review. I would like to thank them for the chance to read a book that I would probably not ever looked at on my own. I thoroughly enjoyed it