Book Time

The lawn has gone dormant and the jingle bells have ceased clanging ringing.  This can mean only one thing-I FINALLY have time to indulge myself with books. (Our community built a brand-spanking new, fancy-schmancy library just five minutes from our home. Thanks to falling leaves begging to be raked and nonstop holidays, it took us nearly two months to enter its doors.)  In the past month or so, I have managed to knock out four books (some on loan from afore-mentioned library), and have started a fifth. LIFE IS GOOD! So, here’s a brief synopsis of what has been (or currently is) on Joan’s nightstand:

have a little faith by Mitch Albom.  This is my fourth Mitch Albom book and one that I purchased so I could add it to my collection.  It is the true story of Mr. Albom’s encounters with his Rabbi (who asks him to write his eulogy) and a Detroit pastor who ministers to the poor and homeless in his community.  It is yet another “little book” with a BIG message!

For Christmas, a friend sent me the second book written by Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses. (Ms. Walls is the author of the bestseller, The Glass Castle.) Her latest book is the embellished story of her maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, born in 1901 in west Texas. This is a great “chick read”, as it captures the story of a strong, courageous woman with perseverance that is admirable.

My next two reads are by an author that had somehow escaped my literary radar. Jen Lancaster managed to release several hysterically funny biographies without so much as a blip on my screen. Over the course of nine bedtimes, I managed to whip through Pretty in Plaid and Such a Pretty Fat. I have finally found a woman who swears TONS more than I do! The books were an easy read, and offered many opportunities for laughing out loud.

My current book-of-choice is Grace (Eventually)-Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.  I just started the book last night, but was a fan early on after reading a quote by Kathleen Norris, which is included on page 11 in the Prelude. Ms. Norris says, “Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.” LOVE THAT! I have read two other books by Ms. Lamott, and have never been disappointed.  I’m sure that this one will make number three.

I hope that the slower pace that January tends to offer has left you with time to pursue your hobbies/passions. Before you know it, the birds will be chirping and the grass will be growing, and I will once again be a slave to my little plot of land. ARGH!!!!

Book Endorsement

A co-worker loaned me a book this past week. It turned out to be a can’t-put-it-down kind of read. I am referring to the novel, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” by Garth Stein. Very early on, you realize that the story is being told through the voice of a dog. I was hooked already! Enzo longs to be a human with thumbs and a tongue that can form spoken words. He shares his story of life with his owner, Denny, who happens to race cars. The tale brings both smiles and tears, and has hints of spirituality woven within the pages. I gobbled up Mr. Stein’s style of writing, and plan to read two more novels scribbled in his pen.

This book has left me wondering what my own canine, Lexi, would say if she could speak. Does she like it here with us, her second owners? Does she really get miffed when I have her coat shaved at the groomers, or am I just imagining that she pouts in the car when I pick her up? Is she really training for the lead dog in the Iditarod, or does she just enjoy pulling me through the neighborhood on our daily constitutionals? These are just a few of the many questions I would ask Miss Lexi if given the opportunity to converse with her. Meanwhile, I give Enzo two thumbs up for sharing his story!

Good Read

I just finished the book, Boom !, a bestseller written by Tom Brokaw. The book chronicles the events of the 1960’s, as described by the people who had been there and done that. This work of non-fiction covers the Vietnam War, the civil and women’s rights movements, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, politics, music, and illegal drugs.

I was born in 1960, so I was just a newbie earthling for most of that decade.  I was more concerned with learning to walk and talk, skipping rope and playing with dolls, and was therefore fairly oblivious to the pivotal events that were occurring around me.This book provided me with a way to catch up on those early years of my life. There was so much change and controversy that took place in that ten-year span. This type of book is not my “usual” choice of a read, but I was most pleasantly surprised. It was a history lesson that did not bore me in the least, and one that I looked forward to reading at the end of the day.

Bedside Reading

I love to read AND write.  Are most writers readers?  Which came first? The chicken or the egg?  The cart or the horse? Reading or writing? Whatever!

In honor of the recent Academy Awards, I give you my nominees for favorite authors:

Category: FICTION   The nominees are:

Pat Conroy for Beach Music

Nelson DeMille for The Gold Coast

John Irving for Cider House Rules

Wally Lamb for She’s Come Undone

Mitch Albom for the five people you meet in heaven

If I had to pick a winner in this category, it would probably be Pat Conroy.  In my next lifetime, I want to write like him.

Category: NON-FICTION   The nominees are:

Mitch Albom for Tuesdays with Morrie

John Grogan for Marley & Me

Dan Shapiro for Mom’s Marijuana

Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley for Final Gifts

Randy Pausch for The Last Lecture

The winners in this category for me are Mitch Albom and Randy Pausch. Their books contain life lessons that all of us can learn from and be inspired by.  (They probably belong in the “spiritual category”.)

Category: SPIRITUAL   The nominees are:

Debbie Shapiro for The Bodymind Workbook (This is required reading in the Religion of Joan.)

Neale Donald Walsch for his series Conversations with God

Louise Hay for You Can Heal Your Life

Eckhart Tolle for The Power of Now

James Van Praagh for Reaching to Heaven

There are no losers in this group.  They are all winners.

Let me know what books are on your nightstand.  I am always looking for a new, can’t-put-it-down read!