Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I Know For Sure

What I Know for SureWhat I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a fool for many things - Anne of Green Gables (you know this if you've read my recent reviews), fall leaves, my husband's smile when he's genuinely amused by something, and books that teach life lessons. While Oprah may not be the greatest philosopher or scholar, she is one of the most well connected people on the planet. Over the course of her career, she has encountered some of the most brilliant and inspiring men and women. And so here are some of the lessons she has learned. For better or worse, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found myself hurriedly noting one liners that resonated with ideas and ideals I had already been pondering. Sometimes I need books like this - life affirming truths that make me want to be better and even more importantly see the hope and possibility in the world around me. You can judge the messenger, you can judge me as the reader, but really, if it makes me a little kinder or a little more willing to step out of my comfort zone, you can't judge that.

Happy reading and happy reaching-- Life's too short to not aspire for more.

Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables #3)Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew that Anne actually got to go to Redmond College after all? Okay, everyone who didn't grow up on the Anne of Avonlea movie knew, but I was so surprised when I started reading this book and found out that Kingsport Ladies' College and Morgan Harris are made up (at least in the sequence that I know them...still haven't gotten to book four). Instead it is the handsome Royal Gardner that woos Anne while she attends college. All the while Gilbert is studying hard and loving Anne from a distance - not sure why pining or unrequited longing is so romantic in books when it's actually miserable in real life, but how I love Gilbert for always loving his Anne girl.

I loved this book - not as much as the first two, but I found myself unconsciously grinning or sighing as Anne spoke (unhealthy obsession levels here). I just love her. That said, her friends are frustrating. If I could shake them by the shoulders and say "get a grip" or "please stop talking", I would. For Anne and Gil though, I'd endure just about anything. Happy reading---

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a lover of words, I would like to think that I am capable of forming my own forms of expression - that the way I speak is unique to me and not an amalgamation of other people's style...but then I watch Rory and Lorelai speak in quick succession back and forth on Gilmore Girls or hear the cast of Friends banter back and forth and I hear phrases that I adopted as my own. Reading Anne of Avonlea was no different. I had thought Lucy Maud Montgomery to be entirely too over-dramatic and florid in her descriptions when I had read Emily of New Moon, but when Anne says those same type over-dramatic speeches, I feel everything she says...and I love her all the more for it...

The short version of this view is that my Anne and Gilbert obsession is rekindled. I'm so happy to have spent time on Prince Edward Island with some of my favorite characters. It had been far too long. Happy reading!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've never loved any character as much as I love Anne Shirley. It took me until this summer to finally finish Anne of Green Gables, but I am so happy to have finally read this book. Anne helped shape the woman I am today, and so as I read I was eight and eighteen and thirty-one and every age in-between. I've tried a half dozen different ways to phrase what reading this book meant and what I thought about it, but I can't separate the nostalgia from the critique. It's too personal and too defining. The character that Lucy Maud Montgomery created is a part of me in a way that only a few stories and characters have. I wish I could thank Montgomery for giving voice to a part of me I didn't know how to express as a child. Like I said before, I love Anne Shirley. When I wasn't pretending to be Jo March or Laura Ingalls Wilder, it was Anne that I most wanted to be. And in some way, I'd like to think I am like her - teaching and writing and living with my sweetheart in our own little house of dreams. What a happy life it is.

Happy reading--

Monday, August 31, 2015

Distracted by Love

I had all these plans to write a few posts about being newlyweds. We are ridiculously happy and loving our new life together...but if the chance to write or the chance to spend an extra hour laughing in bed on a Saturday morning, I choose bed. These moments with Seth the last two months have exceeded all expectations I had of what it would be like to be married. Can't wait to see what else our lovely life holds. More later...maybe. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Chance You Won't Return

The Chance You Won't ReturnThe Chance You Won't Return by Annie Cardi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If we're honest, I picked this book up on a whim because I was scanning my friend Kerri's library displays at work, and I liked the cover. It was the last day of school, and I was anxious to be sitting by a pool indulging in all things trivial instead of organizing my classroom....a book that handles mental health is not exactly trivial, so I'm grateful that this was a young adult take on such a timely topic. Cardi's approach to a teenage girl grappling with her mother's dissociative personality (the mother things she's Amelia Earhart) was smart and unsettling, which is absolutely reminiscent of how the main character is feeling throughout the novel. The references to Earhart and use of her actual writing was clever and poignant since just as Earhart disappeared, Alex's mother seemed to get further and further away. I just wish there had been more resolution to Alex's issues at home and less cliche resolutions to Alex's issues at school.

All that said, I liked this book. It's a 3.5 and worth the read if the topic intrigues you. Happy summer and happy reading!

Monday, August 3, 2015


Focused: Staying on Track, One Choice at a TimeFocused: Staying on Track, One Choice at a Time by Noelle Pikus Pace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Noelle Pikus Pace. I love her tenacity. I love her optimism. I love her faith. Like a fifteen-year-old fan girl, I picked up her book simply because I had enjoyed her story so much during the 2014 Olympics. I practically burst out of my own seat when she jumped in the stands to hug her family after winning her medal. And honestly, I really did enjoy this book. It's just not a great book. It would make a fantastic devotional or EFY talk or be a great set of themes for a girls' camp. I still love her, but I would recommend this book to teenage girls who are trying to figure out who they are (an interest in sports wouldn't hurt either). Happy reading!

ps. I'm starting to love the name Noelle - perhaps as a middle name for a future baby girl.
pps. No, I'm not pregnant.
ppps. Stay focused. :)