Wait… this website still exists? Yeah, I know what you few people who actually keep up with my writing are thinking. We’ve gone quite a while without any activity on this page. But I just had to renew my domain name so I thought, might as well write something if I’m paying for it.
So consider that my three and a half month sabbatical, and now I’m fresh and ready to go (hopefully). And what better way to catch up then with a whole summer of book reviews?
The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch
If you never watched or listened to Randy Pausch’s final lecture at Carnegie Melon, then stop reading this blog right now and look it up. It was given after Randy discovered that his cancer was terminal, and his days were limited. He didn’t teach on death, or even how to live life really. He taught on how to achieve your childhood dreams, and more importantly, how to play a roll in helping other’s achieve their own childhood dreams.
Randy is a man who truly excelled at this task during his life. As a renowned professor of computer science, he had the opportunity to work with Disney Imagineers to help design the Aladdin virtual reality attraction, create a new class for Carnegie Melon’s masters program which has played a huge roll in creating many renowned computer scientists, help develop and interactive tool for learning about virtual reality, marry the love of his life, and have three kids. His last lecture impacted many, as he looked death in the face and decided to deliver a lecture that simultaneously impacted people around the world, while also saying the things he wants his children to hear when they are old enough. The book is a beautiful extension of this speech, and it is sure to leave you inspired.
Milk and Honey: Rupi Kaur
Whether you are passionate about poetry or not, this is a collection that you will relate to. In this collection of words, images, sentences, Rupi Kaur pours out her heart revealing hurt and love in the rawest forms. The collection is truthful, painful, and authentic. Her story is both beautiful and horrid. The images, both literal and figurative and vivid to the point that I must disclose this book might not be the best read for anyone under the age of 16.
If you appreciate truth, then this is about as raw as it can get. Rupi shares her pain in a magical way. It is a quick read, but I encourage you to spend a little time with each short poem to truly let the words carry you.
Flowers for Algernon: Daniel Keyes
I think we tend to take education for granted, and more than that, the ability to learn as a whole. This book was such as reality check for me.
When Charlie, a mentally handicapped man, is given the opportunity to participate in a study that may possibly make him smart, he takes the chance. He undergoes the surgery, and soon starts seeing improvement. It becomes an interesting tale on psychology that I highly recommend. It is told through Charlie’s diary entries which makes you feel as if you are one with him through the entire process.
This book truly allows you to value your gift of the mind, as you see from the inside of a man who is not blessed with such a gift. You are allowed to grow with Charlie, and see the world from the view of an extremely intelligent man who truly knows what it is like to lack the ability to learn entirely.
A Dog’s Purpose: W. Bruce Cameron
Calling all dog lovers! This a must read. A Dog’s Purpose takes an interesting view of a dog’s life, by showing us through the perspective of one dog and the many lives he has lived. The dog plays the role of both man’s best friend and man’s best helper, and this story will make you fall in love with your pet all over again. Cameron does a wonderful job capturing and attempting to add reason to all of a dog’s quirky mannerisms.
This book was kind, cozy, and heart-warming for people of all ages!
From Sand and Ash: Amy Harmon
No matter how many WWII books I read, I always gain something different and important from each and every one. This one was no exception. From Sand and Ash is a atory of a brave jewish violinist and the tailored catholic priest who grew up with the girl and came to fall in love with her. The story takes the two into the tragedy of WWII, where they will do anything to keep the other safe. This story, like all WWII stories, follows only one person’s life during this impactful time, and shows a kind of brokenness just slightly unique from the other stories set in this time.
The Light Between Oceans: M.L. Stedman
Though slow at parts, this book brought a lot of unique perspective to me while simultaneously introducing me to a world that I have never known. The story follows multiple story lines which all come together in a devastating fashion. Follow the story of a young couple living alone on an island. The man works on the islands light house and the woman works to make the island a home. The only thing they long for in they cozy little life is a baby. This one thing has been given and taken from the time from time.
Follow another story of a woman with similar loss. The difference is, one day her husband was chased away while holding the baby, and neither he nor the baby ever returned.
This story was well written and extremely well researched. The facts were presented in a way that made you believe the author was right there in the middle of it all.
The Glass Castle: Jeanette Walls
Sometimes you read a book that makes you take a step back and say, “wait, some people actually live like this?” This was one of those books for me.
The Glass Castle is a true memoir of Jeanette Wall’s life and all of the beauty and destruction that came in the package deal of it. With a free-willed artist mother, and a brilliant, but drunken, father, this book was destined for a roller coaster of stories, and Walls did not disappoint. As you read her stories of the different places she lived with her family, and the different worlds she came to know, you come to appreciate her as both an author and a person for her beautiful stories and perspective on life.