Sunday, December 31, 2017

Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence

Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence stays true to the cozy mystery format giving Angie a mystery to solve while obsessing and stressing over the details of the engagement party her mother is planning without Angie's input. Her fear over the party not being perfect leads her to try to find out what's happening with the party creating as much a mystery for the reader as the connection between the murder that takes place, the mother and baby who find their way into her neighbor's, and therefore her, life, and the criminal behavior they uncover putting them all in danger. Courting Disaster mixes humor, food, mystery, and a set of unfortunate circumstances to keep the reader intrigued.

Red Cape Capers: Playful Backyard Meditations by Linda Varsell Smith

Red Cape Capers: Playful Backyard Meditations by Linda Varsell Smith is filled with thoughts on meditating and the struggle it can be to meditate. Varsell's poetry paints a picture of her backyard, her mother's red cape, and her attempts to meditate that draw the reader right into the experiences she shares as well as her ruminations on life and life events. Red Cape Capers is vivid and enchanting at times while thought-provoking and uncomfortable at others. 

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling for Positivity Balance, and Joy by Moorea Seal

I ordered 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity Balance and Joy by Moorea Seal because I enjoyed her The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. I wanted to keep exploring this idea of a weekly guided journal. 52 Lists for Happiness took on a different tenor for me though. I opted to do the lists every Sunday because I felt it would be a good way to start off the week. I had some struggles this year that sometimes made the lists hard to write and other times the lists cheered me up. Focusing on simple moments of happiness gave me an opportunity to remember the good in my life no matter what happened in the world around me.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son by Richard Wright pulled me in and refused to let go. I started reading thinking this would be just another novel, just another story, but I soon found myself questioning my reactions, my attitude, and my beliefs. I found it oddly relevant to today's world in a way that made me sad. I had to remind myself multiple times that the book was originally published in 1940. Wright dropped me into Bigger Thomas's heart and mind even when I didn't want to be. Bigger's fear permeated the pages and wafted up from the words. His rage ran as an undercurrent throughout the book. The intensity with with Wright tells the story is at times uncomfortable but still engaging and intriguing. Native Son does little to elicit sympathy or even compassion from the reader though it does push the reader to examine the norms of society and the justice system when the book was written as well as those of the present.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries & Visionaries by Jennifer Chambers

Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries & Visionaries by Jennifer Chambers offers a snapshot into the history of the role of women in Oregon's history. Chambers provides enough information about each woman mentioned to spark an interest in learning more even providing sources for further reading. Remarkable Oregon Women is an interesting book that reminds the reader that women have always played an important role in the progress of society even when they've been stymied or their efforts have been hidden by history.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights, and Small-Town Activism by Andrea Vogt

Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights and Small Town Activism by Andrea Vogt traces the life of Bill Wassmuth through his journey to fight neo-Nazis in the Pacific Northwest, mostly focusing on his time in Idaho. Vogt talks about his efforts to bring awareness through his time in the priesthood and out of it. Common Courage details the power of unity to exact change toward acceptance and diversity in small towns and large towns as well. Vogt tells Wassmuth's life story which often lead him to seek justice for those unable to seek it for themselves. Vogt shares the wisdom Wassmuth shared with her over multiple interviews. Common Courage details Wassmuth's motivation to fight for social justice even at times when the fight seemed to be at odds with the teachings and norms that guided his religious beliefs. Common Courage is an interesting and easy to read book that is as relevant today as it was when it was published.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Christmas Jar by M. L. Roberts

The Christmas Jar by M. L. Roberts is a short story that essentially tells a story many of us have heard in other iterations. It's a sweet telling of understanding priorities and living a life based on those priorities. Roberts tells the story in an endearing, easy to grasp, loving way. The Christmas Jar will have many nodding along but smiling in the process with its story of family, priorities, love, and loss.

Note: I couldn't find this for purchase anywhere online to link to...