Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Many, many people said I should read this book. They’ve been telling me this for years, and now I know why. I suspected that I would feel sad when I reached the end of this book, which is why I put it off for so long.

I’ve learned, though that it really isn’t the case at all. Let me tell you why.

Morrie Schwarz, a Brandeis University sociology professor has an extraordinary personality, and a debilitating, life ending, disease. Mitch Albom, the author, had developed a friendship with Morrie while attending the school, but after graduation, despite his promise to keep in touch, moves on with life, always reaching for the next big thing.

He happened to be channel surfing one night when he saw his old professor being interviewed by Ted Koppel on Nightline about what it was like to be dying of ALS (also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease). This leads him to get in touch with his old professor, and they strike up their friendship again. Albom visits Morrie every Tuesday (“We’re Tuesday people,” Morrie had once told him, p. 52), always coming armed with food, and each week, Morrie manages to impart some facet of wisdom that seems to be so common sense.

Morrie spent his life listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, rather than playing by societies rules. When all is said and done, we will be remembered not by our bank accounts or stock portfolios, by by the time we spent listening to a friend or helping a family member.

There are some amazing quotes to be pulled from Alboms book, some of which I plan to use as personal mantras: “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives satisfaction? … Offering others what you have to give.” (p. 126)

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” (p. 52)

This book is a must read for anyone, young or old, male or female. I don’t think this book will necessarily appeal to any one group in particular. But it’s definitely worth every minute of the short time it will take to read it.


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Okay, it’s been a really long time since I’ve done an actual blog post. I spend a lot of time working on my writing for Examiner.com that I find myself neglecting my blog a lot. It’s kind of sad, really. But the writing for Examiner has been going well. I’ve also been doing some freelancing for Parenting NH magazine. I had two articles published in the spring, and will have a third published in October.

John is back to school now. He had three teacher days last week, and will start with his students on Tuesday. One more day off tomorrow, then he’s back to a relatively normal schedule, holidays aside. He’s been busy with gigs and lessons this summer, but the fall will slow down his performance schedule a bit. He’ll be picking up some new students this fall, which is exciting.

We did some projects around the house this summer, like power washing the house, staining the deck and ripping up (two!) linoleum floors to tile the kitchen, which looks fantastic. We still need to lay the decorative tile we’re going to put down between the kitchen and living rooms, and then the project will be done.

Hannah is growing and changing every day, which is really fun to watch. She’s starting to talk a lot and is using to “use her words.” We’re still attending moms group at Frisbie Hospital on Wednesdays, but that will change after she turns two, because she’ll age out of that group at that point. We’ll look into going to a story hour at the library at that point, as well as going to play groups with Little Sprouts, which she can stay in until she’s 5.

I never got the chance to post her 18 month photos, so I will put them up here:

I’m hoping to start finding some time to get out and do more “adult” stuff on my own too. I joined a knitting group that I haven’t gotten to go to once yet, and would love to get there before the end of the year! =) I’m also hoping to maybe join a book group, but I’ve got so many books I want to read before I get to do that! I’m currently reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and before that I read the entire Twilight saga in 8 days (also by Stephenie Meyer), and I have read Lucky by Alice Sebold, The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood, and The Shack by William P. Young, all of which were excellent books. I’m re-reading the Twilight saga as well, but now that I’m on the 4th book again, I’ve sort of put it back on the back burner so I could get through the rest of my “to read” list. I want to re-read the Chronicles of Narnia for fun, and I want to read Crime and Punishment because I found it at a library book sale for $1. I’ve also got a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha that I’ve been looking forward to reading too, and I’ve had my eye on Unconventional by J.J. Hebert.

I guess that’s about all from here. Hope to start getting into posting more often again, now that we’ll be back in our routine!

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Have you ever gone back and re-read a book you loved as a child only to find it incredibly disturbing now that you’re an adult? Like The Giving Tree, for example: a terrifying tale of self-sacrifice or a reassuring story of maternal love?

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This question is actually incredibly disturbing to me. Having a 9 month old, I spend a lot of time reading childrens books to her, and a lot of the time, I don’t take them in “that way.” I think a lot of the problem comes from the general society we have now and the fact that it is acceptable to come up with things that may not intentionally be there in the first place. I think, as a whole, we need to have a reason for the way we act, and now we can blame it on the books: “The Giving Tree made me do it!”

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Quarterlife Crisis: The unique challenges of life in your 20’s – Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner

I feel like I’m getting ready to write a middle school book report… “I read the book ______ by _____. I thought it was very good. Here’s why:” Except the fact that the grammar probably wouldn’t have been that good.

In all seriousness, Quarterlife Crisis, I believe, is an excellent resource for people just out of college. I wish it was required reading for all seniors in college, prior to being allowed to receive their diploma.

Being a “20-something” myself, I can relate to some of the individual challenges addressed in this book. It is an interesting compilation of stories from “20-somethings” all across the country, from having just graduated college, to about 28 years old, each with a different perspective, but all with the same thing in common: What now? Do I focus on my career? Family? Social life? Finding a permanent love match? What about time for hobbies and fun?

Allow me to interject some of my personal experiences, as to why I chose to read this book. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2005 with a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work. Sound impressive? It gets better. I was selected to receive a grant my senior year that would pay for my entire tuition that year, plus a stipend, and in return, I had to work for the State of NH doing child protection. I thought it was the best deal ever, since that’s what I wanted to do in the first place! I took the grant, and in 2006, after 5 months of applying for, and being rejected from, the very job I had been trained to do, I was hired on to the Division of Children, Youth and Families in Portsmouth. Hooray! I got married the week after finishing college (and I’d like to emphasize that I do NOT, in any way, regret that decision) so I had my husbands career, and my career to consider in accepting a job. However, the longer I stayed at my job, the more miserable I became. At the start of 2007, I left my job, and had absolutely no direction in life. I was in the worst slump of my life. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and started medication. I took up knitting. Neither of those things have turned out to be bad… just not something that constituted a living. I became a substitute teacher, with the idea of either becoming a teacher, guidance counselor or nurse. Not really related, but okay. Finally, a friend suggested this book, and it was like a God-send! Just knowing I wasn’t alone and that there were other people struggling with some of the same decisions in life made me feel so much better!

Anyway, enough about me. Elders may roll their eyes at the concept of this book, thinking “Well, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I was 25 years old!” I don’t want to argue with that generation, but I do want to emphasize the fact that today there are many more things in life competing for time: Technology, friends, family, jobs, pets, apartments, houses…. My personal opinion being that technology is the biggest thief of our time, but that is an argument for another post.

Robbins and Wilner do an excellent job emphasizing the fact that 20-somethings are all in the same boat, but most often don’t realize it, and so they fall victim to things like depression and anxiety, thinking that they are the only people on the planet who didn’t know what they wanted to do. They talked to dozens of 20- somethings, and, for the most part, the authors merely relate their stories rather than trying to offer advice or an easy solution. The individuals they talked to describe the pressure of coming from a relatively stable environment, such as college, and then being flung into a world where they have to worry about finding out exactly what they want to do, land the right job, pay the bills, and still manage to have time for friends and family. But these 20-somethings also tell how getting into the wrong field and the occasional failure helped them find careers in which they could be happy.

Quarterlife Crisis is NOT a “how-to” book for someone looking for a road map on landing the right job, getting the girl or anything of that sort. But it is an entertaining, often accurate, depiction of the life of a recent college grad trying to find their place in the world. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is graduating this year, recently graduated, or the parents of a 20-something who can’t figure out why their child has bounced through 14 jobs in the last 3 years.

This book is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and at most major book retailers.

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Home again…

I’m home sick again today. Shocked? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I have a fever today, which basically is an automatic “get out of jail free” card. I’m probably going to do some work around finding a new job – I should look up a book that my friend Liz recommended to me about the way I’ve been feeling – Quarterlife Crisis. Anyone heard of it? I hadn’t, but I’m going to look into it today. Sarah M., maybe you should look into it too! I’ll let you know what I find.

Anyway, there’s not much to report. That’s really it, actually.

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