Monday, November 16, 2015

Beautiful Life Lessons....

Image result for very good lives

Book Review:  Very Good Lives; the Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J. K. Rowling

J.K Rowling, the perennially popular author of the Harry Potter series, and also titles for adults shares her brand of wisdom about handling failure, and still living a very good life.   It is her address to the 2008 graduating class of Harvard University.  The benefits of failure and the power of imagination propel one forward and provide the resiliency necessary to handle both success and disappointment.  Imagination was instrumental in keeping her focused during periods of poverty.  “You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity” she says.   “Life is not a checklist of acquisitions or achievement; your qualifications or curriculum vitae are not your life”. Very Good Lives, the Fringe Benefits of Failure Importance of Imaginations is a powerful and instructive reading experience.    

Review by Karen

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The search begins!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple

Bee's mom has gone missing, and Bee's not going to stand for it. Told through e-mails, notes, video footage, and anything a private investigator might get her hands on, this is the story of the search for Bernadette Fox. Bernadette has made plenty of enemies since moving to Seattle, but her daughter, Bee, idolizes her. This precocious, brilliant 15-year old, is thoroughly devoted to her mom but she hasn't noticed some of her flaws. For instance, Bernadette's fervent desire to avoid contact with anyone outside their family. Or her intense fear of leaving the house, so much so that she hires a woman in India to take care of all of her affairs via the internet. When Bee gets a good report card and tries to cash in on her parents' promise to take her to Antarctica, Bernadette agrees. But through an unlikely and increasingly madcap series of events, planning for this trip brings the Fox family's world crashing down around them. And then, Bernadette is gone.

Though it may seem like Bernadette is the clear victim here, she's quite a polarizing figure. My sympathies veered wildly between the characters at times, and Bernadette's bitter view of the people around her is occasionally difficult to swallow. But Bee's optimistic attitude and the bizarre actions of some of Bernadette's rivals help the entire book come together as a story of a woman against the world. In the end, you really do wonder what happened to her. And you're rooting for Bee to find out.

This title is available as a book, an audiobook, and a downloadable audiobook. I listened to it, so if you've got a commute to work consider this a recommendation for you.

Review by Danny Hanbery

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

History is BIG!

Book DVD Review:  Big History A& E Television Networks, History, Lions Gate Entertainment
Big History is a new way to understand the evolution of life including mankind and historical events through a linking of activities/happenings that have occurred in the Universe and on our planet. The interconnectedness of life is explored through a “history” of the superpower Salt, the Pocket time machine, H2O, Horsepower revolution, Gold Fever, Megastructures, Defeating Gravity, World of weapons, Brain boost, Mountain Machines the Sun, Silver Supernova, the Agrarian age, Black Death, voyages of Columbus, industrial revolution, prehistoric geology and global warming.  Also explored are current concerns such as population growth, global disparities, human evolution and a variety of empires including Mongol, Mayan and Aztecs civilizations. Each facet studied in the DVD series subtly links to all others creating a magical “Gestalt” about creation of life in all its forms.      
"Big History" represents a new kind of history, one that artfully interweaves historical knowledge and cutting-edge science. In an age of global warming, when the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, scientific advances permit us to see the universe as never before, grasping the timescales that allow us to understand the history of mankind in the context of its ecological impact on the planet.
I was enthralled by Big History because it makes many disciplines accessible to the lifelong learner. It is a very long series but well worth the effort as it provides a timeline that is more like a “web” underscoring how life itself is made up of many facets all interconnected. Please pick this one up because it will both challenge and engage you!
Review by Karen