Saturday, February 15, 2014

In the bleak mid-winter ... it's a great time to read!

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly "Twitterature" post to share what I've been reading.


Incidentally, I actually did join Twitter this week; I wanted to see what it was all about.  I can't say I exactly "get" it yet, but I do get the difficulty of putting my book reviews in 140 characters or less.  That's just not me -- I'm wordy!  But here goes....

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The Spark:  A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett

Barnett defied the experts and pursued "muchness" for her autistic, nonverbal son Jake, encouraging his passions and his need for a normal childhood.  Now he is a happy teen who also happens to be a world-class mathematician, astronomer, and physicist.  Fascinating book about an amazing boy and mom.

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Home:  A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews.  Takes us from her difficult childhood and her introduction to music and theatre, right up to the early 60's when she married and had her first child.  I liked it, but ending in mid-career made it feel unfinished.


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A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser.  In 1991 Sittser lost his wife, mother, and four-year-old daughter in a car accident.  This book offers thoughtful reflections on suffering, faith, forgiveness, and the growth of the soul.  No cliches, just honest grappling with life's hardest questions.

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Hope you've enjoyed these mini-reviews.  Have you read any of these?  What's been on your reading list this past month?

24 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of these, but the book my Julie Andrews has been on my to-read list for a while! Interesting that it ends mid-career. Maybe she's writing a follow-up? One can hope! :) Great reviews - this is my first month linking up with Twitterature. Love it!

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    1. So nice to hear from you, Ginger! I hope Julie Andrews is writing another one too -- I would love to read all about the making of The Sound of Music. I loved reading about her time on Broadway in My Fair Lady.

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  2. I read Home last month and so enjoyed. But I agree--it felt unfinished. I wonder why she stopped where she did.

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    1. I guess it would've been a pretty massive book if she'd gone to present day, but still, it did seem to just ... stop.

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  3. I've not read any of these either, but I think that's the very thing which has stopped me from picking up JA's book... A Grace Disguised sounds painful and relevant all at once, I've added it to my "to read" list... thanks for sharing!

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    1. It's an excellent book; I'd heard about it and now I know why the recommendations were so positive.

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  4. I really enjoyed Home - I thought it was a really well written memoir and her life is just fascinating - I do wish I could have just kept on reading about her whole life though!

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    1. Yes, the behind-the-scenes descriptions of her Broadway debut, etc. were so interesting -- and the people she met!

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  5. I started The Spark a few months ago, but haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. You're welcome, Anne -- hope you like it. It's almost unbelievable at times, but thankfully it is not a Jenny McCarthy-esque load of ... oops, this is a family blog! :-)

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  6. All these books are new to me, but they all sound wonderful. The Spark sounds so inspiring and touching!

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    1. It really is, Allie. I read it with awe at what the boy has accomplished and with jaw-dropping amazement at his mother's drive and passion and commitment. I have 2 special needs kids and sometimes when I hear the cliche "Special kids need special parents," I think, "Well, that's not me." But this woman did some exceptional things to bring out her son's gifts, and the results have been amazing. It's a great read!

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  7. A Grace Disguised sounds really good, but perhaps one that I have to emotionally prepare myself for.

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    1. The actual details of the accident are dealt with quite briefly in the first chapter. Most of the book is more general reflections about facing loss: our tendency to compare our losses to those of others, ways we may try to avoid pain yet must eventually walk into it, how we handle the feeling of God's absence, etc. It is a very gentle book, not graphic or sensational. But of course some readers will come to it with greater familiarity with the kind of tragedy he experienced, than other readers will. Thanks for commenting, Marilyn!

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  8. The Spark sounds really good. I heard about it briefly when it came out, assumed it would hit too close to home (my youngest has some special needs) and didn't look into it further. Your description makes me wish I had tracked it down then though! I really should know better than to make assumptions about book :) It's going on my list now!

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    1. Moira, my kids have special needs too and sometimes I hesitate to read these stories about what seem like miracle cures and interventions: either I KNOW I can't do what that parent did, so I feel discouraged; or I feel envious that their situation changed so radically and mine is not changing. But I did enjoy this book very much. And it is just incredible what this family went through. Just when you think they had all they could possibly handle... uh, no. So it's a good read, for sure.

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  9. I've heard about The Spark here and there, but now I'm convinced I should put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the nudge :)

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. A Grace Disguised is a wonderful read. Jerry Sittser was one of my professors in college, about five years post-accident. Such an amazing man who has had an incredible journey. While not everyone wants to read a book when they are coping with grief, this particular one really helps process the spectrum of emotions we deal with when we're faced with the loss of a loved one.

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Heidi! When I read the book I thought, "Wouldn't it be amazing to meet this guy and learn from his wisdom and what God has done in his life." I know what you mean, though -- I would be wary about offering a person a book (any book) at a time when they and would really benefit more from our presence and listening etc (it's way too easy for us, when we feel helpless, to offer "tools" instead of our selves). But I think it would be a helpful book for those who want to know someone else has been there and for those who want to help grieving loved ones. Thanks again for dropping by -- so glad to hear from you. Oh, and I quoted him today too, since Monday's my quote day on my blog: http://prinsenhouse.blogspot.ca/2014/02/monday-morsel-winter-and-sunlight.html

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  11. Good for you getting yourself on Twitter. (I haven't done that yet. Not sure I can "do" more social media! :-)) I haven't read any of the books you're reading, but they look good.

    I'm reading Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell AND Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

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    1. Hi Betsy - actually I'm not sure I'll EVER "get" Twitter. But it's kind of neat to try it out. I've seen Blue Bike and Outliers mentioned on so many blogs lately, I'll have to check them out. Thanks for dropping in!

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  12. The Spark sounds so good. I'd love to read more about what Barnett did differently. Adding that one to my to-read list.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Shana! The Spark is so interesting.

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Leave a comment -- I'd love to hear from you!