Facebook – January 2011
1/1 Graffiti – Welcome to Knoxville TN. Our roads suck and so do our red traffic lights.
Better Blogs and Christmas Cheer
I am not in a blogging mood.
The Little Red Hen
Book Review: Behind Every Good Man
Behind Every Good Man by John Bytheway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Short and sweet book. Really, it will take you all of 20 minutes to read the whole thing.
What did I learn?
Besides the fact that I am not as good of a wife as I thought I was?
#1 And most important (which is really hard for wives to hear) You can’t change your husband.
#2 Love your husband. Just the way he is, and you might inspire him to be better.
#3 Be grateful that your husband puts up with you.
#4 Your husband is really a lot better than you give him credit for.
#5 Don’t criticize EVER. Unless he asks for it, and even then you have to deliver it in a way that seems complimentary.
#6 Men talk for information, women talk for interaction. Define your roles, needs, and communication styles and then remember them when interacting.
#8 Talk about your admiration for each other, especially in front of other people.
#9 Speak each others’ love languages.
#10 Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is, treat him as he is the man you want him to become and he will become that man.
Book Review: Where Men Win Glory
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I remember hearing about Pat Tillman and his decision to join the army after September 11, 2001. I had no idea at the time that I was just another unassuming American being sold on a war by the US Government and the US media. I am glad that on a whim I picked this book off the new additions shelf a the library.
This book was absolutely fascinating in two ways. The first is obvious: Pat Tillman was a remarkable man. He was patriotic and tough. He was unmaterialistic, almost anti-materialistic, and that is why it wasn’t a big deal for him to walk away from his NFL contract and sign up to be a soldier. He was loyal. He stayed with his same girlfriend through high school, college, and the rest of us his cut-short life. One of my favorite parts of Pat’s story was how he gave up a 9 million dollar contract with another NFL team way before he went to war. He was loyal to the coaches and team that gave him his first chance at professional football in the 7th draft, and he wasn’t even worried that he lost millions. But, I already told you that he wasn’t materialistic. What a breathe of fresh air in today’s stuff-saturated society.
Pat is a hero to me. He’s an unlikely hero for me. He was agnostic and almost self centered. However he was smart and confident. In reading this book he wasn’t portrayed as the selfless guy that I imagined him to be, but as a high risk junkie. I am not sure if I liked that. I know that just as this book made me non-trusting of the government and news networks, I am also now untrusting of the story teller. No one man can ever write enough to really let you know a man you never met. I will tell you this, after reading about Pat Tillman’s life, I would have loved to be able to sit down with him and discuss ideas. He was a philosophy kind of guy…always testing ideas. This is why he is a hero to me. I like thinkers.
Interestingly, Pat never wanted to be paraded through the streets as the guy who believed in the war, and this is precisely the reason I chose to read his biography in the first place. In fact, Pat was disenchanted with the war. He joined to go and find Bin Laden and kill him, and Pat was pissed when his whole first tour turned into Bush’s ulterior motives of defeating Sadam Hussein and Iraq. As a naive American, I never knew that warheads were made up by our government just to use the 9/11 opportunity to defeat a country we felt was a threat. But, Iraq was never a terrorist threat like the Taliban and Al Qaeda members harbored in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iraq just happened to be a convenient neighbor close enough to Bin Laden to rally Americans to attack. I finished this book, also pissed that I had been dooped into fighting the wrong war and upset that our government wasn’t more successful at finding every last terrorist and wiping them into oblivion.
The second facet I loved about this book is that it was a living history lesson. It was a lesson to me about world events that I was never in touch with. I learned all kinds of stuff about the middle east and our foreign affairs with them; things I am ashamed I never took the time to know before. The way that the story was written as a go between of a fascinating soldier and a fact telling story was especially effective at keeping my attention. I would never just pick up a daunting tell all of middle eastern events, but mixed in with the story of Pat Tillman, made it all the more fascinating and relevant, for this ignorant US citizen who tries to keep US politics at bay.
Good read. It is recommended by me for all kinds of people: People who like world history, US Politics, the National Football League, the US Military, war histories, the Middle East, terrorist plots, or just plain old philosophy.
Book Review: Defensive Tactics
Defensive Tactics by Steve Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lately in my life I have been learning about boundaries. How to set healthy ones because I am bad at it. Who knew I could read a work of fiction to help me figure out this concept of boundaries? I guess I’ve always known that fiction crosses over, but it’s always completely awe- inspiring when a work of fiction can help me with decisions I must make in my own life.
I thought that this book was just going to be another action thriller about a couple of FBI agents, but it was so much more than that. It was a perfect example of what good boundaries can do for a person who desperately needs them. It was also a great lesson that boundaries alone are not enough; an adult, just like a child, has to have unconditional love to flourish.
The three main characters, Jimmy, Paul, and Emily were all AWESOME in their own way. I loved each of them and could relate to each of them, even though they were all completely different. Jimmy was a bright and amazing guy who was in a troubled time of life. He was floundering for good reason. I am against writing spoilers, but if what happened to him, happened to me, I don’t know if I could get out of bed ever again. Paul was the perfectionist in me. He aimed to please and was a good rule keeper, but he was deep down completely insecure. Emily was every woman that we want to have depicted in a novel, smart, feminine, kind, gutsy, and more than anything, confident.
These three characters made a dynamic tale of love and friendship. My hat goes off to the author, Steve Westover, for his wonderful character development. Although the plot in the story was a bit predictable, I still really enjoyed the quick read.
Back to the boundaries. Jimmy was able to completely change his life around and tap into his under-appreciated strengths for two reasons: Paul’s healthy boundaries and un-apologetic expectations combined with Emily’s infinite and unconditional love.
This book was so much more than a private investigator story of mystery and action, it was a perfect love story. A love triangle that left everyone happy. Including this reader.
My hat is off to Steve Westover for his successful first novel.
Book Review: The Seeker
Seeker, The: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Love is everything. From the love between the two romance seeking main characters. To the man who couldn’t love a woman and found his escape in a Shaker colony. The love of a father, a brother, and a daughter. The love of strangers for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War was powerful enough to keep the meals coming, at the risk of starving a whole colony through the winter.
I loved the character Charlotte. When she ran away from her Southern Plantation to a Shaker colony, I thought she was a coward, but when she used the opportunity to better understand herself, my affections returned. Adam Wade was every girl’s dream: good-looking, rugged, and a very talented artist. The author’s descriptions of his art made the reader feel like she was looking right at each masterpiece. Who says a picture speaks more than the written word? You would have never guessed this when reading this book. Each fictional sketch took on a life of its own for me, just as each character did.
Learning about the Shakers’ beliefs was secondary to a look into the state of the nation during the Civil War. Did those Confederate soldiers really chicken out like that in that first battle? How did that get past me all these years?
The Shakers ability to love was inspiring, as was Charlotte’s love and devotion to a helpless little boy…even when his own mother was a horrendous example of motherhood. Perhaps the greatest love story of all was the freeing of beloved slaves. I get teary just thinking of the fictional characters as their faces glowed with liberty for the first time in their lives.
I can’t wait to read some more of Gabhart’s books.
or if it is all given to the cause.