Ron Hall & Denver Moore’s What Difference Do It Make?…


What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing by Ron Hall | LibraryThing

Hall, R., Moore, D., & Vincent, L. (2009). What difference do it make?: Stories of hope and healing. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson. 9780849920196

Reasons for Reading: After reading Same Kind of Different as Me for our Bible Study group, my mom found this sequel of sorts.  She checked out What difference do it make?: Stories of hope and healing from HCPL and recommended I read it, too.

Summary: (Warning: Must Read Same Kind of Different As Me… before starting this book.) What Difference Do It Make… is a collection of stories and events which were spurred on by Same Kind of Different as Me.

What I Liked: It was great finding out that a single book led to so many awesome acts. Also, I appreciated the authenticity of it. These people had problems and they didn’t shy away from admitting them.

What I Disliked:  Why couldn’t Same Kind of Different as Me have been this awesome?

Four Out of Five Pearls

 
Setting: Dallas, Ft. Worth, Louisiana, Italy, United States 
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 For more on Ron Hall & Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different as Me…, check out the following:

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Siobhan Vivian’s The List


The List by Siobhan Vivian | LibraryThing

Vivian, S. (2012). The list. New York: PUSH. 9780545169172

Reasons for Reading: When perusing other bloggers’ Top Ten Tuesday lists, I stumbled upon Siobhan Vivian’s The List. The conflict described appealed to me so much that I sought the title at my library. When I found the book online, I requested in via HCPL.

Summary: Every year, some anonymous soul posts The List all over Mount Washington High during Homecoming Week. The List shares the names of eight girls, two from each grade – the prettiest and the ugliest. As the summary inside the book says:

ABBY’S joy at being named to the list is clouded by her sister’s resentment.

DANIELLE worries about how her boyfriend will take the news.

LAUREN is a homeschooled girl blindsided by her instant popularity.

CANDACE isn’t ugly, not even close, so it must be a mistake.

BRIDGET knows her summer transformation is nothing to celebrate.

SARAH has always rebelled against traditional standards of beauty, and she decides to take her mutiny to the next level.

And MARGO and JENNIFER, ex-best friends who haven’t spoken in years, are forced to confront why their relationship ended.

These eight girls struggle throughout the book, confronting their social stature as defined in print in eight different ways. While written in third person, the reader becomes privy to the thoughts of these eight girls.

What I Liked: The mystery of who was posting The List compelled me to read this so quickly I nearly suffered paper cuts. While I figured out the culprit well before I hit the back cover, I wanted to know the motives. Author Vivian formed intriguing characters and dealt with true issues such as: popularity, bullying, eating disorders, and self-esteem. I cared about some of these girls, especially Lauren and Danielle.

What I Disliked: The ending (which will remain unspoiled by this reviewer) left me dissatisfied. I wondered if this was the birth of the series as there were some thread left looser than I would’ve desired. Also, eight different characters was at least four too many characters in my opinion. The author could’ve pleased me by focusing on the story of ex-best friends Margo and Jennifer. Lastly, I sure didn’t like most of the parents featured in this book. Dishonorable mention goes to Abby’s parents, Lauren’s mother, and Candace’s mother.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved – YouTube

Setting: United States

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Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. . .


Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert | LibraryThing

Gilbert, E., & Penguin Audiobooks. (2010). Committed: [a skeptic makes peace with marriage]. New York, N.Y: Penguin Audio. 9780143145752

Soon after I finished Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, I wanted to know what happened with Liz since her previous memoir. Luckily, I found what Gilbert calls Eat, Pray, Love’s companion memoir in audiobook format at HCPL.

Spoiler Alert (If you anticipate reading Eat, Pray, Love, then do not read this review)

Towards the end of her previous memoir, Liz met Felipe. Felipe, a Brazilian man with Australian citizenship living in Bali, survived his own bitter divorce. So, when he and Liz began their romance, they agreed to remain monogamous without legally marrying.

Their arrangement suited both of them pretty well; Felipe would stay with Liz in various United States locales for the weeks alloted him. Then, Felipe would leave and return on the next visa. This all ended when the U.S. government denied him entry.

Confronted with the reality of legal marriage so Felipe could dwell again in U.S., Liz and Felipe find themselves on the move in Southeast Asia, awaiting Felipe’s permission. During this time, Liz delved into researching the institution of marriage. Her discovery led to this memoir.

Liz’s work is impressively thorough and exhaustive in Committed. At some points, her doubt pervaded her writing, lending to its authenticity. While I don’t agree with her on numerous points and am virtually clueless on other issues she raises, I considered this a good read.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: United States, Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Song:  Modern Love – David Bowie (1983)‬‏ – YouTube

You might also like:

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • It Takes A Nation by Rebecca Blank
  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

 For more on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. . ., check out the following:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love


  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert | LibraryThing

    Gilbert, E. (2006). Eat, pray, love: [one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia]. New York: Penguin Audio. 9780143058526

As I sought more material for the 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge, I requested Eat, Pray, Love through HCPL.  While I hardly recommend watching the movie before reading the book, I saw the film just a month or so before requesting the audio.

Thirty-something Elizabeth “Liz” Gilbert seems to have everything. She’s a successful writer and she’s married. Yet, she is completely miserable. So, after a bitter divorce and a tempestuous relationship with a younger guy, Liz seeks out pleasure and spiritual devotion. She treks through Italy, India, and Indonesia (Bali) during one year and journals her self-discovery.

There were some points I didn’t care for in the book but I’m really pleased that I checked out this audiobook. The book seemed natural and authentic, especially since Liz also narrated. It even led me to check out what is considered a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love. While I don’t agree with her on some spiritual aspects, I appreciated Liz relating her views.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: United States, Italy, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Song:  YouTube – ‪Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over (2010 Version)‏

You might also like:

    • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    • Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

 For more on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, check out the following:

 

 

Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits


* 1001 Books Book

Allende, I. (2005). The house of the spirits. New York: Dial Press. 9780553383805

Allende, I. (1985). The house of the spirits. New York: A.A. Knopf. 9780394539072

Having enjoyed Allende’s writing in the past, I checked out The House of the Spirits from HCPL. Before I proceed, I must state that I’ve never read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. From what I’ve seen online, this will color the reader’s opinion of The House of the Spirits.

This work is the saga of the Truebas, a family living in an unnamed South American country (presumably Chile). It follows the Trueba family for  four generations against a backdrop of political definition, struggle, and upheaval of the twentieth century. There’s also a talk of The Politician (Salvador Allende) and his fall from power.

Allende tells the story through two different voices – a third person narrator and Esteban Trueba, the elderly patriarch. The latter was engaged to Rosa del Valle, also called Rosa la Bella. When Rosa dies from an accidental poisoning, Esteban throws himself into the reconstruction of his family’s hacienda, Las Tres Marias. Esteban takes out his rage on the peasants, raping many of the females.

The matriarch of the House of Trueba is Clara del Valle, who is introduced in the first line of the book. Clara possesses all sorts of ESP and she’s sister of Rosa the Beautiful. Inadvertantly, she predicts the death of Rosa. When this happens, Clara falls silent for years. She only communicates through writing while maintaining a family history.The next time Clara talks, she announces that she’ll marry Esteban Trueba.

When they do marry, they reside in the house on the corner. Soon, they have children (Blanca, twins Jaime and Nicolas) in this house. The house  where many gather around Clara. This group includes both living and dead folks. Among the living are the Mora Sisters and the Poet (thought to be Pablo Neruda).

I was amazed by this work. As I’ve mentioned in reviewing Island Beneath the Sea, Allenda is a gifted storyteller. These characters are so real that I can almost see them. The magical elements almost offer the book the feel of fairy tale. For example, Rosa the Beautiful has green hair and yellow eyes. Esteban and Clara’s granddaughter, Alba, also has green hair. Yet, Allende gets down to business such as Pinochet’s coup on September 11, 1973. Of all of her works I’ve read, this one is the best.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Chile, Peru, Europe, United States, Canada, China

Literary Ties: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

For more reviews of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, please click on the following links: