Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks
I'd already seen the movie, but wanted to read the book. It's quite possibly my favorite Sparks story. Love it.
The Corn Grows Ripe, by Dorothy Rhoads
A story about a Mayan boy who has to take over the job of planting and harvesting the corn, a job his father can no longer do because of an injury. The boys and I read it and all enjoyed it. Really easy read.
Cool quotes - p. 58, Tigre worked on his rope. Several times he had to unravel it and start again, but each time it was a little easier. A few months ago, he thought, he would have given it up as not worth the trouble. But his persistence in keeping on with the bushing had done something more for him besides getting down bush. As using his muscles constantly had strengthened his arms, so doing the hard thing had exercised and strengthened his will. It was easier now for him to stick to unpleasant things.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis
Another book that I'd already seen the movie for. I was hoping for extras that the movie didn't get to, but that turned out to be a lot of football talk. Needless to say, I skimmed those chapters. Otherwise, the movie stayed pretty true to the book.
Walk the World's Rim, by Betty Baker
I read this to the boys and we all liked it, though they sometimes had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Too bad I'm not good at doing different voices. Oh well. Anyway, this is a great story of friendship and other relationships, dreams and expectations, conflict and it's resolution. Lots of good lessons. Also a lot of sarcasm, which the boys loved.
Cool quotes - p. 119, (On the broken promises made by someone who didn't like their circumstances) His promises are like rainbows, formed in bad weather and vanishing in a clear sky.
Why I Jumped: A Dramatic Story of Finding Hope Beyond Depression, by Tina Zahn
Maryanne had recommended this book ages and ages ago on her blog, which she has since bailed on. So, I've had it on my "to read" list for a long time! Tina's life had included some really hard things, including abuse, and then she found herself in the depths of post-partum depression as an adult. This is her story of her life, the jump off a bridge in an attempt to kill herself, the miraculous rescue that foiled her suicidal plan, and how she's gotten to a place of mental and emotional stability.
I know people who have battled PPD to various degrees, so I don't doubt it's seriousness in the least. However, as I was reading this book I kept thinking of a comment Josh, my brother-in-law, made a while back about how they don't see PPD in the Philippines. Don't you think it's interesting that it's a cultural illness?
As a sidenote, Zahn's suicidal jump was caught on the dashboard camera of the first officer at the scene. This clip starts with a re-enactment of her driving to the bridge, then cuts to actual footage of her jump.
Staying Home Instead: How to Balance Your Family Life (and Your Checkbook), by Christine Davidson
I picked this up from the library's "free books" bin. Forced myself to finish it and skimmed several chapters. My thoughts were "duh" and "I don't care" as I read through it. I'm sure it's helpful to someone, but I thought it was a waste of time.
The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, by Kevin Salwen & Hannah Salwen
I really liked this book and have the CD on reserve at the library so Tim can listen to it during his commute. The main point of this book is that you can take half of something you have in excess (time, tangible items, etc) and use it to make someone else's life better. For example, if you spend $40 a month getting your haircut, you could drop it to $20 and use the other half to make life better for others. Or you could take the ten hours a week you spend watching TV, drop it to five and use the other five to volunteer somewhere.
While this family's experience was done on a large scale, simply because that's the opportunity they had, anyone can apply the concept to their own life. In a "more, bigger, faster, cooler" society, I love to see people putting a little thought into what they're doing with their money and why they're doing it. I also found it interesting to see how the family went about all the decision making for their project. Good read!