Cooking Fun

If you have a little chef in the making, this is a great cookbook.


My daughter found it at the library and is having lots of fun with it!

Books mentioned in this post:

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald


The Oath

On a recent trip to the library, a book with a photo of a doctor drinking tea with bloodied hands caught my eye.  The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev is the story of a doctor who lived and worked under unimaginable conditions during the recent Russian-Chechnyan wars.  Doctor Baiev’s story from his childhood in Chechnya to living in asylum in the United States is interesting and educational.  I enjoyed learning about this region of the world, about the the history and culture of the Chechnyan people.  Beyond that, and on a deeper, personal level it was a real eye opener for me.  Having one brother who did two tours in Iraq, and another brother about to deploy, I appreciated the honest, straightforward depiction of war. The book gave me a new perspective about the nature of conflict, propaganda, and war-time rhetoric.  It opened my eyes to the unthinkable suffering of civilians, and soldiers alike.  It made me think twice about the term “enemy”, and rattled some of my views about conflicts our country has participated in.  It is raw, honest, graphic, educational, and well worth the time to read Dr. Baiev’s story.

Books mentioned in this post:

The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev

The Blue Castle

L.M. Montgomery is well know for her Anne of Green Gables series, but I have recently begun reading some of her less known works.  She produced quite a collection.  Last year I read Jane of Lantern Hill (a charming read, with a heart warming ending), and just now finished The Blue Castle.  What a great book!  It has somewhat of a somber tone, but hope lurks around each bend in the storyline.  It is the story of a young, unmarried woman destined for a lifetime of loneliness and sadness (homely looks and a rigid mother are the backdrop for this gals less than satisfying life).  She copes with the darkness of her days by fantasizing about life in her imaginary “blue castle”.  Ironically, a grim diagnosis from a doctor leads this woman down a path to brighter days.   How many days she has left to soak up this new found joy is always in question, but it’s well worth it to see her story through to the end.


Books mentioned in this post:

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

For The Love Of Used Books

I love used books.  So, of course, I had to go to the library book sale today.  For $17, I came home with all of this:

Can’t get much better than less than $1 a book, especially when they are in very good condition.  AND the money goes to support our local library, which is a nice bonus.

Even though I have to pay more than a $1 a book, I also enjoy used book stores.  My husband and I came upon a beautiful one in our neck of the woods, and thoroughly enjoyed a quiet afternoon of browsing.  He walked away with a Tracy Kidder book, and I found this…

At over a thousand pages, it’s a bit of a commitment, so I’m still working up the courage to begin.  Although, there IS rain forecasted for this week, so it may be the perfect time to start!

Love Those Ordinary Days

A couple of years ago I saw the Hallmark channel movie “The Magic of Ordinary Days”, and loved it!  Many months later I got my hands on a copy of the book and loved that even more.

Pregnant by a man who won’t acknowledge that the child is his, Olivia’s father arranges for her to marry a man she has never met.  She leaves behind her life in the city, her family, and her pursuits of an education to become the wife of a farmer in rural Colorado.  There she learns to find joy and love in the unexpected.

A subplot in the book is Olivia’s relationship with two women who live at a Japanese internment camp in the area.  I don’t know much about this era in our nation’s history, so I found this aspect of the story to be very interesting and eye opening.

I highly recommend this heartwarming book.

Books mentioned in this post:

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel

A Little More Inspiration

While on the topic of inspirational, eye opening books, here is another good one.

It’s the true story of a successful Microsoft employee who left his position to start a non-profit organization.  The book begins with his life at Microsoft and details the journey he took to become the founder of Room to Reada non-profit that promotes literacy and education around the world.  I found it to be both well written, and inspiring.

Books mentioned in this post:

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

Innocence Lost

After reading Half the Sky, I wanted to learn more about women’s issues in the global community, so I read this:

The story is told in a easy to read, straight forward manner.  The author’s directness was unnerving, but a story like this could not be anything less I suppose.  It is the story of a woman who suffered horribly as a child prostitute working in the brothels of Cambodia, and how she is using that experience to rescue girls living in that same situation today.  I had to pause several times during my reading of her story, pause to cry, to collect myself.  It’s not an easy read.  The atrocities that we humans can afflict on one another goes beyond reason.  However, the least I can do is listen to her story, to be aware.  And  it’s a story worth reading.  The path she took to get where she is today is pretty amazing, and the things she has accomplished on behalf of victimized girls in Southeast Asia is inspiring.  There’s no happy ending, she offers no panacea for the problem, and it’s an overwhelming problem to be sure.  She reminded me, however, that we all have a role to play in this life.  We all carry with us experiences, talents, and resources that can be used to bring light into the life of another human being.  One moment at a time, one step at a time, one interaction at a time we can all do something.  One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from the Somaly’s adoptive Father.  Speaking to some girls who had been rescued from the brothels he said, “What you have learned, from experience, is worth much more than gold. If you have a house it may burn down. Any kind of possession can be lost, but your experience is yours forever. Keep it and find a way to use it” (page 156).  I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to learn more about Somaly’s organization here.

Books mentioned in this post:

The Road to Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam