Monday, February 18, 2013

Daisy Says We Should Read

Isn't this a great poster? It was on the cover of the latest ALA catalog (Jim, as a member of the library board, gets all sorts of library mail). The scruffy pup is Daisy, from Chris Raschka's 2012 Caldecott winning picture book, A Ball for Daisy.

I think I'm in love with Daisy

 I do love to read, and I've tried to share books through this blog. Based on the virtual stack of books waiting for their own blog post, I've not kept up very well!

Let me try to remedy that, with some quick and dirty overviews (figuring that is better than nothing, which seems to be the alternative). I've decided to stop at two, so I can actually post this, instead of waiting til I have time to write up the rest...

Our book group gave Sylvia Boorstein's book mixed reviews. I think some were put off by the Buddhist teachings, and perhaps uncomfortable trying to mesh that with our Mormon doctrine.

But I give it four stars. I found it easy to read, and very interesting, and I found much that I could relate to. I particularly enjoyed the section that outlined basic teachings, which often were in harmony with my own beliefs.

In the first section, Boorstein wrote
Practicing mindfulness and metta (lovingkindness) is not religiously challenging. This makes them accessible tools for meditators in all traditions. Awareness, clarity, compassion, generosity, understanding -- these are in the middle of everyone's spiritual road.
I felt that theme throughout the book -- that the principles shared can be appreciated by all beliefs. Here's another thought that seems appropriate for all of us.
... every single act we do has the potential of causing pain, and every single thing we do has consequences that echo way beyond what we can imagine. It doesn't mean we shouldn't act. It means we should act carefully. Everything matters.
Or how about this, about our livelihood choices?
Right livelihood is organizing one's financial support so that it is nonabusive, nonexploitive, nonharming. ... these days, what is abusive and exploitive is not necessarily self-evident.
Boorstein's book offers much food for thought, and I commend it. I also listened to an interview wtih Sylvia Boorstein, on Krista Tippett's show On Being. She (Boorstein) is delightful; you can listen here.

I'd give Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters three stars. That usually means "I'm not sorry I read it, but I probably won't read it again." (I just picked up the book and happily reread parts of it, so maybe that's no longer an accurate description of a three-star book.)

I did enjoy this book. The title refers to the three witches of Shakespeare's Macbeth. These particular sisters are the daughters of a professor of Shakespeare, were named after Shakespeare heroines, and grew up quoting Shakespeare. One stayed in their college hometown; one fled to New York; one wandered across the country. Now, their mother has been diagnosed with cancer, and they're all back home, both to offer a variety of help, and to sort out their own lives. They are three very different characters, but I found I liked each one, and was happy to follow their various crises to satisfactory resolutions.

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