Category Archives: Things

Quick-Fast Book Review | 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

Person: Ernesta T. Carter

Thing: Book—32 Candles]

Place: Mississippi; California
Idea: Ugly ducklings can become swans — and just might get the handsome guy. Well–maybe.

This week’s book is by Ernesta T. Carter—her first book titled “32 Candles.”

It’s about an awkward ugly duckling named Davida—who also has an abusive whore-mother. Davida was a fatherless child—at least she didn’t know the man. Her mother definitely didn’t spare the rod—and at school, Davida’s fellow students whipped her verbally. You know how mean kids can be. They called Davida Monkey Night—because they said she looked like a monkey and was dark as the night. Yeah, her life was like THAT. Her clothes were ugly, and her hair matted. That was in elementary school. Eventually Monkey Night died—and Davida remained—at least that’s what I thought…

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Quick-Fast book review-Austin Boyd-Nobody’s Child

20140311-153900.jpgPerson: Austin Boyd
Thing: Book—Nobody’s Child
Place: West Virginia
Idea: Austin Boyd explores the complicated possibilities that could stem from human seed donations, when a single, pregnant attorney in this story, seeks out her egg donor when she learns she has a life-threatening medical condition. Plenty of drama in this easy-to-read bioethics suspense novel.

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Book Review # 6 | It Worked for Me by Colin Powell

Person: Colin Powell
Thing: Book—It Worked for Me in Life and Leadership
Place: Various and sundry
Idea: This week’s Review is of General Colin Powell’s latest release, and it’s a handy book of experiences and advice called “It Worked for Me—In Life and Leadership.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell shares a number of life lessons that have shaped him and have lent themselves to a successful military career and as a public servant.

The principles behind each of the 44 chapters are summed up in the first chapter called “My Thirteen Rules,” my favorite of which is Rule number two: “Get Mad, then get over it.” It may be rule number two, but it’s not a crappy thing to keep in mind!

Now, the rest of the book is arranged into chapters that are solid enough to stand alone. This book is an easy read for big bookworms, and kind of reminds me of one of those pocket Bible verse books that have biblical passages picked out to address a variety of daily feelings and concerns. If you feel lonely, turn to this verse. (PIP). If you’re discouraged, turn here (PIP).

Well, in Powell’s book “It worked for Me in Life and Leadership,” his relatable reference points range from self knowledge, acceptance of and caring for others, keep up with technology, and what it takes to get up to that point where you’re actually giving more than what you thought was possible in the first place. That section is titled “Getting to 150 Percent.”

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Book Review #5 | Quiet Strength

This week’s Review is a memoir by Tony Dungy—called Quiet Strength.

This book chronicles Tony Dungy’s journey—from his formative years in Jackson, Michigan, to the coach of the 2007 Superbowl champion Indianapolis Colts. The backbone of Dungy’s belief is that all should strive for excellence—and resolute strength in whatever sphere we may occupy—through disappointment, tragedy and happy times. This book was published in 2007, and though not exactly a new release, it contains timeless advice.

I like this book because it is a nice read for one, and it is a reminder that no one is alone in his or her journey. Dungy also shares about the suicide of his son. If there is anything I can imagine would send a parent into a depressive spiral, that is one of the things I can imagine. However, Dungy decided to follow the counsel he had given others through the years—including football players… And trust God through the pain—and keep their minds on God—no matter what. So no cursing or cussing God and shaking fists to the sky. Instead of asking “why” Dungy asked what he could learn from the situation—what could he do for God—and to help others.

Another recommended read—mainly because of its inspirational and uplifting value.

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Book Review #4 | Faith and Other Flat Tires

This week’s Book is by Andrea Palpant Dilley—and it’s called Faith and Other Flat Tires.

The daughter of Quaker medical missionaries, a daughter raised in the respect, fear and admonition of the Lord. She finds herself in a real-life Pilgrim’s Progress—but this memoir details Andrea’s journey from faith to faith, by way of skepticism.

Stuff got real when she actually **GASP** pried the Ichtcus (the fish symbol) from her car.

Now—the thing about Andrea’s memoir—it isn’t remarkably tragic. Just the opposite. It’s extra-ordinarily Christian, but I’d say her walk addresses some bumps that I even wonder if some people in the Christian community even address. Or do they just go along—secure in familiarity and comfy social structure. Can’t help but wonder that sometimes. Andrea’s doubts lead her away from that comfort, on a search for something more meaningful.

So she went—a-questioning in her teen years, a-scraping the fishy decal from her car during her college years, a-drinking, and a-dating—as she traveled the road to meaning and—ultimately—faith.

What I like most about this book is that the end is not so definitive. Yes, she found a re-discovered faith in God, but it is not cliché’ and clear-cut and totally question or doubt-free.

I recommend this read—especially for anyone of a church-y background—who is traversing the terrain of spiritual and/or religious angst. There just might be comfort in Andrea’s story.

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Book Review #3 | Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus

Person: Joyce Magnin
Thing: Book—Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus
Place: On the roads of the USA, from Pennsylvania, to California
Idea: Harriet Beamer’s husband is dead, and her son and daughter-in-law now live in California—so it’s just Harriet and her dog, Humphrey. But unfortunately, Harriet falls, hurts her ankle, prompting her son and daughter-in-law to urge Harriet to move from Pennsylvania to California.

Harriet resists—but gives in—with a catch: She insists on seeing the country—using ground transportation the entire journey.
Armed with a fancy new smartphone, she begins her trek. A number of adventures later, including meeting up with and befriending a dance troupe, being kidnapped, and having a medical emergency that prompts her son and daughter-in-law to come after her—Harriet—resolute, strong as ever—insists on boarding the final bus that will carry her into Grass Valley California—which will be her new home.

This is a lovely book, full of whimsy and fun. And I admire Harriet—even though she is a fictional character. She has guts, man!

If you want a quick, fun read about an ordinary character that steps out of her comfort zone—this books for you!

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Book Review #2 | Steve Pemberton | A Chance in the World


This week’s book is by Steve Pemberton, who is a Divisional Vice-President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens. This book is the sometimes sorrowful, downright upsetting, but an inspiring story of Pemberton’s journey from a pretty whack situation. The book: A Chance in the World.

From the title, you would think he had one or two chances, but according to a babysitter during Steve’s toddler years, Steve had the absolutely no chance. He was also abused, misunderstood and undervalued by more than one foster family.

A lingering question in young Steve’s mind was always “Where did I come from? Where are my mother and father?” He picked up on unintentional clues from his foster family—and this bookworm turned into a sleuth to gather more information about his Dad from local newspapers at the public library.

He also had encounters with those acquainted with his father. And he met his mother’s relatives, as well as siblings he didn’t know before.

This boy—now man—who was stamped with a prediction of failure—survived abuse, learned to love reading, graduated college, learned about his parental history, connected with his family—even though this was somewhat painful—but he also found career success, and married—creating a family of his own.

Obviously that babysitter’s prediction was wrong. His circumstances might have sapped one with weaker resolve. But Steve Pemberton carved a chance out of thin air it seems. And Pemberton reserves thanks to God—for his chance in the world.

Another highly recommended read! I like this book because it shows—even if life hands a person trash—they can choose to transform it into treasure—with a glass of lemonade!

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Planet Noun Book Review #1 | Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp


The main idea is pretty clear in the title. Heather Kopp is a Christian. And she was a straight up drunk. The book opens with her waking up in the guest room of her home—when she guesses why she spent the night there—again. Yup—she was wasted the night before. From the preface, she admits she didn’t even have a inkling that the end of her days drunken-dom (yes I just made up a word) were before her—but she writes:

“So instead, God comes to us disguised as our life, wooing is through our misery toward surrender.
At least, that was how it was for me.”

And from the moment she had a near out-of-town-shopping meltdown trying to lay her hands on some booze to slip in her purse in order to get her through a long evening—only to discover the beers she finally scored were too huge for her purse. So she dashed to a Sears, purchased a whopping purse with which she would carry her liquid sanity. But it wasn’t sanity. From this point, she was on her way there—with sobriety at the finish line.

Sober Mercies is hilarious. It is—no pun intended—sobering as well. This honest look at the underbelly of Christian existence—no wait—it’s not the underbelly—it’s just the human side of the Christian experience, and I love this book for this reason.

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