Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fellowship of the Ring

by J.R.R. Tolkien

In this first part of the fantasy story The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins, a hobbit, inherits a powerful ring and to save his world from evil, undertakes a dangerous journey on a quest to destroy the ring.

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Behind the scenes in the southern U.S. in the 1960s seen through the eyes of black maids working for white families and a young white woman who is bucking the system. They get together and write a book but they know the consequences will be terrible if certain people ever find out.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book and it kept me spellbound. The three narrators were excellent and really made the story come alive. The novel is very well-written, but rather graphic at times.

Monday, January 30, 2012

homegrown & handmade

a practical guide to more self-reliant living

by Deborah Niemann

Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you know how it was grown or produced, what drugs or pesticides were used? In this book, Deborah Niemann talks about things like ethics and sustainability and why she chose to produce many of the things her family uses every day. She explains the basics of gardening and raising your own poultry and dairy products as well as fiber for knitting or weaving. A number of recipes for foods and soaps are included.

I liked her writing style and found it interesting as well as easy to read and understand. A great resource for anyone interested in starting to produce their own food. I borrowed this book from the library, but would definitely consider buying my own copy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The blessing of a skinned knee

Using Jewish teachings to raise self-reliant children

by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D.

Jewish traditions and teachings are very applicable to raising children in today's world. For example, Judaism values learning by doing and the author explains how chores help children become stronger, better people. The commandment to honor your father and mother, when enforced, will give children security and stability. Ms. Mogel is a psychologist who now lectures on using Jewish principles to prevent problems in children.

Although I am not Jewish, I thought this was an excellent book. Most of the solutions Ms. Mogel offers are pertinent for everyone in general and for Christians in particular since many of the teachings are from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. But mainly, they are just the good, old-fashioned common sense that most of our grandparents were raised by and that most parents today seem to have forgotten.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

Helen became blind and deaf at 19 months of age after a severe illness. Her education began when she was six years old and teacher Anne Sullivan came to live with her. She was an extremely bright child, and soon learned hundreds of words by means of the manual alphabet and later, braille. Helen eventually went to college (regular college, not a special one for blind or deaf people), and did very well.

Miss Keller's story is a captivating tale of perseverance. She was determined to do as much as she possibly could in spite of her limitations. I enjoyed reading her story which included many of her letters and some of Miss Sullivan's as well.