Don’t Believe the Hype . . .
It has been pointed out to me that being a negative personality, or bringing your woes continually to someone can push them away. I admit, yes, this can prove true. However, there are people who seem in need of constant lauding in their life, and that grows equally draining and irksome. These people seem to need to have every accomplishment high-fived and celebrated. They keep a “yes crew” around them who can give them that needed praise at any given moment. That need for adulation grows weary, and friendship will not likely survive the moment the required praise fails to come, or their supposed “greatness” comes into question. So yes, while the woe is me person grows tiresome, the inflated egomaniac can suck all the oxygen out of the room.
Glass Houses and Stones
There is an expression that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I have to say that expression resonates with me. As easily as a person can sit back and observe and critique someone else’s life and choices, it has to be remembered that those judgments and/or critiques offered should come with a warning to the giver! It is simple to sit back as a third-party and have an opinion, but to be offended or get angry when the advice given isn’t taken well baffles me, especially when said advice isn’t asked for or sought out. I know as humans we make judgments, but to expect fellow sentient beings to just gladly take whatever observations are offered is naïve. Sometimes remember to expect that people might not take kindly to well-intended advice. The person might not be ready to accept the “truth”, there might be things as an outside observer is not aware of, sometimes people just don’t want advice. I think it is always good to be thoughtful when giving advice, and to remember that the hand you “feed” could bite back. So I try to think about that old expression, and stop to ask myself, am I ready to throw that stone, is my house is made of strong enough glass, should I really risk it?
The White Queen – Phillipa Gregory
Having never read historical fiction before, and not being a fan of this particular period of history, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this novel. Elizabeth Woodville, maternal grandmother to Henry VIII, is the main focus of this novel about the War of the Roses. She is a widow with two young sons who was looking to cast her lot higher, and ends up married to King Edward IV, having ten children with him, and being a part of some major events in English history. I wasn’t to familiar with her story, so I didn’t really have much to critique when it came to historical accuracy. I will say this is an interesting story, full of intrigue, manipulation, and made this historical period a bit more interesting for me to digest. I had seen a movie adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl, another of this author’s novels, and did expect there to be that same element of grandiose drama, which this novel definitely contains. Remember with historical fiction to take things with a grain of salt, besides any biographical facts about the historical figures, because this isn’t written as a biography, but as a novel. I did have fun reading it, and it did encourage me to seek out a little bit of information about this time period and the people in the novel, which isn’t a bad accomplishment for a story about history and those who shaped it.
On the Island – Tracey Garvis Graves
My good friend and fellow blogger Steph at KitchenKM isn’t a huge fan of reading fiction, so when she recommended the book On the Island I was immediately intrigued knowing her recommendation wouldn’t have come easily. The premise does sound a tad salacious, as if The Blue Lagoon was mixed with The Mary Kay Letourneau Story. 30 year old teacher Anna Emerson is going for the summer to tutor TJ Callahan in the Maldives, where his family is vacationing. TJ is 16 years old and recently in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The two travel together to the island, and what should be an uneventful trip turns into and unplanned struggle for survival when the pilot has a heart attack the two are stranded and forced to survive on a remote island. This story of survival and what appears to be a taboo romance is handled with heart and grace. Anna is not a cougar looking for her prey, but a woman who was looking for a change in her life and ends up with more than she bargained for when she must rely on the very student she came to tutor. TJ is a teenage boy who has had to grow up fast because of his cancer, and then again when thrown into this survival situation he must face adulthood and his growing feelings for his teacher. These two people only have each other, and bond while facing dangers in their struggle to live and survive. The romance is handled over the course of time, and I think that is what softens any taboo or salaciousness of the age difference and student/teacher rolls. The relationship is not fully realized or consummated until TJ is nearly 19. This romance isn’t a quick island romp, but built out of adversity and life and death struggles that shape the bond and eventual love for each other that develops between Anna and TJ. This is a fast paced read that kept me turning pages and explores the deepening of a relationship over the course of time between characters that felt honest to me. I am glad to say my initial expectations were wrong, and I enjoyed this wonderful romance.
11/22/63 – Stephen King
Having never read a Stephen King book, it was with some trepidation I began reading 11/22/63 for my bookclub. I was surprised that I ended up enjoyed the book. It is not the usual King “Horror,” but about a time traveler and a real historical event. The event is the watershed moment, November 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was assassinated. It is a lengthy book, something I have heard repeatedly about King’s writing, but not a badly written story at all. The book focuses on time traveling teacher Jake Epping and his journey as he attempts to change the obdurate past. It weaves in the historical figures Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, with the fictional people Jake meets along the way. The more outrageous time travel element is about the only discernible supernatural or paranormal device more expected of King, but at it’s core remains a character book and a book about choices. The story about a regular man, an extraordinary opportunity, and the consequences for himself and those around him of taking or not taking that opportunity. And as historical fiction, and being a history lover myself, the notion of a journey to the past, and the implications of altering the past, or the butterfly effect, did intrigue me despite my being unfamiliar with King’s writing. Engaging storytelling, and an interesting premise, helped me navigate King’s lengthy writing style. Overall, I found it an enjoyable read, good for King fans as well as King newcomers.