Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The View from the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman

Title: The View from the Cheap Seats
Author: Neil Gaiman
Hardback: 522 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Published date: May 2016
FTC: I requested to review from publisher

Have you ever been asked the question "If you were to go dinner with your favorite author, who would it be?" Well, this is kind of like being granted that wish. The first Neil Gaiman book I read was an eBook of Neverwhere back when I was a receptionist out of college and it was ok that I was working and reading books at the same time. I was hooked. Then I read Stardust. Then Coraline and Anansi Boys. And I fell hard for The Graveyard Book. Who hasn't? Even my kids love Chu (who doesn't love a cute sneezing Panda).

So sitting down to read The View from the Cheap Seats is how I would imagine sitting down with Neil Gaiman would be. Ok ok. In reality I know that 1) it would never actually happen and if it did 2) we'd probably be talking more about our kids and spouses. (I think Amanda is fabulous and not just because we share the same name.) That and if I was magically granted a night out with someone to dinner I honestly would pick my husband. Goodness, I treasure my date nights with him like a greedy pirate (and yes, I've been watching too many kid TV shows).  But seriously, sometimes as a stay-at-home mom I just want a dose of adultness (I know that's not a word) and adult conversation. So I pour myself a cup of coffee and enjoy reading Neil Gaiman's thoughts and ponderings and it is like hanging out with a friend who enjoys reading, libraries, Doctor Who, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, science fiction, Tori Amos, fairy tales, and basically good art.

I haven't finished the entire book. It's something I don't want to rush through. I read a few section a day and I savor it like chocolate. I also jump around reading sections because, well, it's my book and sometimes I like to throw off my linear self. While reading I've come across many authors I've never heard of and want to read, authors I've heard of and never read, and authors I've read that we both love. Can you believe I've never read Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Because I can't quote the entire book, just go out and buy it. It's one you need to own. But here's a few examples:

   "The magic and the danger of fiction is this: it allows us to see through other eyes. It takes us to places we have never been, allows us to care about, worry about, laugh with, cry for, people who do not, outside of the story, exist.
   There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong." p415

   "I believe I have the right to think and say the wrong things. I believe your remedy for that should be to argue with me or to ignore me, and that I should have the same remedy for the wrong things that I believe you think.
   I believe that you have the absolute right to think things that I find offensive, stupid, preposterous or dangerous, and that you have the right to speak, write, or distribute these things, and that I do not have the right to kill you, maim you, hurt you, or take away your liberty or property because I find your ideas threatening or insulting or downright disgusting. You probably think some of my ideas are pretty vile too."  p4

You also have to go and read Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming. It's required reading...or at least it should be.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hope Unfolding - Becky Thompson

Title: Hope Unfolding
Author: Becky Thompson
Paperback: 209 pages
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Published date: March 2016
FTC: Received to review from Blogging for Books

I am the proud mommy of three beautiful boys ages 5 to six months. My youngest was just a few months old when I somehow came across Becky Thompson's book Hope Unfolding. I think it was Facebook or an ad from a publisher? Anyhow, I was struggling. I am a stay at home mom, which I love, but it can be tough sometimes. Baby number three was a surprise - we were about to call it quits and be happy with two kiddos when God had other plans. I called him Baby Joy before I knew who he was and that is exactly his personality. The most joyful baby I've ever met. But I was still struggling with two rambunctious boys and a new baby and basically I needed a reminder of Hope. I was about to order Becky Thompson's book on Amazon when I checked out Blogging for Books and it was available to review! Um, yes! Let me just say that I recommend this book for any mommas out there who are just struggling or need a pick-me-up. Big or little. And at some point we all do. We all do.

Back of the book:

God’s love, plans, and promises for you are forever unfolding.

 I get it, Momma. I totally get it.
 Every day you wake up and try your very best. You love, give, and pour out your life for the ones who call you Momma. But no matter how much you offer, there are still days you feel as though you come up short. You worry, Am I loving these babies enough? Is this ever going to get easier? Why does it seem like I am the only one who cannot balance it all?

Sometimes, we just need hope (and maybe a long uninterrupted nap). We need someone to help tune our hearts to the voice of the Father and to remind us that He has not forgotten about us.
In Hope Unfolding, Becky Thompson is a friend who reminds you that you aren’t alone, and that God is still writing your story. She guides you to encounter the Truth of God’s presence that not only fuels you with strength, but also a fresh confidence. And beyond gaining faith that tomorrow could be different, you find hope and purpose where you are standing today.

My thoughts:

I read this book in the mornings while eating breakfast and drinking my coffee. It was like sitting down for a chat with a fellow mom who's been there and gets it. Since then, I've started following Becky Thompson's Facebook page and seriously, you can't help but loving her. She often has Live posts and recently has been posting Live sessions going through her book. I'm excited about her recent news that she's coming out with a book called Love Unending, a twenty-one day journey to help focus on your marriage during this hard time of raising little ones. I will be buying that one.

But going back to Hope Unfolding, this book is an example of what I call "cheaper than therapy." Ha! I don't think I learned anything spectacularly new but I definitely needed to start my day in a frame of mind that it's ok momma, I am enough for these boys. I will have ups and downs but God made me their momma and I don't have to prove myself to God or these little ones. Just like they will never have to earn their love from me or God. So I'm going to put down my to-do list, put down my phone, and allow myself to just be. 

Cheaper Than Therapy
Coloring, a good book, and coffee (not pictured)