Author Archives: Beth

Fascinating Novels Inspired by the Lives of Real People

I love a brilliantly  written novel inspired by true events. It’s been so fun to stumble across quite a few in this category over the last couple of years.  Some of these books have made it onto other lists and some are new to me, but all are five star reads for me.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.) 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Just when we thought all the stories of the Holocaust had been told, another emerges.

In the midst of the horror comes a story of survival and hope. The Hiding Place is always my go-to recommendation for World War II and Holocaust stories.  This one adds another dimension.

Light shines brightest in the dark.

Buy now from Amazon

 I Was Anatasia by Ariel Lawhorn

The world is enthralled by the story of Anastasia Romanov.  So much of it shrouded in mystery. What is fact, what is fiction, what is myth and what is legend?  We are drawn to the mystery, to the possibilities, to the tragedy and to the pathos of this story.

Ariel Lawhorn created a masterpiece, weaving all the strands of the story into one, cohesive, intriguing narrative.

Captivating till the end.

Buy now from Amazon

 Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favorite authors and The Chronicles of Narnia the pinnacle in children’s literature, in my opinion. Even though I knew the basic facts of the love story between Lewis and Joy Davidman, Becoming Mrs.  Lewis fleshed out the story in a probable narrative of their relationship.

I came to see her as an unsung hero in Lewis’ life.

There’s nothing like an inside peek at the life of one of the world’s greatest writers.

Buy now from Amazon

 We Were the Lucky Ones

by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Thousands of women worked on breaking codes during WWII. The government began by recruiting and training at women’s colleges, sending secret letters to students in the fall of their senior year.

Then they started recruiting teachers.

The work took special skills, and they didn’t always know what they were.

Intercepting and understanding enemy communication proved to be the critical strategy for the allies to win the war.

Thousands of American women working secretly to break enemy codes turned the tide.

This is the untold story of those women.

Buy now from Amazon

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

 “Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband, Jeremiah, to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war.

Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman’s search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.”– from Amazon

I liked learning about a piece of little known history during the Civil War. It’s hard to even imagine life in those circumstances.

Well written fictionalized account highlighting the stories of real women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men.

Buy now from Amazon

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

 Based of the life of the first female lawyer in Bombay.

Not only does this fictional account weave a riveting tale, it highlights the culture and customs of 1920’s India.

Limited educational opportunities, arranged marriages, gender segregation and inequalities.  These were real obstacles.

Navigating that world and winning is a real feat.

Buy now from Amazon

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Fascinating novelized account of the country’s first female sheriff.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  Tell how they defend themselves, throw in some family secrets and end up with the a female sheriff.  Well played.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.

 Buy now from Amazon

What are you reading this month? 

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Sometimes Understanding Human Nature Will Change Your Life: 6 Books to Help You

Humans are complex.

Several lifetimes of study on human nature will still fall short.

And, yet, sometimes the simplest insight will change the trajectory of our lives.  Once we know something we can’t unknow it.

Insight isn’t everything, of course.  There’s application.  Discipline.  Sharing what you know.

But, sometimes, just understanding is enough to make a change.

(Note:  this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

What’s all the buzz about the enneagram?  Why is there such a following for an ancient system of personality typing that seems to have no research behind it?

I put it in the same category as The 5 Love Languages.  It gains a following because it rings true.

Of course.  I should have seen it all along.  But, of course, we didn’t.  But now it seems so obvious when it’s all laid out.

Yes.  That is what I’m like.  That’s how my friends and family tick.  It all makes sense now.  I get it.  And because it rings true, it gains a following and creates a buzz.

Buy now from Amazon

Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup

Ruth is breaking new ground by introducing the 7 fear archetypes. This is a different way to understand yourself: based on your natural fear tendencies.

In spite of good information and insight in this book, I have a feeling it will not be embraced like some of her others. I’m guessing there’s a smaller percentage of the population that really wants to face their fears. Most of us would rather hide.

Ruth shares compelling stories from her own life and inspirational stories from others.  If you listen to her podcast or follow her online, you will have heard them before.  But, they’re still good.

Buy now from Amazon

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Heads up for language.

If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a shrink looks like, here’s your chance for a behind the scenes deep dive.

Lori pulls back the curtain on the intersection of personal life and professional life.  Real human drama.  How to become a therapist, how to survive as a therapist, how to see a therapist.

One of our deepest human needs is connection with other humans.  And, yet, sometimes we shoot ourself in the foot.  The reality is, though, that you really don’t have to have it all together in your life before you can help someone else.

Lori shares the stories of her patients as well as the stories of being on the couch herself.  For sure, no man is an island. Intriguing.  Compelling.

Buy now from Amazon

Reading People by Anne Bogel

Reading People is a good way to get a quick overview of some of the personality frameworks. Some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. I find personality fascinating.

It’s easy to see the practical applications and helpfulness of the different frameworks when Anne shares personal stories of how they have helped her.

I’m recommending this book to young people because it’s so important to know yourself. Having a vocabulary and reference points is so helpful for teams, co-workers, spouses and family members.

Highly recommended.

Buy now from Amazon

Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy

“If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships, or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting, and stressful to overcome by white knuckling. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment.”–from GoodReads

I heard Ben speak at Tribe Conference last year.  It’s amazing the following he’s gained on Medium.  He writes good stuff, too. Helpful stuff.

Well-written. Great message.

Buy now from Amazon

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is a quick read.  It is a compilation of wisdom from many gurus of time management, self-management and motivation.  The subtitle is “21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.”

If I have one beef with the book, it’s that he doesn’t attribute his ideas to the original authors.  But, the content is gold.

Simple and profound.  So why isn’t everyone doing it?  Because it’s hard.  At least, it’s hard to start.

He does tackle the psychological side of motivating yourself to do difficult things.

It is a book full of action points, laced with a few stories to illustrate the effectiveness of the principles he advocates.

The whole “eat the frog” analogy comes from Mark Twain who said that “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

Talking ourselves into doing difficult things instead of avoiding them gets us ahead.

Buy now from Amazon

What have you read lately that has changed your life? 

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Three Things I Learned this Spring

My grand daughter, Caroline

 

1. It’s hard to be content.

Even when you have the most adorable grand baby in the world.  And another one on the way.  And meaningful work. And great kids.  And good health, overall. Food in the fridge.  A roof overhead.  A hot shower every day.

Yet, I get weighed down and overwhelmed with the things I wish we’re different.  Dirty carpets, dirty windows, messy closets.  Bills to pay.  Overwhelming list of things to do. Decisions to make.  Conflicts, tensions, uncertainty. Tight clothes. Noise.  Clutter.

The negative threatens to over take my thoughts, even when surrounded by so much positive.  Why is that?

2. I read three fantastic books.

Plus a bunch that were just so so and some that were truly terrible.  But I’ll only tell you about the great ones.

(Note: the following links are affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Educated by Tara Westover

What would it be like to step into a classroom for the first time at 17 and go on to earn a Phd?

It’s amazing how a simple telling of one’s life can be so powerful.  Even more extraordinary than Tara’s life is her ability to tell her history objectively.

Read the full review here.

Buy now from Amazon

I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Truly a work of art.

All the threads woven together masterfully.  Everything revealed at the precise moment.  The author knows how to connect emotionally to the reader.  You’re drawn in from the first page to the last.

Buy now from Amazon

 

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

A family of Polish Jews fight for their lives and freedoms across Europe and across continents

Amazing, incredible accounts based on the history of the author’s relatives.  Although I had trouble at first keeping the adult children and their locations straight, once I did, the intriguing series of events had me hooked.

Buy now from Amazon

If you love to read, don’t miss my notable memoir list and 8 stand out novels to rekindle your love for reading.

 

3.  The intangible losses of my past are elusive.

I tried to capture it in a short story, Melting the Frozen Grief of the Global Nomad

A realization dawned that buried in my childhood was something rare and precious.  And I lost it. Of course, growing up wasn’t 18 years of idyllic life.  But there was something really, really good there that isn’t there any more.

I also tried to illustrate that creativity is an antidote to grief. It’s necessary for the healing, to compensate for the loss.  Something of beauty needs to be created to fill the vacuum.  In my story, Brenda painted a sea scape.  For me, more often, it’s words or words and pictures.  Or something visual.

I’m having a hard time articulating it.  But this is why write. To untangle the thoughts and feelings till they make sense.

 

 

 

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You Haven’t Seen this Notable Memoir List on Buzzfeed

To me, the appeal of a memoir is the chance to crawl into someone else’s skin and get behind their eyes to know what they are thinking and feeling.

In a way, it’s a mystery.

What would it be like trying to get into college if you’d never gone to school?  What would it be like almost losing your life and clawing your way back to every skill you lost?  What would it be like finding out, at age 54, that the foundation of what you believed about yourself as a person wasn’t true?  What would it be like serving as the First Lady of the United States?

There’s a way to find out.

Read these memoirs.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Educated by Tara Westover

Easily the best memoir I’ve read all year.

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Read more.

Hope Heals by Katharine and Jay Wolf

Talk about courage in the face of loss.

At age 26 Katharine suffered a brainstem stroke that almost took her life.  Her husband was at the point of graduating from law school.  Their baby was six months old.

The chronicle of their journey is sobering and inspiring.

How would my faith hold up in those circumstances?  How would I handle a similar challenge?

Hats off to the Wolfs for their courage, faith and transparency.

This book was recommended by a blog reader.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

 Truly a remarkable human drama.

Finding out that her dad was not her biological father was just the beginning for Dani Shapiro.

Though that revelation was startling in itself, more secrets were uncovered.  The shock waves continued.

Dani takes the reader along on this unexpected journey of self-discovery.  The advances of modern science have made the unthinkable possible.

 

Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

I love Laura Bush’s humble spirit.  I love her ordinary every-day-ness.  Even though she became First Lady of the United States, she tells of being content with simple pleasures.

One day her friend came to visit her in the White House.  They worked out together and then relaxed in the sitting room, each reading their own book.

Another story in this memoir made a lasting impression.

On page 113, she recounts, “Once, when the girls were two and a half, Bar Bush made a rare stop in Midland.  Jenna and Barbara ran out of the house with their arms held out to greet her, calling ‘Ganny’, the name all Bushes give their grandmothers, and she looked up at me and said with gratitude, ‘Thank you for teaching your girls to know me.’ ”

It’s a heart melting story, but to me it drove home the importance of intentionally bridging the gap with far away family.

It resonated because my nuclear family and the family we raised both have experience with long distance family relationships.  I wrote a post about it.  Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles.

What have you been reading lately? 

 

 

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Why Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated, is Haunting Me. In a Good Way.

I found myself thinking about this book long after I finished it.  That’s a good sign.

What it’s about:

“Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.”– from Amazon

If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, I think you’d like Educated.

Who it’s not for:

If you’re squeamish about descriptions of physical pain, this book is not for you.

Why I liked it:

There’s a reason I studied psychology in college. Human nature is fascinating.

Why does someone become a mass murder? What does it feel like to be dying of cancer? How do you handle the logistics of an unusually large family?

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Since I’ve read it, it continues to haunt me (in a good way) and intrigue me and fascinate me.

Highly recommended.

   Buy now from Amazon 

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Melting the Frozen Grief of the Global Nomad

***** 2019 *****

Brenda lay in bed staring at the darkness. The clock read 2:59. She couldn’t sleep. She eased out from under the covers, careful not to wake her husband. She slipped into some shoes and grabbed her purse. Stealthily she crept out of the house, not wanting to wake her teenagers.

She winced when she turned the ignition, but the engine came to life quietly. She backed out of the driveway and nosed toward the highway.

She wasn’t sure where she was going, just knew she had to drive.

She passed cars until there was no one left in front of her. She drove hard, headed East.

After a couple hours, the sky began to lighten.

Still she drove. Two more hours and she knew she was reaching the limits of her bladder and the gas tank.

The gas would have to wait.

She reached her destination. The one beckoning her.

She pulled into the parking lot of the state park and headed to the restrooms.

Ahead of her was the sea, crashing waves on the sand.

She inhaled deeply and let the smells of salt and fish envelope her.

She remembered she had a bag of candy stashed in the glove compartment from the international market.

She opened the bag and put one piece in her mouth. Bliss.

She tried to recall which piece of the mosaic of the past this taste belonged to.

Growing up as an army brat meant moving every two or three years, sometimes overseas.

She pondered the taste, then remembered the summer she turned six.

******* 1980 ********

The neighbors were having a party. The windows rattled with the noise of the music and dancing.

She shared a room with her twin four year old brothers. They were giggling and talking. None of them felt tired. It wasn’t the music. They were used to that. They’d slept through worse.

She jumped on her brothers’ bed and joined them in laughing at who knows what.

Then she remembered the candy stashed in a pillow case under the bed.

Somehow they had been able to hide it from their mother. She shoved her hand into the pillow case and pulled out a handful. The boys weren’t able to unwrap the pieces, so she did it. The crinkle of the wrappers couldn’t be heard above the giggling and the giggling couldn’t be heard above the music. They were safe.

She told silly stories and jokes and unwrapped candy. Her brothers worshipped her adoringly.

Long after the soft snores of her brothers permeated the air, she lay awake.

The sounds of music and dancing died down and ceased.

Then she heard the rhythmic beat of rain on a tin roof. Inside she was warm and safe and happy.  She fell asleep comforted by the sound.

****** 2019 *******

She climbed a sand dune grabbing tall grasses to help her ascend the steep part. She summited and sat at the vantage point where she could survey the miles of coast.

She could feel her breathing slow.

She stared at the water, watching wave after wave crash against the sand. She noticed the creep of the tide.

She took a couple pictures on her phone, but instinctively felt she needed to capture this moment in a deeper way.

She ran down the dune and headed back to her car.

She headed back to the last town she’d passed. First of all, gas. Then a craft and hobby store.

She bought a canvas, some oil paints, and brushes. She debated about an easel, then grabbed it, too. She didn’t make a mental calculation about how much she was spending and tried not to think about her already maxxed out credit cards. Surely she had one that wasn’t at the limit.

She threw her purchases into the car and raced back to the beach.

Before she began climbing, she walked past a pool filled with kids laughing and splashing.  She caught a whiff of chlorine.  The smell took her back.

******** 1991 *********

The girls’ PE teacher was out for the day, so 5th period PE girls were told to get their swimsuits on and head to the pool for a co-ed class attempting to learn water polo.

She headed out and stood poolside, scanning the group.  Some of her favorite people were in this class.  Some were good friends.  Some she wished she knew better.

The boys’ PE teacher was a first year teacher with enthusiasm and energy.  He spent fifteen minutes explaining the rules and strategies of water polo, then quickly divided the group into two teams.

Another five minutes was lost determining who would play in each position.

Finally, the competition began.

The attempts were comical.

Then it turned into a free for all, with no regard to where the ball was.  The main goal was to splash your opponents if you were close to them or your teammates if you weren’t.

Screams, shouts, water everywhere.

Lots more fun than water polo.

**********

She fell behind the other girls walking back to the locker room. She wanted to savor this delicious feeling. The feeling of utter happiness. Of belonging and being seen and accepted and wanted. No self-consciousness or akwardness or embarassment.

The feeling of being somebody, but not even that. A somebody who was part of the tribe. One who belonged.

She loved it. This feeling.

She had almost reached the locker room, when she heard her name called.

She whirled. She recognized a student office aide.

“Hurry up and get changed. Your dad is here. You need to hustle into the guidance counselor’s office pronto.”

Her heart plummeted. Her dad wasn’t due back for three more days. There could only be one reason he would show up at school in the middle of the day.

They were moving.

Again.

Her bubble had burst.

******* 2019 ********

Even though the sky was blue with white puffy clouds, and the sea a mesmerizing mixture of greens and blues, her painting was dark.

Blacks and grays for sky and sea. White caps and white clouds and and occasional white gull.

But no color.

She couldn’t bring herself to use the blues and greens.

The blacks and grays were necessary.

She worked without stopping, except for an occasional sip from a water bottle.

When every square inch of the canvas had paint, she exhaled.

The tightening in her chest relaxed.

She breathed again, deeply, looked out at the water and felt a moment of peace.

Then she unscrewed the caps on the brown and red and yellow paints.

She added an island to the painting, crowned by a lighthouse that sported a yellow glow.

She closed her eyes and exhaled again.

******************

P.S.  If you’re new to the concept of frozen grief, start here.



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Pivotal Books that were Game Changers

Sometimes the right book comes into your life at the right time.  It has the answers you’re searching for.  It solves the problem.  It addresses the pain.

I love it when that happens.

Here’s a few that fit the bill in my life.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child 

by Marc Weissbluth

Our first baby was not a good sleeper.  I don’t know how much was personality, how much was parenting.  But, it wasn’t till his little sister came along more than two and half years later that I stumbled on this book.

Applying the principles to help her sleep better changed the whole game.  A good sleeper doesn’t just make a happy child, it makes a happy family.

 

Buy now from Amazon

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

This quick read packs a punch.  Told as a parable, the story rings all too true.  Once you know the five dysfunctions, you see them everywhere.

This book dropped into our lives at a time understanding team proved to be critical to our work.

Time after time, this book hits home for people, making it a well-deserved modern classic.

Buy now from Amazon

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

 So many of the principles in Stephen Covey’s classic work were revolutionary for me.  Begin with the end in mind.  Organize your time around your roles.  Take time to sharpen the saw.  Seek first to understand.

I think they resonated with me because I believed them to be true intrinsically, but had never heard them articulated before.

 

 

Buy now from Amazon

One Thousand Gifts

by Ann Voskamp

 Every person in the world knows pain and heartache.  And every person can number their blessings.

Ann Voskamp’s challenges us to be mindful and intentional about looking for and expressing gratitude.  It colors my thinking to this day.

I understand that her poetic prose doesn’t appeal to everyone.  Grammar Nazis beware.  But the message is universal and important.

 

Buy now from Amazon

The Gift of Dyslexia

by Ronald D.Davis

 I scoured the web looking for resources after one of our kids finished a dyslexia evaluation.  Obviously, there’s countless directions you can go for help.  I’m forever thankful I stumbled on to the Davis approach for the simple reason that it worked for us.

The book and the program were worth many times over what we invested.

Aside from the practical help, I loved learning more about dyslexia and the distinct advantages the dyslexic carries in his toolbox.

 

Buy now from Amazon

Hashimoto’s Protocol

by Izabella Wentz

I’m grateful for the wealth of information Izabella Wentz has made available through her books and articles on the internet about thyroid disease, and, specifically, about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Some on her approaches are unconventional.  It’s taken me years to absorb the firehose of information she produced.  I’ve implemented her suggestions slowly, but it’s made a dramatic difference in my health.  It’s hard to argue with success.

 

 

Buy now from Amazon

What books have been game changers for you?



 

 

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In the face of loss: When you’re barefoot on the lawn waiting for the fire department

Last Sunday evening, Pete and I were watching Netflix when we smelled smoke.  After figuring out the smell was coming from the hallway between the house and the garage and determining that it was a bigger blaze than we could handle, we called 911.

We grabbed the laptops and Pete’s class notes and headed outside without our shoes.

It’s a weird feeling to be standing in the dark, barefoot in your yard listening for approaching sirens.

As house fires goes, it was relatively small.  It was contained and extinguished in a few minutes after the professionals got set up.  But, it does make you think.

So many of life’s events are a mixed bag of emotions.  In this case, there was some apprehension about how bad the situation could be, some grief for the losses, some relief that it wasn’t that bad and some gratitude for what was preserved.

The challenge, after it was over, was to focus on gratitude. We weren’t hurt. We caught it early. No structural damage to the house. Loss of stuff was minimal.

All that was left was the mess and the smell.

But, that’s the challenge, isn’t it? To choose gratitude, to choose contentment when you’re still sitting in the middle of the mess.

Yes, it’s a choice, yes it’s unnatural. Actually, it’s supernatural.

Because it’s easier to focus on the negative. On what’s wrong instead of on what’s right.

And maybe that’s the lesson of the fire.

Grief and gratitude existing together.

What’s more, it’s the challenge of life. So many days are a mixed bag. You can consciously choose which emotion to indulge in, which one to express. You can choose gratitude without denying the grief.

I am grateful. I choose to be grateful.

P.S.  There’s some lessons you just have to keep re-learning.  Read   Why I Find it Hard to be Grateful



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My Reluctant Foray Into Audiobooks

I’m a slow learner.

It’s true.  I often need to hear something over and over, try it over and over, have it nailed into my head repeatedly before it sticks.

It took me a long time before I started checking out ebooks from the library.  That crazy learning curve, ya know?

I needed help setting up an instagram account.

I also needed help installing the app that allowed me to listen to podcasts on my phone (don’t get me started on my phone– I can barely work it).

So, while I’ve been intrigued with the idea of audiobooks, I’ve procrastinated on checking into them.

Partly fear of the unknown, partly one more thing to figure out, partly an intense love for silence.

But, today I did it.

I borrowed an audiobook from the library.

Credit belongs where credit is due.  I owe a lot to Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy for paving the way, generating interest and the recommendation for the first audiobook I borrowed.

Check out her post The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks

The book I’m listening to (recommended by Anne Bogel) is Dolly Parton’s Dream More.  I admire Dolly Parton and I’m a huge fan of her Imagination Library concept.  If you’re not familiar with this project, it’s where she sends books every month to kids age 0 to 5.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country.

Anyway, hearing the book read by Dolly herself in her one-of-a-kind accent and enthusiasm and even some crooning, is a real treat.

I’m also thinking with graduation right around the corner, this is going to be a good book to have on the shelves to give as a graduation gift.

 So, it looks like, similar to ebooks and podcasts, before long I will be hooked on audiobooks.

I haven’t downloaded the overdrive app.  I’m just listening to this one on the computer.

Probably that’s the next step.

Which means I need to move the pictures on my phone to free up space.

But, I’m glad I took the first step.

Sometimes we’re resistant to dip our toes in, even when we think it will be a good experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any tips or helpful advice?

Are you interested in starting audiobooks?  Jump in with me!

P.S. Did you miss these posts?

True stories that will inspire you

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History



 

 

 

 

 

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Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles

There’s a box in my closet that’s been virtually untouched for ten years.

It holds framed pictures of my kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles.  They used to hang on the wall of our house in Mexico when we lived far away from our blood relatives.

Since we moved back to our home state and we see family on a regular basis (and our kids have grown) there’s no reason to have them displayed.

But there was a time when I wanted my kids to know and remember their family.

Long distance family relationships are a constant in my life.  Good-byes are normal.  Homesickness is, generally, a non-issue.

But keeping up with long distance relationships is a challenge.  There’s time differences.  There’s time pressure of the here and now and juggling schedules.  There’s also more options than there used to be.  Skype.  Internet phones.  FaceTime.

There are more ways than ever to stay connected and more distractions than ever to keep us from connecting.

Here’s a few ideas for keeping in touch with faraway family:

Send pictures via email.

Post pictures on social media of special events or everyday life.

Set up a private facebook group to share with the select what you don’t want to share with the world.

Make a recording of you reading a favorite book and send it with the book as a gift.

Send book recommendations including links to library ebooks that can be checked out.

Go for a visit.

Start the rhythm of writing weekly family news.

Send gifts for special occasions.

What have you done to keep in touch with far away family?

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