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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

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Where the Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak

This 1964 Caldecott Medal award-winning children’s book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak is a classic story of a boy’s boredom and imagination. Banned from libraries and schools when it was first released, Where the Wild Things Are has grown to be loved by both children and adults for its ability to visualize the realistic emotions children experience.

The book tells the story of Max, a boy who gets in trouble for goofing around in his wolf costume. His mother has had enough of his mischief-making and she sends him to his room without supper. Max is very angry at his punishment so he imagines that he leaves the safety of his room and sails out to where the wild things are. In this forest, there are gnashing beasts who wish to scare Max, however he is courageous. He stares into the beasts yellow eyes without blinking and impresses the beasts so much so that they make Max “the king of all wild things”, dancing with the monsters in a “wild rumpus”.

Max has a good time being “the king of the wild things”, but, before long, he finds that he is lonely and sails back to his bedroom. When he arrives, he finds that his dinner, still hot, is waiting for him. He is happy to be home and equally happy that he had an exciting adventure.

The book was made into a film released in 2009 and directed by Spike Jonze. The author, Maurice Sendak died on May 8, 2012, leaving a legacy of talent and imagination that will live on through his works.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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Illusions by Richard Bach

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IllusionsIllusions by Richard Bach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two barnstorming pilots meet in an Illinois field. One of them is Donald Shimoda, who quit his job as a mechanic at a garage and as a “Messiah”. He left both jobs, because, he was frustrated by people who cared more about the show than the message. Shimoda becomes a teacher to the other pilot, Richard, and even teaches him to perform miracles on his own.
Shimoda share quotes from the “Messiah’s Handbook” with Richard. Some of the more inspiring quotes are…
• “You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”
• “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
• “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
• “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

Illusions is a novel that lets the reader decide what is reality and what is illusion. It states that we are all potential “messiahs” if we choose to be. This book is a precursor for the bestselling novel Jonathan Living Seagull. I have read them both, however, Illusions has left a lasting impression on me.
I have shamelessly read this book at least four times. I no longer have a hard copy of the book because I loaned it to someone and he or she never gave it back. It is a short book with only 192 pages, but the information in the book is so applicable that you will want to keep it and refer to it often. I highly recommend reading this book.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

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The Summerhouse (Summerhouse, #1)The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a romance novel about second chances. Three young women meet on their birthday at the New York DMV. Ellie, Madison, and Leslie are seated together and they instantly decide they want to be friends. We learn that Madison is beautiful and is sent from her hometown in Montana to become a model. Leslie is a graceful dancer wishing to make it big. Moreover, Ellie is going to become an artist that shows her creative spirit. It seems that these women have their whole life ahead of them.
Flash to nineteen years later when the three meet up again at a borrowed old summer house in Maine. Things have not quite worked out the way they had envisioned when they were young. The three are then given a magical opportunity to go back in time to change the mistakes they made.
I thought this was decent read. I enjoyed Madison’s story more than the other stories. Some of the later concepts introduced by the author were not very believable. There were some areas of the story that I flipped quickly through, because I was bored. In the chapters that discussed Madison’s life, I felt very connected with the character and sympathized with her problems. Morally, I had a few issues with the choices the main characters made. Nothing horrible, but it still made me question. The writing was light and easy to follow. I feel that book was good and it generally held my interest; however, it was not the greatest book I have ever read.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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Olive KitteridgeOlive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A uniquely written collection of short vignettes that are linked together by the character, Olive Kitteridge. Olive is a retired schoolteacher who lives in Cosby, Maine. She is snotty, cantankerous, and a busybody and is married to the town’s Pharmacist. Their home life is stoic and lacks the passion that Olive and her husband desire. In one story, Olive, who has babied her only son, is trying to talk to him about his wedding. He is cold and unwilling to talk to Olive who most desperately wants to be involved. It is sad. Olive creates this relationship with her son, and must deal with all its ramifications. This book deals with everyday people and real human nature. The stories are profound and show that people are composed of many layers. I really enjoyed this book. I felt I could relate to the complexities of the characters, especially Olive.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

A Knight in Shining Armor

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A Knight in Shining ArmorA Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It is a funny, romantic, and well-written time travel story with a twist. Jude Deveraux brings the Earl of Stafford to modern times so the heroine can help him find the scoundrel who accuses the Earl of treason. Since the Earl is from the year 1564, things in the 20th Century are a bit difficult for him. While the heroine is trying to assist the Earl in his plight, she finds that she is falling in love with a very unusual man. This book is a great read and highly recommended.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer

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There's a Nightmare in My ClosetThere’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We can all associate with the little boy in this story. Who has not had nightmares of monsters in the closet? The cool twist of this story is that the little boy has little patience for the monster and angrily attempts to rid himself of this nightmare. Mercer Mayer’s illustrations and stories are a favorite in my family.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Book Reviews

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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia     

by Elizabeth M. Gilbert

I purchased this book based on the positive reviews I read and a few recommendations from friends.  On the surface, it was an interesting read about a woman’s spiritual journey to find her way to a new life.  She travels as a writer to Italy, India, and Indonesia enjoying and writing about her experiences.  The writing is good and the story is easy to follow.  Included in the story are bouts of humor and tragedy.  All are, of course, examples of good storytelling.  Nevertheless, by the middle of the book, I began to question the heroine’s thought process.  It seems that instead of finding herself, she is merely running away from real life.

I thought the protagonist in the book Eat, Pray, Love was a self-centered woman who cared for nothing but finding her ideal life.  Her disregard for her responsibilities in favor of her wants left me doubting her character. She could not stay married, she would not have children, she, she, she!  Her perspective focused on only how she felt and seldom on others. Did she really need to travel the world to find her life’s purpose?  As Dorothy says in the movie, The Wizard of Oz “… if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”  This book is a great lesson for the “me” generation wannabes.

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