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Kate Says: "Reading Is Fun!"

Like most of you I'm an avid reader. I'm hoping to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, and of course spread the love of reading and writing around to everyone!

Currently reading

Amy Falls Down: A Novel
Jincy Willett
The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person's Path Through Depression
Eric Maisel Phd
Yes Please
Amy Poehler

An Interesting Article I Just Wanted To Share

I got this article from Flavorwire asking the question: 'Do readers have digital fatigue?' I thought it was a really well written article. Let me know what you think.

Reading progress update: I've read 215 out of 260 pages.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead - Brené Brown

The Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto



To the CEO's and teachers. To the principals and managers. To the politicians, community leaders, and decision makers:


We want to show up, we want to learn, and we want to inspire.


We are hardwired for connection, curiosity, and engagement.


We crave purpose, and we have a deep desire to create and contribute.


We want to take risks, embrace our vulnerabilities, and be courageous.


When learning and working is dehumanized---when  you no longer see us and no longer encourage our daring, or when you only see what we produce or how we perform---we disengage and turn away from the very things that the world needs from us all: our talents, our ideas, and our passion.


What we ask is that you engage with us, show up beside us, and learn from us.


Feedback is a function of respect; when you don't have honest conversations with us about our strengths and our opportunities for growth, we question our contributions and your commitments.


Above all else, we ask that you show up, let yourself be seen, and be courageous. Dare Greatly with us.



P.S. I have reconnected with GoodReads (GR) <https://www.goodreads.com/kpaone92> something I never though I'd do again. I don't know what is going on with this site, the internet in general, and our world at large, but I figure it's best to get it all out there in as many different formats as possible than not. Time reveals all. That's something I do know. 

Sometimes You Need To Wreck To Find Order, Within Yourself.

Wreck and Order: A Novel - Hannah Tennant-Moore

This is one of those books where on the surface it appears that nothing is happening, but then you look just below the surface a bit and boom, it's all right there.


This is not a neat and tidy narrative, which I really appreciated. Elsie (the narrator) is not simple.  She has a chronic inability to square the kind of life she imagines for herself with the kinds of thoughts and desires that inhabit her constantly zooming mind, which means that inner peace is elusive at best. I can totally relate. My mind is like this as well. This year I've really had to slow down and do a ton of inner work on myself in hopes of rising from the mud of my past like a lotus flower.


My favorite parts of the story was Elsie's journey through Sri Lanka. The way the passages were written made me feel like I was right there beside her. No small writing feat.


In the end, Elsie comes to a magnificent conclusion, that "everyday smallness" is something to be truly grateful for. 


Lovely, Strong, And Thoroughly Interesting Cast Of Female Characters

All of Us and Everything: A Novel - Bridget Asher

This was my first book by Bridget Asher I have ever read, but it won't be my last. Let me explain.


The writing was funny, heartfelt, and just plain lovely. I mean we all come from interesting beginnings, don't we? Asher's lens is wonderful. She created some very interesting characters in the Rockwell Sisters: Esme, Liv, and Ru, and their mother Augusta, was wonderfully fascinating as well.


I also enjoyed the themes Asher explores: of deep familial ties and how they can sometimes bind and gag us, until we are willing to peel back the layers and explore the (dis)connections, reconcile, and forgive ourselves and each other, so that deep, meaningful, and extraordinary changes can take place inside ourselves and within each other.


This has also been the theme of my year, on a personal level, so I could really relate to this book. It made me laugh out loud, cry, and go deep inside myself to heal those old wounds that I don't want to fester and carry around with me any more, on all levels of being, especially at the emotional level.


I recommend this book for book clubs, and if you enjoy the writing styles of Nick Hornby and Kevin Wilson.



Joined The Summer Reading Program At My Local Library And I'm Behind On Everything, But It's OK!

— feeling hypnotized

I just wanted to give a quick update:


I'm back from Colorado after celebrating my cousin's graduation from USAF Academy. He's enjoying life and when he comes back to the States he will be in Mississippi doing pilot training for the next 2 years. I'm super proud of him.

I just joined the Adult Summer Reading Program at my local public library.



I'm behind on everything, so I may be on here a lot, to catch up.



That's all. Thanks :)





Worth Reading

— feeling big smile
Jane Austen Ruined My Life - Beth Pattillo

After walking in to find her husband and her teaching assistant having sex on the dining room table, Emma's well-ordered life falls apart, along with her university career specializing in the literary works of Jane Austen.


Since it was Austen's novels that made Emma believe in happy endings in the first place, she heads to England with plans to discredit the long dead author, whom she now feels was no real authority on love and relationships.


However, what Emma discovers in her literary research is that Austen experienced her own disappointments in life and love due to the choices she made. The more Emma learns, the more she evaluates her own life choices, her relationships with others, and the paths she ignored or did not take.


Her journey to England is one of self discovery that gives her a new respect for Austen, as well as a fledgling sense of self worth and the confidence to explore new found possibilities in love and her career.


I really liked Emma and Mrs. Parrot the most in this one. I also enjoyed the literary journey through England, as well as, the mystery of both Jane Austen's life and Emma's unraveling of her core beliefs throughout the narrative. I thought these things were presented in an organic, believable way throughout the text.


I feel that most Austen fans would enjoy this fictional re-imagining, where some poetic licenses were taken, but the basic facts of Austen's life, are true.



A Good Book For Discussion

Whistling Past the Graveyard Target Club Pick - Susan Crandall

If you enjoyed any of the following titles, then I think you will enjoy this book:


*Secret Life of Bees

*Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

*The Help


The story itself was multi-layered, and I read it for a book club discussion, which was indeed lively and interesting. One of the more interesting ones we've had in a while.


I really enjoyed Starla Claudelle. She defied the odds, to have the gifts we have hidden inside, revealed.


All in all, a fast paced read with interesting characters, that produced a lively book discussion amongst all participants.


Big Magic: Helped Me To Make Peace With My Creativity

— feeling nerd
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic is a self-supporting book regarding creativity, and is aimed at writers and artists, but it's also, for anyone who wants to inject some creative magic into their every day lives. The questions Gilbert proposes are simple ones: What are you curious about? And what would you keep doing, even if you knew you would fail? 


Gilbert’s approach to creativity is sometimes a bit mystical, but it’s also deeply democratic, even tilting towards radical. In some parts I rolled my eyes, but then there were other parts that had me fist pumping in solidarity. I can imagine my Literary Criticism and Writing Professors turning absolutely green at some of Gilbert’s ideas. “Are you one of those people who believe that the arts are the most serious and important thing in the world?” she asks about 100 pages in. “If so, my friend, then you and I must part ways right here.” She thinks creativity can be meaningful, sure, but she wants you to get off your high horse about it, and not quit your day job.


More importantly, she rejects the idea of certain people being geniuses, instead she claims that everyone has a genius that comes and goes, and it's our job to work humbly, without ever expecting it to arrive, yet at the same time, to but be ready for when it does; as it's very often without pomp and circumstance.


So, for instance, you might be gardening and you'll get an idea about a flower, so you do some research on said flower, and then that research will lead you to another clue, and then another clue will follow that. Gilbert proposes that it's our job to follow that chain of intrigue to see where it will lead. Hint: It's often not where you'd expect, so just go with it.


“I cannot even be bothered to think about the difference between high art and low art. I will fall asleep with my face in the dinner plate if someone starts discoursing to me about the academic distinction between true mastery and mere craft,” she writes. “I don’t ever want to confidently announce that this person is destined to become a great artist while that person should give it up.” In other words, Gilbert believes every single person has innate creative ability; it’s our job to tap into it, if we so wish.


Furthermore, Gilbert suggests that we should stop searching for the idea no one else has had. Gilbert thinks people are way too obsessed with “original” ideas, and would do better to find more "authentic" ones, instead.


In conclusion, this book helped me to make peace with my own creativity on a lot of different levels, and for that I am grateful. Since reading this book, I have taken concrete steps to shift my own inner dialogue, and it has had a lot of positive changes in all aspects of my life. 



All My Friends Are Dead: Makes Me Happy To Be Alive

— feeling angel
All My Friends Are Dead - Avery Monsen, Jory John

I finally got around to reading this one, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. 


It was absurdly funny, the illustrations were cute, and after I finished reading, I felt an immense wave of gratitude for ALL the people, places, things, ideas that have gotten me to where I am today.


I can't wait to keep the curiosity going in the present and to be more open to the moments of perfection with joyous eyes, that are sometimes overlooked because the truth is: we only have a short amount of time on this gorgeous planet.


My favorite part was the house plant:



All in all, a good way to start the day, and I look forward to reading the next installation in a little while.

Here Are The Moments That Our Childhood Fairy Tales Forgot Or Dileberetly Concealed From Us

— feeling sleepy
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales - Michael Cunningham

These are darker and revelatory retellings of childhood tales.


Reminded me more of Brothers Grimm, instead of Disney, which I liked.


I enjoyed reading this one, and the illustrations by Yuko Shimizu are absolutely beautiful. Here is one of my favorites:



"Magic is sometimes all about knowing where the secret door is, and how to open it."


--p 68

Different Story, Same Formula :(

— feeling sure
Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel - Yann Martel

I have read Yann Martel's, Life of Pi, and enjoyed it. I gave it a 3 star rating, so when I saw this at the free lending library in my neighborhood, I thought I would give it a try. However, I just didn't enjoy it as much. Let me explain.


The central character in this one is a novelist named Henry. Henry has written a very successful book that features animals as characters.


However, he did have a lot of trouble with the publishing process, due to the fact that he's not Jewish, and wrote about the Holocaust.  He just wanted to tell his story in an artistic way, and thus we go back to the beginning of the book, where we're introduced to Beatrice (a donkey) and Virgil (a howler monkey). They are the main characters in the play within the novel that Henry has written. 


So, basically what I'm trying to get at, is that the whole book is a story within a story, that talks about the Holocaust in an allegorical fashion, and uses animals as characters.


Unfortunately, this book was also written in the same style that Life of Pi was written in---animals, and intellectual essays---that take the reader on a journey, in order to discover where it's all leading, and then at the end, you get hit over the head with an emotional sledge-hammer.


I guess, I was just hoping for something different from Yann Martel in this one, and was disappointed that it was the same formula, again.


However, if you enjoy the emotional sledge-hammer and enjoyed Life of Pi, I would highly recommend this one for you. It just wasn't for me.



No Way Shea!

— feeling confused
The One & Only: A Novel - Emily Giffin

I got this book out of a free lending library in my neighborhood and I can't wait to return it.



There were a lot of things I just didn't like about this book. The smaller things include: 


  • Choppy writing.
  • Plot was too predictable and kind of boring.
  • Characters lacked dimension.
  • There was just way too much about football.


Then there was the big issue that I had with this book, which was:


Q: Would you fall in love with your best friend's widdowed father?

A: No way Shea, no way. 


If You Walk A Mile..
If You Walk A Mile..

I entered an online contest through Read It Forward. I didn't win the book package, but I did get this, and just wanted to share it with you. Happy Spring and happy reading!

A Loving Gift To Share

— feeling angel

Follow the link to get a free copy of Wild Succulent Love !  


Please share this link with everyone.

Love is a very good thing to cultivate

— feeling love
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love: Simple Ways to Nurture and Strengthen Your Relationships While Avoiding the Habits That Break Down Your Loving Connection - Kristine Carlson, Richard Carlson

Every February, I practice cultivating more love, for myself (this year I'm growing my Ahmisa limb, which is where compassion is seated, and means non-violence, not to injure, and includes one's deeds, words, thoughts,) as well as, cultivating stronger relationships with others.


So, this was my book pick for this year (2016) and I have to admit, it's a good guide. If you take your time with it, and journal your thoughts and responses to each essay; more understanding emerges on how to be more heart centered for yourself and others. I also really enjoyed the conversational writing style, and the gentleness in the words. 


It's one I could see myself revisiting from time to time when I need just a little extra guidance, or a boost of love for myself and/or others, or an insight into a behavior in myself that seems troubling. I can now confront and modify, so that it doesn't become a crisis.


A Beautiful Tale About Baseball, Memory, Mathematics, and Friendship

— feeling happy
The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yōko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder

The Professor, a brilliant mathematician (who is unnamed),  only has eighty minutes of short term memory, due to a traumatic head injury.


The Housekeeper assigned to the Professor (also unnamed), is young, astute, and has a ten year old son (nicknamed Root).


Each morning, as the Professor and Housekeeper are re-introduced to eachother, an unlikely friendship starts to bloom between them, as well as, between the Professor and Root.


From here the story unfolds in a very ordinary/extraordinary way. The Professor gives the Housekeeper and Root the only gift he knows how to give, the poetry of mathematics, and in return they give the Professor love.


Baseball is the common thread that connects the two stories, but these moments are written in such exceptional prose, it all flows together wonderfully.


All in all, a deceptively short book that pitches an emotional response. I will be reading more by Yoko Ogawa in the future. I leave you with my favorite quote:


"Among the many things that made the Professor an excellent teacher was the fact that he wasn't afraid to say: 'we don't know.' For the Professor, there was no shame in admitting you didn't have the answer, it was a necessary step toward the truth. It was as important to teach us about the unknown or the unknowable as it was to teach us what had already been safely proven."