Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Book Review . . .

Just completed the sequel to Eat, Pray, Love although I wouldn't necessarily expect it to be a sequel. It does follow Elizabeth and the Brazilian man she met at the end of the first book but most of the chapters, pages, and paragraphs are summaries of a huge amount of research the author does about marriage.
If you've read the first book (or seen the movie) you know she experienced a terrible divorce catapulting her into a year of self discovery and search for God. This traumatic experience of divorce however, creates a lot of fear and trepidation (ok - full on disdain) for marriage as an institution, commitment or choice. Due to difficult visa issues, it becomes necessary for her boyfriend to marry her or lose any possibility to ever return to America again. So - in the middle of visa applications, interviews by Homeland Security, and lots more world traveling, Elizabeth pours herself into an extensive study of marriage - where it came from, why we do it, and what it truly is about. Although I was hoping for more life story and real life plot of characters, I did find quite a few sections interesting.

Before I share them . . . two things. First - I hardly ever ever ever buy a book anymore. The first reason is financial - they get expensive (although I occasionally stumble across some great thrift store finds and will also buy one I love and must read again from Amazon - the used section rocks) and our one income family budget with a ridiculous high amount of medical costs each month doesn't allow for such an expense. The second reason is you never know how you'll feel about a book once you read it - it looked great on the shelf - turned out to be weird or boring or non-eventful and you never want to read it again. Thirdly, we have a fabulously easy, wonderful, extensive and free public library system. I remember pre-kiddos enjoying casually perusing the aisles in search of the perfect read . . . with children, the life of casually perusing anything is over . . . for now. SO, I've become a big fan of the online reservation system. If you live in Snohomish County, type enter a title, author or keyword in the "search traditional catalog" box, scroll down the "search by" box and press "go" . . . a list of possible books pop up . . . click on the book (or books) you want, add checked record from this page under the "personal list manager" and enter the next book (or author or keyword) until you're finished. When you've found all the books you want for now, click on "view personal list." At this point you "place hold on all items from this page" . . . follow directions at this point with library card info, name, preferred location pick up and let the magic happen. Within a day or week or so you'll receive an automated phone call letting you know that the book (or books) you have requested are ready to pick up. Haul your cookies (or children . . . or children and cookies) to the location you've selected and find the hold shelf. Like magic, the book you want to read is waiting for you with a little slip of paper with your name on it . . . YAHOO . . . you just got a fabulous book to read with only a few minutes of work on the computer . . . truly magical . . . and free. (and if you don't live in Snohomish County, find the website for your local library system . . . hoping it's as good as ours!)

The other wonderful thing I have recently found are these little sticky note type pieces of paper . . .

You can see them in the little tablet they come in and in use in the book. Maybe these are common knowledge already but they have totally changed the way I read. For books I've read on the side for fun or personal growth, I'll mark a quote or paragraph that made me laugh or made me think or I wanted to remember then copy them into my journal later. For books I've read to blog about, I've marked things I've wanted to share . . . fun little invention . . . get some!! :)

So . . the passages I've marked from "Committed" . . . these can either wet your appetite to read it yourself, or give you my highlights as a sort of abridged cliff notes if you want to skip it or maybe it's just for me to re-process the book I read and enjoy the highlights in my "journal" online . . . either way, here's what I marked.

pg 81 - "Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone." (amen!! and I think sometimes it's both at the same time)

pg 125 - "The more tightly woven a couple is within a community of friends and family, the stronger their marriage will be. The fact that Americans today are less likely to know their neighbors, belong to social clubs, or live near kin has had a seriously destabilizing effect on marriage across the board." (thank you to our sweet friends and neighbors and family who make up our community!)

pg 128 - In listing her faults that make her a less than fabulous marriage candidate, "I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy. In my excitement, I routinely take on more than I can physically or emotionally handle, which causes me to break down in quite predictable displays of dramatic exhaustion. You will be burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I've overextended myself and then fallen apart. This will be unbelievably tedious. I apologize in advance." (does she know me and half my friends? maybe we should have and still possibly now read this to our husbands . . . or thank them for doing so in the past?)

pg 145 - "At some point in our lives we must stop beating ourselves up over bygone blunders - even blunders that seem so painfully obvious to us in retrospect - and we must move on with our lives." (the therapy moment of the day - I need this reminder more often.)

Enjoy your weekend . . . and I'd love to hear what you're reading next . . . (I appreciate those fun friendly comments . . . and have checked out the recommended reading so far!!)

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