Monday, February 18, 2008

The Soul of an Indian

by Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa) Eastman

Rating: 4/5
Grade: B

I wanted a book which did not have a Christian theme, and found this little book in the Religious section at Project Gutenburg: The Soul of the Indian by Charles Alexander Eastman. It was published in 1911, and is an overview of some of the religious customs of the 'Indians' written by a Sioux who was raised in his native traditions, but later educated at Dartmouth and Boston University. This was an interesting book, as the author tried to separate the later traditions of his people from those they held before the white man came and corrupted them. The author is able, in the beginning of the book, to portray the beauty and peace of his people's silent and solitary communion with "the great mystery".


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jane and Prudence

by Barbara Pym

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (for mature themes)

Jane and Prudence is the story of two friends. Jane, the older of the two, is settled as the wife of a clergyman. Prudence, at 29, is a working girl with many failed romances. They spent time together, bringing eachother support and comfort, remembering their days at Oxford, talking about poetry, and trying to find a husband for Prudence.

This book had many of the same characters and the same setting as Crampton Hodnet. The story and characters were just as witty and real, however, I found it didn't have so many of the great little asides and observations as Crampton Hodnet, and the ending left me a bit unsatisfied. I could so relate to one of the main characters, Jane. She is a clegymans wife who was a literary major in college, wrote a book about 17th century poetry, and had no idea how to deal with a household, cooking, cleaning, etc. She felt herself a failure in her position and of no support to her husband's calling. I think that Miss Pym may be showing one of the first generations of this problem that we still see today; women's focus being on education, and then finding themselves thrust back into the traditional womens role with no skills and no idea of what they are doing


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Crampton Hodnet

by Barbara Pym

Rating: 4.5/5
Grade: C - 14 and up

From the dust jacket: "Crampton Hodnet is a consummate farce - constructed, in recognizably "Pym" fashion, around a pair of unsuitable attachments. The first involves a young curate and Niss Morrow, who are both residents at Miss Doggett's home, Leamington Lodge. Their attempt to provide a plausibly innocent accont of a late afternoon excursion into the woods outside Oxford gives rise to the fanciful creation of a nonexistent vicar and village - the Crampton Hodnet of the title. The second romance is that between a starry-eyed professor and his female student, who is continually falling into traps of her own devising."

This was my first introduction to Barbara Pym. I had decided that I should read some of her books when I found out that she was said to be "the most underrated writer of the century". I was not dissapointed, I found her writing to be very witty, intelligent, and just all around hilarous. I found myself running to the drawer for a highlighter while reading the first chapter. Unfortunately I got so wrapped up in the story that I forgot to highlight many great little bits I would have liked to be able to find again. Definitely will be in my reread pile. A quote from the book: "Margaret Cleveland, who had at one time helped and encouraged her husband with his work, had now left him to do it alone, because she feared that with her help it might easily be finished before one of them died, and then where would they be?" This novel was published posthumously, and now having read two more of her books, I find this one to be a little bit more cohesive and flowing than the others, maybe because of a more modern editor.


Friday, February 1, 2008

The Jerusalem Diet: Guided imagery and the Personal Path to Weight Control

by Judith Besserman

Rating: 3/5

Grade: B - 14 and up (because no one younger should be reading a diet book

The Jerusalem Diet is not your conventional diet book. Instead of going into a specific eating/exercise plan, this books delves into the reasons why we overeat, and our overall relationship with food. The book has ten common sense rules, and 43 exercises of guided imagery, or visualizations, that are meant to heal this relationship permanently. Having just read through the book without taking the time to follow along with the imagery, I cannont say for sure how effective it will be. I have, however been impressed with the way this book has already changed my thinking, bringing me to think about each and everything that I put into my mouth, and what it is doing for me. I am expecting a baby, so am not currently in a position to fully use the exercises in this book; the ones that I have used, however, have already greatly effected the foods that I am feeding myself and my growing child. And some of the guided imagery has been helpful in alleviating some fears I have about childbirth. I would recommend this book to anyone who is commencing on a plan to lose weight. It could be used with most any weight loss plan, and would be a asset.

That being said, this book is in need of a good editor. It is very repetitive, it says the same things over and over, it dosen't know when to quite, when to leave good enough alone, if you get my drift. Also, if you are looking for a weight loss plan "a diet" which tells you what to eat when, or gives nutritional advice, this is not it. This book is all in the head.


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