Friday, November 25, 2011

October 2011 Book List

24. License to Pawn by Rick Harrison

If you've watched any of Pawn Stars on the History Channel, you know a lot of the day-to-day running of their store, but this book gives more insight into the lives of Rick, Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumlee.

One of my favorite things from the book was learning how Rick gained his vast wealth of knowledge that makes him so interesting on the show. He may be a high school dropout (for health reasons mostly), but he loves to read and learn things the average person finds difficult.

I also have a new respect for Big Hoss and Chumlee after reading about the difficult lives they led for a while. They have made huge strides to be where they are now, and they're determined to not go back.

25. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

This was my first experience with a Kristin Hannah novel, and it was a touching one. Firefly Lane follows the lives of two unlikely best friends from junior high school through college and beyond. One girl comes from a traditional family and hates that her mother wants to be involved in her life; the other lives with her drugged-out mother who frequently abandons her. They have their ups and downs, but one betrayal causes a division between them that seems like it'll never be bridged.

My few big complaints with the book were the author's style (run-ons, comma splices, etc.) and the fact that the book seemed to go on too long. A more minor complaint is the author's too-frequent use of dropping pop culture items into the storyline. Sometimes they fit, but after a while, it was annoying. It was kind of like someone name-dropping to impress...

Still, the last quarter of the book had me in tears. I don't mean a trickle here and there; I mean sobs and streams of tears and a running nose. If you read this book, which I highly recommend despite my complaints, have a full box of tissues nearby.

September 2011 Book List

23. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I can't say enough good things about this book. Hillenbrand did excellent, extensive research in her biographical study of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner-turned WWII airman whose plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean. Weeks later, he and one fellow crewman washed up on a Japanese-controlled beach, where they were taken into captivity and later moved into POW camps. Just when you think things can't get any worse, they do.

While reading this book, I couldn't help thinking about my grandfather, who was a navigator in WWII. He flew missions all over the world. Thankfully, my grandmother plotted all his flights on a map, then later had it framed and displayed on a wall in her house. My daddy has that map now, and he's going to make a copy of it for me. Anyway, I wondered what type of plane he flew in, but I'm not sure anyone knows that. The war just wasn't talked about then like it is now. I never gave it much thought, but they didn't have all the technologically-advanced equipment that we have now. I wish I knew more about it...

It's not a fast read, but it's a good one. In fact, I bought my own copy, which a friend borrowed to read with her husband. They're thinking of getting their own copy as well. I also gave two copies as gifts. Yes, it's that good.

I sort of hope they make a movie about it, but it's going to have to be an extraordinary effort to stay as true to the book as it should be.

Weight Loss Revelation

I watched The Biggest Loser for a while. I've read some diet books and weight-loss blogs and articles. Still it's something I read in a Biggest Loser cookbook just the other day that has really sunk into my brain. I don't know why it's taken seeing/hearing that little tidbit so many times before it finally stuck, but I'm so glad it has.

Here it is: The best way to lose weight is to watch what you eat. Exercise is good, but if you don't put the unwanted calories in, you won't have to work them off! Duh!

I just need to change my thinking. If I want that chocolate chip cookie, just how much will it take to work it off? What about all those little bites of random bits here and there? Those add up, too.

So tonight we'll celebrate Thanksgiving one more time with leftovers: turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce; ham and sweet potato casserole; corn casserole and black olives; and pumpkin cake with spiced pumpkin pecan ice cream. I'll limit my portions of everything, but enjoy what I do eat. Then tomorrow, it's back to the portion control - and mindfulness of what I eat.