Book Review: Hiking Through

March 19, 2010

Hiking Through
Author: Paul V. Stutzman
Genre: Memoir
Source:  Dorothy at PumpUpYourBook

Paul Stutzman dreamed of through hiking the Appalachian Trail all his life, but life got ahead of him. After losing his wife to breast cancer Paul decided to take a risk- he quit his job of seventeen years and set out on the trail.  On his nearly 2,200 mile journey from Georgia to Maine Paul dealt with extreme loneliness and brutal trail conditions, as well as, breathtaking vistas and irreplaceable trail camaraderie. Embarking on one of the most famous hikes in the world Paul learned that God had been with him every step of his life and armed with this knowledge and the help of his trail friends he was able to find peace.

Hiking Through
reads like a conversation with a dear friend.  I found myself laughing and crying with Paul, and throughout the entire book I couldn’t wait to embark on my next hike. Paul magnificently weaves anecdotes from his childhood with his days on the trail. As the hike progresses we witness and learn from his healing. Paul’s fabulous descriptions and conversational tone made me feel as though I were hiking along side him. Paul’s message is so simple, yet so many struggle to live it- slow down, enjoy life and don’t take your spouse for granted.

If you are a hiker, nature lover, believer or struggling to deal with a loss you will find inspiration in this memoir.

I give this book 5 stars!
Make sure to check out Paul’s website to read excerpts of his book and view photos from the trail!


Mailbox Monday # 3

March 8, 2010

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page and is leading to a towering pile of books in my bedroom.

This week Julie at FSB Associates sent me Alice In Wonderland and Philosophy. This book is part of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series and it comes at a perfect time with Alice opening in theaters last weekend. I have always loved Lewis Carrol’s Alice and when I complete the review I might have to make it part of an Alice in Wonderland themed week!

Here is a quick taste of the book:

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has fascinated children and adults alike for generations. Why does Lewis Carroll introduce us to such oddities as a blue caterpillar who smokes a hookah, a cat whose grin remains after its head has faded away, and a White Queen who lives backward and remembers forward? Is it all just nonsense? Was Carroll under the influence? This book probes the deeper underlying meaning in the Alice books and reveals a world rich with philosophical life lessons. Tapping into some of the greatest philosophical mind that ever lived– Aristotle, Hume, Hobbes, and Nietzsche– Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy explores life’s ultimate questions through the eyes of perhaps the most endearing heroine in all of literature.” (back cover)

Movie Review: The Lightening Thief

March 8, 2010

Sadly I started this movie review on February 15th, but sometimes life gets in the way. But better late than never!

As a lovely Valentine’s Day present from my boyfriend we went to the Sunday matinee of Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightening Thief. I had high hopes for this film and I was not disappointed. I have learned to see movies based on books with a very open mind, and I try very hard not to spend the entire two hours comparing each scene to the book.

This movie was directed by Chris Columbus who also directed the first two Harry Potter movies. Perhaps part of the reason I had such high hopes for this movie was because Columbus tends to do a pretty good job of bringing books to life on the screen. All of the major elements of the story were there. The CGI was incredible, although a few times I thought it was a bit overdone. I found myself cringing in my seat during Medusa’s entire scene. I was also a little disappointed to see that they left out Mrs. Jackson’s quirky habit of feeding Percy blue food!

The one downfall to the movie was it did very little to set itself up for the next story, and by very little I mean they didn’t even explain the signifigance of Thalia’s Tree….it simply looked like a BIG tree at the gates to Camp Half-Blood. This may have been due to the fact that at this point they are not sure that the sequel to the movie will be made.

As I said a few times already, I enjoyed this movie. I never found myself wondering how long we had been sitting in the theater or wishing I had bought more candy. If you are looking for a fun family film, especially if you have any Harry Potter fans in your family I would recommend this movie.

4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Between Here and April

March 7, 2010

Between Here and April
Author: Deborah Copaken Kogan
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Collection

Kogan’s novel, Between Here and April, is a haunting story about maternal love gone wrong. Before settling down and starting a family Elizabeth Burns was a journalist covering international war stories. Now she is the mother of two young daughters, and is married to a man, who in her opinion, works too much. Elizabeth is struggling to save her marriage, and find purpose in her life beyond her duties as a mother.

The stresses in her life cause a deep-rooted memory to suddenly surface and Elizabeth finds herself obsessed with investigating the disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy.  Her initial investigation leads her to a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article that reveals details of April’s disappearance that had been hidden from her as a child. Adele, April’s mother committed an unthinkable crime. Elizabeth embarks on a journey into her own past to track down people who knew Adele in an effort to gain insight. What Elizabeth doesn’t bargain for is how Adele’s story will raise questions about her own upbringing and how she parents her children.

Any book that brings to light a new topic of cultural and/or historical interest I find intriguing. Kogan introduces her readers to the female culture of the 1950s and the oppressive nature of this time in American history. I saw this most clearly in the relationship Elizabeth has with her own mother. They struggle to connect, mostly because of the cultural shift in what is considered ok for a mother to do and be. This element of the story has encouraged me to learn more about the life of mothers in the 1950s, beyond our stereotypical visions of Leave it to Beaver.

The only issue I had with the book was the ending. I felt that it wrapped up too neatly. After covering such a deep issue the ending was a little bit too happily ever after for me, although the symbolic encounter at the photography exhibit was an interesting ending. Overall I enjoyed the novel and am interested in reading Kogan’s memoir Shutterbabe.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Four Month Challenge- Part 3

March 3, 2010

I have been waiting for the next part of this challenge to begin! I have not participated in a challenge with categories to date and it sounds like a lot of fun…the book possibilities are endless!

The Four Month Challenge Part Three will  be hosted by Martina at She Read A Book. This segment will run from March 1, 2010 until June 30, 2010. I’m hoping to be successful with all this freedom! The challenges are listed below:

5 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
Read a book with a one word title
Read a book with an animal name in the title
Read a book with a proper name in the title
Read a fantasy

10 Point Challenges

Read an ‘Austenesque’ book
Read a book with a two word title
Read a book that is part of a series
Read a book about a real person- Hiking Through by Paul V. Stutzman (in progress)
Read a mystery

15 Point Challenges

Read a book written in the 60’s (any century)
Read a book with a number in the title
Read a book by an author born in March, April, May or June.
Read a book with a three word title
Read a book by an author with three names

20 Point Challenges

Read a book with over 500 pages
Read a book with a four word title
Read a book by two authors
Read a book written in the 70s (any century)
Read a book that has been number one on the NYT Best-sellers list
0/250 points

I will update this post as I complete each of the challenges.