Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien

I have four weeks between my book club nights, but for some reason this month I procrastinated the majority of this book until the last two days before our discussion.  I read "The Hobbit" in a great whirlwind, and in fact, the last 20 pages I borrowed my mom's "speed reading" trick of reading on the first and last lines of each paragraph to get the gist of what's going on.

I read "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy about 8 years ago.  Okay, that's a lie.  I read the first two and threw my hands up shortly into the third.  I think I might have mild ADD, because the long descriptive passages in Tokien's books are hard for me to plow through.  I need more dialogue to keep things going, and those moments aren't as common.  But I persisted through "The Hobbit."  I think it was easier because I was slightly more familiar with the story line from watching the cartoon version as a child.  But of course that cartoon was incomplete, but I found the parts of the story that were new to me were really the highlights because I didn't know exactly what was coming.  For example, I loved Beorn, the bear-man.  I loved his character and morphing qualities, his hospitality to Bilbo and the dwarfs, and how he followed them through part of the forest.

My very most favorite part of this story was Bilbo's transformation from being the little bumbling hobbit who fretted over his forgotten handkerchief to the individual who became the leader in fulfilling the plans to restoring the dwarfs' treasure and kingdom.

I saw the movie a few months ago, not knowing it was only a third of the story.  I was slightly appalled that "The Hobbit" book was to become a movie trilogy.  But now that I have read it, I totally understand and I'm eager to see the other cinematic installments.

Monday, April 1, 2013

"The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to crush fear, make dreams happen, and live without regret" by Richie Norton

This is a different kind of book for me to read.  I usually stick to fiction, and I just started into biographies, but a "self-help" or "business" book is really not what I usually dip into.  But I found out about it through Natalie Norton, whose name is on the cover.  I went to high school and church with Natalie, and through Facebook I heard all about her husband's writing.  My monthly budget has a zero balance for books, so I did what I usually do when I encounter a title I must read:  I drive down to (or sometimes call) my small-town library and submit a purchase request.  I was ecstatic when I got my email last week saying this title was available behind the desk for me to check out.

What Norton suggests in "Stupid" is applicable to anyone.  If you have a business idea, this is for you.  If you have an idea to improve your community, this is for you.  If you have personal goals you want to achieve, this is for you.  No one is happy living stagnantly.  You need motion, you need to START.  Norton's personal voice encourages the reader to believe in breaking out of their shell and discovering the power within to do great things.  Because of a dream.

Inspired.  That's what this book is and it's how it made me feel.  I have a dream, a goal, just like everyone else.  But this special book helped me give myself permission to believe in it and believe I can achieve it.  My dreams are unique and not quite like anyone else's dreams.  My dreams are valid and I won't live to regret not acting on them.