Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Last Lecture

If you don't recall this story from a few years ago, Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The college had a series known as Last Lectures, where professors would give a lecture as if they were to die tomorrow. Except, when Randy Pausch decided to give his, he really did have a deadline looming.

I'm not usually a fan of non-fiction books. In fact, I tend to find them rather tedious and hard to get through. But this was different. I flew through this 206 page book in record time: 3 hours.

It was touching and moving. But most of all, it wasn't entirely about the fact that he was going to die. Randy wrote this as almost a companion to his Last Lecture. The book included more information that wasn't in that hour long lecture. He talks about his children, his wife, his experiences just getting to where he was.

He said that his main goal was to leave some sort of lasting advice for his three children.

But he left lasting advice for all of us. Things like writing a thank you note or not complaining. He wanted to pass along bits of wisdom that he had learned during his life, things that would help normal people in their everyday lives.

I cried a little bit, but not nearly as much as would be expected. I mostly found myself wondering how I could apply his wisdom to my own life.

Read the book, watch the lecture, live your life.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Winter's Heart

**Links: Prequel * Book 1 * Book 2 * Book 3 * Book 4 * Book 5 * Book 6 * Book 7 * Book 8**

First, I want to say that my husband was so wrong when he said this was a slow book. He went on and on about how he hated it and I wouldn't like it either. But, guess what? I really enjoyed it.

Granted, there are some slower sections, but that has been the case with most of the books in this series.

I particularly LOVED the last chapter of this book.

But, let me describe a little better. The book was really split in three distinct sections: Perrin, Mat, and Rand.

The beginning of the book, you follow Perrin and Faile through some seriously tough times (which haven't been resolved). Then the middle, you get mostly Mat. Rand gets the end of the book, but occasionally appears through the beginning and middle. There's a little of Elayne and Aviendha, and very little of Egwene.

You discover characters that will make a huge betrayal, characters that find amazing strength, and even characters that you still can't quite figure out (Verin, anyone?). Rand performs an amazing feat in the last chapter (seriously, read through this book just for that). There are so many points in the book that just pull you in with excitement.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little House in the Big Woods

The Little House series was one of my favorite reads when I was a kid. So, I decided to start reading it to my daughter. She's not always the easiest to read to, but she'll quiet down long enough for me to read a chapter of Little House to her.

This is the first book of the Little House series. It's just a sweet book. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her own life as this series. I think that's one of my favorite things about this. It's easy to read, which makes it great for kids that are starting chapter books, and the illustrations help keep the attention of littler kids. Plus, I mean, come on, it helps adults reconnect with those books we loved as kids.

Anyway, in this first book, Laura and her family live in a little log house in the Big Woods (which are in Wisconsin). It takes place over the course of a year - the beginning of winter to the beginning of winter. It's just a great view into what normal life was like for people in that time period. From farming and hunting, to cooking and making clothes, Laura Ingalls Wilder shares it all.

If you've never read this, read it. Read it for yourself, read it for your kids, it doesn't matter.