This book is drawn from a real, but little known, part of American history. The Orphan Train Movement lasted from 1853 to the early 1900s. More than 120,000 homeless or neglected children (ranging in age from about 6 to 18) with little or no hope of a successful future, were removed from the poverty and debauchery of New York's city streets and sent by train to live and work on farms out west. They were placed in homes free, but would serve as an extra pair of hands to help with chores around the farm. They wouldn't be indentured, in fact older children placed by The Children's Aid Society were to be paid for their labors, but as with all idealistic endeavors such as this, some placements worked out very well where children were able to lead simple normal lives and go on to success, and some children struggled and no doubt wound up in situations where they were exploited.
In this story, a 91 year old woman (who was an orphan train rider) begins a friendship with a troubled teen who is a foster child that has been bounced from one unsuitable home to another. The story unfolds with Molly (the troubled teen) in present day, with flash backs told by Vivian (the 91 year old) about her experiences from 1929 through World War II.
It is a powerful tale of resilience, upheaval, second chances, and friendship that captures our universal desire to belong, experience family, and be accepted.
If you have ever loved a dog, chances are you will love this book. I know I shed lots of eye rain (Lily's name for tears) at the touching and affecting way this story of the unconditional love we have for our dogs is told. Emotional, and heart-felt, it will pack a wallop when it comes to life lessons as well.
"Because dogs live in the present. Because dogs don't hold grudges. Because dogs let go of all their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase."
Ted Flask is an aging writer, who is lonely and isolated, except for his aging Dachshund, Lily. He and Lily share everything. Rowley's descriptions of the relationship are quite funny and Lily will capture your heart in the telling. One day, however, he notices a growth (or tumor) on her head that he refers to as the Octopus. Faced with the prospect of losing her, he digs in to fight--which means dealing with existential questions like, is it the promise of death that inspires life, so that we grab what we can while there is still time? Or is it the not knowing if today is the day it ends that keeps us going? And if it is the end, how do you breathe? How do you go on?
Intelligently written, with fine observations, and just utterly charming. A tribute to love and what we sacrifice for those we love...human and animal.
This was a very sweet read--a book with a lot of soul. Beautifully written with warmth and humor, it is a celebration of friendship that spans generations and the healing power of music as well as ultimately, love.
It is the luminous story of a 104 year old woman, Ona Vitkus, and the sweet, strange young boy scout assigned to help her around the house as part of earning a merit badge. As their friendship develops, it touches each member of the boy's disintegrating family. The boy's father is a musician, who has been on the road chasing his dream, gig after gig. He has been a largely absent father, twice married to the boy's mother, Belle. Their son happens to be obsessed with Guinness World Records, and believes that Ona Vitkus has a good chance of appearing in the record book for oldest person, as well as possibly oldest licensed driver.
And this is really all I want to give away of the story. The joy is in the reading, as the narrative gradually unfolds and secrets are revealed. It is a story about hearts broken seemingly beyond repair, and yet still capable of being touched by stunning acts of human devotion.
Before I give you my thoughts on this book, I have to make you aware (as some of you undoubtedly already will be) of the dire plight of the African elephant. Poaching of these magnificent animals plays a large part in the plot of this book.
Quoted directly from the book: "White Bone is dedicated to the thousands of individuals who have made it their life's purpose to protect and defend the elephant, rhino and other endangered species on the African continent. These people earn less than they could elsewhere, they sleep in tents or front seats or not at all. They battle the harsh conditions of the African environment, and the monetary conditions that create a market for elephant tusk and rhino horn: poverty, corruption and greed. They often spend more time trying to raise awareness and funds than they do on the ground battling poachers. They are unnamed, unseen and, in many places, unwanted. Without them, the African wild elephant and rhino will be gone forever within the next nine years. An elephant is killed every fifteen minutes."
Now, from an author's note in the back of the book, how you can help. These are organizations he has had direct contact with and highly recommends:
This book is the fourth in Pearson's Risk Agent series, which as Greg Iles has said has reenergized the international thriller. It features Rutherford Risk Agents Grace Chu and John Knox. When John Knox receives a text from his partner Grace warning that she fears her cover has been blown while on assignment, he jumps into action. Knox has to locate her overseas handlers, convince them of the danger, and then attempt to retrace the well-hidden steps of a woman who had been investigating how one million euros' worth of AIDS vaccine disappeared, all while eluding angry poachers on a parallel trail. And corruption isn't just a problem in Kenya, it's a way of life. Knox faces police, journalists, rangers, and safari companies who have their own symbiotic relationship with the elephants. Factor in al-Shabaab militants and you can see that Knox finds himself pitted against the most savage and suicidal fighters in the world. Yet he does just that for a woman who he finally admits to himself has become extremely important to him. The exotic locale and a plot which could be tomorrow's headlines make this a satisfying thriller. Richly layered and suspenseful, he manages to leave his fans wanting more.
Good books. Good times. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good beginnings. Good ends. Good people. Good friends. Good fiction. Good facts. Good adventures. Good acts. Good stories. Good rhymes. Good books. Good times.
Yeah, Reading is Sexy
A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
River of Earth by James Still
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
The Stand by Stephen King
This quote from Eudora Welty captures perfectly how I feel about books and reading
"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Get Caught Reading
Want to find time to read? Fall in book love. Seek out the books that fire your passions. Follow your intellect and your heart. Then time will find you. ...Steve Leveen
Stop thinking this is all there is...
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.
Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel.
Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious...there's your opening!
And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.
...Mark Morford, Newspaper Columnist and Yoga Instructor
CONAN THE LIBRARIAN
I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older, I find I'm increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision...Barbara Kingsolver
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill...Barbara Techman (Writer)
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul...Samuel Ullman
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order...John Adams, 2nd President of the U.S.
Every page allows me to live in the main character's thoughts and marvel at how all of us who grew up poor and female are bonded, regardless of where we were raised or who raised us. I not only feel I know this person, but I also recognize more of myself. That's just one of the great joys of reading. Insight, escape, information, knowledge, power. All that and more can come through a good book...If you're going to binge, literature is definitely the way to do it...Oprah Winfrey
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
Asking a Librarian her favorite book is like asking a Mother her favorite child
So you want to become a librarian? Welcome to a vibrant and exciting profession. Click here.
The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen. Health and strength may fail. But what you have committed to your mind, is yours forever...Louis Lamour
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.Just get people to stop reading them. ..... Ray Bradbury
I LOVE NEIL GAIMAN
Do yourself a favor and read American Gods, Anansi Boys, Fragile Things, Smoke & Mirrors, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask, or Good Omens
Love the Fantasy/SciFi genre
Many good authors to try, John Scalzi is one of the newer ones
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, interesting...Aldous Huxley
The Chronicles of Narnia are an excellent read!
I was an adult before I read these books...how sad...
BOOKS: The Other Channel
My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry. — Books in My Life Robert DOWNS (1903- )
A room without books is like a body without a soul. .....Marcus T. Cicero
To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ......Gaston Bachelard
The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. — Cosmos Carl SAGAN
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 Norman COUSINS (1915- )