Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.

The nearest book to me when I read this meme was Imaginative Writing by Janet Burroway. Unfortunately, I would be inserting the dialog of a play, which I’m afraid won’t tell you anything about me or my interests. (Although the book itself suggests my interest in creative writing.) The Center Cannot HoldInstead, I’ve chosen the next closest book: The Center Will Not Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks, an endowed professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law who has risen to the top of her game despite her “grave” diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Find page 123.
Page 123 is in Chapter 9, which I haven’t gotten to yet. At this point in the book, the author is in Yale Law School, rooming with someone named Emily, and missing her regular correspondence with someone else named Mrs. Jones. I don’t know anything about either of these people yet.

Find the first five sentences.
The first five complete sentences start in the second paragraph of page 123. Here, Ms. Saks is explaining how much she misses being able to vent with Mrs. Jones and how she’d be too embarrassed to call her now because her perfect little roomie, Emily, might think her weird.

Post the next three sentences.
The next three sentences read:

In addition, I wasn’t in any sort of treatment or therapy, or taking any kind of medication. There were plenty of indications that I should do something–talk to somebody, take some kind of pill. I knew that much; I was not, after all, stupid. But pills were bad, drugs were bad.

The interesting thing about these sentences is that they tell a story that many, many people with mental illness struggle with: the belief that they are somehow weak because of their illness. Many of us spend years trying to talk/pray/plead ourselves out of our illness, all along missing the evidence that God is trying to reach us via our medications and doctors. I’m reminded of the joke–which I’ll paraphrase very briefly–where a shipwrecked man ignores the offers of help by three boaters, claiming he’s waiting for God, only to find when he reaches heaven’s gate that God had sent these people to him. God works through people, medications, and countless other ways to help us in our battles with mental illness.

Tag five people.
Fortunately for you–or whomever–I don’t remember how to tag someone, so this post will just have to suffice as an interesting tidbit of information you’ve learned about me.

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Let’s just get it out right from the start: I’m really, really weird. Okay. Now that we’ve settled that, I can get to the business of this post: pleasure reading.

For the past eight weeks, I’ve been spending most evenings and weekends reading. “Well,” you ask, “what in the world kept you from putting your reading aside to give us something to read about?” The answer is simple: I was reading for pleasure and just couldn’t put the book down. (more…)

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Ben and Tiffany Tagged Me…

… and I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t read much at all, probably because for the past several years and until very recently, I had no joie de vivre and couldn’t find anything I liked to do. I have escaped that time in my life and have recently joined a book club, so later I’ll have more to say on this topic. But for now I’ll answer the ones to which I have answers.

A Book That Changed My Life: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I read this book when I was a senior in high school, and it was the first time I read with such intense interest. I journaled as I read the book. I was totally enthralled and excited reading this book and trying to figure out what was going to happen next, so I wrote all of my journal entries in different colored markers. My crazy teacher probably thought that was totally juvenile, but it reflected my joy in reading the book.

A Book That I’ve Read More Than Once

All of my daughter’s children’s books. I love reading children’s books and could spend hours in the library reading them, with or without my daughter. My favorite book of my daughter’s is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. I used to sit her on my lap with a bowl full of frozen blueberries (a favorite snack) so she could eat them while we read the story. The story, by the way, is about a little girl who runs into a little bear while both of their mothers are gathering blueberries. It, like those blueberries, is very sweet!

A Book I’d Want on a Desert Island: The Bible, because I’ve never read it cover-to-cover and have always wanted to. Also, I’d like to study it in its entirety, away from people who are going to try to talk me into interpreting it the way they do. I’ve been the object of biblical proof-texting of late, so I would relish the opportunity to study the Bible when I have ample time to allow God to speak to me, not others speak at me. (I’m just assuming I’m on this desert island alone!)

A Book That I Wish Were Written: Laura M: Here’s How to Live Your Life, by Laura M. Rather than defer to others’ ways of thinking and behaving, I’d like to learn what works best for me. I’ve spent a lot of my life unable to discern my opinions about most things, deferring instead to those of people around me. I would like to learn to recognize and respect my own thoughts and opinions, regardless of what others think of them.

A Book That Made Me Sob: I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. I read this book when I was a freshman in high school, and I still remember the intense reaction of sobbing (in the high school gym) at the ending. I just read a review of the book, and I remember now why I sobbed. Don’t read the review if you don’t want to know the whole book!

A Book That I Wish Were Never Written: The “Left Behind” series. I read only the first one and was pissed because the authors use scare tactics to try to get people to follow their Jesus the way they think He is. I hate being told how to feel about God and Jesus. I hate it when people proof-text the Bible to prove their points and, thus, scare people into “behaving.” I’m embarrassed that fellow Christians write this stuff and make the sane half of the Christian community look bad.

A Book That I’m Currently Reading: I’m currently reading Abnormal Psychology by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, for my class of the same name. Also, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie–a book I need to return to my friend!

Rod: Tag, you’re it!

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