Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Cell, Stephen King (3.5/5)

Stephen King used to be one of my favorite authors, and I would read all of his books.  About the time of Dreamcatcher (2001) I for some reason took a break and didn't read everything he published.  I went back and read a few here and there, (A couple Dark Tower books).

I picked up The Cell at a good price to listen to in the car, and King quickly brought me back into his world and reminded me how good of a story teller he really is.  Within minutes I was hooked on the story, the characters and their journey.  

While it isn't the best book I have ever read, nor the best Stephen King book I have read.  There is something to be said for good storytelling.  Something to be said for pure entertainment that King can provide through his "supernatural/horror" style that this book provides.

In the audio book sense I couldn't put it down. I found myself looking forward to the daily commute to work where I could continue the story.  I am glad I took the chance on King again, glad that he is still writing and entertaining.   I have "Under the Dome" on the shelf ready to go.  I am now looking forward to it.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5
Format: Audio

Friday, February 19, 2010

The 3 Word Journal, Randal A. Wright (4/5)

Many people find it difficult to keep a journal, and on top of that they find it difficult to make the journal meaningful.   Randal A. Wright brings to light a simple approach to recording the events and experiences of your life that takes only minutes a day.  It also provide a method for remembering those things that maybe you have not recorded in the past, and maybe even forgotten.

It is a very simple read, with clear instructions on how the system works, examples of how it can be done and lots of ideas to help you get started and continue.

The ideas in this book will teach you to look at your life's experiences differently, to look for the lessons learned from them and record them to for personal improvement, teaching opportunities and discover your personal mission in life.

Stars: 4 out of 5
Format: Hardbound

Saturday, February 13, 2010

All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, Neal A. Maxwell (5/5)

A deep but comforting book on why bad things can happen to good people and what is required for true discipleship.   While presenting some hard doctrine, even harder if applied to oneself and your own inadequacies, it is presented with all the doctrine, evidence and supporting documentation that you would expect from the author.

Life is hard, it is a test, there are many challenges that we must face, but as the book is titled, "All these things shall give thee experience, and be for they good. ...fear not what man can do, for God shall be with thee forever and ever." (D&C 122:7-9)

I was especially inspired by the chapter on service, which I will go back to many time to remind myself of the important of service, being the cornerstone of charity the pure love of Christ.

In relation to the Heroic Books and Eternal Books, this shall fall into my list of Eternal Books.

Stars 5 out of 5
Format: Paperback

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Hot Kid, Elmore Leonard (1/5)

I don't have a lot to say about this book.  I did not like it at all, and am scared to read other Elmore Leonard books.  I don't understand the high reviews that the book received as I was never engaged by the book and thought many times I should just stop and move on.  I find it hard to quit books that I start, even when not enjoying them. 

I wish I could follow the advice of Robin Sharma when he said "If you find that after reading the first three chapters of a book, you have not gained any worthwhile information or that the book has failed to keep your attention, do yourself a favor: put the book away and make better use of your time (like reading the next book in your pile)."  it would have save me a few hours of my life lost on this book.

Weak on plot, slow dialogue I just didn't get into it.  "Milk on his mustache" seemed to be the critical image that drove the main character, that I won't even waste a summary on.

Stars: 1 out of 5
Format: Audio

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"...we are spiritual beings, having a human experience." (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Sharma) (4/5)

Robin Sharma presents an story wrapped in simplicity, mystic and wisdom on how to lead an enlightened life, or more simply put how to focus on what will bring true happiness in your life, leading to a happier and healthy you.

Wrapped in a fable of a lawyer that has everything he could want in regards to worldly possessions, he has a heart attack which leads him on a trip to India and the Himalayas where he discovers a step-by-step approach to improving the quality of your life. 

While a simple story/fable, it contains many thoughts, practices and ideas that, will be simple common sense to many, that are based on universal truths.   It makes me think about how many of the plain and precious "truths" have been lost, but still exist in different cultures, teachers, and persona, in fragments or in this case almost the entire life truths in one book under a different cover.

I borrowed a copy read, but now will make it a priority to get my own copy so that I may highlight and underline those parts that touched the soul, and I would like to implement within my life.

Stars: 4 out of 5
Format: Paperback(borrowed).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"...we have forgotten what life is all about." (Who Will Cry When You Die?, Sharma) (5)

"Who Will Cry When You Die?" is a simple fantastic book.  So many times self-help books are just a restatement of the obvious or the previously heard, and this is just that.  But it is done in a way that makes you want to be improve your life, it makes you want to better while giving you these 101 short tips to do so.

Knowledge has a half-life, what we receive will be forgotten and this book reminds us of those things we may have forgotten while it reinforces that which we know to be true that we have heard before.  I plan on reading this yearly now, each December as I prepare to set resolutions and remember what I have forgotten.

Topics include:
  • Get Up Early
  • Keep a Journal
  • Practice Tough Love
  • Plant a Tree
  • Take More Pictures
  • Don't Finish Every Book You Start

This book will be at the top of my list of gifts for this year, it just makes you want to share.  It also makes me want to read Robin Sharma's other books and I shall start with the "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari".

Stars: 5 out of 5
Format: Small Paperback

Friday, January 22, 2010

War has many different kinds of casualties (Ordinary Heroes, Turow) (3.5)

Ordinary Heroes tells the story of a son, Stewart Dubinski trying to find out who his father David Dubin, was after his death and realizing that he really did not know him.  He discovered that during WWII his father had been tried for treason and Court Marshalled, only to have it overturned shortly afterwords for unknown reason.  

Stewart makes it a crusade to find out what happened with his father during WWII and finds a manuscript his father wrote to explain what happened leading up to his Court Marshall, detailing espionage, law, blood, sorrow and death.

Besides what I felt were a few poor transitions between the present and past (WWII) in the narrative of the book, I enjoyed this story, the telling of the story and portrayal of the craziness of wartime.  It was engaging, I wanted to find out about the story behind David Dubin just as much as Steward did.  It's as good of a story about the Ward as I have read, and would recommend  it to others.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Format: Audio