Labor Day Reading Material

It’s the final days of summer.  With only 3 days remaining before we officially kick start our autumn mentality, here are a few books worth picking up during your last few days of relaxation.

Half-Broke Horses

half broke horsesI’m not a lover of Westerns, but imagine looking at it through the eyes of a woman.  Then imagine being one of those women who lived every single adventure you can ever imagine.  Cowgirl.  Pilot.  Horse Jockey.  Teacher.  Wife.  Mother.  Ranch Caretaker.  Gunslinger.  Gangster selling booze during prohibition.  Gambler that’s better at poker than the rest of the gunslingers at the table.

This was the life of Jeanette Walls’ grandmother.  Her story is a great story, especially for women.  It’s inspiring to read because you begin to realize what it takes to live every dream you can dream for yourself.

Imagine being a 15 year old girl traveling 500 miles on horseback to teach at a schoolhouse then seeing a plane fly overhead and think to yourself, “Some day I’m going to fly a plane.”  She actually went out and did just that.  She was more than just a teacher or a girl living on a ranch.  She was a tough, courageous woman who had no fear of living every dream she could think of for herself.

That is what is so inspiring about the story.  She had no fear of living her dreams.  When the opportunity presented itself, she grabbed it by the horns and rode it out…just like these half-broke horses that came into the ranch.

It’s a quick read.  I finished it in less than two days.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

a tree grows in brooklynIf you’re interested in reading a classic, I highly recommend this book about a girl coming of age in Brooklyn, New York.  This is the book that really got me started on trying to live more simply at home and started my de-cluttering campaign.  It made me re-think being absorbed in consumerism, and learning to cut back and be more of a minimalist (I thought about it, it didn’t fully shape into being).

I really loved this story, as well as did everyone in my book club.  In this recession, it’s good to read about stories of harder times.  If we think we had it bad, our grandparents had it worse back during the Depression era.  But the thing is…they survived on the bare minimum.  That’s what so intriguing about the book.

This story is about how one family survived in poverty before, during and after the Great Depression era.  It’s a story you will never forget.  It’s also a story you will enjoy immensely.

The Golem and the Jinni

Golem_and_the_Jinni_book_coverSpeaking of New York stories, this story is about two cultures: the Jewish and the Syrian culture.  One tale is about the Golem and how she comes about living in New York City, another tale is about a Jinni that finds himself in a different time in the shop of a tinsmith in another neighborhood of New York City.  This story is about how to very magical creatures collide and try to survive without anyone (but a few people) know about their true nature.

All of this comes to a head when a very evil man decides to use them for his own evil purposes.  This story is about correcting the wrongs of the past, and learning to live when you are just so different from everyone else.

This was a great read, especially in understanding two very different cultures and watching them collide in this great city called New York City.

 Cloud Atlas

cloudatlasI have a new favorite author and his name is David Mitchell.  I saw the movie and read the book.  As always, the book was way better than the movie, because it goes into more detail.  What I loved about the story is that it really made me think of the various lives we live and how it is always in a constant state of repeat in each lifetime.  The people we meet all have a meaning in our lives.  We may play our roles differently in each lifetime, but the end result is always the same.

OR is it?

Then again, it makes us ask ourselves what our roles are in each lifetime and our own purpose to the grand design.  Sidney Poitier talks about this in his books, how each generation is meant to mean something greater in further generations.  Each generation is setting the tone for what is to come.  Each generation plans and prepares and creates the backdrop to the greater story.  Each story leaves its clues for future generations, even if it is for the same set of souls that are repeating the same story line again and again.

The book is amazing and will really get you to think about your own purpose to the story we’re living.

A Winter’s Tale

a winter's taleSpeaking of purposes in life and our timing…Mark Helprin brings one of his greatest stories he’s ever written…”A Winter’s Tale.”  This book is also a movie starring Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe (with a surprise appearance from Will Smith).  If you want to know if you should pick up the book, see the movie first.  There are elements in the movie that made me want to dive further into the story…mainly because it was about destiny.

What if your purpose was to save someone, but it wasn’t the person you thought you were supposed to save?  You meet your one great love, a person you were destined to love, only to lose all of your memories, walk through this lifetime with no recollection of who or what you are, just to save one soul.  That is the story of Peter Lake, except his journey is a bit more on the magical side.

With angels and demons trying to help or thwart his progress, as is the struggle with all humankind when they are chasing after their destiny, we go through this tale of adventure with Peter Lake as he discovers love, friendship, fear, loss, and love far greater than he could ever imagine.

And yes, the irony here is that the story takes place in New York City, too!

What can I say?  Some of the best stories come from my fine city. 🙂

Happy reading this weekend and have a safe, wonderful end of the summer Labor Day Weekend!

About Michelle Kenneth

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