The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly
(Hyperion, 2007, 176 pages)
My husband reads MANY business books but seldom does he ask me to read one and give my opinion. This one, he did. The Dream Manager is a new concept on how to retain employees and keep employees happy by helping them reach for and attain their dreams. As I was reading I couldn’t help but think how much the business concept of The Dream Manager was just like the old way of doing business. Employees were more than just a number, there were relationships between employees and their bosses and/or managers.
The Dream Manager is wonderful in that it shows how important it is for everyone to have a dream and to reach out for that dream. It talks about how to bring relationships and caring back into the work space. The author set the book up as a scenario in a bogus company so you felt like you knew the characters and could relate. Overall, for a business book, it was really interesting to read.
Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant
by Jennifer Grant
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, 179 pages)
I ADORE Cary Grant so when I saw this book about him, written by his daughter, I thought – “How cool this will be – someone who can really talk about Cary Grant without all the rumor mill nonsense!” My mistake! Unfortunately, I found Jennifer Grant to be completely absorbed with Jennifer Grant. I was disappointed. I did, however, enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the captions, but I found the actual text to be way too much about the author reminiscing about herself growing up and not as much about Cary Grant. Granted, her reminiscing included Cary, but only in the context of her involvement. Oh well, I guess this goes to show I will read anything and once I start, I finish 🙂
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
(A.A. Knopf, 2002, 146 pages)
I am always on the hunt for good books to read to my grandchildren when they visit. We lay on Papa’s big bed and read several chapters before they head to slumber land. With that in mind, I went upstairs in our library to the children’s section and came across James and the Giant Peach. I have not read this book since my own boys were quite young and had forgotten much of it. What a delightful totally pretend story!
The first chapter was very sad as I read about how James came to be in the situation he was in so I’ve decided we will have to read at least 3 chapters the first night so they don’t have bad dreams 😉 I know they will be spellbound, not only by the outrageously wonderful friends he makes, but by the journey they all take on a giant, juicy peach! I will definitely preface the reading of this book by telling the kiddos what pretend is all about and that NOTHING in this book will ever come to be real!!! But what fun it will be to take this pretend journey with James!
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
(Amy Einhorn Books, 2011, 320 pages)
The title of this book caught my eye. I am the middle daughter of three girls and we actually considered ourselves the weird sisters for years – that is until I read THIS book. We are nowhere near as weird as we thought we were 🙂 This book tells the story of three sisters raised by very eccentric parents. Their father was a professor of Shakespeare and there are Shakespearean references and quotes throughout the book, of course, as they relate to the sisters and their ability to NOT get along until they are absolutely forced to.
Each girl, for unfortunate reasons of her own, has returned home at a time when their mother is undergoing cancer treatments. The Weird Sisters is comical, heartbreaking, dramatic, sad, and thought-provoking. There are times in the book where the reader sees the family ties pull apart, only to be pulled back together because of love. As the “weird” sisters will attest: “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.”
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006, 335 pages
OK – I have to admit I had not heard good things about this book – but then it was made into a movie so I thought – Gee, why not give it a try. I’m telling you, I couldn’t put it down. It sucked me in from the first few pages! The story starts out with a grumpy ninety (or is he ninety-three?) year old man talking about himself in a retirement home. I’m thinking to myself – yep, this is going to be a tough read. Within just a few pages, this old man had me hooked, telling, or actually, reliving his years as a veterinarian for a circus.
There are funny moments, sad moments, and sometimes unbelievable moments in this book. I found myself completely mesmerized and wanting to read more. I learned more about animals, circuses, and people from this grumpy man’s tales than from any book I have read in recent years. When I read the last page, I kept turning the pages thinking – is that all??? But yes, alas, that was all. I am certain I will read this one again. Just remember as you read . . . . “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant…. An elephant’s faithful – one hundred percent!” – Horton the elephant. (Dr. Seuss)
A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber
(Mira, 2011, 333 pages)
What a cute read! A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber is one of those books to just sit back and enjoy – there is no brain function required but it is still entertaining. The main character, Bethanne, is 6+ years past her divorce. Her adult children are split on whether or not Dad should be back in their lives. As the reader, you feel like it’s probably going to happen, until Bethanne, daughter Anne, and mother-in-law Ruth, all head off across country to get Ruth to her class reunion in Florida. At this point in the story, there is a turn in the road and the reader has to get to the very last few pages to find out how it all turns out. Fun!
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
(Grand Central Publishing, 2010, 340 pages)
I am the kind of person who will read a certain author as long as that author is willing to write books for me 🙂 Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors, but THIS book totally shocked me with the last chapter. Safe Haven tells the tale of a woman who has been brutally abused by her husband. She finally manages to escape to a remote cottage in a small coastal town where she meets people who change her life and give her reason to love again. Unfortunately, her husband manages to locate her. The page turning suspense made me want to finish the book before I could turn in for the night. A 1 a.m. type of book!
Yes, a very typical Nicholas Sparks story, but this time, he actually made be blurt out “NO WAY'” at the end and I was flipping back through the pages to check it out. Most certainly, this book will keep the reader’s attention, but now that you know the ending is amazing, you are actually going to have to read the entire book to understand the ending, so don’t bother skipping – you will need it all 🙂