Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Book Room: A Week of Non-Fiction Reads

Courtesy of goodreads.com: Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction not just to sex, but to male attention, Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. Never less than riveting, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness. The unforgettable story of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

My thoughts (in 50 words or less): I didn't feel the book was insightful or meaningful. The ending was flat, and the character didn't share how she overcame "promiscuity." For someone who perhaps is living a promiscuous life and looking for a way to a better life, this book would not be helpful.

Courtesy of goodreads.com: Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey praised this book as one of the three best how-to-do-it books it ever written; the other two are the Bible and Voltaire's Candide. Even without such superlatives, it's difficult to overestimate the frugality of this tightwad's guide. Suffice it to note that the economy-minded Economides feed their family of seven on $350 a month! America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money covers every aspect of true cheapskate living: from shopping and menu planning to saving, taxes, reducing debt, and cutting back on utilities. Thrift-aholic heaven.

My thoughts: The writing style is insulting, however, there were a couple of nuggets of information I hadn't heard/thought of before, such as saving a year's worth of out-of-pocket medical expenses as part of emergency savings. This book is worth a peek but not the only book one should read about money.

Courtesy of goodreads.com: In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, Escape. Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessophotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed FLDS “prophet” Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect’s most “worthy” members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn’s ex-husband and one of the cult’s most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing. In Triumph, Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter’s heartbreaking decision to return to the cult. In the book’s second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and steadfast sense of justice, Jessop, a trained educator who taught elementary school for seven years, shares her strong opinions on such controversial topics as homeschooling and the need for the court system to hold “deadbeat dads” accountable. (Among Jessop’s recent victories is a court decision that ordered her ex-husband to pay years of back child support.) An extraordinary woman who has overcome countless challenges and tragedies in her life, Jessop shows us in this book how, in spite of everything, she has triumphed—and how you can, too, no matter what adversity you face.

My thoughts: Carolyn's first book, Escape, was insightful and enlightening - this book was not, however, I'm really interested in this sort of lifestyle (not for myself!). If this topic interests you, the book is worth reading. I would also recommend Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall.

Courtesy of goodreads.com: Candace Cameron Bure first became known to millions as a co-star on the hit ABC television series Full House. Today, like her brother Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Fireproof), she is the rare Hollywood actor who is outspoken about her Christian faith and how it helps overcome certain obstacles. Bure’s healthy lifestyle has been featured in US Weekly and People magazines as well as national talk shows including The View and NBC’s Today. In Reshaping It All, she continues the story, inspiring women to embrace a healthier lifestyle by moving faith to the forefront, making wise choices, and finding their worth in the eyes of God. Candace shares a candid account of her struggle with food and ultimately her healthy outlook on weight despite the toothpick-thin expectations of Hollywood. More than a testimony, here is a motivational tool that will put readers on the right track and keep them there. In addition to practical advice, Candace offers a biblical perspective on appetite and self control that provides encouragement to women, guiding them toward freedom.

My thoughts: I love, love, love Candace, and this book was even better than I hoped for! Included are recipes, Scripture, motivational quotes, and inspiration to live a better physical and spiritual life.

Courtesy of goodreads.com: Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression. One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace. But Kristen's story doesn’t end there. In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living. Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured. 

My thoughts: This book was okay. It's hard to judge or even discuss a personal story like this in any sort of negative terms, but I personally felt the writing style lacked something. Regardless, Kristen's story is powerful and amazing. I wish I would've read this book in my teen years!

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