"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh book, how I love thee...


"Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you'll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding."
~ Stephen King

I'm in good company, yes? Hee hee...

What can I say about books and reading that you don't already feel and know deeply?  We all want the same thing. We all want a story to wraps its fingers in ours and draw us close, whisper into our ears and promise a journey to somewhere we won't ever forget...My bad habit is not always remembering to share that journey with others so that they may delve into that story too. I will have to work on that :).

Having just finished The Red Tent by Anita Diamont and  Hold Onto Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D, I will say that I liked Hold Onto Your Kids far far better than The Red Tent. The Red Tent just didn't capture or hold my attention, not in the way I would want a story to. I know some loved this book, but for me....'eh, it made little impact save one thing, that womanhood is a gift, and that we must always cherish and honor that gift.  So with that said, I gave it 3 stars.

On the other hand, if you are searching for a parenting book that reinforces the importance of the parent-child relationship above all else, as well as a straightforward and thorough look into how attachment is built and destroyed, you must read Hold Onto Your Kids. The threat of losing our children to peers is stronger than ever now due to our technologic advances, as well as the progressive loss of solid, cultural foundations in families. While we push our kids to become independent and autonomous, could we be unconsciously pushing them away from us far sooner than they are ready? This book opened my eyes to the little ways that I may have been inadvertently sending these messages to my children. I have to thank Stacy and her post here for recommending this book. By the way, are you on Good Reads? Wanna be friends?

I've started two new books. Anne of Greene Gables by L.M. Montgomery is one that has been on my list for years. After putting it off for so long, I figured it to be too juvenile for me anymore. Thanks to a little push from this lovely blogger, I was wrong. I have only finished the first 6 chapters, but I adore Anne Shirley--this spritely and fantastic young girl with the most wondrous imagination. A true love affair has begun.

And there is Tree Spirits: Tales and Encounters, written and illustrated beautifully by Heather Preston.

a page from the book

This book is Preston's personal account on her search for the spirit of trees. Through folklore and stories of several cultures, from the mouths of shamans, through research, and through her own intuitive sense that something exists beyond bark and root, this book is about the connection that we know exists between ourselves and the mighty tree. Her illustrations are delightful, reverent, and beautiful. When I wrote the last post about the old oak not too far from our home, I hadn't even cracked this book open yet.  And now, as I walk arm and arm with this book, one word comes to mind, serendipity...

Cheers to you on this Thursday!!

"Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand."

~Ezra Pound


  1. Thank you for sharing, MJ. I will be getting the Tree Spirits book as I am already deeply, immediately intrigued.


  2. I did enjoy The Red Tent -- but read it over a decade ago before becoming a Mama, I wonder if I would feel differently now. At the time I was lucky enough to be part of a book discussion with a very diverse group of women about it...

    Your current reads look fantastic -- enjoy!

  3. ooh yes, that is me too. i'm sorry to read and run but i need to go find tree spirits immediatly. thank you dear mj!

    p.s. loved your reviews! loved all those books except the hold on to your kids, but i'm sure i would love it too if i'd have read it.

  4. I added you as a friend on Goodreads. I must get Tree Spirits (added to the never ending list).

  5. And off to check out the tree book...

    When you posted about the oak, I understood so well what you meant: last fall I had an extraordinarily potent experience with an ancient "grandmother" oak. It's the kind of thing that is always hard to describe, to explain and I'm SO curious about the words in this book!

  6. I found "The Readers Bill of Rights" recently, by Daniel Pennac:

    Readers have:
    The right to not read.
    The right to skip pages.
    The right to not finish.
    The right to reread.
    The right to read anything.
    The right to escapism.
    The right to read anywhere.
    The right to browse.
    The right to read out loud.
    The right not to defend your tastes.

    I splash it about the world.

  7. I have noticed this book on your blog for awhile now and was interested. Hold On To Your Kids looks like a really good book. From what I read on amazon's reviews it seems to validate my own anti-social behavior of my making our home life, the central part of our life. Its in my Amazon Cart for a future purchase.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I have been uninspired this week as to what to right about...maybe a good book plug is needed.

  8. MJ, you are going to just love Anne of Greene Gables [and all the books of the series] and please introduce her to your daughter when she is older!
    Thank you for the introduction to Tree Spirits, just the title is beautiful and one book I think I need to read.

  9. mmm. love the pound quote. i must pick up "anne of green gables" one of these days. thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Oh great MJ just what I need, another on-line thing to do:) Good Reads looks great, I think I need to join:) I have to say what I enjoyed about the Red Tent was the way the author took a little tiny character and built a whole story around that, it was fun to see something like that. It also got me thinking about being the mother of girl and how important that is...thanks for the parenting book, I'm always looking for something new and good. I just started one called Back to Basics: raising sustainable kids. Haven't gotten far enough to have an opinion, but I like the idea.

  11. I have to agree with Mr. King! ;)

    Really loved this. Will definitely be checking out Hold Onto Your Kids. But Tree Spirits...OH MY!!! It has me giddy. :)

    I'm on Good Reads, but I don't think I've ever used it.

  12. so glad to see that i’m not the only one that wasn’t bowled over by the red tent. it was just ok to me and all my friends were going crazy for it....and i’m going to go the library tom. and get the other one. thanks for the kick in the pants!

  13. Stephen King also said about the Hunger Games "...a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn't stop reading". When my partner started reading the series, I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would be interested in reading a book with that quote on the back. "violent, jarring speed-rap". I couldn't get those words out of my head. But then I read the first page... and three books later and many nights of staying up way past my bedtime...I was addicted. My addiction finally came to an end, just three days ago.... and I'm ready to pick up something a little lighter and headier... I will definitely be getting my hands on "Hold onto Your Kids"! Thanks thanks!!! - jules

    1. oh and... I forgot to say... I never finished The Red Tent because it couldn't keep my interest. kuddos for you for sticking with it.

  14. thanks for these, very interesting, books recomentations MJ!
    i must say i love the illustration for TreeSpirits : )

    happy weekend to you

  15. the tree book looks really good. i read hold onto your kids and liked it alot. especially the idea that when we remove parents from the day to day life of children (as when they are in school) they rely on their peers for self worth, encouragement, connection. and that is some thing peers simply can not give - so you have all this horrible, broken emotional wackiness and bullying etc..... i am so glad that my kids have friends to play with, but do not rely on them for more than friendship. the biggest benefit of homeschooling is allowing children to participate in family and real society - being with people of all ages.

    i am readying conscious parenting right now - it is good. oh, and a john taylor gatto book (finally) - wowowowow!

  16. Anne of Green Gables was one of my very very favorite series as a girl - oh, how I could relate to Anne! Glad you're reading it.

    Hold on to Your Kids sounds very good to me - all things I worry and wonder about.

    I'm on Good Reads although I never EVER update the status of what I'm reading - but let's be friends there anyway. :)


  17. Oh, I'm so glad you liked Nuefeld book!

    Thanks for sharing your book love -- I enjoyed this post.


  18. Thanks for sharing your book list! I am always on the lookout for my next good book. I just finished "The Hunger Games". I think it's written for the YA crowd, but it was still very interesting and also a quick read. I am reading "The Tiger's Wife" now, I will let you know how that goes.

  19. love book sharing! as you know...

    i really enjoyed the red tent, however, i also know that the enjoyment came precisely because i read it at a time when i was ready for deeper female connections.

    "While we push our kids to become independent and autonomous, could we be unconsciously pushing them away from us far sooner than they are ready? This book opened my eyes to the little ways that I may have been inadvertently sending these messages to my children."

    i'm interested in hearing more.

    it's funny, because it was literally last night when i was pondering how my nieces have been moddycoddled and at 21 can't fend for themselves. i vow to give my girl independence and the skills for life.
    and then i thought that many mothers keep their children dependent for their own pleasure of keeping them close. and i also wondered how if helping her be independent would render me superfluous. whether a strong bond and independence go hand in hand. is there a balance...

    lots of pondering.

    i'm very interested in the topic but with a book budget am wondering if it's really worth buying.

    1. You would enjoy this book I think then, Mon. Neufeld does a good job discussing this balance between letting them lead in finding their independence vs. us interfering to the point where we deny them this natural progression, or on the opposite extreme push them far too soon. In either of the latter cases, the parent has to be keenly aware of their own intentions: A coddling co-dependent parent vs. a parent that just wants them to hurry up and do for themselves so that they themselves can have more independence. As always, observing and honing in on the needs of the child is key, with a respectful and loving connection remaining the primary goal.

      Ultimately, we know when our children are pulling away from us. We have to distinguish when this pull is normal and when it isn't--when to let it go for their own benefit and natural growth, and when it is a sign of something wrong. When peer attachments begin to take precedence and when the respect and desire for a relationship with the parent is lost, it is a good sign that things have gone awry.

      I would be happy to give you my copy, but I highlighted the hell out of it...

    2. i actually have three friends like that, who push their kids towards independence really for their own benefit than the child's, so that they have more free time.
      my encouragement is definitely not along those lines. totally about giving her the right to do things for herself (i see how proud of herself she feels), and giving her life skills.

      she already helps me cook, put clothes to wash, sweep up (in her own 3yr-old 'helpful' way lol)

      i have an idea that at 18 a person ought to know how to survive if they had to. i sure did and am glad for it.
      but mostly i see it that if a child is perfectly capable of doing something and you take that chance away from them, then you're undermining their worth.

      so i guess i'm probably doing the 'beneficial' thing, as always tuning in to her needs.

      it sounds really good but it also seems like it'll only tell me what i already believe. thanks so much for clarifying for me.

      thanks for the offer though! you're a star.


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw