I've got to quickly whip out a few last reviews (and will also be posting a separate review that I've been working on for days . . . you'll find out why) because I'm about to go on a blog holiday. More on that, later. First, let's talk about books. All three of these are books that I highly recommend.
Aim True by Kathryn Budig doesn't seem to be getting a lot of attention and that's a shame because it is a wonderful book. Subtitled, "Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance!" the amazing thing about Aim True is that the author actually does more than just talk about all of the items in the subtitle. She illustrates.
A combination memoir, exercise book, cookbook, and guide to meditation, Aim True begins with an introduction that describes what the author means by the words "aim true" and then goes on to talk about loving your body. She relates her own frustrations about her body, which I found both surprising (because she's pretty much perfect, if you ask me) and amazingly humble. In fact, one of the things I absolutely adored about the book was the author's humility throughout. Similar books are often written with an "I'm so wonderful!" tone. Not this one.
Kathryn Budig is a yoga instructor, so there is a section dedicated to yoga poses. She's a clean eater so the section on healthy recipes is almost entirely free of dairy and gluten, and she shares how she's found balance in her own life, along with advice on how to meditate. The book is beautifully and creatively illustrated. It's a gorgeous book with something for everyone seeking to improve life.
The only problem I found with this book was that some of the wording in the yoga descriptions and meditation is going to offend people who are afraid that they'll turn Hindu if they repeat certain words. But, you can always alter the wording. That's what I would do. The bottom line is that Aim True is one of the best, most well-rounded guides to health that I've ever read and I highly recommend it. I've done yoga with another book propped open, many years ago, and it wasn't easy so you might want to get some help (a buddy to read through the exercises with you) or view some of her yoga videos online, before doing the yoga. Everything else is self explanatory.
We only managed to try one of the recipes, incidentally ("Quinoa Egg Power Bites"), although we fully intend to do more. We had mixed results. The flavors appealed to my husband but the quinoa bites had a muffiny texture and I told him I kept biting into them and expecting a sweetness rather than the spicy flavors. I think I could get used to them, though. I didn't dislike them; they were just surprising.
The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler is the story of an elderly woman named Mary Browning who was in the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII (WASPs). She has kept her story secret, including the fact that she used to go by an entirely different name. One evening, a young girl named Elyse shows up at the library to join her writers' group, a group that consists entirely of other elderly men and women. Elyse reminds Mary of her beloved sister, Sarah, who died long ago. And, Elyse is curious about Mary.
When Elyse offers to help Mary type her memoir, Mary realizes she's finally ready to share the story she thought she would never tell.
I had an afternoon alone, yesterday, and I fell in love with The Secrets of Flight immediately, so I took advantage of the quiet time to bury myself in the book. I got so caught up in the story, in fact, that I forgot to eat lunch and had to finally give in at about 4:45 and saunter out to the kitchen. I love it when that happens.
The Secrets of Flight is another book that I highly recommend. I'm going to share what I wrote at Goodreads upon closing the book:
There's a twist in this book that felt a little too convenient but it made for the most beautiful, uplifting ending. I loved the relationship between Mary and Elyse, loved the honesty of their frustrations (so true to life), loved learning the history of the WASPs and adored the way Mary's friends rallied around her when she really needed them. A lovely story.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is another book that I adored. I've put off writing about it because it's a little hard to describe, even in my head, but I'll try.
When Ruth finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox sealed inside two plastic bags on the shore of her Canadian island home, she's curious about its contents. Inside, she finds the diary of a 16-year-old Japanese girl named Nao (pronounced "now") and a another small book hand-written in Japanese. Suspecting the diary is part of the debris from the tsunami of 2011, Ruth begins to read the book and finds herself so drawn into Nao's story that she begins to believe it's still happening, that Nao is considering suicide and Ruth needs to find a way to stop her.
Nao spent her entire childhood in the United States, till her father lost his job and was forced to return to Japan. In Tokyo, still unable to find a way to support his family, her father has fallen into a deep depression and attempted to take his life while Nao is an outcast at school, brutally bullied. She plans to take her own life, as well, but first she feels obligated to write her 104-year-old great-grandmother's story, a tale of WWII, tragedy and how she became a Zen Buddhist nun.
There is, of course, a lot more to the story. The journal written in Japanese must be translated, Nao's story slowly unfolds as Ruth reads it, and there's a touch of magical realism and some hints of Nao's future. At times, the story is so sad that it left me feeling gloomy but it ends on an upbeat note. A Tale for the Time Being is just such a spectacularly unique book that you have to read it to understand its complexity. And, really, you must if you haven't already.
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