I learned about Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli from Lorraine in a guest post on Beverly's blog. I always enjoy young adult fiction, so I immediately added it to the list of books I wanted to read this year . . . and I'm so glad I did! This is an excellent young adult fiction book about a girl who is different - she calls herself Stargirl, plays the ukulele, does kind deeds for others she doesn't even know (like leaving flowers on a stranger's doorstep). Initially when she arrives at the local high school after being home schooled for years, no one likes her because she's not concerned about fitting in. However, eventually she becomes popular & is even put on the cheer squad. She loses her popularity when she continually cheers not only for her school's team but the opposing team as well. The story is actually told from Leo's point of view - the 11th-grade boy who falls in love with her. Together they go through a period of being shunned by everyone else in the school. There are a few twists and turns in the story that make it a very interesting read. I highly recommend it!
This month the book club I host read and discussed The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is a quick yet very thought-provoking read. It starts with Eddie's death. Eddie is the maintenance man at an amusement park and he dies trying to save a little girl when one of the rides breaks down. He discovers that before entering heaven, he will meet five people who his path crossed in some way during his lifetime and he will learn five lessons. I was surprised by the people he met and found it a little disconcerting that in several cases he was connected to the person's death (not in a murder-type way or anything, just circumstances). I also found it difficult to determine the lesson in a few instances as they were not very well defined, but overall I enjoyed the book. While I would not consider it a Christian book because it does not follow Biblical teachings on heaven, I think it has a great lesson about how our actions affect others around us whether we realize it or not. Highly recommend.
Martha: A Novel is the third one of Diana Wallis Taylor's books that I have enjoyed. I especially like the way she creates a fictionalized account of the lives of women who are mentioned in the Bible. This book focuses on Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary. Martha is portrayed as a woman who placed caring for her family as a top priority. We see how circumstances may have prevented her from being married (yet) as her life was full of work. The story depicts how Martha felt and what she thought during the times Jesus was in their home, her confusion at his death, and her sense of awe when he rose again. I highly recommend this book also!
This last book is one that I purchased new in the late 1980s and have read numerous times over the past 30 years. I was feeling unmotivated one afternoon and pulled this small book off the shelf for a quick afternoon read. In How to Use Your Time Wisely, Phyllis C. Kaufman & Arnold Corrigan share their GOLD principle for using your time wisely. G=set goals O=organize your priorities L=make a list D=Do It Now! I am amazed at how relevant the tips in this books still are after all these years and thrilled to find out that I've been implementing most of them for decades. Of course, there are a few things that date the book - like the recommendation to keep a pad and pen by every phone so you can take a message or write a note during the phone call. (Obviously this was before cordless and cell phones were prevalent!)