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Sherry B. RSS Feed (Carrollton, TX USA)

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Too Cute--Without Ever Being TOO Cute., August 26, 2014
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Mindy Kaling is certifiably adorable. Here, she tells some really cute stories about growing up Indian in America, and about breaking into show business--but still being unable to find true love (which she totally believes in!). She somehow, as in her shows, manages to be too cute for words, without being insufferable (or, at least only being insufferable when she intends to do so). I will be very interested in her next memoir--in which she matures into a warm, graceful and brilliant writer, actor, friend, wife and mother--with lots of funny stories!


Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Would You Do with $300 Million?, August 26, 2014
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This is a real-life mystery story, very well-researched and very well-told. It leaves the reader to contemplate the effects of virtually unlimited wealth upon one's psyche, one's life, one's family. The very detailed descriptions of Miss Clark's "Empty Mansions," and the other homes the Clark family had owned, were thrilling for this dilettante appreciator of architecture and artwork--though, sad to say, the photos, paintings and drawings were very difficult to see on my Kindle. I recommend splurging on the book!


3 a.m. (Henry Bins Book 1)
3 a.m. (Henry Bins Book 1)
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3.0 out of 5 stars TV Murder Mystery?, August 26, 2014
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The concept for this book, a man whose disorder permits him to be awake only one hour a day, is intriguing. Perhaps the author will develop it into a full-length novel (this is a novella).

The current work, though reasonably well-written, seems pretty boiler-plate murder-mystery--it almost seems to be a production-ready script for one of the many TV cop shows. Not bad, certainly, just pretty standard.

The extended teaser (for the author's next book) that fills out the page count is more standard, still. The characters, situation, dialogue, all seem to come straight from that TV show about the hard-bitten retired cop who finds a body, and the gorgeous police detective ("smuggling cantaloupes" under her sweater--really?) with whom he must cooperate in the case...in other words, nearly any of them.


Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Through the Holy Land--and Through a Soul, August 22, 2014
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Fr. Martin uses this travelogue of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land (specifically to places named in the Gospels), as an opportunity for meditation. He meditates on his life, his faith, his understanding of the historical Jesus--and readers are irresistibly drawn along on the journey. Fr. Martin very briefly teaches the Jesuit method of meditation, then provides abundant opportunities for the reader to join him on the journey through the soul; to be present in the beautifully described places, and to move into their deeper meanings.

Fr. Martin's tone is warm and friendly, his explanations of Catholic Catechism and theology clear and easily grasped, his enthusiasm for the pilgrimage--both through Palestine and through the soul--full of excitement and awe. I did not find this book to be angling for converts to Catholicism. It's like having a close friend tell of their amazing trip, and include all the ways the trip moved and changed them, then leaving the listener with questions to ponder.

As long as they are not put off by the fact that the author is a Catholic priest, I think many people who have visited, or want to visit, the Holy Land would enjoy this book.


Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother
Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother
Price: $9.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful--and Challenging, August 22, 2014
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This is a challenging book.

In the West, we conflate Truth with "observable and documented fact." In first century Palestine, and in that part of the world, today, Truth is more about the message to be delivered: it is considered acceptable to adjust the "facts" to make them serve and support the Truth of the message. Many scripture scholars believe that the authors of the Gospels may have edited out--or in--"facts" their first century audiences would have understood as supporting the Truth that God had entered human history as a human being, "like us in all things but sin." A Truth that twenty-first century believers confuse with "facts" of the events from two thousand years ago.

Early on, Hazleton makes the point that we actually know very little about the "facts" of the life of Mary, mother of Jesus; then she spends the rest of the book using her knowledge of the history of first century Palestine--and her recent in-depth knowledge and experience from years living in the region--to sketch out a life very different from that most Western Christians have learned at church. But, keeping in mind that the life of Mary most Christians learn at church is a blend of the very little history we have with pious imaginings and theological concepts, Hazleton's life of Mary is just as possibly the "True" story.

Which may make it even harder to read. This life bears no resemblance to lovely artworks from the Middle Ages: no pacific, blonde Mary in a pristine castle, prayerfully accepting the announcement of an elegant angel that she will bear the Messiah. It is much closer to the harsh and difficult life of a young girl in a remote mountain village, in a nation chafing under years of foreign occupation. This Mary is poor, and lives in a tiny village inhabited by the poor. Her life is unimaginably hard, long before her Son is arrested and jailed for his stand against the powers-that-be. This book is harrowing, powerful, painful. It will very likely keep readers up nights, especially when they consider that there are millions of people still living in similar circumstances, today.

I will recommend this book to very carefully selected friends. People who reverence and are attached to the usual story of Mary are likely to be shocked and dismayed, if not repulsed, by Hazleton's depiction. Only people who are willing to let go the image of the Fra Angelico paintings and imagine a Mary with dark eyes and dirty hands, a Mary who lives in a brutal time, in a difficult world, and does her best there, only such readers would be able to enjoy this book.


MUHAMMAD'S WIVES
MUHAMMAD'S WIVES
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Explanations for non-Muslims, August 22, 2014
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This review is from: MUHAMMAD'S WIVES (Kindle Edition)
A very short book, but full of interesting stories about the wives of Mohammed. The author clearly feels an affinity with her subject, and has done significant research. Perhaps most importantly, she has made it easy for her readers--even those from non-Muslim backgrounds--to feel more comfortable with the Prophet and his family. She has explained some legends, and some misunderstandings, about Mohammed's wives. Many of the explanations she offers differ from other sources, but they are interesting to consider. I will recommend this book to other non-Muslims who have questions (or misunderstandings) about this fascinating family.


Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC's Series 1-3
Sherlock: Every Canon Reference You May Have Missed in BBC's Series 1-3
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars OCD Fan's Delight!, August 19, 2014
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I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable about the Doyle canon--but I couldn't come close to the detail in this little book! I can't wait to watch the shows again, and read along to catch every little reference. Fun for all Sherlock fans--and all Obsessive-Compulsives who need to know absolutely everything about Holmes.


Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Listen..., August 9, 2014
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Those of us still trying to find our calling would do well to read this book--several times! Each re-reading offers new insights, new understanding. Parker Palmer's language is simple, but the ideas are profound. I would caution readers to take their time with this book; it rewards slow reading and quiet contemplation.


Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh 'Til Your Guts Hurt!, August 9, 2014
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This is not the absolute, laugh-out-loud funniest memoir I've ever read (The Autobiography of Mark Twain is still funnier)--but Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a close second! Jenny Lawson's life is the sort that requires readers--as we use to say in Texas--to laugh to keep from crying. As in any life, there are a few chapters that are more heart-rending than heart-warming, but that's part of what makes this book so true and so wonderful. I have recommended this book to several friends, and I recommend it to you!


Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Volume I
Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Volume I
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sophomore English Homework, Revisited, August 2, 2014
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Reading this book is like working through the assignments in a high school English class--a class whose teacher considers himself a pretty cool-and-with-it guy. The book consists of short stories and excerpts of longer works, poetry, and a few very short pieces, possibly intended as stand-alone jokes. While there were a couple of pieces that actually brought a smile to my lips, most were some combination of cruel, offensive (to anyone other than Western-European-descended males), and boring. I'm afraid "Masterpieces" were in short supply. Do yourself a favor, Dear Reader, and go directly to the Autobiography of Mark Twain, instead.


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