Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Anything that's recorded by Jeremy Irons is good in my book! No pun intended. I enjoyed listening to this book because it told the story of how someone accomplished figuring out his own personal legend rather than the current trend of telling the reader how to do it for themselves. That said, I really didn't think it warrants being on many "top books of <fill in the blank>" lists. Santiago, the main character, is an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel the world in search of a treasure. His journey leads him to experience and learn things he never imagined to be possible. According to Goodreads, "Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams." I did not get that from listening to this book, at all.

Perhaps the message of "all you gotta do to accomplish your dreams is to go after it real hard with all you got and blinders on without caring about your other responsibilities" was inspiring and new in the late 1980s when this was first published. Or perhaps it was inspiring in Coelho's native country of Brazil. Who knows? I don't.

I can see why others would enjoy this if they haven't read other self-help, motivational, inspiring quest novels before this one. As for me , I wasn't sold on the message. I think a big reason why I kept listening to it was because I kept epxecting it to get better and I also enjoyed listening to the voice of Jeremy Irons.

Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Audiobook, narrated by Jeremy Irons
Published 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers, first published 1988
Dates Read: June 10 - July 4, 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Review: The Home Front: Life in America During World War II by Audible Originals

This book was suggested to me in my audible account last year when I still had an active account, so I subscribed to it since it's an Audible Original which allowed me to download it to listen at another time. From Audible's website, Audible Originals are, "are exclusive audio titles created by celebrated storytellers from worlds as diverse as theater, journalism, literature, and more, all produced in the Audible studios. Members can now select 2 of 6 featured Audible Originals every month, in addition to 1 audiobook, regardless of price, plus unlimited access to premier audio fitness programs. There’s never been a better time to join the listening revolution!" The Home Front was my first Audible Original title and I'm glad I chose this one!

I could listen to Martin Sheen all day long talk about any topic. He just has that kind of voice that sounds soothing to me, and it certainly helps that he is an actor so he's trained to "perform" in various settings. I enjoyed listening to these episodes about life in America during WWII. Every episode built on the previous episodes and covered subjects like women in the military, women who went to work (Rosie the Riveter) while their men went to fight, racial tensions, refugees seeking asylum in the US, internment camps for Japanese Americans, the round up of Italian and German Americans, the development and use of atomic bombs in Japan, and the affects of war on returning soldiers and what we now call PTSD which I learned wasn't called that until 1980.

We hear from the people who lived during these harsh times. Some stories were recorded during the war as part of FDR's "Dear Mr. President" episodes, among other series for the still new and exciting radio. Others were recorded after the war, sometimes even decades later, for a variety of oral history projects.

Listening to this series makes me grateful to have heard my paternal grandmother's role and life during the war, and also makes me wish I could've heard my other grandparent's experiences as well, or as much as they'd be able to tell me. Both of my grandfathers served in the military - one in the Navy and one in the Army - and they both passed before I was old enough to realize the importance of passing stories on to the next generation.


Review: The Home Front: Life in America During World War II by Audible Originals
Audible Audio (Audible Originals), 8 hours and 13 minutes
Published Sept. 7th, 2017 by Audible Original
Dates Read: November 11 - November 21, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Poem: Pride

Take a moment
Pause what you are doing
Breathe deep
Be mindful of the moment
Where are you?
Physically? Emotionally? Mentally?
Are you where you want to be in life?
Reflect on your accomplishments today.

Then, ask yourself what you accomplished
in the last week
six months

write them down
post them on social media if you have to
share with a friend
have a drink
go for a walk
celebrate the minor successes
celebrate the big ones

and most of all
Be Proud of Who You Are

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: Food Blog - A Pinch of Healthy by Marjorie

Recipe: Red Beans and Rice in the Slow Cooker

I found this recipe on Pinterest in April of last year and it's amazing! Coincidentally, I just made this recipe again almost exactly a year later.

This recipe calls for an onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, chicken andouille sausage, dry red kidney beans, salt, black pepper, white pepper (optional), hot sauce, thyme, bay leaves, water, and cooked rice. For roughly $8, it's enough for 10 servings or more with the rice. I say $8 because the first time I made this recipe, I already had a majority of the ingredients, including substituting some for others. For example, I had a different kind of sausage in the freezer, and used some dried cranberry beans I had in the cabinet instead of kidney beans. I also used wild rice I already had instead of the jasmine rice she used. In total, at least in my local grocery stores, the cost is probably closer to $12. The second time I made this recipe, I used Italian sweet sausage and canned kidney beans instead of dry beans and white rice and it was just as good. I think just about any variation of this recipe will come out amazing!

The total time of 8 hours 45 minutes was a high estimate because it really only took me about 30-45 minutes to prep and then 6 hours on the high setting. I'm not really sure why the prep time comes out to be 2 hours and 45 minutes for her - maybe that includes shopping for the ingredients because it wasn't the time for soaking the beans. Also, the total cook time may vary depending on your slow-cooker.

One thing I love about this post too is that she provides a link to tips on how to make the recipe in less than 90 minutes on the stove top instead of in the slow-cooker. Her photos are good quality, and it's easy to read and follow the recipe. Marjorie does an amazing job of sharing recipes that are delicious, inexpensive, and healthy!