Monthly Archives: April 2017

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed comes from a commencement speech at the University of Texas in 2014 given by retired Admiral William McRaven. McRaven was a Navy SeAL and was in charge of JSOC when they killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven used the speech to discuss ten lessons he learned being a Navy SeAL. This short book is an expansion of those ideas. And I will say that it’s going to be my go-to graduation present for years to come.

The lessons in this book are common sense. But they are also needed in today’s “safe space world”. As he plainly says, “It’s easy to blame your lot in life on some outside force, to stop trying because you believe fate is against you. It is easy to think where you were raised, how your parents treated you, or what school you went to is all that determines your future. Nothing could be further than the truth. The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness.” His advice? Don’t complain. Just do.

Another lesson? Failure teaches you. It’s not always a bad thing to fail. If you live in fear of failure and embarrassment you will never reach your potential. If you are courageous, nothing will stand in your way. And for me, the most important lesson – stand up to bullies. He says, “Bullies thrive on fear and intimidation. Bullies gain their strength through the faint and weak of heart.” Words that we should definitely heed in today’s climate of hatred and intimidation.

I loved this book. It succinctly states what everyone should do – be strong, don’t fear failure, stand up to bullies, make your bed, and never, never quit. Lessons that kids today desperately need. I might also add that some adults need them too.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no other compensation in exchange for my review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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Democracy In Black

Eddie Glaude, Jr., has written a really hard book. This book was hard for me to read. It was hard for me to digest. But it was important.

His thesis is that as long as we continue to devalue black lives, we will never truly have a democracy or be free. He contends that we have, since the founding of this country, devalued black lives. Made them less valuable than white lives and as a result, this country is inherently adverse to to black interests and advancements. Being a white woman, I cannot possibly empathize with his point – I have never been where he is. However, this book was hard for me because it forced me to reevaluate my thoughts on race in society. I can say that race doesn’t play a role in my life, but that would be a lie. It does. I see it every day. This book was hard because it made me think about that.

I think this book should be required reading. If for no other reason that it will evoke strong emotions, and, hopefully, a conversation about the current state of race relations in this county and what can be done to make things better for everyone.

I received this book from Blogging for Books and received no other compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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The Fact of a Body

The Fact of A Body is subtitled A Memoir and a Murder. I was interested in reading this book to see how the two stories would be woven together. I have to say that had the author just stuck to the murder, the book would have been far more interesting.

I was also a bit confused about the format of the book. For the first two-thirds, she alternated between the past of the crime and her past. The last third was written in straight chapters. It was done because the last third was about her investigation of the murder and the second and third trial of the defendant. But to me, the shifting narrative was confusing.

The story focuses on Ricky Langley, who molested and killed a six year-old boy in Louisiana. He was ultimately tried three times and is spending life in prison. The author wanted to be a lawyer and went to law school. She was opposed to the death penalty – until she was sent to a law firm in Louisiana that was helping Ricky. She found out he was molester and her attitude changed because she was molested as a child by her grandfather.

The reason that I gave this book two stars (I would have given 2.5 if I could have) is that I thought it was a bit long and I didn’t like the style switch at the two-thirds mark. I think the book would have been better organized if it was divided into sections. Section 1 about her; section 2 about the crime; and section 3 when the crime and the author meet.

I won this book from Goodreads. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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