Saturday, January 28, 2012

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

This book was a difficult read. At first I thought it was just me, since I was trying to work on my own project at the same time I was reading this group selection for the month. Then I saw others in the group were having the same problem.

The writing is slick, but it seemed the story wasn't going anywhere, plodding around in circles. Some in the group concluded Ms Ward was mirroring the activty of the storm in the Gulf, Katrina. As the storm gained strength, so did the story, vicious and brutal as the dog fight.

It is the story of the Batiste family, survivors of a mother who died giving birth to Junior, leaving one girl Esch with three brothers and an alcoholic father. Even as the action picked up, it was still a difficult read. Esch, a name like a whisper (hush), trying to find her way through the storm of life without a female role model.

If there ever was a character I wanted to slap straight, it was Esch. The story tore at my heart, the same way that storm did.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Friday, January 27, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (the movie)

I should have read the book first. It's on my to-read list on Goodreads, at the bottom with a bunch of other books I can't seem to get around to. Books that are best sellers, but I don't know anybody personally reading them.

I didn't expect it to become a movie so soon. I probably wouldn't have seen it, if not for Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, even though I knew from interviews they each spend less than 15 minutes on the screen. But they sold it to me.

They didn't sell it to Tinker. Anything about 9/11 has to be depressing. The reviews said it was uplifting. I asked him if he wanted to go to see it with me. He said, I don't want to, but I'll go with you.

I expected a story about a precocious nine-year-old in search for something about his father who had died on that "worst day." The boy turns out to be a little "Monk, the detective." Obsessive Compulsive, Aspergers, Savant, you name it. If you watch "Monk" you know how Trudy's death affected him. Halfway into the movie, I looked at Tinker, and I knew he hated it. I started thinking, "shoulda read the book first."

Then something changed (no spoilers here). The movie became uplifting. Hint: Max von Sydow received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in this film.

Tinker still hated it. I give it four stars.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Scholarship from

The scholarship, “'s Awareness and Prevention Scholarship,” - the first of its kind - was created to financially assist US students committed to raising awareness and preventing nursing home abuse.

Any student enrolled in an accredited online post-secondary institution is eligible to apply, however, this scholarship is particularly suited for students studying nursing, social work, psychology, or healthcare administration. The applicant must also be receiving some form of need-based aid. The scholarship will help pay for non-tuition related living expenses for the 2012-2013 academic year that are not covered by the recipient’s current financial aid
such as:

- Rent
- Childcare
- Books and School Supplies
- Utilities – Gas/Electric
- Utilities – Internet Connection
- Groceries

Applications must be emailed or postmarked by February 15th, 2012 to be considered. The winner will be announced on May 31st, 2012.

Further information about the scholarship can be found at:

If you have any questions, contact Shannon Shoemaker, Shannon[at]NursingHomeAbuse[dot]net

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Moloka'iMoloka'i by Alan Brennert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The good thing about being a member of a book club is going out of your comfort zone and reading books you wouldn't have chosen. Some of my favorite authors I never knew about until I learned about them through a book club. And the other side of the coin is sometimes I feel obligated to read a genre I don't really like.

I don't like historical fiction, but I read this book to the bitter end. Moloka'i is an island of Hawaii that became a leper colony in the 1800's. The story follows the life of Rachel who developed leprosy at the age of seven through over fifty years of living on Moloka'i. The story covers the history of Hawaii as it unfolded in the secluded lives on Molokai, through changes in government, war, tsunami, clinical trials and an eventual cure for what is now called Hansen's Disease.

Rachel leads a productive life in spite of being separated from her family and having little contact from them for many years. It is a very sad story.

The author weaves in some of Hawaiian tradition that ran counter to the teachings of the Catholic missionaries who taught and nursed the residents of the colony. I found the burial traditions most poignant when carried out by Rachel in spite of her Christian upbringing.

I didn't hate this book, but it did seem to go on and on and on.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 9, 2012

Goal Setting for the New Year - Staying on Track

By Guest Blogger Melanie Bowen:

For many, the start of a new year means new beginnings and new resolutions to undertake. To help improve quality of life, having tangible goals and putting your thoughts into words is crucial to crystallizing intent and helping ensure that you follow through with your dreams.

Writing down a goal helps it become more concrete. For example, a familiar New Year's resolution for many people is, "I want to lose weight." However, many people fail to write down this mantra. Over time, it is easy to become distracted. Writing this goal down somewhere you will look at it every day is a better way to remind yourself of your dream.

Blogging is a great way to start the process. With virtually the entire Internet as your audience, you are more accountable to upholding your promises. The support you can receive from followers on the road to achieving your goal can be overwhelming and help you face odds with determination and confidence even through difficult setbacks. For example, for people suffering from rare cancers like mesothelioma to a more common disorder like diabetes, the love and support that an unexpected community can provide can be the push one needs to make it through any prognosis.

Here are some easy ways to start the process:

- Write down your goals on paper. This will help you create concrete objectives so you can accomplish your goals.

- Be specific. Set goals for yourself that are realistic and obtainable, the more specific the better. For example, "I will take one hour out of each day for myself" is more realistic than "I will make sure to have free time."

- Set a period of time in which to accomplish your goal.

- Share your goals! Communicating with others will help you feel accountable to yourself. Once you finish them, the support and encouragement you get will continue to spur you on.

As you begin to accomplish your goals, your quality of life will improve. This method works not only for resolutions like weight loss, but also for overall lifestyle improvements. Are there things you've always wanted to do, or places you've always wanted to go? Make a list. Put the ideas into concrete words. This will reinforce the desire to accomplish those things, and soon you will feel empowered and strong enough to do anything.