Tag Archives: book breakdown

Time for a book breakdown

9 Aug

One thousand white women by Jim Fergus.

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This is the story of May Dodd aka Mesoke or Swallow as told thru her journals in the 1800’s and ending in the early 1900’s. She was born into a wealthy Chicago family and was committed against her will to an insane asylum. She didn’t live her life up to the moral code that her family thought she should, i.e. she lived with a man and had two children with him out of wedlock. Her passion to make her own choices about the way she lived her life landed her in an institution with other women, some with mental illness and some just like herself.

During this time, the United States government made an “agreement” with the Cheyenne Indians… The agreement was this: if the government provided 1000 white women to the Cheyenne, the tribe would in turn provide the government with 1000 horses and thus the “Brides for Indians” campaign was born.

Ok, so May, along with some other characters, volunteer for the program because they see it as their only way out… Out of the mental institution, out of jail, out of a life of discrimination, etc.

I don’t want to give too much away but it is a good read and the relationships that form between the white women and their husbands and their husbands other wives is… Awe inspiring. They could only communicate by body language in the beginning and the bonds they formed really changed the women. There are births and deaths and drama… It’s pretty good.

Now, with that being said, it was not a book that I was DYING to read every night. I could put it down for days at a time and be fine with that.

I’d give it like a 2.5/3 stars rating.

Next up: A Lesson Before Dying

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Time for a book breakdown!

30 Jun

Ok, so I am what you might call a “voracious” reader. I have been known to devour a book in a day or two. I will read anything, any genre, any author. I am an equal opportunity reader. And I am ALWAYS on the lookout for that next good great read.

Back home in Columbus, I was part of an awesome book club that was actually more of a book exchange. The group has a “membership” of probably over 12 girls but usually only 7 or so show up at every meeting… which is one of the beautiful things about this group. It’s very much “come if you can, you know it’s gonna be a GREAT time but if you can’t, we’ll see you in a month for the next one!” There is always tons of good food, good wine and good books.

The way we play is that everyone brings however many books they’ve recently read (some people bring one and others, like me, bring like 18. I know, over the top!). Then we put all the books into a usually overflowing pile in the middle of the room, usually on the coffee table and while everyone is visiting, drinking wine, etc. you can browse the selection. After we have a nice buzz humming, we sit down and go around the circle and talk about all the books we brought. I mean, I can sell a book. Sometimes I cry! Yes, it’s true… sometimes I can’t help it, I just get so MOVED!. Then we draw numbers and pick books! For example, we go 1 thru 8 or whatever and then 8 thru 1 until we have picked all the books we want. There is no limit! (Unless of course we run out of books but that is yet to happen.)

And now, sadly, I am no longer a part of that glorious little club but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still talk about what I’m reading.

I just finished “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I decided to read it after Meredith from thesocialchairdc.blogspot.com mentioned it in a few of her posts. It’s funny how things (books, ideas, ect.) can come into your life at the perfect moment… this book did that for me. It’s full of tips and suggestions on how to just be happy. After all, isn’t that the ultimate? Gretchen consistently encourages the reader to try their own happiness project and that every happiness project will look and feel and BE different. There is no wrong way to go about it. For example, it helped me realize that when I do something thoughtful or nice for Mr. V., I should do those things because I WANT to. Not because I want him to do something nice for me. I should get up a little earlier to make him coffee in the morning or plug-in his phone at night (because he almost always forgets to) because it is the good and right thing to do and it makes his day easier. Which makes me happy. In essence: Don’t keep score so much, you know?

One quote from the book that I underlined and haven’t stopped thinking about for a week and a half is this…”Happiness is neither a virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” This hit me. HARD. I am in the process of finishing my application for Grad school to teach English as a second language and it occurred to me that YES! I am happy when I am learning or teaching others. I was meant to read this book and those sentences right at this exact time in the life. So, thanks Meredith for the recommendation and thanks Gretchen for diving into this experiment, documenting it and sharing it with us.

Up next: “One Thousand White Women: The journals of May Dodd” by Jim Fergus.