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WHERE WE FALL: A Novel ~Rochelle B. Weinstein

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of WHERE WE FALL for review and I enjoyed reading this book.  Very nice Southern Romance with a good premise.  I lived for several years in North Carolina and YES, the countryside is amazingly beautiful and written about with style in this story.

The story line is good and interesting and the descriptions just right to encourage a visit to the beauty of North Carolina.  It is a Southern Romance within the tradition of Southern Romance and providing   a creative story concept making it quite interesting.  We have 2 women friends who are looking to be connected to a man who is the perfect Southern Gentleman.  We all want to be loved and to love.   We have the perfect gentleman character, who is a prize catch and also a high school football coach.

Abby and Lauren are college roommates and best friends.  Ryan falls in love with Lauren and the three become great friends.  Lauren and Ryan share that kind of perfect love and are probably “soul mates”  – a nice touch.  Abby has problems with social anxiety and enjoys being the “fifth wheel” in their amazing friendship.

Lauren shows some spunk and determination to photograph and see some amazing waterfalls.  She takes a graduate program and then takes off to photograph the world’s waterfalls.  Ryan is being patient with her travels and endeavors until his Father dies and he is devastated.  No one can get a hold of Lauren, in time.

Abby takes over the role of caregiver and Ryan and she marry and have a daughter.

The novel is full of missed communications and omitted discussions.  Friends do not share with each other, mother and daughter do not have real conversations and Abby’s anxiety begins to control her life and she ends up with a full deep mental illness.  It takes all of Abby’s ability and control to enter a mental health facility and within six weeks the lives are changed and a loving resolution is possible.

As I was introducing myself at a new class, we all shared our favorite reads, I noticed that 6 women stated that this was their favorite kind of read and how they liked the escape.  This book should find some good readers.

I found the writing elementary in style and found several sentences that just seemed random within their paragraphs.  I did receive an uncorrected e- copy, but these slips just stopped the flow.  Dialogue was quite good and moved the story well.  I felt sad that the daughter was repeating the “perfect man” scenario of her parents even though she was so young.    Lauren and Abby both seemed rather boring and Ryan was just too perfect and responsible.  The characters could not change; they were just stuck in the behaviors they had chosen – locked in.  It took pills and a therapist to get them to resolution and to move into their best interest.

“Rochelle B. Weinstein is the author of THE MOURNING AFTER and WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND.  A former entertainment industry executive, she lives in south Florida with her husband, twin boys and two dogs.“

www.rochelleweinstein.com

As I write this review the Kindle edition of WHERE WE FALL is free on Amazon.

Related:
Becalmed
Trail of Broken Wings
Our Love Could Light The World

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: A True Story ~Daniel James Brown (Narrated by Edward Herrman)

Monday, January 26th, 2015

“Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”

I highly recommend THE BOYS IN THE BOAT as a book the whole family – everyone you know will enjoy.  This interesting piece of history was recommended to me by a number of people and when I suggested it to my husband he stated that several folks had recommended it to him also.

We were set for a 14 hour 2 day car trip and decided to purchase THE BOYS IN THE BOAT from Audible.com so I could play it from my cellphone app. And we could turn it on and off quickly as needed.   As it turned out the reader was one of my favorite actors and he did a marvelous job and made us laugh several times as he created new sounds for the Native American names of several places and rivers!

This is the story of the Crew team from the University of Washington in Seattle, which won the Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  It is the story of a specific oarsman, Joe, who was still alive and was living in Sequim, Washington on his family farm.  Being on the crew team was the only way this young man could afford to study and become an engineer at University.  Some of the boys were from wealthier families, but several were extremely poor and counted on being fed by the crew team privileges also.  We know a great deal about each individual on the team, as the Coach insisted all keep journals.

The Coach just knew he had a team, which would create a world-class group of competitors and truly put the spotlight on the UW team for years to come.  And the team met that expectation and went on beyond their dreams and imaginations.  The Coach had some amazing rules about practice sessions, and his demanding discipline about grades and studies, and for correct behaviors.  He also had the most important shell (boat) builder working for his team and this fellow had won a great deal of respect in the Rowing community for his crewing experience and his exquisite craftsmanship.  He studied the team when they practiced, no matter the weather or the freezing, rough seas.

The individual stories of the team and coaches were very interesting and held one’s attention and Joe certainly had a tough story to follow as his mother died and his stepmother abandoned him along the way.  After her death, Joe ended up raising her children and caring for them.  All of Seattle rallied behind their amazing crew team, raised the funds for the US competitions back on the east coast and then for the Olympic expedition.  Listening to the story about the races, had us on the edge of our seats with anticipation and several times we just sat in the car to hear the conclusion of a chapter or a race.

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is a story about integrity and honest pursuit with big outcomes and finally a huge reward.   The training was rigorous and the coaching tough and productive.  The beautiful excerpts about building the boats graciously told.  Joe’s and the team member’s stories were tributes to teamwork and perseverance.   It was wonderful to figure out where each of the 9 spent their lives after the big race.  Brown is quite the storyteller and you will feel like you have been there rooting for the team in the crowd.

Official Website  (there is some official movie footage of the race)

About the Author:

“I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. I taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor. I now write narrative nonfiction books full time. My primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life as vividly and accurately as I can.
I live in the country outside of Seattle, Washington with my wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When I am not writing, I am likely to be birding, gardening, fly fishing, reading American history, or chasing bears away from the bee hives.” (from website)

Edward Herrman recently passed away from cancer.  He played the Grandfather on “Gilmore Girls” and many exceptional roles in his career.

This is a book you would want to recommend to your best friend.

Related:
A Snug Life Somewhere
Playing St. Barbara 
The Signature of All Things
Margaret Fuller 
Muckers 

7 Steps of How to Learn

Monday, May 16th, 2011

her_diary

The scientific studies are all completed, categorized and published so that we now know how human beings learn.   This blog has reviewed several books recently about how we are motivated to learn and how we are distracted from learning, but we each have to go through the same steps with our own personal style and creativity in order to learn.

The studies show how by being able to learn, and integrate ideas into our living we differ from other forms of life on this planet and are able to be more responsible and creative with our learning.  The studies also show how environments make a difference in what we want to learn and know and use in our lives.  Yet still, we all have to go through the same 7 steps in order to learn, integrate and use that learning.

Step #1:  The IDEA.  As individuals we must know that we need or want to learn something.  Some children just know they want to learn control and not need diapers any more.  Some just learn this idea by observing and others need coaching to get to the point.   We all sometimes need some coaching to know what we want to learn at some time or other in our lives.  Whether the idea arrives by observation or shoving, it usually involves another person – in person- in our lives to succeed.

Step #2:  RESEARCH.  We need to explore the idea and in several different modalities.  This step might involve the individual reading, talking, journaling, and making a field trip.   Let’s say the person wants to know about airplanes; they begin by Googling the word, then reading various websites and articles, taking notes about ideas that are coming alive within them and the emotions provoked, talking to a neighbor who knows a commercial pilot; interviewing the pilot and finding some interesting resources.  One dimensional research keeps the idea alive but does not promote learning.

Step #3:  REVIEW.  This is the step most often ignored, avoided, or overlooked.  You go over your research again – even read your sources again, organize your journal notes and add new emotions.  One talks with more people and learns to ask new questions and clarify.  The old material will look boring sometimes and sharing the same “stuff” with the neighbor is not so interesting.  This is where having a good mentor, teacher, or coach is essential, because they will offer guidance, support and questions that will push one in new directions of thinking.   If you are in a position of isolation, then one can play the game of 5 different ways of looking at the information and finding metaphors and similarities between the different approaches.  Always superior to get some encouragement at this stage and thus one on one is often vital.

Step #4:  WRESTLING.   At this moment in time one is searching for the theme or concept of the learning. One is reviewing notes, interviews and resources but with a sharpening focus.  One must concentrate for awhile and put distractions away until one reaches a point of discernment, sometimes in the form of frustration or confusion of ideas.  For me, I will sometimes get the urge to make cookies, and then eat them all; this never seems to work out well for me but it is a sign I am getting closer.  I can also find lots of things to do to distract from the pressure of this moment, and thus stopping the process – “yes, indeed it is the perfect time to paint the living room”.

Step #5:  SLEEP ON IT.  Yep that is what comes next, even if it is only a 30 minute nap, where one can totally relax the physical self, have the GI track calm, and allow the brain to sort, organize, file and compose.  A computer can NOT accomplish this step.  The brain needs time to work with all those new synaptic connections and make sense of them.  8 hours is best.

Step #6:  USE IT.  For most students, this step involves a term paper or final exam.  As a counselor, this involved finding and teaching the “best practices solution for the best outcomes” for an individual.  For the airplane interested person mentioned in Step #2, that turned out to be just the start point for a young woman architect who now designs living modules for space stations.  One needs to try on the concept or idea and find out if it has purposeful or practical application for their living – is it useful?

Step #7:  INTEGRATION.  The idea is learned and now just naturally flows into other ideas, concepts and life events and conversations.  It is the point where one is smoothly and efficiently driving a car, one does not have to think about every small idea or movement, right to the point of connection on the clutch.  One can translate this knowledge to each new car they drive or process they encounter.

These steps must be practiced on a regular basis, and practicing is important.  The healthiest cooks are not those who treat their families to the most recipes and desserts ( the 1955 criteria), it is the one who keeps learning new ideas about nutrition and that food which each of the people he/she cooks for needs to feel well and be productively healthy.

What new ideas are you learning about right now?  Are you aware of going through each of these steps? How do you handle things that make you uncomfortable or push you to change?  How do you handle a “know it all”?

It is estimated that in the USA only 1/3 of the high school graduates understand the process of learning and complete the process.  100% of the high school graduates say they are in that 1/3rd of the population.  The scientific studies tell us something different and suggest to us that only 1 out of 4 people are competent drivers.

I dedicate this article to all the students who are writing papers, all the folks incorporating something new into their lives and workin’ at it.   And here is my best tidbit about studying for those exams, YOU WILL DO BETTER IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR RESEARCH AND NOTES FOR 5 NIGHTS IN A ROW FOR 30 MINUTES THAN YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ALL NIGHT CRAM SESSION.
Looking forward to your fabulous comments.
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Related Reading:

How We Make Decisions and Changes
The Procrastination Equation
We Have Met the Enemy
David Brook’s  The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement