Sunday, March 15, 2009

Review: One More Sunrise by Michael Landon, Jr. and Tracie Peterson

I always wonder how much of a story is written by each author when it is co-written. I really question it when a more famous name appears on the cover--and that name is bigger than the other. A sales ploy, I'm sure . . . one that irritates me to be honest. I would like to think I'm a little smarter than that!

Most of us recognize the name Michael Landon. You know, Pa from Little House on the Prairie. (Still one of my favorite shows--really!) His son, Michael Landon, Jr. has followed in his father's steps, producing and directing family-friendly movies such as the Loves Comes Softly series. Tracie Peterson is a well-known Christian fiction author. I tend to enjoy her books.

The story is set in 1958 rural Kansas. A man is tearing his family apart with his "coulda, shoulda, woulda" look at his past. I found this early part of the novel a bit stale and slow going. Perhaps it's because I personally cannot stand hearing people whine like this in real life. After a few chapters of setting up the plot, the book flows foward into a story of his marriage and family. The evolves to include the entire community when a corporate farming reprentative shows up. Of course the corporate giant tries to take over the farming community, but the people band together.

An interesting spiritual aspect was explored in the story. (Reading the back cover blurb can give you an insight--I don't want to give away everything!) I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it does not sit comfortably with me. Perhaps it's the fact that this part of the story was not as developed and was stuck in there for its purpose.

But the story was entertaining. I found myself connecting with the characters and becoming a part of the community. If you enjoy Hallmark movies (as I suspect this will turn into one), you'll enjoy this book.

Title: One More Sunrise
Authors: Michael Landon, Jr. and Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House (2008)
ISBN: 9780764203626

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

What a fascinating book!

Outliers will challenge your idea on success and how someone becom
es successful. Whether it is the success of a professional athlete or a Silicon Valley billionaire, there are reasons behind the success. According to Gladwell, it doesn't occur only due to natural abilities.

Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist, writes and interesting AND entertaining book. I found myself questioning my own thoughts on how I looked at how what is considered success after Gladwell introduces ideas of Opportunity and Legacy. Success has more to do with how many hours you work towards your goal, when you were born, where you were born, your ancestry and chance (or devine intervention--depending on your view).

While Gladwell does not dismiss natural abilities, he argues that talent needs to nurtured. He even provides examples of what happens when natural talent is ignored. Everyday situations that the average reader can relate to is used to tell the story. There are many recognizable names and the background stories behind the names are intriguing. Ultimately, these successful people became successful more on the basis that they were at the right place at the right time rather that it "just happened." This book led me to believe my own ideas of the world--not society's idea of success.

I really enjoyed this book. I heard of his other books, The Tipping Point and Blink. I have yet to read them, but they are on my wishlist.

Title: Outliers
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (2008)
ISBN: 9780316017923