Saturday, March 14, 2020

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

One of the most life changing books I have ever read!

There is a story with this book. One of my very good friends has given me a ton of books to read. We have been friends for over 15 years and almost every book she passes my way is a winner. After I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer, I needed surgery to get back on track. During recovery this past winter she dropped off a few books, including this one. When I finished this book, I immediately texted her and asked, "Why now?"

I couldn't understand why she had given me so many books and held off giving me this book. When she gave it to me she told me it had changed her life nearly thirty years earlier. After my text, she asked if we could meet for breakfast to explain. Her explanation? She felt that recent events had made me ready for the book. Maybe ready to change? That seems about right. I have since bought three copies and passed them on to people I care about who seem like they are ready to change their perspective or approach to life.

Dan Millman was a Division I, Olympic quality gymnast. The book is based on events from his actual life, although he admits some parts of the story are embellished for dramatic affect. Despite seeming to have it all in college, something is missing. Dan is angry and empty inside. Then he meets a mysterious character who works at a service station. He and "Socrates" develop a unique friendship. Socrates begins to mentor young Dan. Through many twists and turns and interactions with a unique cast of characters, Dan begins to develop a philosophy of life very different from where he began.

I have recently finished the second book, Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior (thought provoking, but not as magical as the first book) and book three The Hidden School, the Return of the Peaceful Warrior is in the "to read" pile next to my bed.

I feel like high school age and above would benefit the most, but maybe there is a right time for this book. That moment when you are ready for or need change.

Game 7, 1986, by Ron Darling

I am a long time New York Mets fan. There, I said it! I joined the fan base when Gary Carter came over from the Montreal Expos and I likely will never leave. (life has taught me to never say never)
Image result for game 7 1986 memoirist darling

I really enjoyed the musings of Ron Darling about his experiences in this monumental game in the history of the Met's franchise. Darling shares some stories about players from that magical team. However, the theme of the book is more about his psychological approach leading up to and feelings and mental state during the game.

As a college pitcher, I found myself reflecting back often to my own experiences on the mound. As much as I was enjoying the ride the book took me on, I often wondered how someone with no such experiences would view the book.

When I finished this book, I read another book by Ron Darling called 108 Stitches. Here's my recommendation. If you are a huge Met's fan, with playing experience, go with Game 7, 1986. If you are a more casual fan with limited playing experience, the other book in which he tells stories alphabetically about all the characters he came into contact with through his years in baseball, might be more enjoyable.

More appropriate for high school age and older readers due to frequently foul language.
⭐⭐⭐ for both books

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

If you enjoy historical fiction or the Civil War era...
Image result for across five aprils

this is the book for you.

Jethro Creighton was too young to fight in the Civil War. He and his 15-year-old sister stayed with his parents to help out on the farm. Meanwhile, Jethro's three older brothers and his beloved schoolmaster Shad all leave to fight. Like many families living in border areas they disagreed about whether to support the North or the South.

Irene Hunt does an incredible job of displaying the stress and anxiety of a war torn family. A family mostly fighting on the popular side of local support, but still targeted by some for some of the family members choices. Jethro is forced to grow up quickly as his father's health deteriorates.

Irene Hunt uses letters from the men at war to their family members at home to display the horrors of war and educate the reader about the major events unfolding. Young Jethro and his sister, help us to understand the emotional drain of living in uncertain times.

A great read for anyone middle grade and older!