Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Serials and Scenarios ~ Some Reviews for You...and a To Do.

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk

Robyn Okrant
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (January 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599952394


What happens when a thirty-five-year-old average American woman spends one year following every piece of Oprah Winfrey's advice on how to "live your best life"? Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah's suggestions and guidance delivered via her television show, her Web site, and her magazine. LIVING OPRAH is a month-by-month account of that year.
Some of the challenges included enrollment in Oprah's Best Life Challenge for physical fitness and weight control, living vegan, and participating in Oprah's Book Club. After 365 days of LIVING OPRAH, Okrant reflects on the rewards won and lessons learned as well as the tolls exacted by the experiment.

My Review:

I love this type of memoir -- journeys of self-discovery, rigidly planned adventures into the unknown, uncharted soul.These journals detailing the progress and process of the adventure are part documentary and part voyeurism. I couldn't pass Living Oprah up.

Robyn Okrant set out to do, buy, try and believe everything touted by Oprah for an entire year. Okrant is an amusing writer and some of her mini-adventures were laugh out loud funny. Her misadventures even funnier. Her husband deserves some sort of medal for participating in this grand adventure that left no area of his life untouched. Oprah was thorough in 2008, from belly to bedroom, it was all covered. But beyond the funny was the emotional journey Okrant took. While shelling out big bucks for a must-have wardrobe, rearranging her home yet again, buying the latest book, embarking on personal renewal quests, she did quite a bit of soul searching.

Huge Oprah fans who feel she can do no wrong might not care for the conclusions and some of the struggles faced by Okrant. After all, Oprah is just a human being…a powerful one…but not perfect. If you love the idea of one woman’s quest to do as Oprah says (but not necessarily does) for a year, I think you’ll love the book.

Carol: A Story for Christmas
Bob Hartman
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Lion UK (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0745953360

Product Description

Jack O'Malley hates shopping,snow, and even Christmas. All three at once is Jack's idea of a very bad day. Storming into a Starbucks seeking escape, Jack runs smack into a beautiful and mysterious stranger, almost knocking her over and unintentionally changing his life forever. In this one moment his entire life—who he once was, who he is, and who he has the potential to become—flashes before his eyes. In this humorous rendering of Charles Dickens' classic tale, timeless lessons are reexamined through the lens of modern society. The result is funny, moving, and ultimately thought-provoking.

My Review:

This little 96 page book is perfect if you just want a dash of Christmas spice, especially if you are looking for something that shares a good message.

Jack (aka Scroogish guy) hates just about everything having to do with the holiday season. Shoppers, check, stores, check...etc. etc. He finds himself in a coffee shop talking to an attractive lady he decides to chat up. And she takes him on a bit of a journey...a similar visitation of Scrooge-based characters in all books/movies borrowing the plotline... to past, present and future, but Carol has a bigger focus, a global focus. This story reads like a quick three act skit or a comic book style story and would make for a decent Christmas skit for a group who felt compelled to embrace the cause. There are several humorous references to the classic Christmas Carol throughout the book.

On the to be read soonish pile:

Becoming a Man: Sweat, Blood, and Tears Required

Author Xan Hood challenges his generation to grow into godly men

Trapped somewhere between boyhood and manhood are some 20 million young men between the ages of 22 and 35 who are seeking direction. These young men lack the skills to successfully leave boyhood behind and enter fully into the role of manhood and the responsibilities that belong to that mantle. Xan Hood, author of Untamed and director of Training Ground in Colorado, has written Sweat, Blood, & Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man out of his own experience related to this difficult transition period in his own life. He wants to encourage other young men that they can and will make this transition into becoming the man God wants them to be, but that along the journey God uses three intentional elements to make a man—sweat, blood, and tears.

Xan Hood has lived through the uncertainty of moving beyond boyhood into manhood. He has recognized that young men who are raised in homes of both economic privilege and economic adversity often grow up in the absence of a father who is willing and able to teach them the skills they will need to enter into manhood successfully. Oftentimes, a father’s willingness to supply his son’s every need is done without teaching him the true cost of obtaining a particular goal. While the role of provider is vital in a man’s life, provision without teaching responsibility creates a void of understanding and skill that leaves the boy ill equipped to become a man in his own right. Hood feels compelled to address this void and reassure young men that they are not alone in this awkward place of transition. He wants them to know that God can equip them to enter into adulthood with confidence and the assurance that they can understand and become men of God who have much to offer those around them.

Written from the narrative perspective of a young man, Sweat, Blood, & Tears shares Hood’s own process of leaving boyhood behind and embracing his role as an adult. With searing honesty, Hood shares his experiences with God and men and paint and trout and fashion and hunting. He examines critical issues common to many young men, and then outlines the journey that must be traversed in order for them to become the men God created them to be. Through the pain of physical labor, emotional trials, and rewarding adventures, Hood carries the reader to a place of understanding that will equip young men to confidently enter adulthood and leave boyhood behind once and for all.

Sweat, Blood, & Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man by Xan Hood

David C Cook/July 1, 2010/ISBN 978-1-4347-6681-6/256 pages/softcover/$14.99

www.davidccook.com ~ http://xanhood.blogspot.com