Book Chat

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This month’s book reviews:

Thirteenth Tale

I found The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel recently at the library. Its dark, jewel-toned cover called out to me, and I’m glad it did. This was the sweeping, epic tale of Vida Winter, an elderly, dying woman who has been a best-selling author. She wrote twelve tales, and now she summons a book-loving young woman, Margaret Lea, to tell Winter’s life story as the Thirteenth Tale that readers have been waiting for.

Margaret listens as Vida tells of her life in a series of stories, each of which draws you in and could be a tale in itself. So many threads to this story — twins who are separated, a gothic mansion, a fire, tragic accidents, plots twists (most of which I didn’t see coming; I love that in a story!), and more.

Read this if you like a well-written, good story.  “Thirteenth Tale” delivers!


secret lives of hoarders

The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter was a book I really wanted to read, because I really enjoy watching its author, Matt Paxton, on the A&E TV show Hoarders.

On the show, Matt is very common-sense with hoarders, while still giving them compassion in a “tough love” type of way. After reading this book, I think the book is somewhat misnamed. You won’t really learn about any “secret lives,” but the book is a great starting place for learning about hoarding, and how to help those who are already hoarding (or how to avoid it, if you have hoarding tendencies, which I fear I do).

Matt’s own story is inspirational. He had a gambling addiction, but overcame that and started his own Clutter Cleaner business. He was contacted by A&E about the Hoarders TV show, and the rest is history. I love the way he was able to become a success, and I think his history with addiction is probably a huge benefit to the hoarders he works with, since hoarding and addiction go hand in hand.

The book goes through his cleaning process with several hoarders. He goes all the way from level 1 hoarders (those perhaps with cluttered, unorganized basements — uh oh, I’m looking in the mirror here), to level 5 hoarders who have rooms filled with empty fast food wrappers, feces, and dead animals (I am not making this up).

I think you’ll enjoy this book even if you’ve seen the hoarding TV shows, but perhaps even more if you haven’t. Recommended.


Gifted Hands Carson

I was anxious to read Gifted Hands by Ben Carson ever since hearing Dr. Carson speak on TV at a prayer breakfast several months ago. He had so much common sense and seemed so down-to-earth, even while being a brilliant neurosurgeon. So when his autobiography went on sale for $1.99 (Kindle version), I had to pick it up.

I really enjoyed Dr. Carson’s story. His childhood years were amazing — he grew up with just his mom and older brother. They had very little, and Ben could easily have become another statistic, but his mom insisted that her boys turn off the TV and read books. That began their road to success. Carson became very successful indeed, graduating from Yale as a neurosurgeon. He has gone on to do some of the most complicated surgeries in the world, separating conjoined twins and doing other delicate brain surgeries. He even did surgery on the niece of a good friend of mine. Small world!

I found this book really motivational, no matter what one’s age. I began reading it to my girls after dinner each evening. Dr. Carson’s motto is “Think Big.” It worked for him, and after you read this book, I think you’ll feel like it can help you as well.

More great reading suggestions over at 5MinutesforBooks.

13 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. Small miracle – For ONCE I have read a book you reviewed – Gifted Hands. I was inspired by Ben Carson’s life. His family did not play the “Woe is me” card. They took what was in their hands and used it in a positive way and it WORKED!!!! Personally I enjoyed far more reading about his mother and his early years than his years at Johns Hopkins. I could relate better to the home life part. If Ben Carson could make it big, why can’t anybody?

  2. All three sound excellent! I’m most interested in 13th Tale, which I’ve always been interested in but wasn’t sure about–I’ll take our review as my green light! My HDTV read Ben Carson’s story years ago and was very inspired by it. I need to pick it up!

  3. What crazy autocorrect typos! Thy should be my DH, not HDTV–lol! Maybe you can figure out the rest!

  4. I think my sister-in-law would get a kick out the Hoarders book. I’ll need to remember that for her!

    I LOVED The Thirteenth Tale. I read it years ago and I *think* I’ve now almost forgotten the ending. When it’s thoroughly forgotten, I intend to read it again! It is a glorious book!

  5. Good stuff–especially since I’ve read and enjoyed 2 out of the 3 and the 3rd (hoarders) sounds interesting–I’ve seen some of those shows over the years.

  6. The Thirteenth Tale sounds so interesting! I’m going to put it on my TBR list.

    Loved Ben Carson’s book – so many good aspects to it. How his mom got them to read, how God changed his direction, his humble common sense.

  7. I’m pretty sure The Thirteenth Tale is already on my TBR list somewhere–but reading your review of it convinces me that I need to bump it up to the top of the list. Sounds fascinating!

  8. I’ve rarely read any of the books you review, but I have read the book about Dr. Ben Carson. I agree that his mother was a superstar, not in the usual sense of the word. I’m so glad she was able to inspire him to greatness!

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