Tag Archive: religion



If All the Seas Were Ink: A MemoirIf All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir by Ilana Kurshan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young, and even to this day, I loved to spend time, overnight to weeks, if I could, in other people’s homes. It was interesting to see how other people lived. I learned how different and yet the same my life was to my friends. What rules applied? What was okay? How huggy or talky were the people?

As an adult that is less likely to happen. Slumber parties seem to stay in the child’s world. Really close friends can share their lives. But it isn’t the same as personal observation.

Autobiographies give that kind of insight. You live inside the person’s world, hear their thoughts, see how they try to live up to their own standards. See how they feel when they don’t.

Ilana Kurshan provides that kind of insight. I admire her determination and curiosity. She decided to study the Talmud in a seven-year quest to understand it and her relationship to it better. She lived it as best she could, all the easier for living in Jerusalem, all the harder as a single person, then newlywed, then young mother. But she did her best to apply what she learned along the way.

I was raised protestant. I have many friends of various religious leanings and love to learn their belief systems and how they work in real life. I have a friend who has moved to Israel and thought of her as I read. I don’t know if she read this yet, but I bet she will glean from this person’s challenge.

Rating autobiographies is harder than a piece of fiction. It is personal. I can’t judge another person’s life or their own memories. It was where they are/were and how they choose to live it. Ms. Kurshan’s writing was compelling. I couldn’t stop reading. Since this was an ARC or Uncorrected Copy, there were formatting issues that made my text-to-speech the best way to read it all. But I’m sure those issues were corrected in the retail versions. Other than that it was a delightful read and I highly recommend it to others. I doubt I will ever try the seven-year Talmud, though who knows? I’ve taken on lessor challenges. I was glad that Ilana included scripture so I could feel a part of the quest. And I’m proud of her for taking a feminist view on her religion. It makes it all more real and possible.

I can’t wait to read other reviews about this book.

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The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate it when I do this: read a book, finish before I’m sleepy, start a new book and nearly forget to write my review of the last book! Boo! Me! And this book deserves reviews!!!

My friend, Kay, gave such a marvelous review that I knew I had to read it. I highly recommend it!

It has everything. Aliens, other planets, other points of view. The main character is female, Benita, who finds herself in a bad, abusive marriage. She is looking to get out and not be found.

What finds her is new opportunities the likes no one would expect to happen. That is all I can give you without feeling I’m spoiling it for you.

Needless to say, there is adventures and space travel, and meeting alien beings. Like all good sci-fi, this has a lot of philosophical, political, social, and spiritual commentary. Much of it tongue-in-cheek humor that may cause snorting of the hot tea if not careful.

If you get the chance to read this, you should. I’m sorry that it isn’t loanable. Seems many Benitas out there might not be able to afford it but would benefit from the read. Benitas need humor, escapism, and ideas. In fact, I think everyone could learn something and enjoy this story.

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The Screwtape LettersThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ralph Cosham was the narrator of the edition I was able to obtain from the Overdrive library. I know it can’t be very interesting reading letters. There were no characters to play or give variety to the story. So I can’t say if he was good at what he did or not. I just found it BORING! Like a guy reading letters.

I read this a million years ago as a teen/young adult. I can sincerely say that it was the C.S. Lewis books that gave me my healthy agonistic views. They still stand, so those of you that praise the man really haven’t read his fiction. These were on my mother’s approved list along with Pilgrim’s Progress. The sci-fi was excellent. And are there, like all sci-fi, to make a person think. This book was clever in its format of letters to tell the advice, though from a negative viewpoint. This may be the Cobert Report of its time. I understand sarcasm but I find it the least effective way to prove a point. I think I liked it more as a young person. Now I just couldn’t get into it or find anything redeeming. Now I was just bored, clever negative letters aside. And it was overwhelmingly male.

It is, on the other hand, a bit of a depiction of World War II and the men who fought it in, like my dad. Much reflected tales he told of his own journeys in war. How easy it is to forget the lessons we learned as children when faced with constant death and killing.

It’s worth the read. Just not a second time.

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An Unnecessary WomanAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me. She and I are fascinated by languages. I think that was why she thought I would love this book. She was right.

I went looking for the book on Amazon and found the Kindle version a bit too pricey for my book budget. So I went to Audible and found I had a credit sitting there waiting for me to use. I was so glad I did! Suzanne Toren is a great voice for Aaliya Saleh, the woman living alone in Beirut, Lebanon.

Look, this book wasn’t nail-biting excitement or in anyway stress inducing. But I loved hanging out with Saleh. This is the reason I love books. It is a chance to travel to other places and get inside other people’s heads. This book is a perfect example of both of those. And it left me wanting to start doing my own translations for my own edification. I have plenty of books in other languages. I plan to pull out a notebook and just get busy.

I want to read this again and have the Kindle version to read along with the Audio. It helps me internalize the story better. Even so, the narrator kept the story very interesting and age appropriate. By the way, the fun of this book was it was about an aging woman. Stories of this type are rare! I don’t think it would matter what gender or age you are this story has something for everyone to relate to and learn from. Enjoy.

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Tell Me WhyTell Me Why by Trista Hendren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another amazing gem! This one was dedicated to the author’s son and the male community at large. Still there was a lot of wisdom to be inhaled by all.

Once again, this was one I couldn’t afford right now but when I saw I could get it through Kindle Unlimited, I just grabbed it up and gobbled it down. The illustrations by Elisabeth Slettnes were breathtaking. The quotes by wise ones worth rereading over and over. That’s why I must buy this one once I get paid. Not only do I want the whole series on my Kindle, I want the tree copies to highlight and meditate over.

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Mother Earth (The Girl God)Mother Earth by Trista Hendren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When something intrigues me, I do not stop until I have chased down every butterfly! This was the next book by Trista Hendren. Another wow!

Again the illustrations were amazing. The story to all children of all ages touched me, inspired me. Again, there are quotes to go along with each picture. They made me wish I had the tree book to highlight and review from time to time.

I picked this up for free with Kindle Unlimited. It was a shame to let the book go back, but I plan to buy my own copies when I get paid.

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The Girl GodThe Girl God by Trista Hendren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, wow. I picked this small but mighty book up for free today from Amazon. I was intrigued by the picture on the front cover and the title. I thought I was getting a children’s book. I believe this is an ‘everybody’ book.

The story was from a mother to her daughter. A sweet simple story. But the wisdom of the story runs deeply. Then there are the quotations throughout; each capturing a piece of my soul. All the illustrations were engaging. I wish I bought this in tree form as I would like to spend more time with the book and with the pictures. At least I can go back to this one in my ‘cloud’.

Because this was so wonderful I went to find other books by Trista Hendren. Yay! The were free with Kindle Unlimited!

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Miss Kat's School of Genteel WitchcraftMiss Kat’s School of Genteel Witchcraft by Mary Beth Robb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to see Mary Beth Robb’s books on Kindle Unlimited. My finances were very tight. I hope the author still makes money from those of us who use this system.

The last two books I read by Ms. Robb were more fables for children or campfires. This book was more instructional. It taught on ways to behave as a newbie at attending or holding gatherings. Most of that part was common sense for anyone holding any kind of meeting of any flavor. Ms. Robb’s wit is visible all the way through. She uses her own experiences, good and bad to point to ways to avoid embarrassing or fatal mistakes. She never makes the reader feel silly or stupid, just aware.

Next the book covers altars and rituals. This is an area that I still need to work on. Having been in church almost every day of my life as a kid and then as a teen, I find myself standing apart. I guess I have to wait for this penny to drop so I might get the bubble gum.

Gifts, talents, abilities is what the next part of the book talked about. Once, again, I felt right at home. In my metaphysical studies, I have already worked on my own with meditation and practice. I still feel there is so much more for me to learn and absorb.

The end of the book has a long list of books for those of us who chose to grow, to read. It is for that part that I wish I had this book in tree form. But then again, My hands are capable, when I buy the Kindle version of the book I will write the list down and continue my education.

Thank you, Mary Beth Robb, fo these very insightful books. I feel at peace when I read your works.

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The Lonely Little Star & Other StoriesThe Lonely Little Star & Other Stories by Mary Beth Robb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading a few books that were anxiety producing I thought this one would help ease me to sleep. I let my inner child be read to by the text-to-speech as I followed along in the book. Mary Beth Robb writes her stories in an uncomplicated way while covering some deep spiritual issues. I would have loved to read this book to my children when they were young.

Reach out and take a chance, seemed to be the theme of this group of stories. Shy people need this kind of advice regardless of age. I loved the stories about the witch who was shy and the stories about the ribbons of love. How tactile the story was. In fact, all the stories involve all of the readers’ senses as you move in life with the main characters of each story.

Learn about another point of view. If you have been raised in a certain religion here is a chance to learn how others have seen the world and life. Neither way is wrong. There is much to be learned from everyone. This would be a great place to start in learning about Paganism or Wiccan ways of life. These are the “Old Time Religions” the main theme of most religions I have seen is LOVE and acceptance. Ms. Robb’s books seem to teach that is spade!

I was so happy that Kindle has the Kindle Unlimited way of reading books I can’t afford. I hope the author gets a good financial kick-back from this. When I can afford them I will buy them. Maybe I will have them in time for grandchildren? Thanks for some awesome stories, Mary.

By the way, I follow Ms. Robb’s blog: Elfkat.wordpress.com I learn a lot from her point of view and enjoyher sense of humor.

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The Tales of BunniHoTepThe Tales of BunniHoTep by Mary Beth Robb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Remember Peter Rabbit and the other Beatrix Potter bunnies? Did you just smile like I did as you thought of them? This book will do the same for you. Sure, they are children’s stories to introduce morals and some of the gods and goddesses of the Pagan worlds. But I read these every night. It was nice to bring that sweet, peacefulness only a bunny goddess could bring.

I would have loved to have these stories to share with my kids when they were small. What a great way to initiate conversation about world history and religious history. To show that other philosophies have something to live by. How being kind and helping others is not just a Christian belief, but one that goes back to BC days.

Kindle Unlimited is a great way to read books that you can’t afford, but would love to read. Often the library doesn’t carry books of my eclectic interests. And what I love to do is take in Kids’ books in other languages or philosophies so as to grasp ideas in the simplest forms. BunniHoTep can help teach us all.

My only suggestion would be pictures. This book could bee a series of picture books. Without the pictures Mary Beth Robb painted word pictures that were tactile, involving all the senses, making the reader feel there, in that temple row. I look forward to reading more books by her. I do love her blog: elfkat.wordpress.com. There you will find humor, information, and mental caffeine. She has opened my mind to other ways of thinking. Thank you, Ms. Robb.

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