Friday, April 30, 2010

After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.- Not my cup of tea

After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is a book advertised as the history of conservatism in the United States and the direction it must take from here. Normally I don’t read political books although I’m willing to read almost anything else. But I decided to give After the Hangover a shot because I really do want to know more about the history of the conservative movement. How’d they get where they are now?

I must say right off that although this book was often hard to read because of Tyrrell’s many million dollar words, it is, in fact, very well written. But I sometimes found myself lost and having to re-read portions to figure out where Tyrrell was going – or coming from. This book is not for light reading.

Tyrrell tends to skip around a bit as he gives us historical background of the conservative movement. But I enjoyed learning his viewpoint on those conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Henry Kissinger. His background on William F. Buckley, Jr. was also interesting but way over the top. I wanted to shout, “Enough already!” The book was interesting but also frustrating. Throughout the book Tyrrell refers back to his previous books and I thought the book may have been better categorized as an autobiography with a little history thrown in.

I don’t consider myself either an extreme conservative or an extreme liberal but I fall somewhere in between with a slight leaning to the left. So I didn’t expect to agree with everything Tyrrell had to say. But I emphatically disagree with his beliefs that those labeled liberals or environmentalists are basically socialists. I’m guessing he’d say anyone who doesn’t agree with him and his conservative views is a “flaming liberal!”

But, surprisingly, I do agree with some of his policy ideas such as a flat tax and tax credits for natural gas use. I especially agree with a federal spending cap. And I definitely agree that George W. Bush was “a grave disappointment” although I may have used stronger words to describe my feelings on that subject.

There is too much anger between conservatives and liberals. Is there no happy medium? Can’t we live together? Why must everyone be labeled one or the other? All politicians, conservative or liberal, should stop the back-biting. Maybe if we didn’t have so many career politicians, they would once again serve the people they were chosen to represent instead of just collecting votes for the next election. If Tyrrell, would consider writing such a book, I’d be happy to read it. But after reading After the Hangover, I think I’ll skip any other books by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A great children's book with a good message

William G. Bentrim’s latest book What About Me? really hits the mark in dealing with a child’s mixed emotions when a sibling is ill or hurt. Most children have experienced the feeling of being left out but it’s doubly hard when they’re left out by their own family. This can happen when there’s illness within a family and it’s very upsetting and confusing for a child. Often beyond the child’s control, jealousy and anger results, causing more problems for the family unit already under stress.

What About Me? deals with this situation beautifully. As parents we’re so involved with the child who is ill or has been hurt that we tend to spend less time with the well child. We try to explain what’s happening but we’re already stressed so don’t have the time our healthy child needs. And, of course, we assume the child understands since his or her brother or sister is ill. It’s difficult for the parents to juggle the different types of needs of both the ill and well child.

The well child loves his or her sibling but feels alone and possibly some guilt about the ill sister or brother. Besides the “neglect” the child is feeling the phone calls, cards, gifts and attention keep pouring in – for sister or brother. It can be a lonely and sad time for any child. This book helps children understand that parents still love their child even if they don’t have the time to show it the way they normally do.

The story is enjoyable for children to read but it also teaches a good lesson – for both child and parent. The illustrations beautifully show the emotions that Bradley is going through as he deals with his feelings over Bonnie’s broken leg. This adorable book is good for any child as he or she will most likely experience this at some time during childhood. I highly recommend William G. Bentrim’s What About Me?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Montana Legacy, by R.C. Ryan

I was asked to review Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan. Although it is not the type of book I usually read, I decided to give it a shot. I must say it’s a quick, easy read and keeps your interest. But the storyline seems so predictable. It’s a typical cowboy love story.

The story begins right after Jesse’s grandfather, Coot, dies from a fall while out looking for a "treasure" that is rumored to be hidden somewhere on the vast ranch. His cousins return to the ranch for the funeral and decide to stay after many years away. Jesse resents this as he’s been the one to stay and work the ranch while his cousins have been off traipsing around the world. Jesse’s old high school girlfriend Amy also shows up at the funeral because she’s home visiting her ill father. After licking his wounds, Jesse predictably falls for Amy again. And, he eventually accepts his cousins back.

Halfway through the book the reader finds out there’s more to Coot’s death than meets the eye. Suddenly, it seems Amy’s in danger also. But the mystery of the book is presented and solved in a few short pages. And, of course, everyone lives happily ever after.

My main criticism of this book is that the mystery is presented late and easily solved. Also, Amy’s father has some sort of grave illness and is told to get his affairs in order. We never know what that illness is or what treatments he’s undergoing. But those treatments apparently work because he’s suddenly cured.

If you’re interested in a quick read, I definitely recommend this book. Personally, I like books with a little more meat to them. But we all need something light once in awhile. If you’re looking for that light book, read Montana Legacy. And, if you like it you’ll be happy to know it’s the first of a trilogy. Montana Destiny will be released in May 2010.