Thank goodness for the power of books to take us away. I have had a very hard two weeks with observing my son's birthday who passed away 10 years ago, due to a stillbirth at 35 weeks. Then on Tuesday, we had to make the terrible choice, to put our dog down due to incidents of old age and an accident. Through all of the emotional uproar these events produced, I found solace in my reading.
I am reporting back today, on the second book I read for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I read a book called, "The Virgin Queen's Daughter A Novel" by Ella March Chase. (Crown Publishers 2008) This is a fabulous read! It is so well written and the story moves along at a wonderful pace. It has a strong plot and intriguing characters. This book centers around Queen Elizabeth I and whether or not she ever had a child. To quote the book cover, "Ella March Chase's vivid storytelling gives due credence to a daughter who might have been and a mother who never was." Queen Elizabeth 's colorful court is brought to life through Nell de Lacey's story and her experience as a Lady -in- Waiting. The intrigue is heart stopping as you wonder the fate of many characters in the story. I could not put this one down. You may think I always have this problem, but I don't. There are many books I have a hard time finishing, but I usually do finish the book. The only problem I had with this book was having to put it down to fix dinner or go to sleep. Another indicator of how much I liked this book, I will be purchasing this book for my own collection. I always enjoy a book that has a good combination of romance, mystery and history. If you like the same thing don't miss reading "The Virgin Queen's Daughter A Novel".
Another book I read that made me truly think about my life was "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. Many of you probably saw Randy last year on Oprah or on 20/20. Randy was dying from pancreatic cancer and was asked to give his final lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, in Sept. 2007, where he was a Professor. I want to quote from the website,
"On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.
Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come."
As I describe this book to others the word that comes to mind first is...Inspiring. After reading this book you realize, yes I can do anything I want to achieve. You also look at yourself and plan how to make this world a better place for you and your children and their children to come. Whether you are in your 20's, 40's or 60's, you realize that dreams can become a reality. How amazing that this man, knowing he was dying, left this kind of message to the world. Some people have asked me if this book is depressing... not in the least!! I felt so uplifted after reading this book I felt like I could and will conquer the world. He teaches in this book about living well and making every day matter. It's not important how long you live, but how you live your life.
The ultimate test for me again, would I buy this book? Most definitely yes! This is a book that must be a part of my collection and I would suggest you make it part of yours. To end today, you must watch this news report about Randy Pausch, made by Wall Street Journal.com that I found on youtube.com. It is so worth four minutes of your time, believe me, you will be inspired.