The #WisdomOfMerlin Week 6: “Generosity”

Full_WisdomofMerlin“Countdown to a Meaningful Life”

Week 6: Generosity

To celebrate the upcoming publication of THE WISDOM OF MERLIN: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life by T.A. Barron, I am participating in a countdown campaign based on Merlin’s answer to the question: “What is the meaning of life?” Surprisingly, the answer has only seven words…but they are the most powerful words of all.

Each week we will focus on one of these magical words with supporting content that will help readers acknowledge, reflect, practice and get inspired to embark on a new adventure or live life to its fullest. We continue this week with Generosity.  

Excerpt from THE WISDOM OF MERLIN:

“Generosity is not giving others what they want. Rather, it’s giving away what you yourself want.”

“Generosity multiplies. Whatever you give to someone inspires more gifts to others. And when you illuminate someone’s path, many more will walk upon it. As my good friend Buddha would say, Make of your life a light.”

Quotes on Generosity:

  • “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “He who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.” —Henry Taylor
  • “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” — Simone Weil
  • “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” —Calvin Coolidge

Celebrate Generosity in 2015:

  • March 13, 2015- National Good Samaritan Day
  • July 11, 2015- National Cheer up the Lonely Day
  • October 5, 2015- National do Something Nice Day
  • Every day 

Be Generous:

  • Donate something - While doing your spring cleaning this year, donate the items you no longer need instead of throwing them away. Find a charity near you by using: org
  • Volunteer your time - We all have needed help with something at one time in our life. Volunteering at a local shelter or soup kitchen will make a difference to someone in need.
  • Pay it forward - It could be shoveling your neighbor’s driveway or paying for the person behind you at the coffee shop, but paying it forward makes everyone feel great. A small, unexpected act of generosity as simple as a smile could brighten a person’s day more than you realize. 

For more inspiration visit or like:

The Year of Giveaways: March!

Hello, Readers!

In 2014, I was fortunate to have received dozens and dozens of books, from publishers, friends, authors, and contests. Among all of these acquisitions, however, were a number of duplicates.

So, in 2015, I’ve decided to feature one of these duplicate books each month, and offer that book as a giveaway to one of you! Yes, it’s The Year of Giveaways!

This month, the spotlight is on: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith!

20493997Description: Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

If you would like to win a copy of this excellent book, here’s what you need to do:

Rules:

  • Must be an e-mail or WordPress subscriber.
  • –Must be 13+ with parental permission if under 18.
  • –Winners must respond to e-mail within 48-hours or new winner selected.
  • –Winners chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.
  • -Giveaway ends at 11pm Central Time (USA) on the last day of the month.

Enter by Completing This Rafflecopter Form

February 2015: Month in Review

downloadFebruary 28th! Wow, that means tomorrow is March 1st. Which means, Spring is coming… right? Gosh, I hope so! This winter hasn’t been as bad as last year, but these last few weeks sure have been cold, cold, cold.

This has been an interesting month, as far as postings here at RBR as well as articles over at About.com’s Classic Lit page. I’ve also been wrapped-up in my “Real Life” jobs of teaching and preparing for my dissertation, and I have two conference presentations coming up later this spring (one in March, one in April).  One of these days I’ll take a vacation, I promise!

So, as we head into March, we’ve now finished two months of #TBR2015RBR and have presented the first two books in Roof Beam Reader’s Year of Giveaways (Book #3 for February will be tomorrow – and it’s a GREAT one!)

Here are some more of the month’s highlights:

Book Reviews & Guides

Recommendations

Genres

 Other

Roof Beam Reader Updates:

So, that’s my month. Now, what have YOU been up to lately?

The #WisdomOfMerlin Week 5: “Belief”

Full_WisdomofMerlinCountdown to a Meaningful Life

Week 5: Belief

To celebrate the upcoming publication of THE WISDOM OF MERLIN: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life by T.A. Barron, I am participating in a countdown campaign based on Merlin’s answer to the question: “What is the meaning of life?” Surprisingly, the answer has only seven words…but they are the most powerful words of all.

Each week we will focus on one of these magical words with supporting content that will help readers acknowledge, reflect, practice and get inspired to embark on a new adventure or live life to its fullest. We continue this week with Belief.  

Excerpt from THE WISDOM OF MERLIN: 

“Belief is a powerful elixir. It offers strength, renewal, and peace to those who drink it. And your cup can be forever refilled.”

“What inspires belief? The answer is different for each person…Whatever else may lie beyond in the spirit realm, we create our own heaven and hell – by the choices we make in the lives we are given.”

Famous Quotes on Belief:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” –Mahatma Gandhi 

  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” –Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • “When you believe a thing, believe in it all the way.” –Walt Disney 

Inspiring Movies about Belief:

Belief can be more than a religious faith; it can be directed towards family, friends, a greater good for humanity, on any outside force that gives us hope. Many movies focus on this power of belief and can be an inspiration for all ages.

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)George Bailey spends his entire life giving-up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls. Broken and suicidal over the misplacing of an $8000 loan, he eventually regains his belief in life and himself after being shown how his town, family, and friends would turn out if he had never been born.
  • The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)A bright and talented salesman struggling to make ends meet finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When he lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships in pursuit of his dream and belief of a better life for the two of them.
  • Wall-E (2008)In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. WALL-E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to giving hope back to the planet’s future.
  • Life of Pi (2012) - The survival story of a boy and a tiger on a life boat at open sea.  In a struggle to survive, Pi and the tiger forge an unexpected connection that gives him daily motivation to live. Life of Pi is a tale of faith, hope, and the fight to survive. 

Activate, Engage, or Practice: 

  • What are some things you believe in? Write a list or post in your journal about some of the things that keep you going in life. 
  • Find a quiet spot to sit and meditate on your beliefs and on the values that give you strength. Ten minutes of reflection each day can uplift your spirit and help keep you motivated to stick by your principles when hard times arise. 
  • Learning about other people’s beliefs can help expand your own. Talk to a friend about their beliefs and share your own as well.

For more inspiration visit or like:

Thoughts: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0

Station Eleven begins, ironically and appropriately, in a theater with a staging of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. Three of the novel’s recurring characters are first encountered in this opening scene, a moment in time that will be revisited throughout the novel. As the pages unfold, and the Traveling Symphony makes its way through a dangerous Midwestern landscape, ancient literature—from the Bible to Shakespeare—will become central in rebuilding culture and society in a drastically altered world .

Arthur Leander, Jeevan Chaudhary, and Kirsten Raymonde: three strange and special lives destined to intersect as one world ends and another begins. Over the course of decades, in the old, pre-plague world and the new world of survivors, the lives of these few characters, as well as the dark prophet child who grows up to be more sociopath than saint, begin to reflect the power, the beauty, the fear, the ability, the evils, and the resilience of the human spirit.  

Although this story cannot exist without its characters, I found many of them rather superficial throughout most of the book. This may be because the reader’s attention is drawn between the development of the characters and the effects of the apocalyptic tragedy; it may also be a result of the number of characters; it could be because of the multiple perspectives or the dance with time and numerous settings. Suffice to say, it’s a complex world and this often results in a certain distance between reader and characters. That being said, as the story unfolds and the many characters’ backgrounds begin to come together and to interact more closely, and more clearly, the dual worlds (before and after) and major conflicts (good and evil) begin to envelop the characters, resulting in a page-turning climax that makes any earlier lack seem basically innocuous.

One of the best things Station Eleven has going for it is its style and language. This is a distinctly literary work, more reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale than the majority of contemporary dystopian fiction. The prose style and complexity are, quite frankly, a welcome breath of fresh air in a rather over-saturated and underwhelming genre.

So, do you want to be scared out of your mind in a paradoxically beautiful way? Okay, then: read Station Eleven. The balance of realistic and futuristic themes, art and politics, society and wilderness, all work together in bizarre and unexpected ways. St. John Mandel’s talents are expressed in the crafting of each of these individual elements, but most of all in her construction of a symphony that effectively highlights each of her strengths without allowing one or the other to overshadow or outperform the rest. Those expecting a traditional post-apocalyptic novel may be disappointed, but those open to experiencing the dystopian genre in a somewhat softer, more realistic, and character-centered (rather than event-centered) way will be pleasantly surprised.

The fluidity of time, the focus on how individuals cope with the change and how larger society functions, how history begins to be rewritten following a worldwide calamity, are elements which coalesce to form a fresh, unique, and disturbingly thought-provoking new work in an age-old and often derivative genre.  

Suggested Reading For:

Age Level: YA+ (skewed toward adult)

Interest: Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Literary.

Notable Quotes:

“Dear friends, I find myself immeasurably weary and I have gone to rest in the forest.”

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” 

“No one ever thinks they’re awful, even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.” 

“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.” 

“If your soul left this earth I would follow and find you.”