Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

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After finishing The Zombie Survival Guide, I decided to read Pilgrim’s Progress.  What can I say?  I have strange reading habits.

John Bunyan wrote this book in the 1600’s.  The story is a classic, because the lessons found in this book are applicable even to this day.

The main character is Christian.  He felt convicted by the Word of God, so Christian leaves his hometown, family, friends, and everything he owns behind to find peace, forgiveness, and release from his burdens.  He begins his journey to the Celestial City on Mount Zion.

While traveling, Christian meets other pilgrims.  He finds some of them to be helpful and encouraging.  However, he also encounters people that try to discourage him from his journey.

Christian also faces various attacks, trials, and tribulations.  He struggles to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and the Slough of Despond.

At times, Christian stumbles and wanders off of the path to the Celestial City.  In spite of all that happens to him and in spite of his own mistakes, Christian is determined.  He never surrenders.

In the end, Christian completes his journey and arrives at the Celestial City.

Getting Even by George Hayduke

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This book is a bit strange.  It even comes with a warning, which I don’t think I have ever seen before in a book.

Basically, it is a collection of stories about people getting even with other individuals or organizations.  Most of the tactics are illegal and some are a bit disturbing.

I didn’t enjoy the book, so I doubt I will ever read it again.

Regrettable Superheroes

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In his book, “The League of Regrettable Superheroes” Jon Morris covers various superheroes that never gained much popularity.  He also discusses the history of the superhero concept and the role it plays in contemporary culture.

The regrettable superheroes that I found most interesting:

  • Atoman has the ability to explode atoms.
  • The Bouncer can bounce the laziness right out of your soul.
  • Captain Tootsie loves to eat tootsie rolls after a long day of fighting crime.
  • Doll Man can shrink himself to 6 inches in height, which was his only super power.
  • The Eye was “an actual living, speaking, crime-fighting, disembodied, floating giant eyeball.”
  • The Face had a specially designed mask that was skintight.  He was so scary, criminals fainted at the sight of him.
  • Funnyman used to say, “I like the idea of cleaning up on wrong guys with jabs and gags.”
  • The Vagabond Prince dressed like a Jester and spoke with a “pseudo-shakesperian dialogue.”
  • Maggot Man was infested with maggots and he used those maggots to create extra muscle mass.

 

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

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I read “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch a few years ago and I loved it.  Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnage Mellon.  He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only had a six months to live.  Before he died, Randy Pausch gave his last lecture at Carnage Mellon.  The advice he gave during the lecture struck a cord with millions of people.

Randy Pausch talked about the importance of family, humility, and working toward your dreams.  There is an abundance of good advice in the book, so I decided to read it again.

While reading the book, I found myself thinking about my own personal goals.  A few years ago, I finished a PhD program and a huge dream of mine was fulfilled.

However, since then I have floundered a bit.  I don’t have another dream or personal goal.  I started thinking about what I want to accomplish next in my life.  I have a some ideas that I am researching.  I will post an update once I get it all straight in my mind and let everyone know what I plan to achieve next in my life.

An Author and Embezzler

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William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) was an interesting individual.  He was born in the mid 1800’s, wrote numerous short stores, traveled the United States, and spent time in jail for embezzlement.

His most famous story is “The Gift of the Magi.”  The story is about a poor married couple. Both the husband and the wife wanted to give their partner a very special christmas gift.

The wife had long glowing hair, which caused her complexion to radiate.  She cut off her hair and sold it to buy a chain for her husband’s pocket watch.  The pocket watch was a prized possession and had been handed down for generations.

The husband was unaware of what his wife was planning, so he pawned the pocket watch to buy expensive tortoise shell combs for his wife.

I just finished reading “Stories by O. Henry.”  Each of his stories contain some kind of weird twist.  He also writes from a wide variety of perspectives.  The narrator of the story could be male, female, a dog, or even a ten dollar bill.

O. Henry was an author, an embezzler, and an interesting character.

Fragile X Fragile Hope (Parenting a Special Needs Child)

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I learned a lot from reading “Fragile X Fragile Hope” by Elizabeth Griffin and also found it to be inspirational.  Her son, Zach, is intellectually disabled and displays autistic features, which was caused by Fragile X syndrome.

Elizabeth Griffin talks about the medical ramifications that cause her son to struggle in daily life.  For example, Zach’s stress hormones are heightened whenever he experiences a stressor.  Also, those chemicals will remain active in the brain much longer than normal.  As a result, he struggles to remain calm during normal daily events.

Elizabeth Griffin also discusses her feelings of desperation, guilt, and grief.  She gives an honest portrayal of those emotions and how they affected her life.  Support groups became essential, so she could work through those feelings and thoughts without fear of judgement.

There is section about navigating the maze of available services.  She discovered some treatments were a waste of time and money, but others were extremely beneficial.  Therefore, it is important to fully investigate your options and the services offered.

I recommend this book to anyone with a special needs child.  It is also beneficial to people who want to gain a better understand of the struggles faced by parents with disabled children.

Who Moved My Cheese?

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I have read, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson several times and each time I benefit from it.

The focus of the book is on how to deal with constant change in our lives.  It’s a short book, easy to read, and easy to understand.  The concepts are simple, yet profound.

The main points are:

  • Change happens
  • Anticipate change
  • Monitor change
  • Adapt to change quickly
  • Change
  • Enjoy change
  • Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again