The Magic Room: A Story about the Love We Wish for Our Daughters

The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our DaughtersThe Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED this book – from the Introduction to the very last Acknowledgments page. Zaslow was a gifted writer, weaving people’s stories into factual information about the wedding industry and our culture. Does that sound boring? His book was not boring, not at all!

Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist, chose Becker’s Bridal for his setting which is located in the rural town of Fowler, MI and has been in business since 1899. He spent more than a year interviewing brides, researching their stories, finding what led them to Becker’s, its family owned business and its Magic Room – a former bank vault surrounded by floor to ceiling mirrors where brides are invited when they think they’ve found “the dress.” Each bride’s journey to Becker’s is different, some spanning years due to personal circumstances. Their journeys bring us stories of strong women!

What kind of love does Zaslow wish for our/his daughters? Love that shares and gives. Marriage that is a partnership; a spouse who is an ally and a teammate.

It’s so sad that he will not have “a chance to be a father of the bride.”

This is a good book club selection.

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really MattersHighest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Chesley B. Sullenberger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring book, I could sense the guidance of writer Jeffrey Zaslow throughout this amazing story of the life of pilot Chesley Sullenberger who landed U.S. Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River on a very cold January afternoon.

Undoubtedly, everything in Sully’s past helped prepare him for what could have been a disastrous bird strike and subsequent successful landing.

Glider Training He discounts his training as a glider pilot, noting instead that he relied on energy management, using the energy of the Airbus, without the function of either engine, to land safely. I still say his glider training must have helped. 🙂

Crash Site Investigation Definitely, his history of studying aviation accidents and reviewing an experimental “ditching” exercise from 1944 in the James River, and volunteering as a crash site investigator gave Sully tips (“procedural guidelines”) that he used just before his landing in the river.

Aircrew Ejection Study Something else that was critical to the safe landing of the aircraft was Sully’s fast decision to sacrifice the airplane for saving lives. Sully mentions an aircrew ejection study which examined why pilots waited too long (or never) to eject from their planes. The study found that pilots often tried to fix the unfixable. Sully’s flight was a little over 5 minutes – he says, “I had never forgotten the aircrew ejection study I had learned about in my military days. Why did pilots wait too long before ejecting from planes that were about to crash?…The answer is that many doomed pilots feared retribution if they lost multimillion-dollar jets. And so they remained determined to try to save the airplane, often with disastrous results.” Sully did not have the luxury of time, nor altitude. His disaster was looming and he “chose not to” worry about being questioned by superiors and investigators.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous BearFinding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This true story of Winnie-the-Pooh is narrated by Harry Coleburn’s great-granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, who is also the author. Lindsay and Cole have a dialogue while Lindsay is doing her narration. 🙂

Harry was a veterinarian, one of those people who was in the perfect profession for himself, kind of an animal whisperer. While on his way to join the fight during WWI, he found a bear cub on a train with a supposed trapper. Harry bought the bear from the trapper for an outrageous sum of money in 1914 and Winnie instantly charmed the men in Harry’s division who were heading to Europe. While Harry and the soldiers were fighting in Europe, Winnie stayed at the London Zoo.

Winnie loved his life at the zoo. This is where Christopher Robin Milne met the beloved bear and gave Winnie his extended name -the-Pooh. Christopher Robin actually played with Winnie in his pen at the zoo. Christopher Robin made up stories about his stuffed animals and his father wrote books about them. These became the Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Meanwhile, Harry returned to Winnipeg and his life as an animal doctor, after discovering that Winnie was happy at the London Zoo.

A photo album is included at back with pages from Harry’s diary – priceless!

When Books Went to War

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War IIWhen Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an eye-opening look at battling soldiers’ boredom during WWII; the beginning of mass market paperback book production; and creating a highly literate, book- loving, book-craving audience, which likely led to a high rate of participation in the GI education Bill.

“More books were given to the American armed services [during WWII] than Hitler destroyed (p. 194). ”

Well-written, well-researched.

As I was reading, I would often pause to read out loud to share anecdotes with my husband. So many fascinating facts and stories are included and I didn’t want him to be deprived!

ASE = Armed Services Editions

Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point

Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West PointSoldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point by Joe Drape
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great non-fiction writing! Joe Drape has captured the spirit of West Point and the special place Coach Ellerson has in the faculty – honoring academics, and leadership and military training, before Division I football. What other college sports program can say anything similar?

Ellerson’s coaching style may need a couple of more seasons to show success on the field, but the young men he leads each year are fortunate to have him now. He allows football to be fun, although demanding; he adjusts practices to accomodate the cadets’ rigorous academic requirements.

I love college football. This is inspiring reading, especially after the recent Penn State atrocities.

Beat Navy!