Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.
Today I am featuring three memoirs that would make great gifts for those who enjoy real life stories and adventures.
The first author is Marian Longenecker Beaman with her memoir Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl.
About the book
What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part a capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.
Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.
Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.
One of the recent reviews for the memoir
I have rarely picked up a non-fiction book that drew me in like Marian’s account of her life growing up as a Mennonite. Her sensory-rich writing style, lyrical and almost musical in quality, delighted me as her scenes unfolded. I did not recall the scent of linoleum until she described it and brought back my own memories of days gone by. Linoleum! Her words disappeared in the sheer experience of what she described. I wrote many of them down in order to savor them a little longer before reading on.
The strong will that caused so many problems with one member of her family, and her longing to be who she was within the confines of plain versus fancy, reminded me of my own journey into Christianity. I thrilled at her mother’s healing, identified with her desperate search to escape the basement, understood her stubborn fight against parental tyranny, and wanted to be invited to her family’s table for the meals she made me smell and taste with her wonderful descriptions.
Marian’s honest and beautiful memoir is one I’ll revisit, one that will stick with me as an unforgettable experience. If it were possible to rate as high as ten stars, this would be the book at the top. I loved it.
The next memoir is by Brigid P. Gallagher that shares her experiences and also strategies to overcome chronic illness in Watching for the Daisies.
Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.
In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:
- The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
- Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
- Entering a new life of SLOW
Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…
Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”
In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Watching the Daisies is a very personal account of how the author, Brigid Gallagher, brings herself, her work and all the rest of her busy life under control to the point where she is able to more fully appreciate the day and the hour – the ‘now’ of her existence.
Her elegant, straight-forward prose carries the reader through a mostly happy existence from her early life in rural Scotland to her varied professional work in Edinburgh and eventually to her more restful and more centred life in the Ireland that her mother and father left seeking opportunities in Scotland.
Readers who are unfamiliar, as I was, with the less traditional (at least for the British Isles and Ireland) approaches to spiritual and physical well-being will find much to gain from Watching the Daisies. Brigid not only explores many of them but becomes a practising professional with a flair for leadership, innovation and success.
Although plagued by a chronic and sometimes debilitating illness, this is a happy book written by a happy person who at all times is able to take as much or more control of her life than many of us in order to come to a most satisfactory peace with herself.
As inspiring as the story Brigid Gallagher has to tell are the life lessons that she draws from each chapter of her life. Any reader will benefit greatly from reading this busy yet peaceful, analytic yet satisfyingly holistic memoir.
And last but not least is a memoir from D.G. Kaye – Words We Carry has just received a recent review.
About the book
“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”
What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?
D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.
A recent review for the book
D. G. Kaye shares the true story of her growth from a child with poor self-esteem into a confident woman who changed her thinking, took responsibility for her relationships, and discovered happiness. Though she shares her personal experiences, many of her observations are common to other women, and there are lessons to be gleaned from her advice.
The book is divided into two sections: Appearance and Relationships. The focus of the appearance section is on boosting self-esteem by paying attention to physical appearance. It isn’t about being beautiful, but about feeling beautiful and investing energy into clothes, shoes, hair, and makeup that enhance a woman’s strengths and make her feel attractive. Chronic lazy dressers like me may not relate to Kaye’s love of shoes and big hair, but there’s a lot of humor in this section that kept me smiling.
Section Two, Relationships, was the most meaningful to me as it opened a discussion of the deeper issues that contribute to low self-esteem, as well as the vicious cycles that can lead to isolation, depression, and abuse. The author maintains that healthy self-esteem is essential to healthy relationships of all kinds. She provides strategies for evaluating relationships honestly, changing patterns, and taking control of choices.
Words We Carry is part memoir/part self-help. Recommended for women who are struggling with feelings of low self-esteem and want to make a positive change in their relationships and live
Other books by D.G. Kaye
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts.. thanks Sally.