Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (April 17)

an astronauts guide to lifeon earthFor my Friday meme combo this week I have chosen a book I picked up today at my favourite second-hand bookstore, Bearly Used Books in Parry Sound. The book is Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. I’ve been meaning to look for this for a while and the price was right today. GoodReads has the following description:

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield’s success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

book beginningsBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth:

The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes, another sunrise: a layer cake that starts orange, then a thick wedge of blue, then the richest, darkest icing decorated with stars.

Chris Hadfield has lived the kind of life most of us could only dream of, so I’m glad he’s written this book to share some of that with us. I like this beginning and I’m looking forward to reading this one soon.

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.Friday 56
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth:

Finally everyone agreed that it had been a false alarm, and we headed back to our sleep stations. An hour later, when the fire alarm sounded again, we repeated the warn, gather, work protocol just as before.

I guess that any kind of alarm when you’re way out in space would be quite unnerving, but I guess he survived and lived to tell the tale! Hopefully I’ll get around to reading this one soon. I don’t want it sitting on my ever-growing TBR pile for ever.

Booking Through Thursday – Unread (April 16)

btt2This week Booking Through Thursday poses the following question:

What proportion of the books you own are unread?

Between my physical books and e-books I probably own at least 1,700 books. Keeping this figure in mind, there are probably about half of them that I haven’t fully read. There are some that may never get read from cover to cover, but those are ones that I have for reference, such as commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. For some of my favourite authors or writers I like to buy everything they have written, with the hope that some day I may get round to reading them. I read in excess of 80 books a year, but I also buy a fair number, so there are some books that I may never get around to reading. I’m okay with that, but I’m not sure how my wife feels about it! As far as I’m concerned, there are worse things I could be spending money on :)

Top Ten Tuesday – Inspirational Quotes (April 14)

TTT3WTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is: ‘Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc.)’ I’m not always the best at remembering quotes from things I’ve read unless I write them down right away, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with ten that have inspired me over the years.

1. “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit)

2. “Herein lies the most solemn challenge facing Christians who want to communicate their faith: if we do not live in a way that draws others to the faith rather than repels them, none of our words will matter.” (Philip Yancey in Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News?)

3. “Questions are not scary. What is scary is when people don’t have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them.” (Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis)

4. “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.'” (C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce)

5. “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956)

6. “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” (Neil Gaiman in American Gods)

7. “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…” (Anne Lamott in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)

8. “A spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.” (Henri Nouwen in Reaching Out)

9. “No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now.” (Ray Bradbury in Dandelion Wine)

10. “Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life.” (Richard J. Foster in Celebration of Discipline)

Bookmark Monday – Spring (April 13)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a link to your post. I haven’t done one of these for a while, but I figured it was time to join in again.

It seems that spring is finally in the air. Although there is still a fair amount of snow on the ground, each day it is becoming less and less. It was a long winter, but it’s great now to hear the birds in the morning, even when they start some days at 5am! So, I figured I would share a picture of a couple of spring themed bookmark I found online, to try and hurry along the process. I’m actually looking forward to getting out and doing some yard work soon, because it will be a nice change from snowblowing and shovelling!

spring

Sunday Round-Up (April 12)

IMG_2458The past week was a fairly decent week The highlight was probably turning 49 on Friday, although I’m not that sure what to think about being one year short of 50! The above picture shows the great gifts I received from my family. They know what I like and always come up with some great stuff. I’m looking forward to reading the book soon. It’s a sequel to one I received for Christmas that I really enjoyed.

This was also the week that the snow finally started to disappear. There are still some patches here and there, and our backyard still has quite the covering, but it is all slowly disappearing. The great thing about the slow thaw is that we haven’t had any flooding issues in our basement yet this year. Some years it just can’t handle the thaw, especially when there is heavy rain on top of the melting, but so far so good this year. Also with the snow disappearing, we’ve been able to get out for a decent walk most days this week.

I managed to get back to more reading this week. I finished a couple of books I started during Lent (The Little Book of Lent: Daily Reflections from the World’s Greatest Spiritual Writers and The Last Eyewitness: The Final Week). I also finished off Orsbornagain by Rob Birks. It was a great little book of daily readings based around the songs of General Albert Orsborn. It’s worth checking out, as is Rob’s latest book Someone Cared, which focuses on the poetry of General John Gowans. Rob is an SA officer in Western USA. A few years ago he introduced me to the music of Over the Rhine, whom we saw in concert in Winnipeg when we were both doing courses at Booth UC.

I spent part of Tuesday sorting through my books to see if there were any that I should get rid of. I surprised myself (and Pamela, too, I think) by coming up with just over 60 books. We’ll take them to Bearly Used Books in Parry Sound next week as we have to go south for a few days. The good thing about taking books there is that they give you store credit for them, so I’ll hopefully be able to get a few different ones to take home.

With the end of Lent last weekend I was able to get back to drinking coffee again. I’m not going to overindulge, though, and am restricting myself to three cups a day at the very most. The only thing I didn’t manage to get done for Lent that I’d hoped to was coming up with a set of meditations for The Stations of the Cross. Hopefully I’ll get that done sometime before next year.

All in all it was a fairly productive week. This coming week will be a shorter week as we head off to London on Friday for a few days. With the nice change in the weather it should be a pleasant journey. I’m looking forward to the time away and also being able to spend time with some friends. It should be a nice change anyway.

Before I close off here I have to share the following picture that Pamela e-mailed to me. I think it probably is quite accurate:

happy hour minions

Saturday Snapshot – Waxwings (April 11)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy. Go there to see how you can participate.

I took these pictures a couple of months ago in February when the tree in our front yard was having its annual visit from the Bohemian Waxwings. They always arrive for a few days in either January or February and strip the tree bare of its berries. I should have posted these then, but I never quite got around to it.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Spiritual Rhythm (April 10)

spiritual rhythmThis is my first Friday meme combo for almost two months and for it I have chosen a book I’m about to start that I was given for Christmas – Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan. I haven’t read anything by him before, but I’ve heard good things about his books and writing. The following description comes from GoodReads:

Abide in me, Jesus tells us, and you will bear much fruit. Yet too often we forget that fruit needs different seasons in order to grow. We measure our spiritual maturity by how much we do rather than how we are responding to our current spiritual season. In Spiritual Rhythm, Mark Buchanan replaces our spirituality of busyness with a spirituality of abiding. Sometimes we are busy, sometimes still, sometimes pushing with all we ve got, sometimes waiting. This model of the spiritual life measures and produces growth by asking: Are we living in rhythm with the season we are in? With the lyrical writing for which he is known, Mark invites us to respond to every season of the heart, whether we are flourishing and fruitful, stark and dismal, or cool and windy. In comparing spiritual rhythms to the seasons of the year, he shows us what to expect from each season and how embracing the seasons causes our spiritual lives to prosper. As he draws on the powerful words of Scripture, Mark explores what activities are suitable or necessary in each season and what activities are useless or even harmful in that season. Throughout the book, Mark weaves together stories of young and old, men and women, families, couples, and individuals who are in or have been through a particular season of the heart.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

book beginningsBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Spiritual Rhythm:

From the preface:

The fastest growing sport in Norway is wingsuit jumping. It’s the pastime of lunatics, or it’s what warrior-knights do in an age without dragons. It requires steel nerves, a cool head, a touch of madness. You must be able to look fast-approaching catastrophe in the face, and whoop.

Here’s what you do. Ascend the uppermost part of a fjord, walk to the edge, and jump.

From the introduction:

I live in Canada. If you don’t, forget your stereotypes: sled dogs and igloos, polar bears and ice palaces, Eskimos in fur-lined parkas and seal-skinned mukluks poised with fish spears over ice holes. Those are rare sightings anywhere in my country, but only myths in the part of Canada I’m from. I’m from Canada’s West Coast.

I wanted to include both of these beginnings because I like his sense of humour in both of them. I think I’ll probably like this one.

Friday 56The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Spiritual Rhythm:

I started skiing when I was twelve. It was a way to break the endless dreariness of the winters where I lived.

My first time skiing was a near disaster.

Even though we have a small ski hill in town here, I’ve never tried downhill skiing in my life. I’m not about to start now. I think I’m getting too old for trying new things that could result in broken limbs. I am intrigued, though, to find out what the author’s near disaster was. Hopefully I’ll get into this book soon and find out. It looks like it will be an enjoyable read anyway.