Leather Chair Reading! Feel Good Books!

Leather Chair Reading!  Feel Good Books!

I was telling someone at work the other day about the little neighborhood book club I’d recently joined and their response was

“…unless I’m on a plane with nothing better to do, I don’t have time to read a book!” 

When you think about it, that’s probably a pretty fair statement–our lives are fast-paced and our days get filled up with so many things that require our time and attention that setting aside time to pick up a good book has to be a conscious choice; this being the case, when I finally do take the time to relax and read a book, I usually tend to choose ones that are uplifting and make me feel better about life.  We’re all too aware that there’s an ample amount of media out there that can leave us second guessing ourselves and feeling somewhat despondent!

"Leather Chair Reading" Books that inspire you to live better. www.mytributejournal.com

A Couple Of Feel Good Books Worth Your Time!

So, for this edition of Leather Chair Reading, here’s a couple of my favorite “feel good” books…

“The Notebook”  by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas Saprks www.mytributejournal.com

Before you give me a hard time about what some might call a “sappy” love story, let me just tell you that in many respects, this book tells my own parent’s sweet love story.  Much like the storyline in the book, my mom saw her betrothed (such a dignified word) sweetheart go off to war.  While her soldier was gone, my father came into the picture, but in being true to herself and the proper decorum of those days, my mom wouldn’t commit her heart until her war-time hero, so to speak, had returned home so she could give him a fair chance to truly win her heart if marriage was to be in their future.  I’m happy to say that unlike Allie’s mother in the “The Notebook”, my grandma was a great source of comfort and support during this time period of important decision-making for my mom.

The Notebook movie www.mytributejournal.com

Much like Rachel McAdam’s character in the movie version of “The Notebook”, my mom wasn’t deciding between a good or bad choice…

Ryan Gosling in The Notebook movie www.mytributejournal.com

…she was simply following her heart!

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds and that’s what you’ve given me!  That is what I hope to give you forever!”  The Notebook 

Aside from the fact that the chain of events that unfolded in “The Notebook” paralleled my own parent’s courtship, I think timing also played a crucial role in how this book resonated with me.  I’d recently lost my dad to cancer, but prior to his passing away, we’d had to make arrangements for my mom to live in an assisted living center since she was suffering from the long-term effects of her worsening Parkinson’s disease, including muscle weakness and memory loss.

When this book first became available in the stores, I happened to pick it up to read to my husband while he finished up some painting he was doing in our family room.  As I read the last few chapters, I’ll never forget how my husband and I both ended up sitting on the floor with tears in our eyes, hearts heavy from memories of my father’s recent funeral.  You wouldn’t necessarily categorize a book that makes you cry as a feel good book–but for me, reading “The Notebook” was cathartic–exactly what I needed at the time to help me heal, somewhat, from my loss.     

The Notebook Movie www.mytributjournal.com

In the movie, the wonderful actor, James Garner, epitomized so perfectly the same tenderness and strife that my dad seemed to experience while he watched my mom’s health deteriorate.

If you have lost one or both of your parents, the inspired words of Nicholas Sparks in this insightful book offers a measure of comfort and understanding.  Besides, a sappy love story is a great, feel good, summer read sometimes!

“The Traveler’s Gift”  by Andy Andrews

The Traveler's Gift by Any Andrews www.mytributejournal.com

We read this book together as a family one summer when my children were in college.  We love to travel as a family, so the title caught my eye.  I think the kids might have grumbled a little when they first read the cover page, thinking it was one of their dad’s “Rah, rah, strive for success!” business guru books.  We were pleasantly surprised however, at the great read this book provided; we still refer to many of the neat lessons we learned in it that are intricately woven within the amazing story that is so eloquently told by author, Andy Andrews, of David Ponder, the main character, as he travels back in time, meeting legendary leaders and heroes at crucial times in their lives.

7 Decisions for Success-The Traveler's Gift www.mytributejournal.com

The Traveler’s Gift offers a modern-day parable of one man’s choices–and the attitudes that make the difference between success and failure.”  Andy Andrews

Talk about the ultimate feel good book–“The Traveler’s Gift” truly does inspire you to want to live better!  I absolutely love this book and often find myself rereading some of the chapters whenever I need a little “pick-me-up” in my life!

I hope we can all make time to read a few good books this summer!  Any good ones you’d suggest?


Leather Chair Reading!

Leather Chair Reading!  

“I hope there’s well stocked book shelves in heaven with a soft leather chair nearby!”  Leroy I. Jorgensen

My father chuckled softly as he uttered this sentence when I visited him on his 88th birthday–three days before he died of myelocytic leukemia.

Today I’m introducing the third of three new regular features I’ll be sharing on my Tribute Journal…Leather Chair Reading!  (Be sure and check out Garden Therapy and Home Sweet Home.)

"Leather Chair Reading" Books that inspire you to live better. www.mytributejournal.com

One of my fondest memories growing up was coming home and seeing my dad reading to my mom–either from the newspaper or a good book they’d picked out to read together.  My mom was usually folding laundry or mending clothes, but as my dad read, it would spark some of the most interesting conversations between my parents that I often learned more about current events and literature listening to them than any school class I was enrolled in at the time!  Gratefully, much like my father, I also enjoy reading.  Even after I moved away from home and had a family of my own, my dad and I would choose a book to read together, then share our insights with each other after we’d both finished it.

“Those who will not read a book are no better off than those who cannot read a book!”  Mark Twain

In this computer age where there is such ready access to instant media at our finger tips, it’s easy to get caught up in the popular, abbreviated forms of information; I often catch myself being lulled in too.  It only takes pulling out one of the books I received from my parents off a bookcase in my family room that bears the stamp on the inside cover:  From the library of Roy and Merle Jorgensen, and I’m reminded again of the wonderful world of adventure and knowledge waiting to be discovered through a good book! The idea of this new series is not to give formal book reviews per say, but to simply introduce good books that I have had the privilege of reading–many will be timeless literary gifts that I read with my parents when they were still alive, then you can decide if they’d be interesting to you.  When I’m figuring out a movie to see, I mostly just want an overview about the plot and storyline, then I can decide for myself if I want to go see it or not.  I want to do the book version of that here.  I’d also love to have guests tell about their favorite books in future posts!

“The Measure Of A Man”  by Sidney Poitier 

This was the last book my dad and I read together before he became ill.  One of my father’s favorite movie’s was “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” with Sidney Poitier.  My favorite movie growing up was “To Sir, With Love” which also starred Sidney Poitier; when his autobiography came out, I knew this was a “must read” for us!

The Measure Of A Man by Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier relates stories about his childhood while growing up on Cat Island in the Bahamas.  He credits his parents for “helping him learn self worth and to be uncompromising in his values and eventually play roles where characters he played said something positive, useful and lasting about the human condition.” 

If you are familiar with Sidney Poitier and his movies, you know what a classy, humble man he is–I love his voice!  Mr. Poitier talks about the many and varied experiences in his life when the issues pertaining to African American rights at the time seemed destined to thwart not only his livelihood, but his character as well–the values talked about in his book, “The Measure Of A Man” are ones you want to emulate yourself, as well as teach your children!  

“In The Name Of Hope And Sorrow”  by Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof

This was a book my father and I read together when I first headed off to start college life and was becoming more and more acquainted with the fact that a whole world existed beyond my small scope of things, where war and unrest was oftentimes a common experience for many young people growing up in their county’s quest for peace!

In The Name of Sorrow and Hope by Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof

My dad always had a zeal for studying the Middle East and the many conflicts that transpired in that land between the Jews and Arabs.  He taught classes on these topics and he and my mom had the fortune of living in Israel for nearly two years as he helped to represent the good of America while helping to negotiate a sizable land purchase by one of our local universities for a study abroad program.  I think this book made such a huge impression on me because the author was so close to my own age, but seemed much wiser due to the many hardships she had endured while growing up in a country that was always in turmoil because of their ongoing conflict with Lebanon.  Noa writes about the close relationship she had with her grandfather, Yittzhak Rabin, and how his renowned leadership shaped so much of her young adulthood.

Letter to my father from Menachem Begam www.mytributejournal.com

Since my father enjoyed a rich relationship with many government and local Jewish leaders while living in Jerusalem, along with the help of many other influential representatives, he was able to see the purchase of the land for the study abroad school come to fruition.  My dad often talked about the wise and scholarly people of both the Jewish and Arab communities and told me that he dearly wished that they’d both just learn to get along with one another so they could prosper and grow together as strong nations!  More than anything, this book taught me to be more understanding of other religions and ways of life!

At the beginning of this year, my good friend and neighbor had the foresight to start up a book club.  Recently we finished reading “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.

"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio www.mytributejournal.com

If you want a renewed passion for seeing people for who they really are and not what they look like, this book does it in spades!  “Wonder” is also told from the viewpoint of children, which in my estimation, is often the most delightful of perspectives!  Every family would benefit from reading this book with their children!

I hope this first “Leather Chair Reading” entry inspires you to remember some of the great books that have had an iimpact on your life and that you’ll share them with us!

No matter our chosen spot to read, it’s my wish that we’ll all enjoy reading some good books that inspire us to live better!