Ghandi Was Quiet; And Books You Must Read

Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, is a 2012 memoir by Cheryl Strayed, a girl who had never been hiking.  Yet she decides she needs to do something really hard.  I like that. Strayed (a name she gave herself) cluelessly tackles one of the hardest hiking trails in America.  I enjoyed this honest memoir, though I wonder why so many of us need to find our way in the world by first losing ourselves to drugs, alcohol and meaningless sex.  On that happy note, Cheryl does indeed find her purpose – and it all happens on the big and beautiful Pacific Crest Trail.  Now I want to go there.  What would I discover?

I have a knee-jerk GIVE ME THAT BOOK response whenever I see a new Jodi Picoult novel.  I ended up skimming most of this, and I can’t explain exactly why.  My friend, Lindsey, really liked it.  It’s well-written and has the classic Picoult twist at the end, but I feel like I’ve read so many Picoult books that the writing and characters are something I’ve read before.  

This book only fueled my long-held fascination with Charles and Anne Lindbergh. I.Loved.Loved.Loved.this book!  It’s historical fiction, but felt so true and real, that I wondered if it was actually nonfiction. Written from the perspective of shy Anne, Melanie Benjamin’s writing is riveting, making me wonder what she made up and what is actually true.  I must now plunge into every Lindbergh book written, including Charles Lindbergh’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and Anne’s beautiful book, Gifts of the Sea.   

I love Glennon Melton’s writing; she’s hilarious and honest and did I say funny?  This book felt a little hastily written, and much of it is already on her blog, but I still enjoyed it, especially because I am nosy and wanted to find out what The News actually was.  Are you confused?  It’s a long story.

Quiet. A highlight of my reading life.  If you’re a quiet, more reserved sort of person, this book will validate you!  I learned SO much about myself, our society, and why we think we need to be so darn LOUD all the time.

I actually took notes and made photocopies of pages I liked.  Do you wonder if you are an introvert or extrovert?  

Extroverts are the people who will add life to your dinner party and laugh generously at your jokes.  They tend to be assertive, dominant, and in great need of company.  Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening, rarely find themselves at a lost for words, and occasionally blurt out things they never meant to say.  They’re comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.  They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.  They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.  Thy tend to dislike conflict.  Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

Yea, that pretty much describes my personality.  And about half of the world’s population.

What is incredibly fascinating to me, is the history of our need for loud. Let’s start with Dale Carnegie.  Carnegie was a very quiet, reserved farm boy, but longed to improve his speaking skills.  He set up shop teaching a public speaking class and was an overnight sensation, going on to found the Dale Carnegie Institute.  

Carnegie is the story of the Extrovert “ideal…changing forever who we are and whom we admire, how we act at job interviews and what we look for in an employed, how we court our mates and raise our children…

America had shifted from what the influential historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality...”

Our society used to emphasize these ideals:  citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, integrity.

Now we emphasize:  Magnetic, outgoing, charming, popular, likable, success, assertive, loud, bold, celebrities.

Cain’s brilliant book emphasizes our need for the quiet, introverted individual, and begins the very first chapter with a little-known woman named Rosa Parks.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?  Parks made a difference by saying one word that was the right word:  No.  But she only became famous because she stood next to Martin Luther King, Jr.  And it was his persuasive speech and her moral stance that made the pair so powerful.

Moses’ true personality was humble and meek.  In the book of Exodus, he was given Aaron to speak for him.  “We don’t ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia.  But we should…its stories suggest…the medium is not always the message…people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.”

Cain blows a lot of myths out of the water, siting famous studies and books like THE TALENT CODE.  The “best” of anything always, always has serious solitude for long periods of intense concentration.

Hate sitting around a conference table throwing out ideas?  Me too.  It’s not as valuable or productive as we think.

Some introverts:  Rosa Parks, Dr. Seuss, Kafka, Gandhi, Stephen Wozniak (the first PC).

Okay, I’ll stop there.  Read the book.  Fascinating!

 I picked this book up off the floor when I was babysitting last weekend, and pretty much neglected the kids for the rest of the day 🙂  

The pain in her hand was sharper.  It throbbed like a wolf with its paw in a trap.  She wished she had a wolf’s courage and could bite off her hand at the wrist, separating herself from the pain. 

A dark, engaging middle grade read.

 I did not read THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, but I watched it on a VHS cassette.  It’s been years, and still I swoon.  They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek him everywhere…is he in heaven or is he in hell?  That damned elusive, pimpernel.

Fabulous, romantic, hilarious, suspenseful.  You must get the Jane Seymour version.  MUST.

While I was reading the other day, the screen fell out and the wind swept in and tried to carry me out

I did not want to resist, and so I didn’t.  It carried me up into the blue spring sky, flinging me this way and that, high up in the puffy clouds

And just like that, the wind shifted, and flung me back inside where I was once again with my books.  I am still waiting for the wind to come back.

Looking for more book recommendations?  HERE is my last book post, and some great comments from readers, with more recommendations that I’m still waiting to get my hands on. 
Have anything else for me?  Do tell, I love your suggestions!


4 thoughts on “Ghandi Was Quiet; And Books You Must Read

  1. Debbie Brown

    I have The Gift of the Sea, it’s one of my favorites. I’ll have to read the Aviator’s Wife, sounds wonderful!
    I remember reading the Scarlet Pimpernel in high school, but I really don’t remember much about it. I’ll have to read this one – AND watch the Jane Seymour version too.
    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I’ve been reading some non-fiction lately, getting ready to start The Gift of an Ordinary Day – another one you recommended. I’ll let you know what new and exciting books I discover this summer as we institute “Brown Family Reading Time” each afternoon. Now that 4 out of the 5 kids read, we’ll have mandatory reading each day. Can’t wait! 🙂

  2. Andrea

    I just requested “Quiet” and “Splendors and Glooms” from the library. Right now Caleb and I are reading “Fablehaven” — perfect for him! He can’t read it on his own yet, but he loves it. I love when I’m reading something to him that I enjoy so much as well. Then I’m happy to read to him, and readily say yes to “just one more chapter?”


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