Kimber: “Memoirs? Biogs? Is that like when that Barbra lady sings about misty water-colored memories? Like in the movie with Robert Corvette?”
Mom: “The movie is The Way We Were, Kimster. And the actor is Robert Redford.”
Kimber: “You drive what you want and I’ll drive what I want… Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Memoirs and Biogs. Guess we better start with some definitions:”
A memoir is usually a collection of memories written by the person themselves. It’s the story of a specific time, theme, or experience in a person’s life.
A biography presents chronological events from the life of a specific person. It’s the story of someone’s life told by someone else.
An autobiography is a person telling their own life story.
Got that? Great. Cuz we’re gonna color outside the lines a bit. Bring you some of All of the Above, under the general-ish category of Memoir/Biogs. (We’re using the terms a bit loosely. So don’t blow a gasket, okay?)
Memorial Day typically marks the unofficial start of the summer season.But let’s also take time out to remember those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” for their country. To honor those brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives so we can enjoy the blessings and responsibilities of liberty today.
Kimber here. Gettin’ ready to break out my super-duper, snazzy-jazzy, woniferous and totally amazing canine Happy Dance! Cuz today’s one of my favorites! As in, Mother’s Day! (Don’t make me explain this.)
So, hey! Is your mom like Her Momness? Does she love to read? Is her (or your) idea of paradise a quiet reading nook, a pina colada, and hours of uninterrupted page-turning?
Great! Then your mom will appreciate our Best Books for Mom list. Kimber Tested. Mom Approved!
Kindly note that books don’t necessarily have to focus on a mom to make the cut. Bonus points if they do. But our list is about compelling, captivating reads that mom can enjoy in that quiet nook with her chilled drink and some alone time. So our list is based on – but not strictly limited to – the following criteria:
Must be an enjoyable, uplifting read (who wants a downer on Mother’s Day? Ack!)
Credible dialogue and a solid, poignant story
Strong, three-dimensional female characters who learn, develop and grow
Bonus points if all of the above include a dose of spunk and sass
That being said, Her Momness and I are rushing in where angels fear to tread with our purely subjective, 100% unscientific list of Best Books for Mom on her special day. Let’s go!
According to family lore, one of us has roots in Ireland. So on this Saint Patrick’s Day we’re highlighting books worth reading that are set in and around the fabled Emerald Isle.
Now, if you Google “Books set in Ireland” or something similar, you’ll find a veritable pot o’gold at the end of the proverbial bibliophile rainbow. But we’re only highlighting books we’ve actually read. And that’s no blarney. (Incidentally, we’re not really big fans of James Joyce. In case you’re wondering. So don’t look for Ulysses on this list, okay?)
Here are 10 Worthy Reads Set in and Around Ireland, just in time for your Saint Patrick’s Day! How many have you read?
A masterful memoir of Frank McCourt’s childhood in Ireland.
Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Dateline: Ireland, 1830s. English landlords hold power over Irish tenant farmers and seeds of bitterness are ssown that would last for generations.
In an endeavor to eliminate all influences of Irish heritage, the English force an intellectual and spiritual bondage on Ireland as well as a bitter physical bondage of servitude. Freedom has become so rare that the Irish coined a saying, “In Ireland only the rivers run free.”
Yet one poor, befuddled old woman speaks of freedom, truth, and hope. Mad Molly Fahey promises the priest and villages that a miracle is on its way.
Western Ireland’s potato crop was the best it had been in October 1844. But by the next year, the Irish would see the potato blight destroy the crops and thousands will die of starvation.
Soon a great migration to America would begin as the hopelessness of the situation finally sinks in. In this fourth and final book of the Galway Chronicles, the story of Kate, Joseph, and the inhabitants of the village of Ballyknockanor continues with Joseph’s dramatic return to his estate and the beginning of the terrible years of the Irish potato famine.
The book picks up where Gone With The Wind Leaves Off. Heartsick after Rhett walks out, Scarlett eventually heads to Ireland and is heartily welcomed by her Irish kin. There she finds an old house called ‘Ballyhara’; it was O’Hara land long ago before the English seized it. Scarlett soon receives a notification of divorce from Rhett. She makes plans to leave for America but learns that Rhett is now married to Anne Hampton, who is said to resemble Melanie Wilkes.
Heartbroken, Scarlett decides to remain in Ireland. She leaves part of Tara to her son Wade Hampton (fathered by her first husband, Charles Hamilton), buys Ballyhara and settles down in Ireland, to her Irish family’s delight. But then… Oh, wait. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next.
Tales and legends that range from the misty dawn of Gaelic history and the triumph of St. Patrick to the Ireland of the present day – tales as beautiful, mystical, and enchanting as the ancient land itself.
Finn McCool is the largest giant in all of Ireland. He’s a fierce warrior, even beating the giant Culcullan and saving Ireland from the Scots. Helpful and kind, he helps the farmers bring in the hay. “He’s the best-hearted man that ever walked on Ireland’s green grass.”
But for all his strength, courage, and goodness, there’s one thing that Finn lacks. He’s just not smart. And he knows it. When a wise man living in a nearby village tells Finn about a magical red salmon with the wisdom of the world, Finn sets out to catch the fish. He learns a thing or two about himself in the process.
A collection of 300 contemporary images of the natural beauties of Ireland, covering every one of the 32 counties. The photographs are taken by two of the country’s leading landscape photographers, Peter Zoller and Michael Diggin.
This little book introduces young readers to the life and work of the Patron Saint of Ireland.
Brief, bite-sized sentences take readers on a nimble journey through Patrick’s life, beginning with his birth in old Britain. How he’s stolen from his parents and winds up in the wild and pagan country of Ireland as a slave. Working as a shepherd, Patrick discovers God’s grace and turns to Christ.
Even if you’ve heard about the legend of Saint Patrick for years, there’s something endearing and uplifting about the simplicity of this book and the simple and conversational writing style. It’s like nestling into grandma or grandpa’s lap and hearing them tell you the story over a hot cuppa.
Do you have a favorite book set in or around Ireland? Holler in the Comments!
Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with some great love stories!
Now, by “love stories” we don’t mean stuff you can use to line the bottom of your bird cage. That’s not what this post is about. You won’t find any cheap dime store boiler plate trash here. This list focuses on timeless love stories that go above and beyond boiler plate “romance.” (Hint: A transcendent theme of selflessness and sacrifice appears frequently in this curated list.)
Some of these titles are relatively new. Others have been around awhile. All reach straight for your heart. So climb aboard. And settle in to stay. (B.Y.O. tissue. In no particular order):
Kimber: Mom just called me in from the yard. ‘Bout time. That big yellow ball in the sky is starting to spread across the horizon like a giant egg yolk. Temperatures are dropping. The Powder Puff just sauntered past. Why that canine lets her owner deck her out in that green and red jacket + reindeer antlers, I’ll never know.
Anyway, when Mom opened the porch door, I caught a whiff of Something Warm and Wonderful inside. She says, “Kimber, dinner! Come!”
I don’t need to be called twice. No siree, Lassie! I bounded up the stairs and into the house like Rin Tin Tin after a bad guy. Sure enough. Something Warm and Wonderful was waiting for me.
Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
One of our favorite travel writers in back. This time Terry Lister offers a collection of experiences and observations just in time for the Christmas season.
Titled Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa, Lister’s newest collection covers Christmas traditions and celebrations in over a dozen African countries. These include both predominantly Muslim countries like Morocco and Tunisia to predominantly Christian countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. And all points in between, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, the Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.