For the Love of Books

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
Charles William Eliot

Check out the New York Times article, “What You’ll Be Reading in 2017”  here.

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 7 of 7: The best is yet to come

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
Ellen Goodman, American Journalist

Much to the wry amusement of my friends and family members,  “The best is yet to come”  is a mantra of encouragement that I use quite frequently. Especially since the Great Recession of 2008. I believe the saying comes from Robert Browning‘s poem which begin’s with “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be… .”

The phrase is also the title of a 1959 song  written by Carolyn Leigh and composed by Cy Coleman. Although it was originally written for singer Tony Bennett, it was Frank Sinatra who made the song famous. He recorded it in his 1964 album, It Might As Well Be Swing, accompanied by Count Basie and directed by Quincy Jones.  On the 25th of February, 1995, The Best Is Yet To Come was the last song that Sinatra sang in public and the words were immortalized on his tombstone.

I am a “glass is half full” type of person and so it is not really surprising that this is one of my favorite sayings. I truly believe that there is always something to look forward to and that every problem has a solution. We navigate our lives through a series of peaks and valleys. The valleys are made bearable because we know that, eventually, there will be peaks. And oh how glorious are those peaks! Well worth the wait and hardship. Optimism and Hope. May we all continue to have them in abundance.

2017 is going to be a simply “Mahvelous” year. I feel it in my bones. Or is that my early onset arthritis…? Just kidding.  

And please remember to:

Take the time to read (a book),
Walk the walk,
Let it go,
Feed your brain,
Get some sleep,
Be the architect of your own destiny,
and, of course,  rest assured that
The best is yet to come.

10 Great Books to Read this Summer

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Summertime is that wonderful season when everything slows down just a tad. It’s when all the bookworms come out of the woodwork –– to grab that enticing novel, inspiring non-fiction or juicy biography that they finally have the time to read. Work attire is hurriedly replaced by t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.  And with tall, ice-cold glasses of their favorite libation, they curl up comfortably and begin their summer reads.

These are my (heatherfromthegrove) top picks – all sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I just poured myself a glass of white wine and grabbed a book I’ve been dying to read: And the Weak Suffer What They Must? – by Yanis Varoufakis. Now, off to my comfy chair on the patio…

Enjoy!

– Heather

(PS – Hover your mouse over the book titles and authors’ names to get the link to the Amazon and Author’s Bio URLs)

FICTION

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 1. All the Birds in the Sky – by Charlie Jane Anders

“Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths…When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world-and live up to his reputation-in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repair the earth’s ever growing ailments.As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia’s shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.”

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 2. The Man Without a Shadow – by Joyce Carol Oates

“In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets the attractive, charismatic Elihu Hoopes—the “man without a shadow”—whose devastated memory, unable to store new experiences or to retrieve the old, will make him the most famous and most studied amnesiac in history. Over the course of the next thirty years, Margot herself becomes famous for her experiments with E. H.—and inadvertently falls in love with him, despite the ethical ambiguity of their affair, and though he remains forever elusive and mysterious to her, haunted by mysteries of the past….”

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 3. They May Not Mean To, But They Do – by Cathleen Schine

A “hilarious new novel about aging, family, loneliness, and love.”

“The Bergman clan has always stuck together, growing as it incorporated in-laws, ex-in-laws, and same-sex spouses. But families don’t just grow, they grow old, and the clan’s matriarch, Joy, is not slipping into old age with the quiet grace her children, Molly and Daniel, would have wished. When Joy’s beloved husband dies, Molly and Daniel have no shortage of solutions for their mother’s loneliness and despair, but there is one challenge they did not count on: the reappearance of an ardent suitor from Joy’s college days. And they didn’t count on Joy herself, a mother suddenly as willful and rebellious as their own kids…”

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 4. Unspeakable Things – by Kathleen Spivack

“A wild, erotic novel—a daring debut—from the much-admired, award-winning poet, author of Flying Inland, A History of Yearning, and With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, and Others. A strange, haunting novel about survival and love in all its forms; about sexual awakenings and dark secrets; about European refugee intellectuals who have fled Hitler’s armies with their dreams intact and who have come to an elusive new (American) “can do, will do” world they cannot seem to find. A novel steeped in surreal storytelling and beautiful music that transports its half-broken souls—and us—to another realm of the senses.”

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 5. Shelter – by Jung Yum

“You can never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family s future….

… As “Shelter” veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. “Shelter” is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.”

NON-FICTION

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6. Evicted (Poverty and Profit in the American City) – by Matthew Desmond

“From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America.”
 
“In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind…”

TheBook 7. The Book – by Keith Houston

“We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages―of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity’s most important―and universal―information technology.”

WhenBreath8. When Breath Becomes Air – by Paul Kalanithi

“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. 

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.”

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: ‘It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.’ And just important enough to be unmissable.”— Janet MaslinThe New York Times

cityofthorns9. City of Thorns (Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp) – by Ben Rawlence

“To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a ‘nursery for terrorists’; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.”

“In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.”

Varou10. And the Weak Suffer What They Must? (Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future) – by Yanis Varoufakis

“A titanic battle is being waged for Europe’s integrity and soul, with the forces of reason and humanism losing out to growing irrationality, authoritarianism, and malice, promoting inequality and austerity. The whole world has a stake in a victory for rationality, liberty, democracy, and humanism.”

“Varoufakis delivers a fresh look at the history of Europe’s crisis and America’s central role in it. He presents the ultimate case against austerity, proposing concrete policies for Europe that are necessary to address its crisis and avert contagion to America, China, and the rest of the world. With passionate, informative, and at times humorous prose, he warns that the implosion of an admittedly crisis–ridden and deeply irrational European monetary union should, and can, be avoided at all cost.”

Happy reading! 

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Cat and Book photos via pixabay.com.

Why this upcoming presidential election is so important

Access to higher education is a right, not a privilege

Access to higher education is a right, not a privilege.

“I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have got to encourage that. Of course we have to support small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy, but we have to makes sure that every family in this country gets a fair shake.”Senator Bernie Sanders

It is time for change, people. We need to move away from the status quo. The state of the union, as it stands right now, simply isn’t working for most of us. “Most of us” are the Middle Class in America, a class that is still reeling from the aftershocks of the largest economic crisis since The Great Depression of 1929.

“The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.”  – from the website of Senator Bernie Sanders

In the upcoming second edition of my book, Casualties of the (Recession) Depression, I address all of the socio-economic problems still facing this country – years after the so-called “Great Recession” supposedly ended. But with every problem, there is a solution.

It all starts with the economy. We need to stop outsourcing work to other countries and support our own workforce.  We need to raise the minimum wage. Healthcare and education should not be considered privileges awarded to only those who can afford them. They are basic rights that we, each of us, should expect to have access to…. without losing the shirt off our backs.

The upcoming presidential election will give the American people the opportunity to effect real change. I hope that they will vote intelligently, and not emotionally. I also hope that people will do their research. This is an important election. Apathy is not an option.

You know where I stand.

 

Coming soon! 

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Books That Make You Think

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If you are in the mood to read a book (or two) that will make you think, give you some new perspective, and maybe even answer some of those existential questions that have been lurking in the corners of your mind…. then you may want to get yourself a copy of any one (or all) of these seven books, listed below.

Caveat:
If you are looking for a light summer read, these will not fit the bill.
They are not fiction. They are not self-help books.
They are, however, very interesting, thought-provoking works of non-fiction.

The Road to Character
by David Brooks

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heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

5

About the Book:
“In The Road to Character, David Brooks focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues” — achieving wealth, fame, and status — and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.”
About the Author:
David Brooks is a bestselling author and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.  He appears regularly on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He teaches at Yale University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Theft of Memory
Losing My Father. One Day at a Time.
by Jonathan Kozol

Kozol

heatherfromthegrove’s Rating: 

5

About the Book:
“Jonathan Kozol tells the story of his father’s life and work as a nationally noted specialist in disorders of the brain and his astonishing ability, at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, to explain the causes of his sickness and then to narrate, step-by-step, his slow descent into dementia.”
About the Author:
Jonathan Kozol is an American writer, educator and activist – best known for his books on public education and his fifty years of work among our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable children.

Them
 Adventures with Extremists
by Jon Ronson

Ronson

heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

4 stars

About the Book:
“As a journalist and a Jew, Ronson was often considered one of “Them” but he had no idea if their meetings actually took place. Was he just not invited?  Them takes us across three continents and into the secret room…  Ronson’s investigations, by turns creepy and comical, reveal some alarming things about the looking-glass world of “us” and “them.”  Them is a deep and fascinating look at the lives and minds of extremists.”
About the Author:
Welsh journalist, documentary filmmaker and bestselling author of  The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Why Does the World Exist?
An Existential Detective Story
by Jim Holt

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heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

5

About the Book:
“This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal).”
About the Author:
Jim Holt is an American philosopher, author and essayist. He has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and Slate.

Gotta Find a Home
Conversations with Street People
Book 1 of 4
by Dennis Cardiff

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heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

5

About the Book:
“Dennis Cardiff has been involved with street people since 2010, when he began to reach out, on his own, to some of the people without homes who he encountered in his daily life. In his new book, he documents conversations he’s had with them over the past 4 years and, in the process, gives those who are often robbed of their humanity a human face. Written in diary form by month, and including some of Cardiff’s own poetry, the author chronicles the lives of people who are often ignored, feared or reviled.”
About the Author:
Dennis Cardiff is a Canadian writer, author, poet and artist. 

Nickel and Dimed 
On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich

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heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

4.5 stars

About the Book:
“Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job — any job — can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you want to live indoors.”
About the Author:
Barbara Ehrenreich is an American author and political activist.

In Defense of a Liberal Education
by Fareed Zakaria

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heatherfromthegrove’s Rating:

4.5 stars

About the Book:
” Fareed Zakaria argues for a renewed commitment to the world’s most valuable educational tradition. Zakaria eloquently expounds on the virtues of a liberal arts education – how to write clearly, how to express yourself convincingly, and how to think analytically. He turns our leaders’ vocational argument on its head. American routine manufacturing jobs continue to get automated or outsourced, and specific vocational knowledge is often outdated within a few years. Engineering is a great profession, but key value-added skills you will also need are creativity, lateral thinking, design, communication, storytelling, and, more than anything, the ability to continually learn and enjoy learning –precisely the gifts of a liberal education.”
About the Author:
Fareed Zakaria is the Emmy-nominated host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, contributing editor for The Atlantic, a columnist for the Washington Post, and best-selling author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom.

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: “Learn about the world around you”

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This year, my New Year’s “Revelations” are based on some of the witticisms and words of wisdom that my mother and father imparted to me.

When I was young, I used to roll my eyes and shake my head at them – not really heeding their words.

Or so I thought.

They’ve since passed, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them.

Most importantly, their words – often colourful and humorous, but always spot-on – resonate deeply with me today.

I now share them with you.

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My father used to say:

“If you don’t want to read or learn about what’s going on around the world – in other countries, in other cultures – then, you’re an idiot!”

Those were his exact, emphatic words and they were directed at me. The year was 1974. He was reprimanding me for not showing an interest in an international news story that he was reading out loud to us.  Amazingly, I remember that the article was about Russian novelist/historian and Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn being deported from the Soviet Union to Frankfurt (Germany) and stripped of his Soviet Citizenship. Solzhenitsyn had spent 11 years in exile, at a Soviet labor camp for criticizing Stalin. In 1973, he wrote The Gulalg Archipelago (Arkhipelag Gulag) – about the Soviet prison/labor camp system under Stalin. The manuscript, which started to appear in installments in Paris, was seized by the KGB in the Soviet Union.

These were some of the stories that my father tried to engage us with at the breakfast table and in the evenings, after dinner. He would get so frustrated with me when I did not show interest.

But, as the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Ironically, I went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science and history.  I write books that focus on socio-economic issues affecting everyday people, and I tell their stories by placing them in their political, historical and cultural context.

I feel privileged to have had such an intense, intelligent and well-read father. How I wish that he were alive today. Oh, what wonderful, spirited discussions and debates we would have!

I can’t emphasize enough (as he did before me) how important it is for us to learn about (and appreciate) the wonderful diversity and nuances of our world community. We are all inter-connected, to some degree.

With knowledge, we gain understanding.

With understanding, we become enlightened, compassionate human beings.

With compassion, we can help each other and we can effect change – positive change.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 
― Augustine of Hippo

Image via Pixabay.com.

The Economic Crisis Through The Eyes Of A Child

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The Second Edition of Casualties of the (Recession) Depression will be coming out late Fall – complete with new and updated socio-economic statistics, additional vignettes and chapters, and sporting a new cover.

This series of vignettes depicts the many faces of the Recession (really a 21st century depression).  These are the firsthand account stories of real people. Their names have been replaced by the generic “he” – “she” – “they” … both to protect their privacy and also to bring home the point that it could happen to anyone, including you or me. In the context of this book, the objective was to record real, and sometimes raw, moments experienced by people who have been adversely affected by this long economic downturn.  By capturing these brief episodes and providing a written backdrop for each year – in the form of an economic and political commentary– the reader can see the transformation and progression of this (Recession) Depression from its conception to its continued existence in the present day.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

VIGNETTE: Through the Eyes of a Child

She skittered behind the stairwell and sat down. With her arms wrapped tightly around her knees, she watched through the space between the stairs. Her long ash blonde hair cascaded around her like a shawl. Her clear, blue eyes were wide and close to tears. The lady who lived next door was talking with her mother and as they passed by the stairs, the lady spotted her and smiled. She put her finger up to her nose silently. The lady understood and didn’t tell her mother that she was hiding under the stairs. They went into the next room.  

She hadn’t seen her father all morning. The night before, her parents had a terrible fight. They were always fighting. But last night was the worst. They had been yelling at one another and then she heard her mother crying. She had buried her face in the pillow, to block out the sounds. After awhile, everything went quiet.  From her bedroom window, she heard a noise on the back porch. She looked out and down, towards the porch, and saw that her father was sitting on the steps. She wiggled out of bed and tip-toed downstairs. She opened the screen door just enough so that she could see him better.  He was bent over with his hands around his head. He was making a sound that she had never heard before. Daddy was crying! She had never seen her Daddy cry before. Things must be terribly wrong. Her heart started beating fast. She covered her mouth to stifle a cry. Quietly, she closed the door and went back upstairs to her room.  She cried herself to sleep.

This morning, her mother told her to stay out of the way because men were coming to take all their furniture and things away. She didn’t understand why. There were four of them. Big and sweaty, they were taking things out of the house. Nobody noticed her behind the stairwell. She saw them take her princess canopy bed away. Her mouth began to tremble and she bit her lip, to keep from crying. A big man with no hair came out of her playroom, carrying her toy box and on top of the box was her favorite American Girl® Doll, Caroline.  Caroline had blonde hair and blue eyes, just like her.  She gasped.  The big man heard her. He turned around and bent down slightly, squinting his eyes. Then, he spotted her. He saw her staring at the doll on top of the box that he was carrying. He started to turn away towards the front door, but her tear-stained face and big blue eyes stopped him. He looked around. No one else was in sight, or so he thought.  Quickly, he grabbed the doll and slid it under the stairs. He put his fingers to his lips, “Shhh…” and gave her a wink. Then he was gone.  She grinned from ear to ear and clutched Caroline to her chest.

She heard a noise and looked up. The lady next door extended her hand. She put her hand in the neighbor’s and, holding Caroline tightly, she got up from under the stairs. The lady called out to her mother and said that she would take her (and Caroline) next door for some tea and cake. She and the lady had always enjoyed their little tea parties together. She would miss the kind lady when they moved.

As they left the house, she saw the man with no hair. She gave him a shy smile and he looked at her. His eyes were soft and wet. “Maybe he’s coming down with a cold,” she thought.

Copyright © 2013-2014 by Heather Joan Marinos

All rights reserved.

 

When hunger hits close to home… what would you do?

“America is the richest country in the world. And yet tonight, thousands of your neighbors will go to bed hungry.
It may be your child’s schoolmate who is undernourished and has difficulty learning on an empty stomach.
Or it could be a co-worker, a working mother whose low-wage job doesn’t make ends meet.
Perhaps it’s an elderly neighbor who has to make a decision whether to delay filling a prescription or buying groceries.
The faces of hunger are as broad as the faces of America.”
~ David Nasby, General Mills

How many of  us (and our families) could survive on $30 per week?
If we knew a family member, friend or neighbor who was starving, would we give him (or her, or their family) food?
Would we even notice the signs, or would we wait for them to have to swallow their pride and ask?
Some soul-searching questions, indeed.

Sometimes, the only way to fully understand the gravity and indignity of hunger is to walk in a hungry person’s shoes.  A very interesting experiment that would be, wouldn’t it?

Here’s a little food for thought:
http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/09/28/the-food-stamp-challenge-eating-on-30-a-week/

And some more: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/tag/detroit

A book with a local story, but a global message

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Around the world with Casualties of the (Recession) Depression….
… amazingly, the Kindle (eBook) edition is available virtually everywhere!
 

Although Casualties of the (Recession) Depression is about middle-class America, the experiences narrated in this book, along with the issues of recession, hunger, joblessness, homelessness… are experiences and issues that have no geographic boundaries.  They are global.  Especially in today’s world economy. 

There are approximately 870 million people, worldwide,  who are experiencing  hunger. 

Book Details:

Genre: Non-fiction

Categories: Commentary, Economics, Economic Condition, Politics

Topic: Economic crisis in middle-class America. Real people. Real stories. Real issues. Complete with commentary, historical/comparative economic analysis and statistics, helpful resources, and philanthropic programs.

Available (in English) through the following worldwide Amazon sites:

        Europe:

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Image via spartantraveler.com.

Random Acts of Kindness: Paying for People’s Groceries

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For those of you who have ever found it challenging, at one time or another,  to “make ends meet” and for those of you who understand the concept of random acts of kindness… watch this video (click on the link, below)
 
 
Very apropos, given the Thanksgiving season and upcoming Christmas holidays. 
Kindness.  It IS the gift that keeps on giving.