Tuesday, August 25, 2009

“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a 47 year old professor at Carnegie Mellon. He had an outstanding career in Computer Science. He had become a true guru in his field. He was a husband and father of 3 young children. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 3-6 months to live.

The Last Lecture was Randy’s chance to relate his life experiences and pass on his wisdom to his children. His lecture was given to an audience of upwards of 400 people, but his words have touched the lives of millions. The live lecture he gave became the inspiration for the best-selling book “The Last Lecture.”

I had heard about this lecture for months. I had seen bits of interviews of Randy on news shows. I heard about how many people had viewed the lecture online. When the book hit the New York Times best sellers list, I quickly added it to my store. It wasn’t until recently that I understood what the hype was all about. I listened to the audiobook while on a road trip and now I know why so many lives have been touched by Randy Paush’s Last Lecture.

No matter what race, religion, or gender we are, we all have to face death. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or our own death sentence, we all have to look it in the eye at some point. The courage that Randy displayed in the face of death is truly something to be admired. He did not focus on his illness or his impending death. He focused on how to express gratitude to the people that had made him who he was. He used his time to let his family know how much he loved them.

In his book, he stated that he was grateful that he had been given warning of what was about to happen. Instead of being hit by a bus or dying of a massive heart attack, he had been told that he would die within a few months. Those few months gave him time to prepare his family for life without him. Most of us won’t know when we die. Are we prepared? Have we told the people that mean the most to us how we feel about them? I ask myself those questions.

This book has inspired me to live each day like there won’t be a tomorrow. I want to take every opportunity to show my loved ones just how much they mean to me. I may not have a chance to give a last lecture. Therefore, the way I live my life is my lecture and I hope you give your lecture, too.

"The Woods" by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is a master of suspense and he is a great storyteller. I have enjoyed many of his novels. The Woods did not disappoint me.

Twenty years ago, two teens were murdered and two disappeared in the woods. What exactly happened in those woods so many years ago still had a great impact on several lives. The plot kept getting thicker. As each detail was revealed, my curiosity grew. What really happened in those woods?

This book painted several pictures. How secrets in the family can betray trust. How love for family can make you do anything to protect them. How true love never dies.

If you like suspense, you’ll love this book. Of course, it is available in my store.

"You’ve Been Warned" by James Patterson

What an intriguing title! In one word, that is how I would describe this novel – intriguing. I could not wait to turn the page and find out what would happen next. I read this book quicker than I’ve read any other. I just couldn’t put it down.

This is a story of a woman who finds her life spiraling out of control. She feels as if there is nothing she can do about it. The truth is, she’s caused the problems in her life. The moral of this story is – you reap what you sow. There are consequences to our actions – good or bad. We must take responsibility for the part that we play in our own lives.

Every twist and turn that this novel takes just makes you want more. Honestly, I am not a big James Patterson fan. However, I can see why a lot of people are. In this book, he shows his talent for suspense and imagination. If you are a Patterson fan, I’m confident you will love this book.

"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates

A young couple with two children living in the suburbs. Life is good, or is it? To look at this couple from across the street, one might think that they have the perfect life. He has a good job in the city. She stays home and takes care of their lovely home. Life is not always what it appears to be.

Inside this home is a couple that suffers from discontent, discord, and disunity. The life that they are living is not the one they want. They both want more.

As I read this book, I couldn’t help but ask – why would they want more? Sure, the life they were leading was not the one they intended to have. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it. However, if it turns out well, why can’t we just be happy? Truly, one of the keys to happiness in life is contentment. This couple sorely lacked that key.

I must admit that I did enjoy the story. I was always wondering what would happen next. I usually favor feel-good stories. This story did not make me feel good. It was a sad story. However, it made me count my blessings and to focus on inner contentment.