Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Blog: Reading Ellie

As I have grown older, I have found that my children lead me into new experiences, new discoveries, new things I might not have found on my own.

For example, Bonnie made me a more frequent communicator via email by her example. She used to write a regular (weekly) email that went out to hundreds of friends and family around the world. I never achieved that regularity, but I did manage what I called my non-weekly newsletter.

Jimmy convinced me I needed an iPhone (after first convincing his mother and helping her set it up). Now, it's one of the most useful devices I own. I can't imagine how I got along without it. He also led the way into the world of online music and explained to me about "the cloud." He keeps up with the latest technology and is a tremendous resource and sounding board about new devices and concepts.
The children led me into MySpace (which I never really liked) and then Facebook (which I really like). Six or seven years ago, Bonnie started blogging. Her first blog was Simple Beauty. It covers many different topics, family and current happenings and interesting things she is learning. Her other blog is a recipe blog called Pass the Beans, Please or The Beans Blog. It is a wonderful source of quite an eclectic variety of tasty dishes from around the globe. That led me to start this blog, which I consequently titled "I have a blog," (which is yesh li blog in Hebrew), implying "I have a blog, too."
Ellie has led me in many ways, especially in watching her interpersonal relationships. Although we don't have small children any more, I love watching her interacting with her boys. The way she encourages others is an inspiration and a great example.

She has also led me to discover new authors, and that is what this post is about. She has started a book review blog called Reading Ellie. One of the first books she reviewed is Sackett's Land by Louis L'Amour. Now I have been an avid reader of everything I could get my hands on since I was a young lad, but I had never read anything by this popular American author and great lover of America, Louis L'Amour. Ellie inspired me to read the first in the Sackett family series, and let me tell you, it won't be the last. I look forward to reading the remaining 18 books in the series.
Ellie wrote an excellent book review, which I have reproduced for you here. I couldn't have said it any better. Check out her blog when you get a chance at Reading Ellie.

Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour
Posted on April 7, 2012

I have started reading the Sackett books by Louis L’Amour on recommendation from my husband. Actually, the recommendation was like this, “You will get much insight into my family, especially the men in my family, if you read these books.” So, off I went on an adventure into the wild west. Well, that’s where I thought I was going. As it turns out, the Sackett books begin in England with Barnabas Sackett in “Sackett’s Land“
I knew I was going to love the books when I read this in the preface, “History is not made only by kings and parliaments, presidents, wars, and generals. It is the story of people, of their love, honor, faith, hope and suffering; of birth and death, of hunger, thirst and cold, of loneliness and sorrow.” The aim of these books is to tell the History of this great country through the story of people. Namely, the Sackett family.The book begins with Barnabas Sackett coming into some unexpected treasure. In true character, he makes a plan to invest this money into his future. He reaches beyond what he was born into and sets out to a better life for himself and generations to come. He plans to trade with the natives in the New World. His plans however are hijacked by a pirate who is hired to shanghai him into service, and then drop him into a deep bit of ocean. In true Sackett form, he gives the pirates the slip, makes friends with the natives, trades his goods (which he recovered from the pirate ship) and returns to England better off than he left it; with plans to return again and settle in the lands beyond the blue mountains.

Among the things I enjoyed about this book are the ideals that are passed from father to son. Such as this: “Each man owes a debt to his family, his country and his species to leave sons and daughters who will lead, inspire and create.” In a world that so often overlooks strong parenting, it is refreshing to hear the strength and conviction of a man, even fictional, who feels the responsibility of guiding and teaching children so strongly. Even before he has any. This statement also reminds me of my father, who so often tells us that we, his son and daughters, do “lead, inspire and create.” I am grateful to him and my mother for not only feeling, but acting on the responsibility of parenthood so strongly and lovingly.

Another theme that runs through the book is loyalty. Sackett, seemingly arbitrarily, finds strong, fast friends. Often. These friends and he prove their loyalty to each other quickly and often. They are willing to risk life and fortune for each other, and are frequently required to do just that.

Barnabas Sackett reminds us of what we want to be as a nation. Of the character that we expect from our founding fathers. He reminds us of the pride we can have in our country. “If I was to establish a family, it would be here in this land. And if they were to prosper here, it would have to be in such a way as the land demanded. I had no doubt those distant sons and grandsons would respond, that we Sacketts would establish a place for ourselves here, in this land, this America” -Barnabas Sackett

I absolutely recommend this book. In fact (even without reading them all yet) I recommend the whole series to you, but if you’re not willing to base your enjoyment of a series on my reading of the first book, then stick around. I’ll be reading and reviewing the rest of the books right here.

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