Monday, December 23, 2013

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Image from LibraryThing
June is the youngest of two sisters. Her older sister, Greta, is the high school sweetheart, the beauty, the actress, the poised one...and then there is June Elbus. At least that is the way June sees herself - as the 'other' Elbus sister.

But, June has a couple of secret passions - imagining that she can roll back time to the dark ages and her uncle Finn.  Unfortunately, both of these passions are rather impossible.  Finn has Aids and well, time travel is frowned on.

Brunt guides the reader onto a back and forth Playland ride between June's current reality and moments with Finn in and around New York.  Some of her moments were shared with Greta as Finn, a famous artist, painted their portrait on the last of his Sundays.  Other moments were precious memories of time alone with Finn - at the Cloisters, listening to Requiem, wandering around Finn's New York.

And then Finn dies.

In the weeks that follow June's life changes as she meets and becomes friends with Finn's 'murderer', Toby - his partner.  June's mom had threatened to cut off all ties between Finn and the girls if he whispered a hint of his partner to them - Toby is a complete stranger.  So, when Toby delivers an odd package with a cryptic note to June it is the first she knows anything of this other half of Finn's life.  As June figures out what to do with this growing friendship her relationship with Greta becomes more and more fractured - until it all comes to a head one stormy night.

This is a story of growing up - of learning hard truths about the ones you love and making the decision to accept that imperfection or reject it.  It is a story of the cords that bind families together and sometimes smother them. It is a story of the hard reality of Aids and one young girl's fight to keep fear and pain at bay.  It is a story of moving from the passions of our imagination to the realities of our own lives.

I loved this book!  I cried and laughed and hurt and remembered.  I remembered those last few moments of childhood before I understood that the world may not be the one that I dreamed it would be.

Read it!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

image from LibraryThing
This is book three in the Divergent Series.  As with most series - I forgot has been a while since I read the first two books and this one picks up moments after #2 ends. I have said it before - but my pet peeve with series is that they don't give you a reminder appendix for those of us who have some time between books!! It is fine when you are reading them one after another -but when you are reading them as they are written it is a bit of an issue.

Anyway - that is not the point of this post.
The point is that this is an interesting ending for this series.  This is a future view of Chicago - a city that has been created with 4 divergent factions. Each faction focuses on a different aspect of life - truth telling, fearlessness, selflessness, and growing things.  Children choose which faction they will belong to at the age of 16 and all ties with their family are broken if they choose a different faction.

Tris and Four are the main characters. They have both left their families and joined the Dauntless faction - the fearless one. In the first two books they slowly grow toward one another when the factions begin to fray. You see if you fail at faction activities in the one you have chosen you become 'factionless.'  Book two - Insurgent - is all about the revolt of the factionless to over throw the factions.

Allegiant begins after the overthrow. I can't say a lot about what happens - because it will take away from the book.

But I can say that the relationship between Tris and Four continues to grow.  There is an interesting passage that I actually read out loud to my husband on our 30th anniversary. Yes - you read that correctly - I quoted from a young adult book for our anniversary!

Here is the situation...
Tris has been betrayed by Four - at least that is how she feels. They have a major disagreement and both feel very strongly about the decisions they made.  It is at that point that Tris realizes...

     "I used to think that when people fell in love, they landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward.  And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's not true of this, now.
     I fell in love with him.  But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me.  I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other.  I choose him over and over and over again, and he chooses me." (372)

That is what our young people need to is a daily choice - it's not easy, but it is the most important thing each and every day! And it is that understanding that builds a 30 year marriage...we choose each other every single day!

Thanks Veronica Roth for a great series!  I would recommend them to anyone!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

image from LibraryThing
I have certain holes in my reading background. That may seem a bit odd - since I have been a pretty active reader for most of my life, and a teacher librarian in a past life.  But - I grew up in an elementary without a library.  I visited the public library often - but I didn't have anyone suggesting books for me - so I fell into a pretty shallow rut.  By the time I got to Jr. High I was more interested in romances.  My high school reading career consisted of all basal readers. I never read a novel in a class until college.

All of that is a sort of excuse for the fact that I have never read Ender's Game  - until now.  I have heard about this book for years and I knew I would get around to reading it sometime. I have always enjoyed science fiction - so that wasn't the reason I haven't read it.

Then about a month ago I walked out of the HS library talking to a student. I asked about his favorite book and he said that Ender's Game was the best book ever written. Pretty high praise!  I went home and ordered it from Amazon immediately.  When I heard it would become a movie that spurred me to read it before allowing myself to see it!

And what did I think?

I liked Ender.  I used to teach elementary kids and I could see them in Ender.  I felt sorry for his isolation and his destiny and his understanding of his fate.  I felt sorry for the way he was manipulated and cheered as he attempted to break the rules to fit his desire.  But, even in that he was a pawn.

That was what I didn't like. Maybe it is because I've read too many YA books - but I am a bit tired of the 'stupid adult' syndrome.  This syndrome takes a twist in this book because the adults are more than just stupid - their seeming omnipotent knowledge just proved them even more impotent.  I got tired of that. They were always the bad guys - from Ender's parents to all the 'teachers'.  I am not a fan of that philosophy.

And then there was the game.  But which game is really Ender's?  He is involved in numerous games. And Card drew those out in minute details.  Until near the end and suddenly time sped up and the final scenes of the game were over in a flash of description though they took many years to actually play out.  I am not a fan of that technique either.

So - I am glad I read this.  But, I would not be able to agree with that high school student's praise.  It was enjoyable and thought provoking and an important book to have in your reading knowledge bin.  But, not one of my favorites.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Image from LibraryThing
The next book in the Heroes of Olympus series.  This continues the journey of the heroes to fulfill the prophecy.

Percy and Annabeth must fight demons and monsters through the underworld.  This journey is simply horrible!  Especially as they continue to cross paths with creatures they have already killed. In the worst segment - they are cursed to relive each of the final curses of those they have killed!  But, they also discover some reformed creature who sacrifice themselves to help the pair.

The other six heroes (Leo, Frank, Piper, Hazel, Jason and Nico) continue on the ship and each of them faces their own demons - for real!  Frank grows up and accepts the burden of his own life, Nico admits his hidden secret to Jason, Leo falls in love and Hazel figures out the way to save them all.

Even though I am getting weary of waiting for the story to finish, this was a good installation.  It moved the story along, but, of course it didn't finish.  I continue to be amazed how Riordan so easily weaves myths into a current day story with it all making sense.

Now - I have to wait for the next one!

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Image from LibraryThing
I was ready for a thick, involved book and this was the perfect story.  It is one that haunts me still. There were times that I really disliked the book - REALLY disliked it!! But, I couldn't stop!

Dominick is a twin.  That descriptor has defined him through his entire life. Being a twin brings to mind pleasant images of shared secrets and moments. That is not the life of Dominick and his twin Thomas.  The book opens with Thomas cutting off his hand in a public library to protest the Gulf War.  Yes, cutting off his hand.

This is a culmination of Thomas' life with mental illness. His defining moment in the stacks of the library. Thomas is convinced that this event will force the world leaders to pause and rethink their march to world destruction.  But, this event also defined the moment start of the end for both Dominick and Andrew.

The book then is about the journey from that moment for Dominick - the road to understanding of his own limits and the road to healing as he fights to keep Thomas safe and deal with both is mother's death and her refusal to admit how his real father was.

Buried in this is the story of Dominck and Thomas' grandfather - a story that had been translated from Italian and uncovers the tendrils of mental illness from past generations.

I gotta say - I cried and sighed and wrote down the final lines of this book! I LOVED it!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am Number Four Series by Pittacus Lore

image from LibraryThing
This is another "teenagers out to save the world" series, except they are aliens and they are trying to fight off a race of aliens (Mogadorians) who have destroyed their planet and are not set to take over earth.  Sound a bit odd?  It is  - but it is also an interesting read.

Number Four is the first Lorian to tell the story.  He has been on the run his entire life with his Cepan (guide) moving him from town to town across the US. Four (John is his human name) hides in plain sight in small towns until life there becomes compromised in some way and then they move on. They end up in Paradise for longer than usual and it is there that Henri (the Cepan) begins to tell John what his life is really all about - how he was sent from Loric as the planet was consumed with 9 other children and the legacies of Lorian.  These legacies are special talents that grow as the children mature and will be used to defend themselves and remake Loric in the future.
image from LibraryThing

Following a fiery explosion and the heart-breaking death of Henri, Four meets the next of his group, Six.  She is completely different from Four - confident and in control of her legacies in a way he only wishes.  Four, Six and Sam, a friend from Paradise, escape Paradise and hit the road.  They find an abandoned house and heal and train and grow their abilities.

But, the unknown Mogadorians and Sam's missing father haunt them.  As do the scars burned in their legs. Each time one of the original Garde is caught and killed by the Mogadorians, a scar is seared into their legs.

The story shifts a bit in the next book and more of the Garde are introduced - the story telling moves between the characters until they all end up in the penthouse apartment of Six at the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago.  As the Garde gather and train and learn from one another more and more of the story comes out.  It is their responsibility to carry on their legacy.  But, at what cost?  They are after all only children.  All of them have lost their Cepan's and some have lost the chests of their Loric tools. But the end of this book the group is:  Four, Six, Eight, Nine and Ten plus Sarah (Four's girlfriend) and Sam his friend.
image from LibraryThing

The story shifts as Five joins the Garde.  He adds a layer of darkness and tension.  Sam also is able to reunite with his Father who disappeared long ago - he was one of the Greeters who welcomed the Lorian spaceship to earth.  I found this book harder to understand. The storytelling switches between characters - each using the first person. I was sometimes a bit confused by who was talking.  The font is different for each - but not drastically.  I found it distracting from the storyline.

I like parts of these - but get so tired of the teenage angst that is layered in these stories.  They remind me of the Series of Unfortunate Events in that Pittacus Lore is also a character in the story.  He is the one that Sam's father met on earth - but how can that be since only the children made it to the planet.  Each book leaves unanswered questions.  I am not sure how dedicated I am to stick with these though. It would be much easier to just wait and read them all at once...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Under the Dome by Stephen King

image from LibraryThing
This is the first Stephen King book I've read. I HATE horror and tension in books and movies - so I have stayed far away.  Then I caught just a part of one episode of this on TV and thought it looked intriguing.

As soon as I started reading I was hooked.  It is the kind of book I really enjoy - tons of story lines criss-crossing and weaving to create a story.  I kept waiting for the tension and gore and all that I hated.  But, when it came I was so deeply invested in the story that I just kept reading.

The story is a week in the life of a small Maine town after a dome has fallen cutting it off from the world. Life inside the dome could have been fine - but the town is run by Big Jim Rennie - a megomaniac leader who believes that he can do anything in the name of Christianity and National pride.  He runs over anyone who tries to actually improve the town because he was not the one to plan it. And he does have a plan - to line his pockets with money from his hidden industry - one that is completely and totally illegal  - and needs the towns resources to make it work.

The other main character is Barbie - a retired Marine, drifter and short order cook who was on his way out of town when the dome came down. Barbie was leaving town after a run in with Big Jim's completely insane son, Junior and his croonies.  Then the dome came down. Barbie is the voice of reason and reality so of course he is Big Jim's arch enemy. It doesn't help that Barbie's connections on the other side of the dome have delivered a letter from the President naming him the leader of the town.
This is a story of what could happen and what doesn't need to happen.

But that is what is happening inside the dome.  But there is also the story of the dome itself...That is a story of the potential of cruelty and callousness of all of us.

It isn't all grim. There are moments of great love and caring.  There are people who are willing to give up everything for the good of others.

And that is what makes a great story - the good and the bad in all of us and how it comes together.

Wow!  King can tell  a story!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Fiction Class by Susan Breen

image from LibraryThing
This book was recommended to my by my high school English teacher who happens to be my daughter's English teacher.  It was the perfect book - short, sweet and interesting!  Thanks, Mary!!

The premise is a NYC adult ed Fiction class - the kind that would be offered in the late afternoon in various locations across the city. It is a haven for would-be-writers and the teacher, Arabella, understands them - because she is one herself.  Her novel is waiting for the final chapter and has been for the last 7 years!  Arabella is a nice enough woman, but her mother is quite the lady. She is in the nursing home with Parkinsens Disease and still running Arabella's life.  And to be honest - Arabella could probably use some help.

And then there is the class. Each chapter in the book is a new writing assignment - and the chapter closes with a copy of the assignment.  As Arabella presents plot and voice - the characters in her class seem to demonstrate with their lives.

The most poignant part of this books though, is Arabella and Vera (her mom's) relationship. Each Wednesday after class Arabella travels to the nursing home to be with her mom.  And as she relates stories of her class and the assignments her mom begins to write.  Her story Fortune works miracles between the two.

I really enjoyed this book - and it certainly made me want to write!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

image from LibraryThing
I seem to be on a history kick with my reading.  This is another book following two story lines. One in 1981 and one in 1917 - both following Georgy Jachmenev, a Russian peasant whose life changes with one moment of bravery.

As a young man, Georgy saves the life of the Tsar's cousin and finds himself Alexi, the Tsar's son's, bodyguard and confidante.  The second line of the story follows Georgy's memories as he deals with his beloved Zoya's diagnosis with cancer.

As a reader I guessed the connections early on. But, I am not a history buff and admit to being very shady on Russian history.  So, the story was able to take me on a historical ride of Russian history.  And because of that I had never heard of "The House of Special Purpose." 

Although the historical part of the novel is key - it was the love story that drew me in.  Catching glimpses of Zoya and Georgy as they move through the years was sweet and endearing.  This is a story of a couple facing the problems of post WWI Paris and WWII London as well as the death of their only daughter first and foremost. That they were also key historical figures seemed secondary.

It took me a little to get into this book.  The story of Georgy's early life did not hook me.  I didn't really care very much about his father or his sister. But as Georgy moved into life in St. Petersburg, I began to really care about his naive outlook on life.  And I am a sucker for royalty  - so the Romanovs were great!!

This was another great read!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

image from LibraryThing
This is a classic Gothic Novel complete with a castle, a mystery and a clueless heroine - at least that is my description of a gothic novel!

Edie and her Mom, Meredith, have a tangled relationship. There are sections of Meredith's past life she refuses to share with Edie - and the strains of that taint everything. Then a letter arrives 50 years late, a letter from the end of WWII. It deeply affects Meredith  - but she again refuses to let anyone in to that part of her life.

Edie, a co-publisher for a small literary company, finds herself lost in the edges of the English countryside and Milderhurst castle looms.  Seeing the castle stirs an ancient memory of standing at the gates with her mother. But how could that be?  When Edie asks her mum - she denies it. 

That starts Edie on the quest to figure out what in the world is in her mom's past that so effects her.  It seems to stem from Milderhurst castle and the old tale of the Mudman.  On a historical tour she meets the three spinster sisters who inhabit the castle and is mistaken as her mother by one of the sisters. 

And it is then that Morton begins the second tale of this book - one that slowly unravels the history of the sisters and the young girl, Meredith who they took care of during the Blitz.  The reader finds out the secrets behind the withered women and their endless hold on the crumbling castle.

I really enjoyed this book.  I love English novels and the depth of history woven into the stories.  I also love the restraint of the characters - their hidden agendas and their commitment to peace and propriety.  There is something refreshing, puzzling and foreign about that attitude.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

image from LibraryThing
I love big books and I can't lie!! 

This is a great one to sink into on a summer vacation afternoon...and I was lucky enough to do just that today!  Sat out on my porch with a diet pepsi cooling on the coffee table and this book in my hands!  It was wonderful!!

This is a WWII story of love and hardship and death and survival.  It's one of those that is sometimes hard to read because we know the events in history that this is going to have to bump up against. But, you can't stop reading because of the characters, because you truly care about them, you want to see if they make it and come together again!


The main character is Andras Levi, a Hungarian Jew who has won a prize to become a student of architecture in Paris.  That is how the story begins - Andras getting ready to leave Hungary for Paris and his brother Tibor sending him off.  But, there is a chance meeting with two people before he makes it to Paris. One is a mysterious older woman who asks him to mail a letter to C. Morganstern in Paris and the other is a kindly gentleman on his way back to Paris from Hungary, a Mr. Novak. 

Like all great books - these encounters set up important events and characters.  As chance sometimes happens in the interconnectedness of the Jewish world - these encounters lead Andras to life long love and occupation.

It was really interesting reading this from the Hungarian perspective - one that I don't think I have read before. I kept waiting on pins and needles for the awful Paris Jewish roundup that is the basis of Sarah's Key - another amazing WWII book. But, that didn't happen in the scope of this tale. Thank goodness!

Instead, this told the story of what it was like to be a Jew in a country that was part of the Warsaw pact, part of the losing team against the rest of the world. It also told of the kindness of Hungarians and the incredible cruelty.  It portrayed the deep divides in the Jewish classes of excess before WWII. This is a story of love and survival.

I LOVED this book!  I was transported to an uncertain and emotional world where humans can do so much more that we ever thought  - both for good and evil!!

Highly Recommend this one!!!

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

image from Library Thing
I am on a Victorian England kick it seems - and here is another book set in that time frame.

Charles Lenox is the English amateur detective and aristocrat called to the scene of the startling death of a young maid...perhaps a suicide, perhaps not.  Charles and his butler,  Graham, set about investigating this puzzling death - it looks like she drank arsenic - but Charles is not the bottom of the glass he discovers something else, the remains of a much more deadly and rare poison.  But, why would someone want to murder a maid?

Charles is helped in this investigation by by a cast of other characters - Lady Gray, his neighbor and confidante, a Scotland yard cop, an investigator and a one-time chemist.

It's been a while since I've read a straight up mystery.  This took me a while to get involved in. There were many mentions to previous cases that I didn't really get, and an overall assumption that I understood all about footmen, and poor nephews and much of English class structure.

So, although I liked the characters and the mystery itself was rather intriguing. It moved a bit slowly for me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Image from LibraryThing
I was totally enthralled with Downton Abbey - watching as many episodes on Netflix that I could.  So, this was a great follow up book!

The story takes place at a time when America was filled with new millionaires due to all the industries here while England was filled with dilapidated estates in need of cash. The idea of an American heiress traveling to England with deep pockets in need of a husband is a great place to start the story.

Cora Cash is a filthy rich spoiled daughter of a flour baron and an incredibly driven mother. Mrs. Cash's sole purpose seems to be proving her importance through what she can buy and that includes her gilded daughter.  Then a fateful coming out party and a flaming headress sends the mother and daughter to England to branch out and find a husband.

And that is where the book gets better. I liked Cora so much more when she was growing up - when she was becoming her own person, not her mother's shadow.  But, it is a book - so true love doesn't come easily! There is an evil mother-in-law, a lost love that doesn't want to stay lost, and all the mysteries of English country living.
Cora is the most real personality in this glittering facade.

I was a little disappointed in how quickly the book came to an end. There was a lot of build-up and then - boom - it was over.  That left me wanting more!  But, I would recommend this! It's a great tale and a fun summer read!

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

image from LibraryThing
I am always intrigued at the way imaginary lands creatures carry over from one story to another. This series by Julie Kagawa is an excellent example of that.

image from LibraryThing
The first book - The Iron King - takes place partly in the our world and partly in the world of Faery - where King Oberon has had a half faery daughter named Meghan who figures out on her 16th birthday when she figures out her 4 yr old brother has been switched with a changeling.  As the Faery sight begins to emerge she realizes that her great friend Robbie is actually her protector Puck or Robin Goodfellow...sound familiar?  It's Midsummers night dream tied in to today's world.

But that isn't the only twist - the faery world of NeverNever is slowly dying due to a strange new fey of iron. Iron is the killer of all faery creatures - one touch is deadly.  Who knew?!   And there is a king aiming to take over the entire world of NeverNever.

image from LibraryThing
Meghan crosses path with Ash, the hunter from the winter court and sworn enemy of Puck and Grimalkin the Cait Sith (that is a fancy way of calling him the cheshire cat from Alice). This group comes together to defeat the Iron King and in so doing Meghan finds a part of herself she had no idea existed.

Iron Daughter picks up right where Iron King ends.  I love books that do that! 

image from LibraryThing
But - I really felt like each of the next books didn't have quite the build up the first one did. As a reader, the excitement Meghan felt as she was discovering her identity was gone. Instead, it was a slow smoldering romance. I wasn't as interested...but I can't seem to stop in the middle of a series. I wanted to know how Meghan overcomes the obstacles that her father and Mab the Winter Queen throw in front of her. I wanted to know if her relationship grows with Ash and if he decides what his real priorities are and if he and Puck continue the feud.  And probably most importantly I wanted to know how Meghan defeats the false Iron King.

And that took us through the next two books. 

The Iron Knight was completely different. Ash was the main character on a quest to become human so he could be with Meghan and the Iron Fey.  When I started this one I just wanted it to be over. It felt like the final season of ER - I just really didn't care anymore - but I had put enough time in that I didn't want to quit.  At least that is how I felt at the beginning. It did draw me in. I did care about Ash and Puck. I really didn't like Ariella though.  But - my favorite characters were Grimalkin and The Big Bad Wolf.  They were great!  

So - I really liked these books. I thought they were interesting and a new twist on the fairy tales we know. Great ideas!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Image from Library Thing
Each time we take a road trip I look for a book that I can read aloud in the car. It makes the miles go faster and gives me the joy of reading aloud. Something I really miss since my girls are grown and I am not teaching 4th graders anymore.

As we were preparing to go to Virginia for a college graduation I grabbed this book off the bedside table where it had laid since I had given this to my husband a couple of Christmas' ago.  It was the PERFECT book for this road trip!  

Now before October I would have thought this book was rather ridiculous...but in October we become the proud parents of a Maltese Yorkie mix and as I read the story of Bailey and her search for a purpose - it made so much more sense.

This book follows Bailey through a series of lives. She/he is born as a puppy and lives out each life feeling that it is complete - yet he comes back again.

Now - I do not believe in reincarnation.  But there is something compelling about this dog's search.  Each life adds information and experience - preparing him for the final act - when everything comes together.  

I have to admit that I had to stop more than once as I read voice would choke and the tears would run.  I love books like that!  This story also made me rethink some of my reactions and training practices with our dog, Penny.   I especially appreciated his explanation of how hard it was for Baility understand potty training! :)  

Anyway - this is a great book for dog lovers and owners. It made me appreciate the commitment that we have agreed to as we become a pet owner and joy that comes as our little dog rushes to greet me each night I come home from work!  

The Clover House by Henriette Lazaridis Power

Image from Library thing

This is the story of Calliope - a woman in search of an anchor, a woman wallowing in her mother's indifference, a woman who uses circumstances around her to justify the inevitability of her aloneness, one really sad lady!

This is also the story of Calliope - a woman surrounded with a great big Greek family, a woman loved and cared for by Jonah, a woman divided between her mother's Greece and her own American homeland.

This is also the story of the fingers of war and the long-term suffering that are held in their grip.

This is a story of existence - of living anyway - of sadness, and happiness, and rebirth and death and families and love and endurance and life.

The story moves between current day Greece as Calliope flies from Boston to sort through her uncle's home - the one that he left for her.  Calliope must face her mother, who lives in Greece, as she sorts through the collections of Nestor, the almost hoarder uncle.  Clio, Calliope's mom, is distant and distracted, and neglectful and mean.  And as Calliope sorts through the strands of life buried in Nestor's house she also discovers the hidden stories her mother only partially told.

But, the reader sees it all. Power moves the telling between Calliope's version in current day and Clio's life in prewar Greece.  We see the actual story through Clio's eyes and are able to hold that against the partial truth's that she shares with Calliope.

I liked this story - but even as I read I felt there were more layers that were too hard for Clio to tell even to her all seeing reader.  This, made me think again and again of the thousands of versions we tell ourselves of the events that enfold us. This follows a family's fall from great wealth to ruin during an impossible time.  And though we feel we are seeing it all as Clio remembers, we aren't.  It still holds the romanticized feeling of stories our grandparent's told.  Refrains we know and can repeat along with them.  So reality becomes what we want it to be - not what it really is.

It made me consider again the 'head' talks I have with myself - the things I believe as the truth and how they may or may not be reality.

Very interesting!