Book Review: Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg

For the sake of transparency, I was a budding fan of Pete Buttigieg before reading his book, “Shortest Way Home, One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future,” published by Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, New York © 2019. I wanted to better know and understand this person who is running as a candidate for the position of President of the United States.

Shortest Way HOmePete Buttigieg is currently serving his second term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. As described from the book jacket, Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar and Navy veteran. He was educated at Harvard and Oxford. Before serving as mayor, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey, a management consulting firm specializing in “diverse talent, cutting-edge thinking, and accelerating business growth” per the firm’s website. Pete lives with his husband, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg in South Bend, Indiana with their rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.

Already this gentleman has an impressive background for this reader and for transparency purposes, Independent voter.

Even if you are a reader who is not politically motivated, but enjoy memoirs, this book is for you too. Mr. Buttigieg writes beautifully. He takes you into his world of coming into his own and a city coming out of the devastating loss of industry. The reader can see through his eyes new opportunities for hope in a divisive country. Pete humbly and honestly shares the story of himself and of America particularly the Midwest.

This book is under the literary category of city planning and urban development. But I read this book as a memoir and I am typically hesitant of the truthfulness and accuracy of memoirs. Yet, I must admit I cannot help believe Pete Buttigieg when shares the story of his interactions with then Governor, Michael Pence. He approaches everyone including Michael Pence with the honest and earnest attempt to understand and meet the other person where they have shared values.

As someone raised in Michigan near the automotive capital of the world, I read this book with the hope of a younger generation who appreciates and understands both the cultural and economic history of this country. After reading this book, I believe Pete gets it. He is a humble, intelligent, young man who has served not only the residents of South Bend, Indiana but the citizens of the United States.

Could his story be the blueprint for possibly healing our fractured country?

This book did hold a surprise for me. I won’t share it with you because I believe that everyone should read this book and continue to follow the rise of this young political star. However, I will give you a clue. This book brought me to literal tears in more than one way. Pete Buttigieg is not the only star in this book. My new hero is Sherri Glezman (I feel tears as I write these words even now.)

Lastly, how can you not like a guy who rescues dogs? I always say, I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like animals.

Hoot 1-5 Rating

This book receives a resounding 5 Hoot Rating from The Blogging Owl.

“Shortest Way Home, One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future,” by Pete Buttigieg.

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Happy Reading!

Head shot 2019 - revised

The Blogging Owl

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Have a Book Recommendation?

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(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

Book Review: The Lost Vintage, written by Ann Mah

Looking for a good book for your next beach vacation?

Ann Mah, food and travel writer has written a fiction novel, The Lost Vintage, © 2018 published by William Morrow, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.

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As a food and travel writer living in both Washington, D.C. and Paris, France, Mah’s knowledge of France and French wines lend credibility to her writing.

“Told with elegance and deep compassion, The Lost Vintage is an unforgettable tale about balancing the ideals of courage with the harsh realities of survival, sustaining love for family in the face of shattering disappointment, and reconciling the deeds of the past with the values of the present.” – from the book jacket, The Lost Vintage.

While this is a work of fiction, the story reflects on the harsh reality of survival in WWII in France during the Nazi occupation and one family’s discovery of their ancestor’s involvement in the resistance and collaboration with the Nazi’s.

The Lost Vintage – les gouttes d’or “Drops of Gold”

Kate, who has built a career as a sommelier in San Francisco is studying for the Master of Wine examination for the third and final attempt. If she wants to advance her career, she must pass the examination, but has carefully avoided Burgundy vintages – some of the best wines her family has been making for generations. She returns to France to help her cousin, Nico and his wife, Heather with the annual harvest and to brush up her knowledge of Burgundy wines. There, she and Heather stumbles upon a hidden cave underneath the estate while cleaning the basement. In the cave is a remarkable inventory of vintage wines dating back prior to the start of WWII. The wine is worth a fortune. But why has it been kept hidden? Who knows of its’ existence?

The Journals of Helene Marie Charpin

The author takes the reader back in time to Kate’s ancestors, particularly, Helene Marie Charpin who they do not want to believe was a collaborator with the Nazi’s. After all, no living relative will speak of Helene. What happened to Helene? Was she part of the resistance or a collaborator? Did she survive the war? Kate becomes consumed with finding out the truth about her ancestors. Yet the deadline for her to return to San Francisco to continue her studies for her final attempt to pass the Masters of Wine exam is fast approaching.

Not only does the author, Ann Mah take the reader on a fascinating journey in history, but weaves together hard truths about family, self and country. Readers who love history, mystery, love stories, and wine will want to read The Lost Vintage. It is a book the reader will not want to put down! Ann Mah is masterful in her telling the tale of Helene.

Five Hoot Rating!

The Lost Vintage, by author, Ann Mah receives a 5-Hoot Rating on a scale of 1 to 5.5 Hoot Rating

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

P.S. Support your local independent bookseller!

Have a Book Recommendation?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

2018 Book of the Year, In My Opinion

As I do practically every year, I read dozens of books. I usually read three books at any one given time from different genres that inform, inspire, motivate or purely for entertainment. The books I read typically are new authors or first editions of the established authors, but not necessarily. Sometimes, I do not become aware of a book that urges me to read it until perhaps years after its’ first publishing date.

The best book I read in 2018 was first published in 2010 and copyrighted again in 2016. What attracted me to this book was the book’s title and premise as it related to one of my three words to live by in 2018, the word, frugality.

After selling our tiny cottage in the lower peninsula of northwest Michigan, I realized (not for the first time because my husband is good at reminding me) that I am a pack rat. Everything is a memory to me, especially when the item reminds in some way of my children. I also tend to hang on to things I think I can reuse or re-purpose without ever finding the use or purpose. The cleaning out and moving experience with our cottage inspired me to the idea of minimalism. After unburdening of myself of so many things at the cottage, I found myself freer and lighter in mind, body, and spirit that I felt motivated to declutter our primary home in southeastern Michigan.

The Joy of Less Cover

After researching books on frugality and minimalism and reading many book reviews on the topics, my research led me to the book, “The Joy of Less – A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simply” by Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist. The book’s first copyright was in 2010 published by Anja Press, and then again in 2016 published by the First Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, CA.

The Joy of Less

The book discusses the philosophy of the minimalist lifestyle and achieving that lifestyle through the author’s STREAMLINE method – the effective techniques for achieving and maintaining a decluttered home. But this book is much more than then the book’s premise I just described. The author’s non-judgmental approach to thought-provoking questions to root out the reasons for the reader’s materialism and clutter was inspiring and motivating. I felt her kindness through her phrasing and ability to guide me through the process of “useful stuff, beautiful stuff, and emotional stuff,” as well as, her compartmentalizing action steps into “trash, treasure, and transfer.”

Life Lessons

From the author’s bio on the inside back cover, Francine Jay appears to be a very young woman, however, her book, The Joy of Less revealed to me that she is an old soul. Not only did she share a different way of looking at the material things I have collected but helped me understand why I have something in the first place, why I have held on to it, and helped me to decide whether keeping an item would enhance my life.

In Francine Jay’s words, “decide which objects enhance our lives and put only those things back into our space.”

But the lesson Francine Jay taught me best was written just before those words, words that would change the way I think not only with material objects, but how I must think in mind, body and spirit.

“Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away.”

That one sentence blew me away.

The minimalist lifestyle

Although I was devouring the book, The Joy of Less, I put the book down for a few days to take in what I just read. I went back and read my blog post, Three Words to Live by, and I realized I had not entirely lived those words in 2018. And that is why I must choose this book, The Joy of Less – Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simply for my personal choice for the book of the year in 2018.

“… sacred space not a storage space.”

I love this phrase from the author, Francine Jay. That concept must not only apply to my physical living space, but be applied to my mind, body and spirit space as well.

Applying minimalism to the mind, body and spirit

What am I storing?

Why am I storing it?

Is what I am storing enhancing my life?

What and who do I choose to keep in my life?

The author continued to endear herself to my heart not only in reading the rest of her book, but including the wonderful words from the Haiku poet, Basho who wrote after his house burned down that he had a better view of the moon.

A better view of the moon

As I reflect on my three words to live by in 2018 and moving forward into 2019, I have a better view of the moon after reading Francine Jay’s book, The Joy of Less. As she reminds the reader that this is a book to be kept out on the coffee table or desk as a reference guide. Achieving a minimalist lifestyle is an ongoing process even after the initial decluttering, and I would add, even in mind, body, and spirit. I think I found my new therapist in Francine Jay.

Hoot Rating

On a hoot scale of 1 to 5, The Joy of Less by author and Miss Minimalist, Francine Jay receives an enthusiastic 5 Hoots from The Blogging Owl!

Read more about author, Francine Jay and the minimalism on her website at http://www.missminimalist.com and on follow her on Twitter at @MissMinimalist.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved