The Sky Beneath My Feet by Lisa Samson

Everyone faces those moments when the world feels like it has been turned upside down. For Beth, things really take a turn towards interesting when her husband, Rick decides to take up residence in the shed located in the backyard. While some start to look at him as a saint, she must face the challenges that come with continuing to raise two boys and struggling to make sure that somewhere along the way, she didn’t lose herself and her identity.  

If nothing else, the idea of a woman struggling with her husband moving out to the shed intrigued me. But after reading the book, I must admit that it was so much more than I expected. I could not help but laugh out loud at some of Beth’s internal dialogue and even though my husband isn’t the Men’s Pastor at church and we don’t have teenagers, I could sympathize with her struggles. She is a likeable and relatable character that keeps the story moving at the perfect pace.

The book was in no way predictable and doesn’t end up in a cliché. When I turned the last page, I was left feeling more inspired than anything else. Stuff happens and each person needs to decide how he or she will deal with it. This is definitely one that I would recommend to anyone looking for an easy, yet interesting read.

Booksneeze presented me with a complementary copy of this book for my review.

The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood by William J. Bennett

Is it possible to put together a collection of stories, poems, speeches and experiences that all provide insight into what it means to be a man? William Bennett has gathered information from a variety of different sources to shed some light of a topic that seems to be losing ground in today’s current social climate.

The book is divided up into readings that focus on the different aspects of man and how he interacts with the world around him. It starts out with an emphasis on man and war and moves on to topics like work, play, society, and women and children. Some of the names mentioned will probably surprise you by Bennett stresses the fact in the introduction that the men represented in no way represent the perfect man and fall short in some areas however they do strive towards the goal of manhood in some way, shape or form.

For me, the book took on a personal meaning as to me, I have two great examples of what it means to be a man in my own family, my husband and my dad. Both received copies of this book for Christmas with a special note from me inside. In addition to these two men, every day I see my seven year-old son get one step closer to his own manhood. My goal in purchasing the book for our family was to create time for my son and husband to read this together and talk about what it means to them.

I loved The Book of Man and the collection of items found inside. Don’t become overwhelmed with the sheer size of the volume. This is not something that you want to sit down and read cover to cover. Look at this book as a resource that you can come back to again and again to gain encouragement and hope that the definition of what it means to be a man is not dwindling, as society may like us to believe. Instead, the traditions and character that has been laid out in the past is continuing to thrive, one man at a time.

While this book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing, I ended up going out and purchasing a few copies for our family as well as others. It was the perfect Christmas gift!

Here's more information about the book for those interested in taking a closer look:

New York Times best-selling author William J. Bennett uses stories, essays, historical vignettes, and contemporary profiles to explore and explain what it means to be a man. Fashioning men has never been easy, but today it seems particularly tough. Boys need heroes to embody the everlasting qualities of manhood: honor, duty, valor, and integrity. Without such role models, boys will naturally choose perpetual childhood over the rigors of becoming a man—as many women, teachers, coaches, employers, and adults in authority can quickly attest. Have we forgotten how to raise men, how to lead our boys into manhood? In The Book of Man, Bennett charts a clearer course, offering a positive, encouraging, uplifting, realizable idea of manhood, redolent of history and human nature, and practical for contemporary life. Like his classic, The Book of Virtues, Bennett uses profiles, stories, letters, poems, and myths to bring his subject to life, defining what a man should be, how he should live, and to what he should aspire in several key areas of life.