Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#10: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey)

My feelings about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest changed throughout my time reading the May selection for my reading project with Jacqs. From the beginning, I found myself confused by the voice of the narrator and unable to identify with the characters Kesey had created. Once I neared the end of part one, however, things changed. I suddenly realized that this novel was not simply about patients in a mental hospital. Instead, Kesey explored those individuals who exercise domination and manipulation in order to gain control over others. The patients became all of us who have been subjected to emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of those in authority — in the work place, in the classroom, in the church. In this light, themes of man’s need to gain personal freedom from oppression and the power of laughter and self-confidence rose to the front of my reading. Suddenly, I found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Big Chief and McMurphy as they struggled against the vile Nurse Ratched. I quickly identified some Nurse Ratched’s in my own life and I understood that freedom comes in many forms — sometimes tragic — but always resulting in the desired freedom.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a story that speaks to the value of humanity and the plight of the mentally ill and oppressed in our society. Was it my favorite book ever? Not by any means. However, it spoke to me and I will forever be grateful for my time spent in the Ward with these gentle, charming patients.

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Catch-up post – Books #7-9

Life has been crazy and I haven’t found the time to post reviews of my latest reads. Here are my reviews of the books I was able to fit into the craziness.

#7:  Menahem Pressler: Artistry in Piano Teaching (William Brown) – What an inspirational read! I want to be the best teacher I can possibly be for my piano students. I was enthralled to read about Pressler’s life, approach to teaching, and artistry in performance.

#8: Midnight (Elizabeth Miller) – I tend to veer away from romances, but every once in a while I find that nothing else quite hits the spot. Midnight told the story of a young woman who found herself working for a Presidential candidate — and a recent widower. The love scenes were spicy (and not for the faint of heart or easily offended); they were exactly what you expect from the genre. The story, however, was well written and engrossing. The sequel is scheduled to appear later this month and I plan to read the rest of the story.

#9: Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) – Let me start by saying that I love Charles Dickens’ works! I had read Great Expectations several years ago and loved it, so when Jacqs suggested we read it for the April installment of our reading project, I was ready to go. Maybe it was the crazy schedule I was dealing with or the fact that I was reading in short spurts, but I thought I would NEVER get to the end of Pip’s adventures. Since I didn’t have the luxury of time to dive into Dickens’ thorough descriptions, I found myself resenting the words. This was not a good experience for me at all. I’m just thankful that I have had many good reading experiences with the master and won’t allow this reading to influence my opinion of his works. What’s up next for Jacqs and me? We’re reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in May. As soon as finals are over next week, I’ll be diving in to this novel that has always intrigued me, but has never actually made it into my “to read” stack.

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