Category: Book Reviews

Lessons From Bird by Bird By Anne Lamott Featured Image

Lessons from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

My dream of publishing a full-length novel is a dream that’s still sitting somewhere off in the future, waiting for me to finally attain it. I find it so much easier to sit down and write a short blog multiple times a week than to really dive into the multi-year task of writing a full book. I know that creative writing can be a different process for every writer, but I also recognize the value of learning from authors that have been successful in the past. So today I’m going to take some time to share a few of the lessons from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Read more

Three Historical Fiction Books for Teens Featured Image

Three Historical Fiction Books for Teens

I’m going to start this post with a grain (or two) of salt. I am not a parent. And while I dream of being one in the future, it’s impossible for me to put myself in any parent’s shoes. All I can think about, for the time being, is how I will raise my children when the time comes. For me, I want reading to be a big part of my kid’s lives. So, if you’re looking to pull your teen away from video games and offer them an alternative (dare I say healthier?) way to spend their downtime, consider these three historical fiction books for teens.

The Outlaws of Sherwood

historical fiction books for teens - the outlaws of sherwood

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The Outlaws of Sherwood is written by New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley. In this 368-page book, McKinley dives into the classic story of Robin Hood, but she puts her own contemporary spin on the events that we all came to know and love as kids. One of the major areas she explores comes in the form of Maid Marian playing a more prominent role as one of Robin’s best archers.

One of the surprises of this book is that Robin Hood himself doesn’t actually play a prominent role. While you may have deciphered that from the title alone, rest assured that Robin is still the centerpiece of this tale and the figure upon which many of the relationships are built. McKinley, however, does an amazing job moving away from the storybook heroism that underlines so many of the Robin Hood adventures we grew up with. Instead, she presents a much grittier, truer-to-life version of some of the most infamous deeds of The Outlaws of Sherwood.

Troy

historical fiction books for teens - troy

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Troy is written by Adéle Geras. While so many of us are familiar with the tale of Troy and its downfall, so much of that history (or dramatization of it) has been shaped by the famous Hollywood movie in which Brad Pitt plays the leading role of Achilles. Although I do love that movie, the degree to which you might call it “historically accurate” is certainly debatable.

In this 358-page book, Geras writes from the perspective of the women of Troy. She pulls from Greek mythology to weave the tale of two sisters who are sent by Aphrodite to put an end to the 10-year Siege of Troy, of which the goddess has tired. The women of Troy are weary of tending the wounded, the men are tired of fighting, and the gods find their usual way of stirring things up. The sisters follow a bloody path to a gut-wrenching truth: “In the fury of war, love strikes the deadliest blows.”

Old Magic

historical fiction books for teens - old magic

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Old Magic is written by Marianne Curley. It is a 317-page novel that features two main characters: Jarrod Thornton and Kate Warren. Kate can’t figure out why she’s so attracted to the new guy. His entrance into this novel is quickly proceeded by the revealing of his supernatural powers. The struggle is, however, that only Kate believes that his powers exist.

But as they grow, Jarrod begins to take Kate’s suggestions more seriously and, at the same time, they’re relationship grows closer. Together, they set out on a journey that tests their connection and unveils secrets about Jarrod’s past; events that have haunted his family for generations.

The teens have to stick together to battle unimaginable forces in an effort to change the past and, ultimately, shape their futures. Curley also weaves time travel into this epic, and magical, story. But fair warning: if you don’t believe, it’ll be hard for you to follow Kate and Jarrod on their mysterious journey.

Why History Is Important

Who says magic isn’t real? Who says that the women of Troy didn’t play the pivotal role in finally ending the war? Who says Marian wasn’t the absolute best archer in Robin Hood’s merry band of outlaws? The authors of these books offer these ideas and many others. But they also back them up with some important pieces of our human history.

History teaches us where we’ve been so that we can forge a better path forward. For our young generations, understanding the mistakes of the past is critical if we are to avoid making them again in the future. I know that I had trouble concentrating on history in school. Memorizing dates and events was monotonous and required more memory power than I wanted to give.

But having history presented to us in the form of a fictional story is a different thing altogether. It allows us to enter a narrative and, often, we don’t even realize how much we’ve picked up about significant historical events. Understanding the events of history will help us build a better, brighter future. And so, books like these three are vital to our healthy progress.

Your Turn!

Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest The Outlaws of Sherwood, Troy, and/or Old Magic for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the brief reviews of each, I hope you know that they are by no means full summaries of the events and characters contained within each. If you’ve read any of these selections already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from them.

Also, I’d love to hear what other types of books you’d like to see me review on this site. I’m always looking for new books to read and review. My only regret is that my reading list tends to grow much faster than I’m able to check items off of it, so if you do leave me a suggestion, I appreciate your patience as I dive into the many books on my shelves!

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond hastily. I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do!

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

tucker@ballisterwriting.com

A Slaughterhouse Five Summary Featured Image

A Slaughterhouse Five Summary

My father recommended this book to me some time ago and I had started it but quickly fizzled out. It had actually been serving as a placeholder for a light in the window sill for quite some time before I finally picked it up again recently. Then, I went on a 6-day backpacking trip and read the whole thing pretty much straight through. This is my Slaughterhouse Five summary.

slaughterhouse five summary - front cover
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The Main Character

The main character’s name is Billy Pilgrim. Vonnegut portrays him as quite the feeble character throughout his travels, both on Earth and afar. Billy serves in World War II and comes away quite scarred by the experience, although he doesn’t really allow that to be well-known.

Eventually, Billy attends dental school and becomes a dentist. He marries a rich girl and starts himself up a steady, lucrative dental practice. This, however, is only a small part of Billy’s story. He’s a unique character in that, early in his life, Billy becomes “unstuck” in time. I’ll explain that a little more in a bit.

The Plot Line

Billy’s storyline jumps around in time just like he does (again, more on that momentarily). There’s the time he spends behind enemy lines in the war, trudging through snow with horrendous footwear. Then there’s his capture and subsequent detainment in a POW camp along with several hundred American soldiers.

There’s the time he spent in a work camp in Dresden, Germany, where he witnessed the aftermath of the infamous firebombing of that city. Then there’s his abduction by an alien species and subsequent years spent living as what amounts to a zoo specimen on their planet.

Throughout his travels and escapades, both on Earth and beyond, Billy grapples with questions about the true nature of time and the meaning of existence. Vonnegut’s style embodies his character perfectly. Although this is far from a linear tale, the fact that it does make the frequent jumps that it does serve to hold the readers’ attention and keep us asking, “What could possibly come next?”

More On This Idea of Coming “Unstuck”

So, as I mentioned, and as Vonnegut starts, “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.” This is to say that, Billy’s timeline is far from linear, although it would only be perceived as such by those around him. Billy, though, could be in 1946 at one moment and 1959 at another. He has no control over his “jumps” and his actions in the “past” are fruitless to change the outcome of his “future.”

Billy first came “unstuck” in 1944, as the story goes. As a result of his being “unstuck”, Billy reports to have seen his birth and death many times and to randomly visit all the events in between. His alien abduction, of course, could have had some effect on Billy’s coming “unstuck”, but he reports that his first experience with “time travel” came long before he was kidnapped.

And so, Billy doesn’t know when he’ll change time and he has no control over where he goes. As you might imagine, this can be a difficult thing to deal with, but I’ll let Billy (and probably more accurately, Kurt) fill you in more on the details of this tricky thing.

My Favorite Quotes

1. “People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore.”

This quote is included in Chapter One, which serves as Vonnegut’s introduction to a book that he’s certain will be a total failure. We, of course, know that not to be true now. But it’s certainly an interesting statement on the time and energy we spend looking back, both on failures and successes, and whether that time is well-spent or whether we’d be better off focusing (and moving) forward.

2. “There was a soft drink bottle on the windowsill. Its label boasted that it contained no nourishment whatsoever.”

I included this quote (from Chapter 4) because it gives a sense of Vonnegut’s comic style, which I found to be very insightful and timely. I find a sense of humor to be increasingly important to my author selections (Tom Robbins, Edward Abbey, Kurt Vonnegut, to mention a few recents). If a book can’t make you laugh, it sure better make you cry. And ideally, they both make you think.

3. “Everything is all right. And everybody has to do exactly what he does. I learned that on Tralfalmadore.”

I was trying not to mention it, but there it is: the name of the planet to which Billy is kidnapped. The Tralfalmadorians, although not responsible for Billy’s coming unstuck in time, do teach him quite a bit about the nature of time (and existence, for that matter). Vonnegut uses this alien species to send a few powerful messages about who we are and what we’re all doing here.

Final Verdict

slaughterhouse five summary - back cover

I highly recommend reading and digesting this book! It’s only 215 pages in total and once you get going it’s so easy to roll right on through. The spastic nature of Billy (and Vonnegut’s timeline) make it easy for the reader to stay engaged and keep wanting more. This isn’t to mention that Vonnegut will make you think hard about the true nature of time, how precious of a resource it really is, and what our purpose is here on Earth.

By my account, Slaughterhouse Five is a comedic look into the minutia of our lives, a historically significant piece detailing several aspects of World War II, and a commentary on the one thing we can’t get back when we lose it: time. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend buying a paperback version on Amazon or Better World Books.

Your Turn!

Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest Slaughterhouse Five for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the quotes I pulled from it and highlighted here, this is by no means a complete review. If you’ve read this selection already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond hastily. I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do!

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

tucker@ballisterwriting.com

 

 

 

 

True North Book Review Featured Image

True North Book Review

Roger Rooney’s bio describes him as a public servant turned comedian turned author. He served as the Senior Researcher for a time for the Refugee Review Tribunal, where he sat on the China and South-East Asia desk. What is clear in reading his first book is that he spent years researching the background of the story in question in order to provide you (the reader) with the most accurate picture possible. I hope you enjoy this True North book review!

true north book review - front cover

Brief Overview

True North is set in 1962 during one of the heaviest periods of conflict in the Vietnam War. It follows leading characters on both sides of the fight and details the roles of several governments, “revolution” groups, and certain shadowy figures with questionable allegiances.

It is also a story of an unlikely love story developing in a region that’s otherwise embroiled in death, tragedy, and instability. I particularly enjoyed Rooney’s portrayal of the war from both sides and his ability to make you remember that “good” and “bad” are often not so far apart as we are sometimes led to believe.

Main Characters

The leading male character in the book is Australian Army Adviser Lieutenant Jack Burns. His marching orders at the beginning of the book are to train soldiers from the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) to fight more effectively against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces. He realizes, as time passes, that the distinction between the two is not so clear-cut.

The leading female character is Tran. She is a recruited soldier in the NVA and has joined the “communist cause” along with her brother. Although she joins with enthusiasm to defend Vietnam against “foreign invaders”, she often has doubts about the tactics of her commanding officers and fears for the life of her brother, as well as her own.

The Love Story

As Jack trains his soldiers and Tran struggles with her place amongst her fellow soldiers, a battle is brewing. The bulk of the military fighting in True North culminates at the Battle of Ap Bac, where Tran’s unit elects to vie for a stronghold in a village that had previously been under the South’s Strategic Hamlet program. Jack is fighting on the front lines for ARVN and witnessing firsthand the chaos and lack of organization.

Despite the NVA’s entrenched position at Ap Bac and heavy casualties suffered by ARVN, Jack’s side winds up calling in the air strike that essentially puts an end to the battle. In the immediate aftermath, however, our star-crossed lovers meet for the first time when Jack captures a young, pretty NVA POW.

Their initial meeting is short-lived, however, as an unexpected turn dramatically changes their involvement in the rest of the war. As readers, we find ourselves searching for a way to reunite them as other events and turmoil spread throughout Saigon.

My Favorite Quotes

It’s one of my habits to highlight passages that stand out to me whenever I’m reading a new book. These are three of my favorite quotes from True North:

1. “He knew that in WWII it took 5000 rounds of ammo to kill one person. Few soldiers actually killed anyone. Fewer had even lined a man up in their gunsights. In Vietnam, the fighting would be done up close and everyone would be a killer. Tonight had been his initiation.”

The paragraph that preceded this quote hit me because it really gave a clear picture of what the fighting might have been like in the Vietnam War. I had also never really considered the fact (although it’s obvious now) that every war is fought differently and, as such, war veterans from different eras most likely have many different experiences to overcome when they return home.

2. “She had become part of a machine that had set its sights on toppling the southern government by stripping down its people, all in the name of progress. Modernity would be the new feudalism.”

Feudalism (as defined by Merriam-Webster) is “the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal with all land held in fee and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship, and forfeiture.”

For me, this quote (from Tran) highlights the dangers of how organizations and systems created by humans can, in turn, become quite controlling of humans. Tran recognizes that it is a machine that will not cease to exist until it has achieved its end, or it has been completely destroyed.

3. “The cycle of ying and yang is not to be celebrated. It is an eternal progression — virtue turns into benevolence, which inevitably grows into righteousness. Confucian rituals demand unthinking loyalty and trust. And blind trust is the beginning of disorder.”

I love that Rooney chose to pull from some of Alan Watts’ teachings when creating his Coconut Monk character. Although the Coconut Monk plays only a small role in the overall plot of the book, many parts of the chapter introducing him stood out to me, with this quote rising to the top. It speaks for itself, and it challenges the reader to think about the ways in which blind trust are affecting our world today.

My Rating

Overall, Roger Rooney’s True North receives a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It took me a while to get into the storyline, I’ll admit, but once I did, it certainly was a page-turner. I found myself eager to learn the dramatic conclusion to Tran and Jack’s love story, and every time I thought I had a beat on how things were going to shake out, I was thrown for another twist. As a fan of mystery, romance, and history, this story checked all of those boxes and I only wished for an alternative ending, despite the fact that I know this is a selfish wish. Alas, as readers I think we often turn to books to immerse ourselves in the imaginations of others and I certainly enjoyed the journey of True North.

true north book review - front cover

Your Turn!

Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest True North for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the quotes I pulled from it and highlighted here, this is by no means a complete review. If you’ve read this selection already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond hastily. I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do!

Finally, I’d like to note that I am extremely humbled to have been contacted by the author of True North and gifted a free digital version of his book to review. If you have a book that you’d like me to read and review, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting stories.

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

tucker@ballisterwriting.com

A Review of Villa Incognito Featured Image

A Review of Villa Incognito

Tom Robbins’ Villa Incognito centers on American MIAs that chose to remain missing after the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Add in four generations of alluring women that share a mysterious connection to a famous figure from Japanese folklore and you can only begin to imagine the possibilities. This review of Villa Incognito will cover just enough to hook you in, but not too much to give anything away.

review of villa incognito - front cover

Main Characters – Men

The starring actors in this Robbins play are three American veterans that went missing-in-action during the Vietnam War. They are Dern V. Foley, Mars Albert Stubblefield, and Dickie Lee Goldwire. They are each unique in their own manner, and Stubblefield is largely viewed as the group’s unofficial leader. Robbins uses the idea of American soldiers who decide to remain lost (rather than return to their home country) to challenge the U.S. government’s stance on foreign warfare, the commitment of soldiers, and the manner in which many veterans are treated upon returning home.

There is also another male figure that plays a central role in this play, although this figure is not human. Tanuki is a mysterious figure central to Japanese folklore. Tanuki is a badger-like creature with an addiction to sake and the ability to shape-shift. Tanuki’s affair with a Japanese farm-girl is the act that sets this entire play in motion.

Main Characters – Ladies

The starring female actors in this book are Lisa Ko and the Goldwire sisters, Bootsey and Pru. The Goldwire sisters are actually the U.S.-based characters in this drama and have to deal with the officials from the American military and CIA in their search for the missing (but unwilling to be found) men.

Lisa Ko is the lover of both Goldwire and Stubblefield. She is a fiercely independent woman, however, and she enjoys the company of both men without a real willingness to commit to either. She holds a secret key to the unfolding of this story, and it’s a key that even she is discovering as the plot unfurls itself.

The Big Debacle

The missing American MIAs are quite happy with their situation in Vietnam and Laos when the book begins. But things become complicated when one of them (Dern V. Foley disguised as a priest) is arrested with an unimpressive collection of heroin taped to his body. This creates obvious complications for the band. But there are moving parts to this story that are unknown even to them.

Robbins (in his typical fashion) unveils twist after twist to this fascinating story and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Only by digesting the full story will you be able to find out the significance of the chrysanthemum seed embedded in the roof of one of the main character’s mouths, among other mysteries!

Three of My Favorite Quotes

1. “There is no such thing as a weird human being. It’s just that some people require more understanding than others.”

We are all unique. Life is often a long test of our patience. And some of us require more patience than others, while some of us also need to have more patience with ourselves and allow our lives to unfold in good time. Nothing good comes of forcing it.

2. “Hard times and funky living can season the soul, true enough, but joy is the yeast that makes it rise.”

Trials and tribulations harden us to the elements. Struggles make us appreciate the good times. It is in those joyous moments that we feel light and free. It is when we find the happiness that we so often search for and, as this quote suggests, it is when we rise up and embrace the best in ourselves.

3. “A real villain is always preferable to a fake hero.”

As is Robbins’ nature, he makes a statement here about the importance of genuine characters. As Robbins seems to believe, it’s better to be your genuine self (whatever that means) than to change yourself in order to impress or appease others.

Why It’s A MUST-Read

One of the central themes of so many of Robbins’ books that I identify with is the idea that mystery is essential to the enjoyment of life. It is our quest to find answers and learn more that keeps us going. This is why I love so many of Robbins’ books. They’re always full of mystery and keep you guessing up to the very end.

For me, Robbins’ books can take anywhere from 60 to 100 pages to really hook you in. But I must implore you to stick with it through this point. Once you’re hooked, it’ll be nearly impossible to put it down. You’ll be longing to know the mystery behind the chrysanthemum seed, the connection between Tanuki and the main characters, and what is perhaps the world’s most extreme high-wire act.

I love Robbins’ books because they also do more than just provide a mystery to solve. He always does an amazing job weaving in impactful statements about politics, religion, love, and so many of the big themes that we’re all searching for answers to. Robbins will introduce perspectives that will make you think more critically than ever, all while enjoying a laugh-out-loud story.

Your Turn!

Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest Villa Incognito for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the quotes I pulled from it and highlighted here, this is by no means a complete review. If you’ve read this selection already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.

review of villa incognito - front cover

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

tucker@ballisterwriting.com

Quotes from The Tao of Pooh Featured Image

5 Quotes from the Tao of Pooh

This book came to me at a time when I was running around (seemingly) like crazy for my job in Austin, Texas. I have long been enamored with learning more about Eastern philosophy, and the idea of having it framed by one of my favorite childhood stories was too much to resist. So, today, I’m going to share and discuss five quotes from The Tao of Pooh.

quotes from the tao of pooh - front cover

Quote #1

“Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet.”

This quote, for me, brings up two questions: “Do I understand life?” and “Am I utilizing it for what it is?” Life, for me, is an opportunity to experiment, in so far as those experiments don’t do unnecessary and irreparable harm to others. It is also a great blessing to experience the love of others and to give your love to others. Finally, it is a chance to explore your creative passions and leave behind a legacy that inspires future generations to explore theirs as well.

Quote #2

“The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise. “ – Lao Tse, Tao de Ching

This quote is a statement on book knowledge versus knowledge gained from direct experience. There are pros and cons to both. We (the lucky ones) have more access to knowledge than the generations that have come before us, but there will always be a vast amount of knowledge that can only be gained by going out into the world, experimenting and failing, and learning from our experiences.

Quote #3

“A scholar named Wang

Laughed at my poems.

The accents are wrong,

He said,

Too many beats;

The meter is poor,

The wording impulsive.

I laugh at his poems,

As he laughs at mine.

They read like

The words of a blind man

Describing the sun.” -Han-Shan

In building off the previous quote, this poem brings us a real-life example to analyze. The scholar (Wang, in this case) has clearly studied the ins and outs of poetry. He knows how to structure poems, what meter to use for different situations, where to place his accents, how many beats to use, and how to be selective and purposeful with his wording.

But, in the eyes of Han-Shan (who perhaps comes from a less scholarly background), Wang’s studies have not prepared him to write poetry that truly describes the world around him and shares it with others. He lacks the experience to make his words, beat, and meter jump off the page, which may very well be the point of poetry after all.

Quote #4

“Knowledge and Experience do not necessarily speak the same language. But isn’t the knowledge that comes from experience more valuable than the knowledge that doesn’t?”

Indeed, this is the question, isn’t it? From my experience (cough, no pun intended), I was only able to learn how to apply the knowledge I gained in traditional school settings by going out and attempting to apply it. I made mistakes. I upset bosses and co-workers and myself. It took years of experience to learn how to apply that knowledge to real-life settings.

Maybe I would have gained that same knowledge by simply jumping into the ‘experience’ without a preemptive “knowledge-downloading” phase. Maybe I would have saved myself a few years of learning curve and a few thousand dollars. But we learn by both studying and experiencing, and one of the truths that I do know is that there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk. We are always learning and growing. So there’s no sense in worrying about what might’ve been.

Quote #5

“It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around–walk through the grass, talk to the animals. That sort of thing…“Lots of people talk to animals,” said Pooh. “Maybe, but…” “Not very many listen, though,” he said. “That’s the problem,” he added.”

It seems fairly obvious to me (to plagiarize only slightly) that we all need to get outside and sniff around. We need to run our fingers through the tall grasses, smell the sweet scent of the air, and feel (and maybe even taste) the dirt. We need to commune with the animal species (that belong to the same animal kingdom to which we belong, lest we forget) in our backyards, front yards, bird feeders, and wilderness areas.

But, like Pooh says, we also need to listen. We need to listen when the migrating birds tell us that they can no longer stop in an area they’ve visited for years because it now lacks enough sustenance to make a stop worthwhile. We need to listen when the bears tell us that they’d rather spend their evenings breaking into garages to root through our trash than spending their days foraging for honey and berries.

We need to pay attention to ocean mammals beaching themselves en mass (maybe because they’re sick of all the plastic that’s floating around as they try to nurse their young). There are so many signals that Nature gives us, if we just listen.

Your Turn!

quotes from the tao of pooh - back cover

Now it’s your opportunity to read and digest The Tao of Pooh for yourself! While I hope you’ve enjoyed the quotes I pulled from it and highlighted here, this is by no means a complete review. If you’ve read this selection already, I’d love to know your thoughts, feelings, and what you took away from it.

Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.

Happy Reading!

Tucker Ballister

tucker@ballisterwriting.com