Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Salon: First Reviews of 2011

It’s time for Sunday Salon where we gather around our computers to share some of the interesting books we’ve read recently.

This being the first Sunday Salon of 2011, I’d like to tell you about the last book I read in 2010 and the first book I finished in 2011. In keeping with encouraging others to read, New Year’s Eve I gave books to my young cousins so they each had a new book to begin 2011 with. The last book I read in 2010 was among those I passed on to them.

SOPHIA’S DREAM by Land Wilson

This is a delightful book to help parents explain to young children the environmental impact on the earth in a manner they can understand.

Sophia befriends the moon and one night notices that he is blue. When she asks what’s wrong, the moon tells her to visit him in her dreams. That night Sophia dreams of flying to moon and there she can see what he sees - earth in despair because of dirty water, land and air. The moon explains how one person can make a difference in helping the earth.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Sue Cornelison. The illustrations have a magical quality and would make beautiful pictures for a child’s room.

Author Land Wilson delivers an important message in a way children will remember and learn from. Be sure to check out the book trailer at the end of this post.

Sophia‘s Dream by Land Wilson, Illustrations by Sue Cornelison, Little Pickle Press, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-9829938-1-1, Hardcover, 32 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I won this book from the The Blood-Red Pencil. I wasn’t asked to do a review of the book, but thought it would be a wonderful addition to any child’s library and wanted to share my thoughts on it. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Now a book I started in 2010 and finished 1-1-11.

AND MANY NAPS) by Lou Belcher

This was a book I looked forward to reading but had reservations about at the same time. The reservations came from me being tender-hearted, not from my uncertainty about the subject or the author's writing.

Author Lou Belcher shares her thoughts on living with her cat, Max, for the majority of his 18½ years of life. The author began the book before Max’s passing, but didn’t finish it until several years afterwards.

This is a must read for any cat (or animal) lover. If you are ’owned’ by a cat, you will be able to relate to a number of Max’s adventures. In fact, during most of the time I was reading THE ZEN OF MAX, I was comforted by my two darlings (Little One and Gum Drop) taking turns lying in my lap.

The author tells how Max came to be a part of her life and how the bond between them grew. She also tells how Max gave love and support to her ailing mother prior to her passing away. In addition, the author explains how Max became known as 'Max the Quilt Cat’ and includes several photos of Max at different stages of his life.

Throughout the book are 'Lessons Learned’ from Max. Two of my favorites are:
* “Sometimes when you think someone is pretending to love you more than they do, they end up loving you as much as you could hope for.”
* “Sometimes it’s enough just to be touching someone else.”

Max and Lou - their journey is one of laughter, love, learning, and a few tears. Yes I did have to have a box of tissue handy, but for the most part it’s an uplifting and funny book. It will tug at your heart strings while making you appreciate your four-legged furry family that much more.

THE ZEN OF MAX is a wonderful example of how we can learn love, understanding, and patience from our cats.

Max now has his own blog, and a portion of the proceeds from THE ZEN OF MAX will go to agencies devoted to finding forever homes for pets.

The Zen of Max (A Memoir of Great Wisdom and Many Naps) by Lou Belcher, CreateSpace, @2010, ISBN: 9781456310998, Paperback, 128 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Now here’s the book trailer for Sophia’s Dream, enjoy.


  1. Happy New Year-I am going to read the Max book.

  2. Esme, Happy New Year to you too. Since you love kitties, I think you'll enjoy THE ZEN OF MAX.

  3. Two lovely sounding books. Thanks for the review. Perfect gifts for two people in my life.

  4. I can relate to the Zen of max. Animals have a lot to teach us as well as being wonderful friends and companions. I miss my Harvey. Happy New Year of reading!

  5. That Zen books has a great cover!

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Have a wonderful reading 2011!!!

    Here is my Sunday Salon post!

  6. Mason - Thanks for these reviews. I'm such a big fan of anyone who writes books that get children to want to read so I appreciate it when you review a children's book. And anyone who's ever loved a pet can, I'm sure, appreciate Lou Belcher's journey with Max. Thanks for sharing these!

  7. Glynis, these are perfect books for gifts. In addition to being good reads, they will also both inspire the reader.

    Harvee, I so agree that animals have a lot to teach us. I don't think one ever gets over losing a four-legged family member, you just adjust and go on with wonderful memories.

    Gautami, Max's book cover is cute. It makes you wonder what he's up to. Happy New Year to you and your family too.

    Margot, thanks for the kind words. I'm learning a new appreciation for children's books through the eyes of wanting my young cousins to enjoy reading as much as I do. And you're right about Lou and Max's journey together - animal lovers will be able to relate.

  8. ah, SOPHIA'S DREAM sounds like a very intelligent and socially responsible book, I love it!

  9. Both of these books sound quite worthy - I look forward to finding and reading them! Thanks for your care in giving us reviews - it is very helpful.

  10. I love the idea of giving books for New Year's Eve! Happy New Year!

  11. Dez, Sophia's Deam is all of that but presented in a way youngsters can understand and relate to.

    Jan, thanks for the kind words. I hope you enjoy both of these books as much as I did.

    Kathy, I really hadn't plan it that way. It was just a time we all always gather together. But looking at it now, it might be a great new tradition to add to our gather each year. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  12. Oh, these books sound wonderful! I like the idea of The Zen of Max...I know that cats add so much to a person's journey. I wonder if the reverse is true?

    I like to think so.

    Here's my salon:

  13. I know to people in my family that would like one of each, myself I would drift towards the Zen of Max not having any children and a fondness for animals.

    Great Post great read

  14. Laurel-Rain, cats do add so much to your lives. I hope we add to their's too.

    Dempsey, not having children myself I have a great fondness for animals too. Our four-legged friends are family to us. Welcome to Thoughts in Progress.

  15. I read, reviewed and LOVED "The Zen of Max" as well....great review!!

  16. Mason- these books sound lovely. I admire the fact that you read in such a varied genre. Thanks for posting these reviews.

  17. Good post. Sofia's Dream is on my to buy list for my grandchildren. But they are still ripping their books so I must wait a little longer.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  18. The first book would have fit in perfectly with a unit I just finished teaching at school! Thanks :)

  19. Hi Mason .. Sofia's Dream - Blue Moon .. sounds such a good idea to explain to youngsters .. while Lou's book on her Max also obviously makes a good read ..

    Thanks - love the thought of these two books .. cheers Hilary

  20. The Zen of Max sounds like a great read.

    Happy New year to you

  21. My cat has been looking for something to read! Thanks for the reviews.

  22. These both sound like enjoyable reads. I buy books for my grand-niece and nephews for Christmas and birthdays, and I always read them before I wrap them for mailing (just to make sure they're appropriate, of course).

  23. These both sound like wonderful books to read. We seem to be "owned" by our cat, so I think I need to make sure I read The Zen of Max.

  24. I loved The Zen of Max - a wonderful memoir about a wonderful cat.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.