“Carve” Blogging for Books Review

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Sometime last year my husband and I decided to try our hands at whittling. Both of us had a sudden taking with it, wanting to delve into this beautiful old-fashioned hobby. After doing some internet research, we bought some whittling tools from a craft shop and tried them out on bars of soap.

Neither of us was very good. And we haven’t magically become good at it since, either.

But then I came across this book, and I think it’s going to be an excellent assistant as I dive back into the world of whittling. Abrantes gives clear, simple instructions and provides a range of projects (easy, intermediate, and hard) and the templates and instructions necessary for each. I’m very eager to try out the tips and methods laid out in this book.

The book is cute and small, a perfect size to tuck in alongside a chunk of wood and a knife. If you’re looking for a simple guide to whittling, I definitely recommend this one!

 

**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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“Braving It” Blogging for Books Review

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All of my life, I have listened to my father dream aloud of this wild landscape, an untouched place where humans and nature can coexist in a brutal and beautiful way. Like my father, I have never seen Alaska–at least not yet–but after reading James Campbell’s Braving It, I feel almost as though I have.

Campbell’s writing flows effortlessly, invoking imagery of this untamed land and introducing readers to the hard lives of those who live in the bush of Alaska. Heimo and Edna’s world is foreign to most of us, as their days are consumed with the most basic tasks of survival. Into this world, Campbell and his daughter, Aidan, are thrust, and alongside them the reader catches a glimpse of how harsh, hard, and rewarding this life can be.

I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the landscape, flora and fauna alike, of this land I have yet to see. Similarly it was captivating to learn the details of life in the rugged Interior of Alaska. At times, the recounted conversations in the book felt contrived, but overall I felt rooted in the experiences of Campbell and his daughter.

For those of us who have yet to, or may never experience Alaska and this quickly-disappearing way of life, Braving It is an invaluable account.

 

**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

“We Stood Upon Stars” Blogging for Books Review

“Mountaintops give vision to life but cannot sustain it.”

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Roger W. Thompson’s We Stood Upon Stars is on the surface a sweeping array of travel memoirs in essay form. But woven throughout the collection are strands of self-discovery, discovering God, familial ties, and the experiences that define and shape Thompson–and all of us.

Rooted in camping, fishing, and outdoor adventuring experiences, Stars is packed with beautiful descriptions of creation, from famous sites like Old Faithful to quiet, secret fishing holes. In Thompson’s rich language, beautiful scenes unfold before the reader — vistas and mountains, oceans and lakes, small towns and isolated plains. You truly can see each place he visits through his detailed prose.

Woven throughout are Thompson’s thoughts on masculinity, at times toxic, and his desire to see his sons become men. As a female reader, I didn’t always connect–and at times disagreed–with this strand of the book. However, I appreciated Thompson’s recognition that his ideas about masculinity and manhood are often twisted, and that the core of what he wants to teach his sons is reliability, presence, and curiosity.

Stars is quietly religious as we share in some beautiful moments of Thompson’s life as he encounters God out in creation. As a reader who also seeks the wildness and openness of the outdoors as a way to encounter God, I connected with this element of Thompson’s essays.

More than merely a travel memoir, Stars is a beautiful collection accounting the ways in which the places we go, and the experiences we have there, become who we are.

**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.