Thank you for stopping by Gurus. Jeff and I will be taking a short holiday break to be with our families. We will return right after the first of the year with a new post on Word Choice and the Common Core.

Meantime, we want to recommend two books you may enjoy reading in a quiet moment (here’s hoping you have a few of those) or sharing with a book lover friend (here’s hoping you have some of those, too):

1. Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong. This is the remarkable true story of a six-year-old boy who was kidnapped, literally torn from his mother’s arms in a Sudanese church, then taken to an internment camp to be trained as a soldier. Miraculously, he escaped–with the help of three courageous friends–running miles on bare feet to a refugee site. Against overwhelming odds, that young boy not only survived (when many did not), but grew up to become a naturalized American citizen, college graduate, flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic Team in Beijing, and professional athlete extraordinaire. His story, told in an unflinching, honest voice, is stunning and inspirational. Though this is a book for adults, it’s refreshingly (and amazingly, considering the events) free of graphic violence, and readily accessible to younger readers.

2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Surely it took some imagination to come up with this plot. The 65-year-old Harold Fry is slowly watching time, his marriage, and his life slip by when out of the blue he receives a letter from Queenie, an acquaintance and work colleague from years past. She is in poor health and may not have much time left. Harold promptly pens a reply, but on his way to mail it, decides it would be better to deliver his message in person–even though that means walking over 600 miles through rural England. Never mind that he is wholly unprepared for this trek, without proper walking shoes, clothing, food, water, money, or so much as a toothbrush. What follows is a contemporary Canterbury Tales of sorts, in which Harold encounters an array of characters, each of whom imparts a bit of life’s wisdom. And of course, like all walkers, Harold has ample time to reflect on his life, his choices, and what he holds most dear–and we, of course, get in on his internal monologue. By turns comic and deeply touching, this book takes us all on a journey of love and redemption like no other. It’s a gentle book, not an action tale: one of a kind and unforgettable.

Wishes . . .
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the parents, children, and teachers of Newtown. We wish for them, and for you, a little bit of peace on earth. We’ll see you in two weeks.