Books, Everyday

29 Gifts

29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving can Change your Life by Cami Walker

  • Self help/Memoir
  • © 2009
  • 226 pages
  • Personal rating 4/5 stars
  • Website for 29 gifts challenge

Cami Walker’s book will make you want to get up and find someone to share a gift with.  This was the feeling I got when I was only on day 4 of the 29 days of giving.  I literally had tears in my eyes and my heart opened up to the idea of joining this wonderful challenge myself.

Cami starts off the book in a rather desperate state of mind.  Only in her mid-30s, she has been battling with MS for some time now and it has taken a turn for the worst.  She is in pain all the time.  She depends on her newly married husband for almost everything and is depressed that she doesn’t feel like a part of society any longer because she doesn’t have the strength to work like she used to.  But all that starts to change when she has a meeting with her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo.  Mbali is originally from South Africa, moved to England when she was a child and now resides in Oakland, CA and works as a spiritual healer.  She was Cami’s next-door neighbor and wound up being her lifesaver.  When Mbali prescribed the 29 Gifts challenge (an African ritual) to Cami a whole new way of life opened up before her.

The 29 Gifts challenge was simply giving a gift, selflessly and effortlessly, for a 29 day span.  If you forgot a day or if you had to put too much thought into what to give or to whom, you had to start over at day 1.  The gifts did not have to be physical objects but did have to come from a place of love and kindness.  Also in order to deepen the connection, the giver is to journal about each day’s gifts and experiences.

Each chapter in the book covers a new day.  As more days of giving go by, Cami starts to understand why such a challenge was presented to her.  Things begin to change in her life.  Her health, her relationship with others and just her overall wellbeing begins to transform.

I really enjoyed this book and immediately wanted to learn more about the challenge through Cami’s website.  It’s contents make you look at life and the people you share everyday with (strangers or loved ones) in a different light.  And it goes a little deeper into the idea that the universe with provide for you if you open up to it and embrace it selflessly.  I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone.  Of course a person facing a difficult time in their life would seem like the ideal reader but honestly we all could learn something from simple, random acts of kindness.




Books, Everyday

Un Amico Italiano* Eat, Pray, Love in Rome

Un Amico Italiano (An Italian Friend) Eat, Pray Love in Rome By Luca Spaghetti

  • Memoir
  • © 2010
  • 238 pages
  • Personal Rating: 4/5 stars

“Luca Spaghetti is not only one of my favorite people in the world, but also a natural-born storyteller.” says Elizabeth Gilbert and she couldn’t be more right.

As Luca Spaghetti introduces the book and promises to his readers that he is actually a “real person” with the real surname of Spaghetti, he makes me hungry all at once.  I’m sure that’s not something he is proud of per say, but I had no idea there were so many different types of noodles!  And having the last name Spaghetti as a child makes me realize that some people have it worse than you.  (Even though I heard “Dennis the Menise” (my last name is Dennis) growing up, I cannot even imagine having a name after a tiny, thin, noodle, living in the capital of Italy!)  Kids can be so mean and things that happen in childhood can seem to haunt you through adulthood if you let them.

This book was split into three parts.  In part one, Luca tells the reader all about himself and growing up in Rome.  From his love of soccer and music, to describing the beauty and history behind Rome like only a Romain could do; he paints a picture of himself from age 7 through his 20’s.  Then in part two he tells about his travels to America and his coast to coast, Jack Keroruc style, pilgrimage.  Along the way finding a new love for American fast food and soaking in as much classic rock and country music that he can find on the radio.  And in the third part, Luca is back in Rome and this time he is the tour guide for the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert.  At first he is wondering how he ever agreed to show around a blonde, American, female, writer but over time he discovers that Liz is like no one he as ever met before and a wonderful, deep friendship is formed.

Luca makes his readers want to come and visit, or even revisit, Rome within the first couple chapters.  He tells about “secret places” that he likes to share with his friends from other countries that even some Roman’s are not familiar with.  I had to google a couple of them, such as the Piazza di Trevi and The Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola.  And I would love to have the chance to take a photograph “peaking through” the keyhole at the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta (don’t worry, it’s nothing dirty)!  Plus if you are a lover of Liz’s book, (which was my number one reason for reading this book) then it will be a great reminder of what made her trip to Rome so special.  I really enjoyed it and it was nice “behind the scenes” look into such an important character from Eat, Pray, Love.