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Plain and Simple: A Woman's Journey to the Amish

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

"I had an obsession with the Amish. Plan and simple. Objectively it made no sense. I, who worked hard at being special, fell in love with a people who valued being ordinary." So begins Sue bender's... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Oh man, I can't believe I'm reviewing a 20yo book

I read Plain and Simple when it was first published in 1991. I can't believe it took me this long to review it. Sue Bender, a Berkeley artist and mother of two with grad degrees from both Harvard and Berkeley, just up and left town one day and went east to spent time with the Amish. Not as easy as it sounds, folks, because the Amish are intensely private people who don't routinely welcome outsiders. Somehow, however, Bender managed to convince two families to take her into the folds of their farming communities in Iowa and Ohio. She was transformed - and in this book that reflects the plain and simple lifestyle of the Simple Folk, she explains why and how this transformation occurred and what it means to her now.Bender had always lived a life of moving from one list item to another, checking things off from the top only to add more at the bottom. The Amish, not unlike the Zen Buddhists, savor and honor each daily task, finding meaning within the most mundane chores. A book as meaningful and beautifully crafted as an Amish quilt, Plain and Simple deserves to be treasured.

Re-evaluating Creativity

This book quite simple changed my perspective on my art and creativity. I highly recommend this book to any artist, writer, or other creative person, whether they're successfully pursuing their calling, or still questioning the impact of creativity in their lives. In addition to being insightful in a way I've never before considered, this book is a fascinating tale of the Amish, or more accurately, a fascinating critique of the "English" or non-Amish people by the Amish themselves. In many of scenarios the book shows such a sharp contrast to the "English" way of life, that Ms. Bender could almost have being living in a completely foreign country than a segment of America's population.

A Search Leads to Answers, some yes. some no...nevertheless

there are, indeed, answers...try reading this book. Its present day American anthropology, and at the least, a personal experience that you'll relate to, and...yes, not relate to. But this book will give you inspiration, and make you question the basics of your own life.This is personal book. A journal. A journey.It has a distinct artist flavor to it, (I highly recommend it to artists or those of artist nature and intensity). Some people won't like it. They'll not understand the culture which is indeed, highly controversial, even amoung those who are close neighbors to the Amish, and yes, even among the Amish themselves. You might be intrigued, however, if "Amish" is something new to you.I grew up in the vicinity of an Amish community that the author describes, and I still visit the area regularly. My family has always deeply appreciated their beliefs, even though my family was from an entirely different culture/religion. Sometimes, many times, we didn't understand...but we recognized that they could create what we couldn't do. My family has many Amish quilts, we've eaten many Amish meals, purchased many of their of our favorites being one family's delicious Angel Food cakes (all made without electricity). I've seen the Amish plowing their fields, not long after the snow has melted (the last time was 11 months ago), with a team of magnificent horses on a hand-hewn plow that looks like something from a museum (in our culture)...and the scene...yes, so lovely... a scene like a painting that's come to life.... It is easy for people to imagine Van Gogh standing alongside the wooden fence which marks the boundry between horse-drawn plow and automobiles, painting quickly, watching the spirit slowly long can the Amish avoid technology? I knew of the Amish, before moving to Boston, and now, that, we're here in Silicon Valley. I happened on this book in the bookshop at Pacific Grove, in fact. It seemed to be a peaceful book, suited for my peaceful weekend getaway.It turned into more than that. I could relate to the author's curiousity; I could relate to the Amish from my own vague experiences; I could relate to the book as a journey of finding out how one really feels about our Self in this world that's scheduled within 15-minute segments on a Daytimer. I could relate to the importance of life's experiences that don't always involve the stock market and money.Its an easy read. Nicely experienced after a cup of tea just before bed, where you can privately sigh with a sense of true relaxation.... Yes, (sigh) slow a while, turn off the light and imagine the world you just read the morning...well.... How does it all connect? What is this odd formula that causes these small societies to produce many fine pieces of art? (Or is it, in marketing jargon, just a product?) What is it that pulls these people together? What is it that makes them try something see

A book to be read over and over for relaxation.

This book was given to me as a birthday gift by a friend with whom I was in business. Unkowingly, this friend, also named "Sue", gave me the key to relaxation. When things get hectic and chaotic in my life, I read Plain and Simple. From the time I start reading, there is a peace that comes over me and I feel so calm afterwards. The writing seems to put me where Sue was when she was visiting the Amish...the same quiet peace I feel when gazing over miles of farmland dotted with homes with barns and silos - - and no electrical poles! Unfortunately, I am not surrounded by that environment, so reading Plain and Simple brings me there! Having loaned my copy to an elderly friend who was rehabilitating after heart surgery, I waited for her response. She didn't think she could read it since she was having trouble "concentrating on more than a paragraph of anything printed". I left it with her anyway, and at my next visit, she not only thanked me profusely, but told me she was adding it to her book "gift list"! So, I knew then it was not only me who benefited from the peace of the book. My thanks to the author!

Like rain on a tin roof..

Pat Bender takes us on a wonderful journey to find that life can be plain and simple, and still enjoyable. Her curiousity with the Amish begins when she falls in love with the color schemes of their quilts. When she goes to stay with an Amish family we find ourselves wishing we were with her. It is an insightful book, making us look deep inside ourselves and wondering how we survive in all the hustle and bustle of today's society. This is definitely a book you want to put your name in..if you want it returned from all your sister-friends who NEED to read it
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