Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Catch Up Reviews (Rahab, Ruth, Phantom, and Dickens)

Tons of reading....a lot of reviews.... most recent read...and my first completely on Kindle....because it was free and immediate access...

A classic....

I thought I had read this in school, but I think it must have been just an excerpt because I had no clue what was going to happen the entire time. Yes, I know, how can a 29 year old not know the story of Pip and Estella and Miss Havisham??? Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, was a much easier read than I anticipated! There are so many timeless lessons in this book. The story of someone rising above their means, then the corruption of wealth, and the curse of debt. True friendship, plot twists, and a satisfying ending. I loved it!

Several weeks ago our book club discussed the second book in the Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers...
Unashamed is the story of Rahab. With an added twist that Salmon, the Israelite husband of Rahab, as one of the spies that she sheltered. I know, a little embellishment, but it definitely made the story a little more interesting. It is amazing how God planted faith in the heart of people who were never taught about Him. And how that faith was grafted into His family tree. Great writing again!

Then, last week we discussed story three...

Unshaken is the story of Ruth. The most fascinating fact I learned from this series, is that Rahab is Ruth's mother in law. I never thought about it, but right there in the lineage it states....Boaz, the son of Rahab and Salmon....and Ruth married Boaz...soo......there ya go! Fascinating, truly! This is another awesome telling of the story of Ruth. Not as much added to this one since it does happen to be an entire book of the Bible. This is such a quick and easy to read series, but so enlightening and faith building!

I finished our beach read! ha ha! SOOO sorry it took so long. I really enjoyed reading this book! It is supposed to be a children's book, but I can't imagine a very young child actually "getting" all the plays on words.
A boy, Milo, gets a package delivered to him that happens to be a tollbooth. A car appears near the tollbooth and he is whisked away on a journey through the land of Expectation, the island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping!) and meets many interesting people along the way. The moral of the story is that one should never be bored, there are many interesting things to do and see, if you just have the mind to do it, and nothing is impossible to you if you never know that those things are in fact impossible. That's what I got from it anyway.
I LOVE all the interesting characters and plays on words. One of my very favorites was near the end, when he is trying to bring "Rhyme and Reason" (the princesses/queens of the land) back to rule...
"Jumping clumsily from boulder to boulder and catching hold with his cruel, curving claws, was the Horrible Hopping Hindsight, a most unpleasant fellow whose eyes were in the rear and whose rear was out in front. He invariably leaped before he looked and never cared where he was going as long as he knew why he shouldn't have gone to where he'd been."

WHAT?! ha ha. As you can took me a while to get through because many of the interesting phrasings had me reading and rereading to get the full effect.

A good read.... I recommend it! There is a cartoon movie that I hope to be able to find and watch.

Now I am all caught up on my book reviews. Next on the list is Bathsheba and Mary, the last two in the lineage of grace series, and maybe something new from the library, since we just went back today after not going since before the beach. I picked up "A Cricket in Times Square" to read to the kids.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lineage of Grace: Unveiled

Book club is back in session for the summer. We are reading the Lineage of Grace Series by Francine Rivers. We discussed the first book two weeks ago, Unveiled, the story of Tamar. We are meeting tonight to discuss the second book in the series, so I thought I would write up this one first! ha ha.
This is the copy of the book most of us are reading...a five in one paperback. These books are all short, less than 100 pages each. The books follow five women who were in the lineage of Jesus. It begins with Tamar, and ends with Mary.

In Unveiled, the story is about Tamar. I was not very familiar with the story of Tamar until I read this novella. Tamar is chosen by Judah to marry is oldest son, Er. He is abusive and God strikes him dead, then Tamar (by tradition) is given to the second son, Onan. He is mean and spiteful and hates his older brother and refuses to give him an heir by Tamar, so God also strikes him dead. Judah doesn't want his last son to die as well, so he sends Tamar back home until the last son is "old enough" to wed, which is a total lie. Tamar is disgraced. She goes back home to the embarrassment of her family and many years later goes to extreme measures to ensure her rightful place in the house of Judah.

I love the way Francine Rivers tells a Bible story! She has such a way describing a woman's feelings. I know that she does extensive research into history and traditions/practices, so the things that she "adds" to the story are very likely to have happened according to that research. This was a heartbreaking story, but one with a great ending. Tamar is a great example of endurance and dedication, even when she, in her own self, probably didn't fully understand the importance of maintaining and continuing the house of Judah.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees

One of my beach reads was "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. I read it indoors and also worked on "The Phantom Tollbooth." I didn't finish either one at the beach...couldn't believe how busy we were! But, this book was in my "indoor" bag when I got home so I finished it first.

I really enjoyed this book. It is one of those "coming of age" stories. Lily, the main character, runs away from her abusive father on a journey to find out the truth about her mother, who died when Lily was very young. Another big theme of the book is racial tension in the midst of the civil rights movement, so there is tension there as Lily finds a temporary home with a family of black sisters who are beekeepers. The metaphor of the different roles of types of bees in a hive plays into the story as little excerpts at the beginning of each chapter from a "beekeeping" book.

Lily is a real and believable character. Not too "good" or "bad" to believe, but just true. The characters are are developed well and the ending is satisfying...I was kind of worried for a while.

Can't wait to see the movie now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beach Books: CHECK!

I made it to McKay's yesterday to look for some copies of The Phantom Tollbooth. They had two so I got them both. I am guessing Corey will get a digital copy, or we can pass them around or something. I am pretty sure I will be able to read in about a day or two, ha ha. I also got some other things to read as well... I hope these will be good. I've heard something about all of them, but I can't remember what it was, so I hope that it was good stuff! I better go ahead and put all these in the suitcase though, so I won't be tempted to read them all now!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two Reviews

I haven't been doing much reading for my book challenges lately. I have mainly been reading my book club selection, and picking up random titles from the library. I read these two books over the past week and a half or so...

Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
I am surprised that this one wasn't listed on the 451 Challenge...its a classic American novel of sorts. I remember reading it in the 11th grade as part of our American Literature class. It was one of the few things we read in that class that I enjoyed..not big on classic American we focused a lot on very early American authors. Anyway... Cold Sassy Tree is a "Georgia/southern life" novel. It was written in 1984 but is set in 1906, in Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia. Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia is apparently located near Commerce, for those familiar with the area. I guess our teacher chose it to give us something "local" to read. The description on the back of the book reads:

"Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia had never been a whirlpool of excitement. If the preacher's wife's petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. that was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson--a woman half his age, and worse yet, a Yankee! On that day, fourteen year old Will Tweedy's adventures began and an unimpeachably pious, deliciously irreverent town came to life."

I enjoyed reading this again! It has some really funny parts, and is also very real parts from the narrator's (Will Tweedy's) personal perspective. I noticed that there is was a sequel printed after the author's death...I will have to see if I can find it! You definitely leave this book wanting to know more about Will Tweedy and where he will eventually end up.

"A Woman's Place," by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin is a christian fiction author that I always enjoy reading. She isn't quite as heavy as Francine Rivers, but is miles ahead of Beverly Lewis and Lori Wick on the "depth" scale. I like historical fiction like this... mostly story using history to enhance the plot. I don't enjoy historical fiction that reads like a textbook for pages at a time. ugh.
This is the story of four women who all take jobs at the local navy shipyard to help build ships for World War 2. They come from very different backgrounds and each chapter is titled by one of their names and tells a little about their life and perspective. Virginia: a bored and neglected housewife, Rosa: a girl who had a very rough childhood now living with her new in-laws during her husband's deployment in the war, Helen: a rich heiress, middle aged never married former school teacher, and Jean: an independent, spirited 19 year old girl who doesn't just want to settle down and have kids.
They all work together in the shipyard and the book tells about their friendships developing and their lives during the war.
I greatly enjoyed it. It isn't one of those "one big event" type books, but tells several years worth of events and trials in their lives.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beach Read Chosen!

Okay...for lack of extreme opinions among the beach goers, I am going to go ahead and pick the winner: The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. I will try to get up to McKay's to find some copies, but I think Corey will probably buy a digital version (though I think taking a Kindle on the beach is a bad idea....he won't be convinced). If anyone wants me to find you a copy let me know. I am hoping and guessing I will be able to find this book easily at the used book store. Looking forward to should be a quick read. I may pick up some of the other titles as well for myself since I want to read several of them anyway. Don't start early!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beach Read "Semi-Finals"

I decided to share more info on the books that were mentioned more than once in the beach read poll. I included a description and the approximate number of pages from the amazon ad, as well as how many mentions it got in the original poll. For comparison: Gone With the Wind has 1,024 pages. I started taking out all the blue linked words but it got to be too much trouble, so I left them. Also, I didn't include any books that any of us have read before. I also included if there is a movie version.

2 mentions
approximately 255 pages
animated film

from Wikipedia: "The Phantom Tollbooth is a children's adventure novel and a modern fairy tale published in 1961, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. It tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth one afternoon and, having nothing better to do, drives through. He finds himself in the Kingdom of Wisdom. There he accepts a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom, acquires two faithful companions, and has many adventures. The book is full of puns, and many events, like Milo's sudden jump to the Island of Conclusions, are the consequences of taking English Language Idioms literally.

2 mentions
approximately 560 pages
no film
from Wikipedia: "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values is the first of Robert M. Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality. The 1974 book describes, in first person, a 17-day motorcycle journey across the United States by the author (though he is not identified in the book) and his son Chris, joined for the first nine days by close friends John and Sylvia Sutherland. The trip is punctuated by numerous philosophical discussions, referred to as Chautauquas by the author, on topics including epistemology, ethical emotivism and the philosophy of science."

3 mentions
approximately 400 pages
1962 film

from enotes: "Published in 1934 by New York-based publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons, Tender Is the Night is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last works. Although the novel was generally well received and has come to be regarded as one of Fitzgerald’s most important works, it was less popular at its publication than his previous novels and was considered a commercial failure. More autobiographical than his other works, Tender Is the Night tells the story of American psychologist Dick Diver and his wife, the wealthy but psychologically unstable Nicole. Set largely in the small French coastal town of Tarmes between the years 1925 and 1935, the book portrays a cast of characters typical of Fitzgerald’s fictional universe: wealthy, idle, sophisticated, and, in many ways, “troubled.”

3 mentions
180 pages
film in production

from Wikipedia: "The Giver is a 1993 soft science fiction novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian; therefore, it could be considered anti-utopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness", a plan which has also eradicated emotional" depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of "Receiver of Memory," the person who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. When Jonas meets the Giver, he is confused in many ways. The Giver is also able to break some rules, such as turning off the speaker and locking his door. As Jonas receives the memories from the previous receiver—the "Giver"—he discovers how shallow his community's life has become.

2 mentions
453 pages

from Wikipedia: "Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot. The novel follows Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier, and a number of other characters. Most events occur while the airmen of the fictional Fighting 256th (or "two to the fighting eighth power") Squadron are based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea west of Italy."

2 mentions
560 pages
film in production

from Wikipedia: "The Book Thief is set in Germany before and during World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death, who narrates the story and gives a whole new image to the "death" image we the people see. "Death" finds the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger. Liesel's story begins when she and her brother are sent to a foster home by their Communist mother when she is interned in Dachau Concentration Camp. She later arrives at the home of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, near Munich"
(this summary told the entire story, so I had to just cut it off randomly, lol)

A couple of these (I won't mention any names) seem a little depressing and heavy for the beach, so if they are chosen I will most definitely be bringing something else to read as well so I can sleep! ha ha! Make your voice heard again, and then we'll set up a final poll between the top two or three! :)