Time for Book Reviews
I’ve started and/or finished a lot of books recently. Here are some thoughts on some of them:
The Giver – This was made into a movie, but I don’t tend to go to movies that are about books I’ve read since I like to keep the images I have in my head. This book reminded me a little of the Hunger Games. It’s about that level of reading (Junior High) and it’s set in a futuristic science-fiction time period. There are no emotions and no memory, so they have one person who is allowed to have emotions and memories who can tell stories and basically “hold” the history of the society in his hands. I enjoyed the characters in the book, but it’s a serious and rather sad read, probably deliberately a commentary on what could happen if our society tried to get rid of emotions or history. It made me grateful for the way real life is even amidst the horrific stories on the news. There are many joyful and miraculous things happening around us every day if we would just have eyes to see.
Giants in the Earth – A story probably based on many true stories of Scandinavian immigrants (namely Norwegians) who made the trek from Norway to the midwest and then farther west in search of a new life and freedom on the open plain. I loved reading all of the references to Minnesota having grown up in Wisconsin and it made me grateful to have access to hot water, an electric stove, electricity, all the comforts of home that I take for granted. The psychological aspect of it was very interesting as the character development was quite good. Though I found it very slow and rather boring much of the time, there were 30-40 pages almost near the end when a minister came to visit the Norwegian settlement and his personality was so full of grace and love that I felt as if those 30-40 pages were full of light compared to the 350-400 other pages of rather dismal and dark tales.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – by Anne Bronte, one of Charlotte’s sisters, I am almost halfway done with this one. Reminding me of Jane Austen books, I’m a huge fan of well-written, British novels. My vocabulary augments when I read such literature and I begin using larger vernacular (albeit often outdated) when speaking to kin. 🙂 So far, I’ve been following the restrained love story of a widow and a young man, with long diary-like section in the middle written by the widow of her life before she met the young man. I enjoy reading about the different social classes and all of the rules of etiquette during this time period (probably sometime in the first half of the 1800s). Grateful to be reading what may be considered a classic.
The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today’s Kids – From Toddlers to Preteens – Without Threats or Punishment – I’m reading this book by Anthony E. Wolf that is quite funny and usually tells what many of us might already know, but in a very practical way, reminding us of why children do what they do and why parents make things harder than they need to be. He makes great points and though I’m not against punishments and even time outs or spankings or a quick flick on the wrist when necessary, I am learning a lot about alternative ways of parenting and especially the psychology behind it.
Before I Sleep – This is a book I got by accident because I was in a book club that was reading the book, Before I Go to Sleep. Oops! But I ended up wanting to read the whole thing because it takes place in Tampa Bay – right where I live! The main character even lives in our neighborhood, Feather Sound! It was a murder mystery raising questions about the death penalty (since someone on death row is looking like he may be innocent). Mediocre read, but entertaining. Probably full of swear words, so if that bothers you, probably not your kind of book.
Before I Go to Sleep – This is the book I read for one of my book clubs. A woman has amnesia and can’t remember ANYTHING from the day before. Every day when she wakes up, it’s a new day. It’s a thriller because pieces don’t seem to match regarding the story of how she got her amnesia as well as many other parts of her personal life. (Can’t give too much away here!) I really enjoyed learning about what is probably a real condition and based at least mostly on scientific fact and psychological findings with a thriller twist. Mediocre read like Before I Sleep and probably a lot of swear words and one very violent scene, but very unique and interesting plot. (No I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t).
Creative Counterpart – Becoming the Woman, Wife and Mother You’ve Longed to Be Reading this right now and loving it! I’ve been in a 2-3 month phase of intentionally working on being a better “woman, wife and mother” (though I don’t like how cheesy it sounds when I read it back to myself). This book has inspired me to write a couple love letters to Fabio, pray for him a whole lot more often, and just try to be a bigger support to him instead of a negative nag as I might have a tendency to do once in a while… One of my favorite sections so far is a list of questions about your spouse. I haven’t gotten to sit down with Fabio to go over them yet, but some are, “What is the happiest thing that has ever happened to your husband? What has been the hardest experience of his life? What are his secret ambitions, his goals for life? What are his deep fears?”, etc. The best thing about this book is that I’ve been looking for something like it – it has been a hidden desire in my heart to read more books on motherhood and spousehood and yet, God also knows that I’m pretty picky about these books because they either tend to be so far from reality, so full of “Christianese”, or so different from my values (or insulting to my intelligence), that I feel worse after having read them. One day, I just walked into the kitchen area at work and there sitting right in front of me was this book!