Monday, February 27, 2012

Book #8

I was pleasantly surprised to find this book full of concepts that rang so true in my head and my heart that I had to go back and read them again.  Truth be told, I will have to go back and read the whole book again, and possibly again, to finally be able to absorb all that this book has to offer.  And that makes the book, and its message, all the more valuable!
I have always admired C.S. Lewis, not because I was well versed in his philosophies, but because like many children, I fell in love with the seven amazing books he wrote about two “Sons of Adam” and two “Daughters of Eve” that fall into a mystical land through the back of their uncle’s coat cupboard.  Many a time did I push on the walls of the back of my closet in every new house we owned…hopeful to the last that Narnia was waiting for me on the other side. 
But, as an adult, I grew to appreciate Lewis for different reasons, the main one being his candid admittance as an atheist that he was wrong.
This book, put together by the author, Terry Lindvall, PhD., with some magic of his own, shows even more to admire in Lewis; his acceptance…no, more his determination to prove, that joy is an absolute requirement of Christian faith.  This joy takes many forms, through laughter, in jest, in flippancy and satire.  All play important roles in making sure that we acknowledge what God really meant for our lives and our hearts. Suffering, heartache, disappointment and pain run rampant in our lives, in our homes away from our true home.  But God tempers all of this with incredible occasions and outburst of pure, unadulterated joy - all ours for the taking, if we are willing to look for it, accept it, and share it.
This book is no easy read.  (Here's a synopsis in more "professional" terms than my own.) It probably took me twice as long to read than it should have simply because there was literally so much to absorb.  Some of it, I can admit, was way over my head at the moment but was not completely lost to me. It still settled in my mind somewhere in a place that I can “chew” on it and decipher it in my heart to be absorbed later.
This was a life changing tome for me simply because it did surprise me with its resonance with my own beliefs – both in faith and in C.S. Lewis’s character.  I imagine, years from now, this book will be dog-eared and tattered with many a note in the margins…a sign on my bookshelf of its immense value in everyday life.
Onward and forward to Book #9!

* I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book #7

“I haven’t been in the trenches of war with these women, but I’ve been in the trenches of daily life with them, and if you ask me, that forges the stronger friendship.”p.364
A couple of friends recommended this book to me and looking back on the recommendation, I am not at all surprised.  “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” is a herald to friendship and to the spirit of all women; my two friends are perfect examples. Both of them are strong, intelligent, deeply thoughtful, and caring women, reminiscent of each and all of the characters in this book. 
And we all love to read!
I don’t know many women who do not cherish the life-long friendships they’ve formed if they’ve been blessed with them. I’m sure those that have not been so lucky pine for the security and validation of a pack of “gal-pals.” I am included in this category – after many moves and life changes, I’ve sort of given up on the dream of being part of that group of women who "will always be there."
"A few years back, when I finally got smart enough to go to a therapist, she asked me how I had held things together all these years.
It didn’t take long to come up with an answer.  ‘That’s easy.  I belong to a book club.’” p.8
Amazingly, reading this story about women who, for decades, lived and breathed and cried and screamed and laughed and lost and loved and hated and forgave together didn’t leave me feeling jaded or "jipped". Instead, I felt proud to be a woman…and thankful for the friendships I do have.  I related to so many of the women and their stories within the pages...
...and now I’m desperate to start a book club! (An entire conglomeration of "Tome Travelers!" Imagine!?!)
My only complaint about the book; it ended too quickly and there’s no list at the end of all of the books the group of friends read together over their thirty-plus years of gatherings!
(You know me and book lists!) ;)
This book about life, about friendship, about being women in this crazy world – it’s a must read, girls!
Thank you so much Heather R. and Kim W. for the recommendation.  It was a life-changer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book #6

It’s done, and it was epic.
Until now, my very favorite biographer was David Herbert Donald who wrote about my beloved Lincoln.  I was changed by the scholarly book of his that read like a novel, and it was one of the first tomes that I completed so quickly that I had to read it again to make sure it had all really been read, not just  imagined. It had stuck, but was just as good the second time.
I am excited to report that I now have another biography to set on the shelf with Mr. Donald’s.
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie.
Russia has always been sort of on the periphery of world-happenings and history for me.  But, my recent studies have left me wanting to know so much more and when I noticed Mr. Massie’s new biography coming out last Fall, it intrigued me.  His subject, a somewhat irrelevant German princess who becomes one of the most influential women in all of the world, let alone the vast Empire of Russia, absolutely intrigued me.  His book did not disappoint.  At all.
I have to write a paper on this book for my European History class this semester so I will not go into detail about the book now, but will post my paper here after it’s graded so you can see why I enjoyed it so much. 
Have even an inkling of an interest in Russian history and are looking for a good place to dive in, or just want to read an amazing story about a na├»ve and vulnerable, but incredibly determined, passionate, and intelligent empress? 
This is it!
Onward and Forward to Book #7!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book #5

An old friend from college recommended The Hunger Games to me.  I have to admit, I was a little reluctant to try it, especially considering, when I read the back of the book, the basis of the story is centered on a sort of futuristic reality TV. <Ugh.> 
I had the same reaction months ago when my younger brother suggested reading it; I totally pooh-poohed the idea.  I am apparently a complete book snob and now it’s obvious I’m going to have to apologize to my younger brother! <Ugh again.>
I have a tendency to read a couple of books at a time (I call it “Book A.D.D. – as in the attention disorder) and I had been working on a pretty hefty tome for a school report for a while when, as it tends to do, the part of my brain that craves fiction started wandering. I knew this book was classified as “Young Adult” so I assumed it would be easy reading; a nice break from the thought process of a scholarly Biography…
easy reading it might have been but I’ll tell you, it was very difficult to put down! I read the thing in a matter of hours flipping the pages feverishly well into the night…
If you’re looking for a complete synopsis of the book, you can read that here - I won’t bore you with mine. I will tell you that I was amazed at the author’s ability to create the depth of emotions I felt for the characters after just a few sentences.  This was especially true for the main character, Katniss, who quickly became very believable to me; I believed in her strength, her integrity, and her determination.  Though she was surely vulnerable, I never pitied her (I don't think she would have liked that.) I quietly, sometimes breathlessly, traveled with her through every page of the book.
Another friend of mine commented once that she had read a new book “like she used to do when she was younger”…immersed, engulfed, impatient for the resolution and therefore all else was put aside until the story was done.  That is the perfect explanation of how reading this story went for me.  Perhaps instead of labeling these good books “Young Adult” which seems to take something away from them for older audiences, they should say, “Will make you feel like a Young Adult again.”  And I am truly thankful to the author for doing just that for me.
In the end…is this book Pulitzer material?  No.
Is this the book to read if you’re looking for a life-altering story?  Probably not.
I must admit, though, that after I turned that last page, I didn’t even contemplate driving to the bookstore to buy the second book in the series…
I bought it and downloaded it onto my IPod that very moment!
Have you read it?  Did you enjoy it? Let me know!
Thanks for the suggestion, C.R.! ...and sorry I didn’t listen the first time, younger brother….<ugh>. J

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Getting Caught Up

I was going to import the reviews I'd written on the books I've read so far and reviewed on my other blog but I wrote most of them very quickly (and not to the taste of  my perfectionism.) I've also discovered the joy of "links" so instead I'll send you on a wild goose chase if you're interested in reading about:

Book #1Sherman: The Ruthless Victor by Von Hassell
Book #2:  The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (which is at the bottom of the Sherman review)
Book #3:  Redwall by Brian Jacques
Book #4:  Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

This catches me up to the review I haven't written yet on Book #5 - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - that will be coming soon! (If you happen to notice that these books are out of order from the "2012 Book List" tab, please review the "rules" I set forth when I started the challenge! <lol!>)

Are any of you in the middle of an amazing tome? ;) Do tell!!...

Onward and Forward!

All things "Book"

The reason for this blog is because of my love for all things "BOOK".

~ New books with bindings that still have the “crackle” in them because nobody has opened them yet.
~ Ancient books that have more stories to tell than the words on their pages. 
 ~ Books that make me laugh, weep, scream in fear, argue in frustration, run to the computer to research…I love them all with a passion that sometimes confuses and concerns even me. 

Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books. – Bell Hooks
I see books as a tool ...
...for going somewhere I’ve never been, exploring thoughts I’d never thought, bringing forth emotions I couldn’t feel without having the right words…When I hold a book I’ve read and enjoyed, I feel an extreme gratefulness to the author for the experience and a silent prayer that the next tome I pick up will be as satisfying. 

"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.  –Christopher Morley

This blog is meant to be an adventure.  It is meant to allow you to follow me on journey to the realization of an incredibly and deliciously book-ish goal, and for me to hopefully inspire you to have your own adventures within the covers of a book.

To get a better idea of what this is all about, explore the "The Challenge" tab at the top of the home page, and see what I'll be reading under the "2012 Book List" tab.  If you feel like doing a bit more reading (and let's remember that that's the whole point of this blog!) you can see just what crazy fool started all of this under the "About Me" tab.

Onward and Forward!