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Monday, May 21, 2012

Books

Sometime last summer or possibly fall, I stopped blogging book reviews. I didn't stop reading, but between early pregnancy lethargy and holiday busyness, I didn't blog much. So, here's a catch up:

Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan. The author is a native of India who has an organization that specializes in training native missionaries to reach their own people with the news of Christ rather than sending foreign missionaries. This book is about how he came to start the organization and why he thinks it's the best way to go. I thought it was very inspiring, challenging and a quick read.

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp. I really like this author, though his books tend to be dense and wordy. (I'm actually partial to dense and wordy books. Hello, Charles Dickens!) But he really gets to the center of the gospel in his messages. This one is about how the members of the church are supposed to fill the function of "counselors" for each other as we "do life" together. That's a very simple explanation for a dense book. But I found a lot to think about and practical information as well. It is a lot to take in. I feel like I need to read it again but I don't know when I'll get to that. More realistically, I'll at least have it on hand for reference.

Three Cups of Tea  by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I didn't really like this. I listened to it for a  book club that I never went to. Its veracity has been challenged by John Krakauer in another book called Three Cups of Deceit. I intended to read both of them but never quite made it to "Deciet". Despite the fact that the author of "Tea" may have embellished his claims, I just didn't find the book that inspiring. It was somewhat repetitive, the writing seemed dry and it just didn't "grab" me.  However, I'm all for fighting terrorism through education, like the author claimed to be doing.

White Fang by Jack London. Again, I read this for a book club that I never went to. I'm not that familiar with Jack London but since he seems to be well-regarded in the American literature canon, I was happy to pick this audio book up. It was okay. It's has a lot of depressing things in it but it does have a somewhat heartwarming, to use a cliched term, ending.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake  by Aimee Bender. I can't say I liked this one. It's not that this was poorly written. And, while I was listening to it, I was intrigued enough to finish it. But at the end, I really had no idea what its point was. Perhaps that's because it is magical realism and I'm not very well read in that genre. Still, though, I'm usually decent about being able to pick up on symbolism but this one totally escaped me.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I listened to this on audiotape for a book club. Some other women in the club raved about it. I thought it was a pretty absorbing story but I didn't love it like they did. It was very long, I don't know that I would have finished it if I hadn't been listening to it. (Listening goes much faster for me, as I do it when I'm doing chores around the house.) But it could also be that because I was listening to it, I wasn't as in tune with some of its story lines. That is the downside of audio books, I think. This book had some very rich themes and it was well-written and a good story. I just didn't love it like I thought I might. I don't know if I'd recommend it because I think if I'm going to recommend a 600-page book it should be something that I loved.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I Read this in high school. I recently listened to it for a book club and it was like reading it for the first time. I didn't remember anything from my high school reading except that there was a car accident. I liked it and I appreciate its message but I also have more difficulty understanding literature from this era than I do other time periods. I think a lot still went over my head. It's a classic but I wouldn't say that you must read it now if you haven't (like I would say about some other classics like To Kill a Mockingbird).

Year of Wonders: A novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. This was a very quick read and I really enjoyed it while I was reading it. It was a page turner with a very interesting premise. The author uses very vivid descriptions. However, I did not like the end at all. I found it to be rushed and very improbable. That made me like it less after I was finished.

On Writing by Stephen King. I haven't read any other Stephen King books. I'm familiar with some of his works that have become movies- of which there are many. I was surprised to find how many films have been adapted from his writings. He's quite prolific as an author and this book is part memoir, part writing manual. I loved it. He uses very salty language throughout. But his writing is engaging and funny, and I found the instruction on writing to be incredibly informative.

Are you reading anything good?



2 comments:

Karen said...

Ha! I also read The Particular Sadness (didn't like it... the chair bit? what was that?!), reread The Great Gatsby (I think I should do this with all my high school literature), and currently have Cutting For Stone in my queue (I'm having trouble getting past the first-- paper-- chapter). For now, I'm reading Middlesex but I think I need to switch to your book on tape method to finish anything anymore!

Peter and Leslie said...

Karen,
I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't get the chair thing in that book! Really, I have no idea.

Let me know what you think of Cutting for Stone when/if you finish.

And do try audio books! I've found that the library has a good selection and it's a much more efficient use of time if you can do two things at once!