My Own Little Book Corner

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Book Reviews - #6

Ready to Fall by Claire Cook

Don't bother reading this book. I like the premise of a book written around written correspondence only - whether it's letters, e-mails, IM's, etc. I seldom like the story that goes along with the premise though. This one is not an exception. The main character is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts and sets her sights on her soon to be divorced neighbor. The only interesting part is when she goes off to "Special Delivery" camp to discover herself. The stories about what happens while there are entertaining. But I never liked any of the characters in the book - all too self absorbed and boring.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This one was not exactly what I expected. I thought thee would be more about what happened in Alaska that resulted in Mr. McCandless' death. While that is covered some, the main story is about his travels before Alaska. There are also stories of other people with a vagabond heart and speculation on how the lives were similar. Mr. Krakauer is a journalist for a magazine and his books are a little dry and straightforward. But overall it is an interesting story.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

What happens when you leave a group of people together in a large house with terrorist (who are almost pacifist) for a long period of time? In this book you see how the people adapt to the small, slowed down world and each other. The things that become important to them, how they spend their time, what they are thinking and how they interact are all part of the story. This book is very well written and interesting. When I read the book, the epilogue seemed a little disjointed from the story. I wondered how they got to that point from the story that was told. But after reflecting on it, it makes more sense to me and I'm beginning to like even that. Good read even for those of us who aren't into the opera.

The Shack by William P. Young

I view this book as a parable of sorts. A story of a man who in the midst of his grieving is invited to spend a weekend with the Godhead. The trinity is presented in unconventional physical ways which took a little getting use to, but that was ok. There are several things I like about the book and how it presents God, but on the other hand, there are several things that I just can't buy into. I kept reminding myself that it is a work of fiction and not inspired by God. But one of the problems I had was that even though I know that, it is still a book that portrays God and His characteristics and at times in ways that I don't think are supported by scripture. I know there are others who think this is one of the greatest books of all times. I personally was disappointed.

One Mississippi by Mark Childress

This was one of my ArcTrainer books. I try to find something that is interesting, but not too deep to read while I'm burning calories. This book fit the bill for a while. It is a dark comedy that becomes more dark than I thought it would before the end. This is a thoroughly entertaining read though. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked! I really enjoyed the Christian musical and the trip to the Sonny and Cher concert. Along the way discrimination, teen angst, and family relations are all addressed. Well written and much enjoyed!

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

2008 Book Reviews - #5

Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer

This is the story of a man who finds himself thrown into the role of stay at home dad. This wasn't his choice, but like many things in his life, there seems to be a larger plan to his life than his own. It is a story of faith - faith found on many different levels. The faith that sometimes we are aware of having and follow gladly and then the faith that sometimes sneaks up on us and we are almost forced to have. It is an interesting book, but I would have liked a little more detail to the story. It may be because it was written by a man so he comes from a different point of view, but I felt like there could have been more emotion to the story. All in all, worth reading just not exactly what I expected.

Breach of Faith:Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City by Jed Horne

I am glad I read this book. It brought back some memories of a time not long ago when New Orleans found itself facing one of the greatest disasters in our lifetime. Mr. Horne does a good job of balancing stories about real people, the politics, and the technical ascpects. One interesting side note - I had forgotten that at one stage the plan to get the Fed's to respond was to manipulate gasoline supply and run the price up to $4/gallon. The theory being there was no way the Fed would allow that and Louisiana would have effectively blackmailed them into responding. Guess we know now that would have been a lost cause.

This is a well written book that even though I'm a little biased living in Baton Rouge, I think should be required reading for all. A good glimpse into very recent history.

Savannah by the Sea by Denise Hildreth

This is an easy read - nothing too deep about it but an enjoyable book. As a character Savannah is almost too self-centered and too naive at times, and the books are a little predictible. But I know what I'm getting when I read these books so I enjoy them.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is anything but an easy read. The story is told by Death so you can figure that it is a little on the depressing side. It is set in Germany in the time of Hitler. Mr. Zusak does a good job of transporting the reader to that time and the country. I almost felt as if I were watching a movie instead of reading a book - and I mean that in a good way. There's such detail and character development that I had to remind myself I was reading fiction. Very well written story that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

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