My Own Little Book Corner

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 Book Reviews #7

The Office of Desire by Martha Moody

This is an interesting story that covers many layers and types of desire and what happens when you give into it and also when you don't. It is set in a small doctor's office that has 5 employees, each with their own desires whether for love, money, faith, happiness, etc. It is interesting how each one deals with the desire and in the end you see the right and the wrong choices. A well written story.

The Broker by John Grisham

I guess I'm taking a little step back in time reading a John Grisham novel that harkens back to the first type novels that he authored. While it was an interesting book, it was also a little confusing to me. It took me a while to understand how the broker was being set up and why. If you like Grisham though, you'll like this one. It's his standard fare, set in a foreign country with just enough suspense to make you think you know where it's going, but maybe not.

Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell

What a disappointment this book was. It has been a while since I read a Scarpetta novel and I was looking forward to this one, especially since it had touches of Baton Rouge in it. The majority of the book was spent bringing the reader up to date with background information. In fact, as I was getting deeper into the book I started thinking that maybe the book was going to be all peripheral information and that it was setting up for the next novel that would wrap up the serial murder story. I wish I had been right as when I got to less than 25 pages left, I realized that it was going to be a shallow wrap up of the story. It is almost unbelievable that there is so much detail about some things and then basically a "they caught one of the bad guys - the end". It left the "story" open for a continuation but at this point, I really don't care.

Straight Up by Lisa Samson

I enjoyed this book but at the same time was just a little disappointed. I felt like it was too surface at times while I desired to dig a little deeper into the characters. That being said, it wil make you think about your life, the choices you've made and will make and that we need to use all of our time to the fullest.

The Ha-Ha by Dave King

As I was finishing this book, I thought that it really is a depressing story in a lot of ways, but there is so much hope and joy in it too that I didn't come away depressed. The name of the book is derived from a hidden retaining wall and the characters all seem to have this wall in their life in some shape or form. It is interesting watching as the walls fall over and a type of family unit emerges that is full of hope and love for one another. It is a very touching story.

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2009 Book Reviews #6

A Father's Story by Lionel Dahmer

I think it's normal to view any event from the stage of life you are in. As I've gotten older, I view most events as a parent so it was interesting to read a book about a real life horror story written from a dad's perspective. I did feel at times like Mr. Dahmer was over analyzing events that happened in his son's young life. But then I also think that would be the normal thing to do - to look back for signs of what was to come and to try to figure out if there was anyway that it could have been avoided. He makes no excuses for his sons behavior, and in the end seems still as confused by it as most of us are. An interesting book.

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

The story of a woman who almost stumbles into a nomadic life. Ms Gelman finds herself in a marriage that is crumbling so she suggests a separation. To her surprise, not only is her husband in favor of it, but he thinks it should be for a longer amount of time. This sets Ms Gelman on a journey of travel as a nomad. She finds she can live on much less in the foreign countries she goes to. She sets about to not be a tourist but to be more of a citizen. A great true story that gives you a glimpse of places most of us will never see.

If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar

This book left me with a sort of bittersweet feeling. The story deals with a mother/mother-in-law who moves to America from India and lives with her "kids" and grandchild after the death of her husband. It covers her emotions and how she views things as wll as the daughter-in-law, husband and grandchild. There is also a second story of sorts as the boys next door are abused by their mom and the sort of culture clash that results. A multi-layered story that reminds us that the way we think things are, aren't always the way things are.

Bless Your Heart Tramp and Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark

This is one of my work-out books. It is a collection of short stories by a very funny woman. I didn't laugh as hard as I did when I read Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like a Skank, but still a funny book.

The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ by Randy D. Singer

This is a very well written, easy to understand book. In it Mr. Singer addresses not only the trial and death of Christ, but other events and teachings through the eyes of a lawyer. This is a very interesting perspective. Mr. Singer goes into the injustice and the character of Christ in such a way that it is hard to dispute that He truly is the Son of God. It is a convicting story that makes me realize how much was given for me and how unworthy I am. A very straight forward, inspiring, convicting read. It is an excellent read for anyone.

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2009 Book Reviews #5

Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like a Skank by Celia Riverbark

This was a great book to read while working out. I laughed - probably because I could relate to so much of what she wrote. Very entertaining!

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

This was an ok book. It was interesting, but at the same time I found it to be fairly predictable. Ms Hamilton does a good job of describing the land and the people in a way that made you really see it in your mind. It is interesting to realize that there is a real Camel Bookmobile and it makes the story even more believable.

Forgive Me by Amanda Ward

This was an interesting story. It is a story full of plot twists and set in both America and Cape Town. At times it was hard to get into.

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

This is the story of a town that finds itself hosting a Japanese internment camp and the effect it has on the different citizens - most of whom are very prejudice towards the Japanese. A very good book.

Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer

I like W. Dale Cramer's books. Levi is a former member of the Amish community who left his family behind. This book explores the family relationship, friendships and the spiritual dilemnas. Well written and worth the read.

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2009 Book Reviews #4

I'm way behind on my reviews so these will be short and sweet - or not so sweet depending on the book.

Born Standing Up: A Comics Life by Steve Martin

A interesting read. I was in college when I first heard of Steve Martin. In fact, Arkansas Tech was on his college tour - yes the balloon animals, dart through the head, etc. Saw it all. Not only is this story interesting because of it being Steve Martin's story, it is also interesting to read about the people that have been in and out of his life.

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir

Powerful story written from the heart. It's sad to realize what is going on in different parts of the world.

What to Keep by Rachel Cline

A well written story. This covers parts of 3 different decades in Denny's life beginning with the distant, somewhat neglectful childhood thourgh adulthood as a successful playwriter.

So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger

A cowboy adventure story. The narrator is a postman, turned novelist. This is the story of an adventure he took through the wild west and the people and challenges he faced. It is a story full of faith, grace and surprises.

Black Dogs by Ian McEwan

Not my favorite McEwan book. I think it is too deep for me. I enjoyed parts of it, but the overall concept of the black dogs troubled me. I never really understood that part of it - except for the fear they instilled. I'm sure there's a message there.

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2009 Book Reviews #3

Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress

This is the second Mark Childress book I've read and it wasn't as funny as One Mississippi, but it does have the same dark comedy. I never saw the movie but can see how it would transfer to film well. The story is about a woman who basically gets fed up with her husband who is stiffling her acting career, kills him, but can't completely let him go. While all that is going on, there is a civil rights uprising in the city she left behind. A very entertaining book that is thought provoking in it's own way.

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan

Reading this made me long for the days when Reagan was president. I know he didn't do everything right, but I do believe he was a man of character and morals who would seek God's guidance above all else. This should be required reading for all to see how America can be if we have the right leadership.

The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin

Another great novel by Charles Martin. A story of a loving couple who have everything to look forward to as they are expecting their first child. Things take a turn though when the baby is stillborn and the wife goes into a coma. It is a story of faith and love, but not one that beats you over the head. I love the gentle way that Mr. Martin brings Christianity into everyday life. Just like it should be.

Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison

A cute book. This was one of my "work-out" books. It is the story of three very different women and how they are brought together mainly by their love of shoes. The friendship that develops, the bonds that are formed and the resulting success is fun to follow.

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

A story of a man on death row for murder who wants to donate his heart to the child of the man he is accused of killing. The story deals with not only the convict and the family, but the other convicts, the lawyer trying to help him fulfill his wish, his priest. Of course Ms Picoult always has a twist - more than one - as usual. About half-way through the book I wasn't sure if I wanted to stick it out, but I'm glad I did.

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