Here’s a book update of books read since April. I officially reached 50 books read, and looking over the list, it looks as though non-fiction is more to my liking this year. Does that mean I’m getting old? Again, I’ve highlighted in bold the books I’d highly recommend.
31. Why We Love the Church – In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion; DeYoung, Kevin and Kluck, Ted; 229; 4/25
SASR: Excellent book discussing the importance of church and being involved in a church. Especially in today’s culture, where it is cool to bash church and find “community” outside of church. Also focuses on what’s important – preaching the gospel. Much of the book is defending the church against authors and books that are seeking to “find a new way to do church”. If you spend all your time trying to reach the “seekers” and water church down, and if you remove the gospel, you have nothing.
Mom Rating: 0 kids (concentrate and listen!)
32. Handle With Care; Picoult, Jodi; 477; 4/29
SASR: One of the most depressing stories I’ve ever read. Discusses a little girl who has OI (otherwise known as brittle bone disease). The mom sues her OB Doctor – who happens to be her best friend – because she says the Doc should have told her about the disease earlier in the pregnancy. Obviously, this means she has to declare in court she would have had an abortion. How this affects the little girl, the older sister, the parent’s marriage and everyone else on this depressing earth, is the rest of the story.
Mom Rating: 3 kids – but you’ll constantly be grabbing them and giving them hugs, so they might get tired of being in the same room with you.
33. The Endurance – Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition; Alexander, Caroline; 210; 5/1
SASR: Loved this record of Shackleton’s expedition – it included beautiful black and white photos taken by the crew’s photographer, which made the story all that much more interesting. Although a little harsher – because after you see the cutie patootie sledge dogs, you then have to read how they shot them all. But the true amazing story is in how Shackleton kept the crew together and led to their rescue after over a year on an ice floe. Amazing. (Also amazing to realize they couldn’t reach the South Pole, but a couple of the crew were alive when man walked on the moon!)
Mom Rating: 2 kids – you don’t want lots of kids being around when you’re crying about the dogs.
34. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith; Keller, Timothy; 135; 5/3
SASR: Great exegesis on the story of the prodigal son. Are you an elder son or a younger son? Interesting insight.
Mom Rating: 0 kids. Focus.
36. Though Waters Roar; Austin, Lynn; 428; 5/4
SASR: Story of a grandma who was involved in Temperance Laws and the granddaughter who was just jailed for carrying bootleg alcohol.
Mom Rating: 3 kids.
37. The Great Wheel; Lawson, Robert;192: 5/10 (kids)
SASR: Novel about a boy who immigrates from Ireland and ends up helping build the great ferris wheel for the Chicago World’s Fair. While not my favorite read-aloud book, it was interesting to learn more about the construction of the giant ferris wheel – and we’ll be taking the kid’s downtown to ride the Navy Pier one this summer, for sure!
Mom Rating: Read aloud to 3 kids
38. The Hole in Our Gospel; Stearns, Rich; 320 5/12
SASR: Reviewed here. Couldn’t go along with his theology, but agree we need to be nice and helpful to people.
Mom Rating: 2 kids
39. The Hunger Game; Collins, Suzanne; 384 5/28
SASR: A girl volunteers to enter the hunger game in place of her sister. 24 candidates are brought to a giant “arena” in which they need to fight to the death. The winner brings much honor and respect to her/his district. The story centers on Katniss, a girl from District 12, who makes friends and… You’ll have to read it to find out!
Mom Rating: 3 kids (and appropriate for maybe age 12 and above)
40. Just Do Something:How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc: DeYoung, Kevin; 127
SASR: Using the wisdom of God to make decisions. That’s all there is to it. (One reason I reviewed an above book so low was because she insisted on showing kids to look for God in the little things, like getting the dinosaur comforter you wanted. However….in my opinion, this only leads to issues like looking for dreams and visions and disappointment in God the first time someone looks at you in a way you weren’t expecting or something serious happens, like, oh say, your dad dies of cancer and where do you turn your anger? Toward God who didn’t come through on the big one – but somehow that’s okay, cuz at least you can cry into your dino comforter??– both books were published by the same publisher, which makes me so weirdly angry, I can’t explain it. But, don’t worry, I used my evil thoughts for good and did some behind-the-scenes maneuvering to get this authors’ books promoted. Maw ha ha. I’ll never tell my secret plan in action. )
41. This Time Together; Burnett, Carol; 266; 6/6
SASR: The older I get, the more I enjoy biographies and autobiographies. Maybe because I want to know how people go where they are and how they dealt with lifes ups and downs. Isn’t it fascinating how things affect us? Carol follows up on her original memoir with further stories of her career, including hilarious stories of her fellow cast members like Vicki Lawrence and Tim Conway (second only to Bob Newhart in my Comic Crushes Book).
Mom Rating: 3 kids and some idiot cutting down his tree across the street while you’re outside trying to get a tan while reading.
42. So Long, Insecurity; Moore, Beth; 350; 6/10
SASR: Good and encouraging book on how to find your security in your standing in the Lord. A little feel-good, woman’s-Bible-study-let’s-all-hold-hands emotional for my personality – but that doesn’t mean it’s not good!
Mom Rating: 3 kids
43. Gregor the Overlander; Collins, Suzanne; 308; 6/14
SASR: Gregor and his 2 year old sister fall down a vent in a laundry room and find them in the Underworld, where he finds himself part of a prophecy foretold long ago. He meets members of the Underworld, including rats, humans, spiders and cockroaches and battles to free them from the rats. Good fantasy/sci fi read for teens. There are hints of evolution being the smart, scientific answer.
Rating: 7 (I liked Hunger Games by the same author much better)
Mom Rating: 3 kids
44. The Game From Where I Stand; Glanville, Doug;
SASR: I read good reviews of this book and decided to go off my no-book-buying-diet and order it. I’m glad I did. Glanville does not focus a great deal on the game itself, but rather gives insight into the life of a pro baseball player with topics such as the family room, hiring/firing/being traded, and travel. He was critiqued as a player for being perceived as too “laid-back,” and actually, the book kind of took on that personality as well…laid back and easygoing. And somehow that makes him seem more real and approachable. (And it brings up my question of what and how exactly do you tell someone you admire their work without seeming like a ditzy fan?? I need to know in case I ever get to talk to Mark DeRosa.)
Mom Rating: 3 kids
45. Uncharted TerriTORI; Spelling, Tori;
SASR: More stories from her life. (This is her third book.) I do like her and can’t imagine being critiqued as a celebrity in today’s day and age. Very hard.
Rating: 6 (her others were more interesting)
Mom Rating: 3 kids
46. Finding It; Bertinelli, Valerie; 272; 8/18/10
SASR: More stories of her life – especially dealing with her weight loss and (as I saw it) her search for meaning in life.
Mom rating: 3 kids
47. Me Talk Pretty One Day; Sedaris, David; 272; 8/18/10
SASR: Hilariously sardonic.
Mom Rating: 2 kids
48. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress; Janzen, Rhoda; 241; 8/21/10
SASR: Torn on this review. Janzen is a hilarious and great writer. I like a book that makes me laugh out loud. But on the other hand, it’s another book by a pastor’s daughter who has given up, not just the faith she was raised in (which does seem to focus a great deal on works…), but all faith. Which just ends up making my heart ache. Rating: 7
Mom Rating: 2 kids and a workout
49. Into the Wild; Krakauer, Jon; 207; 8/10/10
SASR: Krakauer is a wonderful author – remember he’s also the author of Into Thin Air about the tragedy on Everest – and this book was an interesting story of a young man who gave up his money and all communication with his family and wandered about America. He ended up in Alaska – and starved to death. Both my husband and I decided the book left us with a spooky feeling – don’t know why – but we both enjoyed the writing. Rating: 9
Mom Rating: 0 kids.
50. Spoken From the Heart; Bush, Laura; 464; 7/25/10
SASR: I always saw First Lady Laura Bush as an elegant, classy lady who guarded her family carefully and tightly. Turns out, I came away with the same opinion after I read her book. She gives a good review of her early life/growing up years and I found these interesting…Interesting to read about 9/11 from her perspective. She gets a bit defensive in the end chapters regarding her husband and his decisions – but, frankly, I would defend my husband too! Rating: 8
51. The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia DeLuce Mystery; Bradley, Alan; 416
SASR: 11 year old science prodigy, Flavia, finds a dead body in the garden and goes about her small English village finding the murderer. A well-written protagonist is what sparkles throughout the book – Flavia’s escapades and retorts are hilariously written. Kudos to Bradley for writing such a fun, lighthearted mystery – a perfect summer read. Rating: 8
52. The Weed That Ties the Hangman’s Bag: A Flavia DeLuce Mystery; Bradley, Alan; 384
SASR: Flavia finds herself involved in solving yet another mystery. Again centered in a small English town, the book centers on the precocious 11 year old and her talks with other members of the village. Rating: 8
53. A Beautiful Blue Death; Finch, Charles; 324
SASR: A maid is found dead – the quiet free-lance detective, Charles Lenox, attempts to solve the mystery of who solved her. The writing of the detective’s character is the great part of the book – sort of along the lines of how well-written Nero Wolfe is in Rex Stout’s mysteries. Rating: 8