Book Review: August/September
My attention span has been shorter than normal and my time allowed for reading has been practially nil, friends. So this list is short and sweet! *Titles are linked to Amazon.
First up: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.
Frankl was a holocaust survivor and a psychiatrist. The first half of the book describes life in Nazi death camps where he labored, while his parents, brother and wife (who was pregnant) all died. The second part of the book looks at what life's purpose is: Mainly in the sense that we will all suffer, and must choose how we deal with suffering and find meaning in how we live our lives. Very meaningful and thoughtful look at the subject. Rating: 8/10. You will need time to focus and think through what Frankl is talking about...but well worth your time. (I read this in a hospital -it added a certain atmosphere to Frankl's thoughtful approach to the subject.) (Also, if you're interested in a sort of study or "book flight" - May I recommend you also read: The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Ryan looks into stoicism, which has the idea that suffering or blocks in our paths are put there to basically go through - sans emotions, etc. It's not suffering, it's just getting through it. Do a 10 point essay on the differences between stoicism and Frankl's thoughtful ideas on suffering and his theory of logo-therapy. I'll expect that by beginning of class, November 23. :) OH I AM GEEKING OUT. But if you read both these books and tell me a couple points - I'll be BFF's with you.)
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald
To be honest, I haven't finished this yet, because I keep drifting away from it. While I love time travel books, this one is leaving me too much space between plot points, so I keep putting it down and starting other books... But! That doesn't mean it's not good. Just know it's time travel, and it's long. Joe finds Nora in Grand Central Station in 1937 - turns out she is from the 1920's and actually perished in a train accident years before. How do they manage to keep their relationship going with the restraints they face? Rating: 6/10. Easy to read, but also easy to put down. (Favorite time travel books: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, anything by Connie Willis and Time And Again by Jack Finney)
I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott
Essays on life. Super relatable for me, as I'm probably about the same age as the author and had some similar life experiences. Best passage (as she is struggling with the mundanity of life and feeling "trapped"): "One evening, waving the paper towel I'd just torn off to wipe the countertops, I said, 'I mean, what if I wanted to go bungee jumping tomorrow? I have meetings! I have carpool! I couldn't even go!'
'Do you want to go bungee jumping?' he asked.
'No. The point is EVERYTHING HERE IS KEEPING ME FROM BUNGEE JUMPING.'"
Rating: 7/10. Relatable. (PG-13 for language)
The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean
Recommended by a friend (Hi, Jenna!), this book is a mystery along the lines of a lot of the psychological mysteries popular right now... Three sisters go missing in Australia. Their friend returns years later to try to figure out what happened and what the truth was behind their disappearance and to search for answers as to the psychological and emotional damage she experienced in her childhood. Hasn't completely sucked me in, but good writing and descriptions! Rating: 7/10. Easy read.
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
This one is my favorite from the list: I am in the deep with this one. Love. The topic of four young people moving to New York so the two men can pastor the flailing Third Presbyterian Church through the tumultous 1960's. Love the background of each of their perspectives on faith. Love that it looks at ministry/calling. Love that it looks at the faith and feelings and thoughts of the wives (What if they didn't get the "call"??) It is not necessarily a "Christian" book, it is more of a book on faith (I'd describe it as being along the lines of feeling like Gilead by Marilynne Robinson). I jumped the gun a bit - I do still have a couple chapters left to go... and this is really making its way into a Top Ten Book of All Time contender... and totally MAY move up to being a top five favorite books on faith ever, though. Hold out - I'll let you know! Rating: 9/10. LOVE. PLEASE READ IT. If I know you, I'm sure I'll be recommending it to you. Beautiful.
That's it!! Let me know what you're reading lately and what you'd recommend!