Monday, April 07, 2008

J. Rosenberg & J. Karon, a couple of book reviews

Well my friends, I expect you were wondering if I should take "Books" off of my blog title... or at least accuse me of false advertising. I have been so busy that my reading time has been taken up by Victoria, Romantic Homes, and uh... cookbooks... just to unwind at night.

I kid you not, I picked up one of my C. S. Lewis books last week and after a few pages of an attempt at reading... had a little talk with myself. It went kind of like this... "Brenda, are you nuts? You need to relax and you pick up Till We Have Faces?". Sigh... any thoughts toward a PhD in Literature has gone out of the window. At least until all my spring lawn and house chores are behind me or my brain grows new cells.

However, I was at the library at the junior college recently and saw... across the crowded room... IT! The book I couldn't wait to read... Joel Rosenberg's final book in his "Last Jihad" series called Dead Heat. Since we are not allowed to run in the library, I did a quick walk and grabbed it before anyone else could possibly run away with it. it's the first time I've seen a book available that was just published a few weeks before.

I brought it home and showed it to my husband, who immediately decided we would have to team read it since neither wanted to wait. Fortunately, it worked out well and I ended up reading it all within two days (he was busier with lawn work than I was at the time). Was it worth the wait? Definitely! I have added this series of books to my favorites in my profile. He became a more skilled writer with each book. This is much (much) better than the Left Behind series. I wouldn't even put it in the same stratosphere (although to be honest, I only read the first two of that series and gave up).

Now, I must warn you... this is Rosenberg's "take" on what the world would be like at the beginning of the Tribulation (or thereabout). It starts with American cities being nuked and takes you on a roller coaster ride as world events unfold leading up to the Tribulation events which the Bible talks about. (It is interesting that his books seem to indicate events surrounding a mid-Tribulation rapture of the Church.) Starbuck's and's headquarters are nuked. My husband said he's surprised I could handle such a tragedy. Anyhoo... great book if you can handle reading about the world falling into chaos.

I read Jan Karon's new book, Home to Holly Springs last autumn but with my computer being down... this is my first real opportunity to write about the book. Also, belated thanks to Suze for sending me her copy of the book when she had finished it. Otherwise, I would have been on a very long list at the library. :)

I didn't know what to expect from this new series and the first couple of chapters had me thinking I wouldn't like it. However, once I got into the book I found myself enjoying it very much. I love the way Jan Karon explored the relationships in families... not to mention small towns. (I spent much of my youth in a town of 800 people!).

In this book, Father Tim receives a note telling him to come home... back to his hometown. By doing this, he discovers the answers to many questions about his own childhood and youth. Much of the book surrounds his relationship with his father and readers of the Mitford series know that as one of the few "dark sides" of Father Tim. It may not seem like it will have a happy ending... but it does.

I found the book quite good, even if it is different than the Mitford books. I encouraged my husband to read it, although he had tried to read a couple of the Mitford books and didn't like them at all. As he had nothing else to read at the time, he picked it up and (literally) could not put it down. He thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was a book men could relate to (a rare find... or so he thinks).

I didn't find it to be the "feel good" Mitford type book. Instead it was a little deeper and hmmm... dare I say "meatier" than her other series... deep stuff but told in such a way to entertain. I am one fan that is glad she gave up an advertising career!

Picture: Cassatt, Young Girl Reading,


Alison Boon said...

Isn't it just the best feeling when you see a new book in the library and it's on your wish list. Well done for not giving in and running.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I am taking your recommendation to heart on the Rosenberg series. My son, who rarely reads fiction, did enjoy the Left Behind series so this sounds like a good direction to go in. Perhaps, he'll be like you and enjoy these far more.

Even though the critics basically panned Karon's "Home to...," I thought it was very good. There are certain scenes that she paints that bring instant recognition. One such for me was when she described Father Tim sitting at a table with his head in his hands praying to be delivered from his father's depression. Boy that rang true with me!

debbie said...

Oh thank you for the encouragement to continue on with Holly Springs. I have only just begun it and find it disconcerting (probably more so due to my difficult childhood that Jan's topic). Dare I say I was expecting mashed potatoes and got a helping of meat??? :) I am soon off to Mississippi to visit a dear friend from way-back-when (Karen Deborah of Fresh Fixins), so the setting of MS kept me reading through the darkness. I'll carry on until the happy ending (I just looooove happy endings). Thanks for the book chat -- more fun than recessions, and just as valuable. : )

Betty said...

As a devoted reader of Jan Karon, maybe because I can relate to Cynthia and Father Tim because my husband is a minister...I had somewhat mixed emotion about the Holly Springs book. All in all it was a good book..just different from her other books....

Thanks for visiting with me and I'm very happy you found your missing earring. I was absolutely delighted to find 'my friends'...I am diligent in putting them where they should be now.....Blessings, Betty