Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Books read in February

Does it seem as if the days are flying by to you, too?  I just wrote about the books read in January... and December... and... well, you get the idea.  :)

This is always the time to thank you for entering Amazon through my widget (or that of another blogging friend).  It does not cost you anything but adds up for those of us who have the widgets... this month enabling me to add to my gardening-cooking books as well as sending Stephanie a surprise gift (she hasn't received it yet, just something small she had mentioned she wanted in passing).  Thank you, muchly.  :)

It was a great month for books found at the library, books as gifts, and even a much desired book sent free since I don't have much to spend. 


One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I knew from Ann's blog that the writing would be lovely and I had read part of the first chapter online.  However, I was still surprised how it quickly grasped my attention.  There is no gradually finding what this book is about... you know it immediately.  Ann writes in such a way we climb inside her pain and feel not only hers but that which is within our soul.  But it's okay... she doesn't leave you in the depths.

This is a journey from tragedy to God's triumph in Ann's life... from death to His Life breathed into hers... and we all learn the importance of gratitude and forgiveness and how learning to look for God's Presence in our life will change it.  We learn about... eucharisteo

This book will become a classic, to be read over and over by those who need love and grace and to know Someone is there to fix the broken places in their life.  Highly recommended.

Disclosure:  This book was sent to me by DaySpring but in no way affected the review.  It is simply wonderful.


Wren Bay: the Story of making a home 
by Clarice Fox-Hughes
This book was a gift from from a friend (thank you, very much... you know who you are).  The book starts out just a little slow (it is Clarice's first novel, after all) but becomes better with each and every page and I found myself not being able to put it down.  (I think we should always give a first novel extra grace.) 

It is about a newlywed Wren whose husband must leave for WW1 just weeks after they are married.  Each chapter is about Wren's journey in her new world of homemaking.

Anyone who loves novels about domestic endeavors... making a home... cooking and baking... gardening... becoming the woman God wants us to be... every person who loves reading such a book will absolutely love this one.  I hope a sequel is already being written...

You can purchase Wren Bay... here.

The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg
I was so happy to find this book on the New Fiction shelves at the library.  As some of you know, I'm a big fan of Joel's fiction and nonfiction books.  The Twelfth Imam is the first book in a new series he is writing.  This book opens when the American Embassy is being overthrown in Iran during the Carter Administration to provide the background for the main players.  It continues through to modern day America and Iran.

The main premise is... what would happen if the expected Twelfth Imam appears to those expecting him in Iran.  This is not a fairy tale but the very reason the current leadership of Iran is developing a nuclear bomb to take out the Little Satan (Israel) and the Big Satan (United States).

As with all Rosenberg's fiction books... this one takes me through lots of activity and leaves me breathless.  Now, it is the first novel in a series and you know how that is... laying the foundation with the history behind the relationships, the people involved, etc.  It's like taking a 101 level class at University... necessary to understand the whole story.  I was not disappointed at all!

In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
Speaking of... ummm... disappointment.  After reading a few chapters of this book, I found myself avoiding it and either not reading at all or skimming a magazine as I cast a sideways guilty glance at the book.  I finally decided to call it quits and skipped to the last few chapters to see how it ends.

The problem with it?  I could not get past the ghastly Irish accents.  The book is mostly conversation and it is choppy (probably due to incorporating the accents) and very hard to follow.  I didn't have a problem with skipping from the present to the past like some reviewers have had (probably because I had been warned about this whole journal thing already) but it certainly didn't help the flow of the book.

The concept of the book was good and the characters were interesting but I don't want to work that hard to read anything.  I'd suggest getting it from the library as I did to see if you can get past the accents and such.  If you can, there is hidden within all of it a good story.

Perusing off and on...
I'm still reading through Grow Great Grub, Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail.  I absolutely adore this gardening book, it is perfect for the new-ish gardener like me but even an experienced gardener would enjoy it.  Although written for a gardener without a lot of space to plant, I'd say it is helpful even if you have a few extra acres in the back forty.  That's Midwest talk for lots of land in case you need a translation.

Also still perusing The Amish Cook's Anniversary Book by Lovina Eicher and Kevin Williams.  Originally the newspaper columns written by Lovina's late mother and then taken over by her, they are so warm and homespun.  You come to know the family and they give you a glimpse into the everyday life of the Amish... not glossed over or touristy or anything like that... but much like regular letters from a friend.

It's written in such a way you can pick it up when you have just a small amount of time to read and perhaps sip a little tea before returning to the gotta do's of the day.  As I wrote before, this doesn't have a lot of recipes (as the previous books were basically recipe books) but there are enough I want to try.

Late to the Party
I was skimming the shelves of the Used Book Room in my library recently when I came upon Annie Dillard's book, The Writing Life, for only two dollars.  As I skimmed through the pages, I knew the book had to come home with me.

While I'm certain the most benefit from this book will be felt by those who write books... as I began to read it last night, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dillard's many insights into the journey one takes as they write.  In upcoming chapters, she shares where and how she wrote some of her bestsellers.

I just started it but it already looks like it will be fun to read for those of us who love books... and perhaps essential to those who write them.

I already have a stack of books ready for attention this month and it is time to pull more of my gardening books off the shelf.  Yes... I can feel it in the air even though it is cold outside.  Spring can't be too far away... albeit we can't plant until May!

Picture: Kim Sung; allposters.com


Anonymous said...

I liked 1000 gifts so much that I started it a second time as soon as I finished it the first.

Friend Debra

Scrappy quilter said...

Brenda, I have to agree. Joel's books are some of the best in the fiction world. The Twelfth Imam is awesome. The only problem is we have to wait until Oct. for the second in the series. I've heard so much about One Thousand Gifts. I'm going to have to see if I can find it. I've never been able to get into Jan Karon's books. Hope you keep on letting us know what you're reading. I always find it interesting. Hugs

Vee said...

You and another blogger are selling me on One Thousand Gifts...I'm planning a trip to the bookstore at the end of the week...we're trying to save said bookstore. The Jan Karon book sounds like one that might be better enjoyed on a trip listening on cds. I do love books about homemaking so the first time author sounds good. I don't know if I can handle the Joel Rosenberg's genre. I do know that my son did enjoy the set I got for him as a result of reading about it here. What an influence you have!

Storybook Woods said...

I always love to see what you’re reading!! Thank you for reviewing Wren (and thank you to you know who for gifting you with Wren!!). I am glad you felt Wren got better and better. That is what you always want in a book ;-) I am working on a squeal but we will see, since I do not know what I am doing. xoxoxo Clarice

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book reviews...most helpful indeed. Esp. on ones NOT to waste time on. Reminds me of how I never could get interested in the Anne of Green Gables books, yet I loved the movies and videos tremendously!! Sometimes books are not for a certain time of life, but perhaps later on one may find of interest too.

carla said...

So glad to read your review of Jan Karon's book. As the world gets more homogeneous, I think it's important to record the dialects, but ... I just can't read them, either. Every time I pick up Faulkner or Twain, I get bogged down with the dialect and quit. I wish that weren't true about me, but it just is.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Brenda but I do not know what blog Ann has. Could you enlighten us? The book sounds very good! Thanks for all the recommendations and information. As I have said before I have found many books I would never have known about through your blog. Even classics. Such a spectrum of wonderment and knowledge you have given me!! Thank you for all your help and encouragement. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Me again,I just by accident ended up on the blog at http://www.incourage.me/category/bloom and they had a review by chapter of the book by Ann you reviewed here. This will take you to Feb 27-10 post of the review of it's chapter 7 but if you scroll down they have done 1-6 earlier. Just wanted to add this in case you are interested and did not already know about it. Sarah

Anonymous said...

I have read One Thousand Gifts through twice now and I am currently engaging in the book club study of it at "In Courage". I will read this book again & again - it speaks that deeply to me. I also ordered 2 extra copies to give away as the Lord lays people on my heart to give them to.
Sarah, aholyexperience is Ann's blog.

Just Me said...

Love your recommendations! I'll check those out on half.com! Thank you! :)

Rhonda said...

I have not read the new Jan Karon book but hubby and I both listened to the audio version of it several times. We really liked the story and listening to the accents did not frustrate us like reading them did for you.

maybe you can get an audio version at your library and give it another shot? Hubby is listening to it his
3rd time even.

Heather L. said...

Thanks for all the book reviews. Wren Bay sounds good!!!

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

I always enjoy your book reviews!