Wednesday, March 3, 2010

February Book Post

"We read to know we are not alone." ~C.S. Lewis

Book 11 - Christy, Catherine Marshall, 4/5

I first read this novel during my high school days. The CBS network produced a mediocre miniseries based on the novel, and of course I had to read it for myself. I enjoyed it fairly well then, as I recall. This time through, though, I became completely engrossed in the story, hardly coming up for air over the past two days. Although I remembered the basics of the plot, the story felt completely different: no doubt due to the changes that have taken place in my perception of the world since my teen years.

Book 12 - Taggart, Louis L'Amour, 3/5
Strong hero on the run, gold, beautiful girl, the desert, Apaches, betrayal, etc. Exciting!

Book 13 - To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis, 5/5
The New York Times says the following about this book: "No one mixes scientific mumbo jumbo and comedy of manners with more panache than Willis..." I totally agree. I can't remember the last time that I enjoyed a book this much, and this isn't even the first time I've read it! Thank you again to my friend Tabatha for sending me this book a few years ago and insisting that I read it. Now I in turn insist that all of you do the same. You will not be sorry.

Book 14 - Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed, Patricia Cornwell, 3/5
I actually finished reading this book over nearly a week ago, but I put off the review to give the mental dust a time to settle. Although meticulously researched and compelling, going so far as to put the phrase "Case Closed" in the title seems a bit pretentious considering the author's lack of actual physical proof to tie Walter Sickert to the murders. (Not for lack of trying on her part.) Amassing a suspiciously large pile of circumstantial evidence is not the same as closing a case. An unproven theory remains a theory.

Second, allow me to state for the record how glad I am that I did not live in Victorian times for a variety of reasons, but the two that struck me most forcefully were these: 1) it's a wonder that the police every caught anybody for any crimes, and 2) unless one was born into one of the elite classes, life was very, very, very hard.

Book 15 - Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest, 4/5
lease know that I'm rating this book more highly out of sheer respect for the subject matter, not for the writing itself. (Although it should be mentioned that it's not as poorly written as other Christian biographies that I have read.) I thought I knew a bit about him before reading this biography, but it turns out that I knew very little. For example, I had no idea that he was also a very talented artist, musician, and poet. As a matter of fact, there was a time when he thought God's purpose for him was to impact The Arts and revolutionize the way Christians viewed these disciplines.

Oswald Chambers, like all of us, was a flawed, complex, and emotional individual. Unlike all of us, He let God pour through him freely in a powerful way that is all too rare (but should not be). His life impacted all who knew him, and continues to impact those who read his "books," which I did not realize until reading this biography were not originally books at all, but talks and sermons which his wife faithfully spent years transcribing, reformatting, and publishing.

3 comments:

  1. I love Christy - brilliant book! Have you read Julie (Julia?) as well?

    BTW: I recently got my hands on Sitka by L'Amour. Is it any good?

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  2. I read Willis's "Bellwether"--it was the only book of hers on the shelf at the library--and wasn't delighted. It had potential, though. "To Say Nothing of the Dog" is on my to-read list!

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  3. @Maria - yes, I have read Julie. I liked it very much when I first read it in high school but then re-read it a few years ago and didn't like it as much. And I don't think I've read Sitka. Let me know if/how you like it!

    @Jon, Bellwether is really different. You will like TSNOTD! Also Doomsday Book is well worth picking up, but avoid Passage, which has an excellent plot but a vastly unsatisfying end.

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