Sunday, October 22, 2006

Crow Lake

I have finished this for the second time now and still am amazed at what a good book it is! (Even for the second time through.) Mary Lawson is a powerful author that crafts a world in which you are sure you'd like to stay - at least for another novel or two!! At the end of Crow Lake, I feel as though I know Luke, Matt, Bo and Kate and wish we could stay and chat for awhile. It is a heartwarming family story - what if both of your parents had died and left two teenage boys to care for two younger sister - how would that alter your family, who would care for the kids, who would provide financially, how would the futures be different than planned, and what kind of adults would that make of those children?? I think People said it best, "A touching meditation on the power of loyalty and loss, on the ways in which we pay our debts and settle old scores and on what it means to love, to accept, to succeed - and to negotiate fate's obstacle courses." Has to be one of my favorite reads!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Left To Tell

Left to Tell is the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza. How she grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. She thought her world was almost perfect until the scary day in 1994 when her idyllic world was ripped apart - the day Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans. Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For over three months, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them.
It is during those endless hours that Immaculee discovers the power of prayer. She lets go of her fear of death and finds a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerges from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she is able seek out and forgive her family’s killers and same men trying to hunt her down as well.
The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide spoke to me and kept me riveted from the first page - I am not normally a non-fiction lover, but this one kept me wanting more. A truly tragic time for Rwanda, but a growing time in the life of Immaculee.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Gospel According to Larry

Do you want an interesting teen novel? Then The Gospel According to Larry, by Janet Tashjian may be just right for you. This is the story of Josh Swenson - age 17 - and his plan to contribute and make the world a better place. He does this through a website he creates - undercover, of course - and posts daily "sermons" on materialism and anticonsumerism. He takes the world by storm and becomes a huge media sensation. No one knows its him - not even his best friend, Beth. When he becomes exposed though, he needs a whole new plan to escape the sensationalism of his life. Teens will enjoy this one - and it does challenge them to think of how they can make an impact on the world. Even has a reader's group discussion guide.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Water Street

Patricia Reilly Giff has done it again and this time - even better, I think!! In Water Street, we learn the story of Bird and her life in New York in1875 during the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. (This area of the U.S. is unfamilar to me but I am sure if you live anywhere near there it is even more appealing.) Bird and her neighbor, Thomas Neary, spend their eigth grade year making big decisions about what to do with their lives. To complicate matters, Bird's family are immigrants from Ireland after the potato famine - we see how they were treated and how difficult it must have been to be an immigrant. One of those teens-coming-of-age books, but so sweet and this is truly one of those I DID NOT want to end.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Marley and Me

What a wonderful book!! I just finished it and still have tears in my eyes. (And that doesn't happen too often!) I love animals but we have tried dogs, cats, etc. and all seem to be too much work for us with four kids as well - SO - when I started the book I was sure it wouldn't touch me like it has touched others. I was so wrong!! Even not having a dog that I've lived with for years that I could use to relate to - Marley and Me captured my heart! AND, if you've had a dog buddy - then I know it will find a spot in your heart too. Great read - non-fiction but don't hold that against it!! The author, John Grogan, has some spots where he is "earthy" and tells it like it is - trying to get pregnant, some swearing, etc. But all-in-all a good read.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Loving Soren

Ok - I'll admit right up front that what caught me on this book was because when I was dating my husand (a Philosophy Major) he talked alot about Soren Kierkegaard, and I couldn't believe there was a book written about the woman that was in love with him. Caroline Coleman O'Neill has done it though with her book, Loving Soren. What a great story - it kept me going the whole way through (hey, and I may have even gleaned some philosophy along the way!!). This is the true story of the woman who fell in love with Soren and their tragic love story. It was so intriguing to me to watch his obsession and what it eventually did to him ~ one whom we consider a philosopher and great thinker.


Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin ~ Book with a great idea. What would happen if we died and then (whatever age we were at death) we started going the opposite direction back towards birth?? Got ya thinkin'?!?!? It caught me right away - what a new idea! I like the teen's perspective as well. This is a good one!

Chu Ju's House

Another wonderful book for Junior High or even Young Adult. Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan is a superb read - and a great learning experience at the same time. I read this because of having adopted from China - and I devour anything "china". This ranks right up there though as one of my favorites because of the storyline. It is about a chinese girl that chooses to leave her home so that her parents won't sell her baby sister. Her story is amazing and has some interesting China culture as Chu Ju is traveling on her own through the country to leave her family.

Penny from Heaven

You know it's a good book when, having finished, you are sad there is no more! This was one of those stories for me. It's the story of 11 year old, Penny, growing up in 1953 with her grandparents and mother after her father passes away. The book is a series of wonderful vignettes of her life with her mother's family and her dead father's Italian family. The stories of her life make you laugh and ultimately cry. Great look into how Amercia treated the Irish Immigrants in the times around World War II. Also wonderful coming-of-age story. Jr. High level.

Abide With Me

Another excellent read is Elizabeth Strout's Abide with Me. This was a rare look at a father-daughter relationship when the death of the mother has occurred. The father is a minister which adds another wonderful dimension to the story. Tender story of this relationship and other relationships within the church as well. All-in-all - a rare glimpse at a touching relationship.

Chronicles of the Kings

One of my favorite Christian Fiction series on Old Testament History. Lynn Austin has five titles in this series and each takes place around King Hezekiah's reign - or subsequent heirs' reigns. I thoroughly enjoyed this series as it brought the Old Testament alive to me - well worth the time to invest to read through the whole series. Concludes with the life of Joshua and King Manasseh.

As far as I am aware - here is the order to the series:
#1 - Gods and Kings
#2 - Song of Redemption
#3 - Strength of His Hand
#4 - My Father's God
#5 - Among the Gods

Love You This Much

Our family favorite right now - Chloe heard this wonderful story at Kindermusik and we (being the highly literate parents we are) went right out and bought it for her. The whole book is put to song on a CD that is included - we sing along with the CD before nap and before bed - per Chloe's request. It is endearing and the best part is to hear Chloe sing along: "I love you best, I love you most, I love you high, I love you low, I love you deep, I love you wide - I love you THIS MUCH!!!"
I Love You This Much
by Lynn Hodges

It Had to Happen

Well - if you've read my family blog - you knew it had to happen at some point - I am addicted to books (there are worse things to be addicted to!!) and I am asked often what is good to read. SO - I thought I'd start one place to post what I am reading/have read/etc. I am a children's librarian so I do a lot of book buying for our library - that means I read a wide range of books - I will try to post clearly which category, age range, etc. each book falls into. I will just list everything I am reading - it may not necessarily mean I would recommend each title but I will try to note that too. I find it is so hard to recommend books to people - I may say it's wonderful - you may feel otherwise - that's the beauty of books - feel free to post that on the comments - I love book discussions and this can turn into that as well!

Enjoy and Keep Reading!!

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