Monday, February 21, 2011

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Book club book for February…a nice romantic story.

I’ve read Persuasion before, but believe I enjoyed it even more this time. After having reading more of Austen’s novels, I was able to pick up on more of her satire about high society.

Eight years ago, Anne Elliot was engaged to a common sailor, Wentworth. He was beneath her in both station and society. She was convinced by her godmother to break the engagement, despite her deep love and attachment to him.

Now their situations are reversed. Captain Wentworth has returned to shore a wealth man, while the Elliot’s fortune has dwindled. Yet can the embers of love still burn between them?

Loved it.

Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks does it again. Another look at tragedy and triumph all wrapped up in a picturesque setting.

Katie shows up in a North Carolina town with no past but hoping to build a new future. There she meets Jo, a grief counselor who becomes a friend, and Alex, a widowed single-father who might be ready to move on as well.

Sparks’s character description of the person from Katie’s past was really quite disturbing. Not in a “have to put the book down” kind of way. But in a “Wow. And there really *are* people in the world who think that way” kind of way. It was completely believable.

Some parts of the plot and turns in the story were a bit too “expected” and convenient for my taste.

However, overall, I still absolutely enjoyed the narrative and the way in which it was told.
I have a horrible tendency to pick up the second or third book in a series, thinking it’s a standalone, and read it first. That was the case with this book. Publishers really need to label those things better!

I had been doing some heavier reading and went to the library in search of some “fluffy fiction.” Family Treasures fit the bill.

Caitlin McBride is an image consultant. When a teenager nominates her father, Caitlin gets wrapped up in more than just revamping Devon Walsh’s physical appearance.

It was a satisfying, predictable book. Just what I needed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tea with Hezbollah - Ted Dekker & Carl Medearis

In this book, Dekker and Medearis walk you through their Middle East travels as they search for a modern day “Good Samaritan.” Intertwined throughout the prose and interviews is a parable regarding one girl’s encounter with a current “Good Samaritan.”

It was an interesting concept. The authors begin in Egypt and travel through Syria, Israel, and other Middle Eastern countries to discover what others (perceived enemies and friends alike) think of Jesus’ ultimate teaching of living your neighbor as yourself.

I enjoyed the premise. But I didn’t enjoy the book much until I was about halfway through it. The text was very choppy, in my opinion. So it wasn’t until the middle of the story that the pieces started to fit together for me, and I could really dive into the people Dekker and Medearis were meeting and what they were learning.

I did learn a lot. About how some in the Middle East view the U.S. And I began to, perhaps for the first time, think of Middle Eastern Muslims in a different way as well. Even the self-proclaimed terrorists and leaders of Hezbollah. It was a bit challenging. But that is probably part of why I ended up liking it.

And it challenged me on a larger scale too. Who in my life would I consider my “enemies”? And, regardless, Jesus still calls on me as a Christ-follower to love them and pray for them. I’m working on it.