Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Venetian Affair - Helen MacInnes

There is no synopsis online for this book…it was published in 1963.  I’ve also owned it for a while (but not since 1963).  I think I picked it up at a local library about 5 years ago.  It was on the sidewalk in a box full of books marked FREE.  What can I say?...I’m a sucker for free books.
Basically this is a government espionage story set in during the Cold War with a little romance thrown in.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into it.  However, once I got into it, I read it in three days.  Okay, it probably helped that for those three days I was primarily in bed sick with strep and some other virus.  But, really, most of the time I felt too crummy to even ready.
While I enjoyed the story, the book is going into the “To Pass On” pile instead of returning to the bookshelf.  It’s not one I would see myself re-reading in the future.

Reaching for the Invisible God - Philip Yancey

Synopsis from B&N:  How does a relationship with God really work? How do I relate to a God who is invisible, when I'm never quite sure he's there? How do I know him? How do I communicate with him? How do I live my life growing in my understanding of him, living more and more with a conscious awareness of him, doing more of those things he indicates are good for me--and others?
Okay, first I have a very embarrassing confession to make:  I have owned this book for over a decade (bought summer of 2001) and have never read it.  This is part of my reason for my personal “read through the bookshelves” challenge.  And in good news linked to that goal, I only have ONE (yes, that’s right, 1) booked checked out from the library currently.  AND IT GETS BETTER…that book is my book club book for March.  So after a year or so of playing around with me goal, I’m actually forcing myself to read the things on my shelves.
The results…
Great finds like this book by Philip Yancey.  It was such an encouraging read.  I’m going through a season of life when God, quite frankly, seems not here.  And it’s been frustrating and I wonder what I’ve done to push Him away.  In this book, I found hope and answers.  We all go through seasons where we don’t “feel” God, but He’s still right there.  And I just need to keep doing what I know to do in life and keep seeking Him.  Keep the focus. 
A relationship with an invisible God is in many ways more challenging than with the visible people in my life.  But He’s much more gracious regarding my foibles and failed attempts to connect. 
I recommend this for any believer…or for anyone searching for if there even is a God.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren

Synopsis from B&N:  A #1 New York Times bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life will help you understand why you are alive and reveal God's amazing plan for you---both here and now, and for eternity. Rick Warren will guide you through a personal forty-day spiritual journey that will transform your answer to life's most important question: What on earth am I here for? Knowing God's purpose for creating you will reduce your stress, focus your energy, simplify your decisions, give meaning to your life, and most important, prepare you for eternity.
My church has been going through this book via Sunday morning services and weekly small group meetings.  I read it before, when it first came out.

In the 40 chapters (designed to be read one a day for forty days), Pastor Warren covers the five purposes of our lives:

·         To worship

·         To be in a church community

·         To become more like Christ

·         To serve God through serving other believers

·         To share God’s love and salvation plan with the world

Having been raised in church and having a relationship with Jesus for all of my adult life, a  lot of what he says is basic and practical.  However, I know that I always appreciate the reminder.  Especially as I have a tendency to focus on one purpose (serving) that comes naturally and ignoring others (evangelism) that take more effort on my part.
It was a tune-up that was much needed. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rosie Dunne - Cecelia Ahern

Synopsis from B&  From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can't seem to get it right.

Okay, let’s just get it out of the way.  Why are European chick lit novels so full of profanity?  I just don’t understand it.

Whew!  Now that’s done, on to the rest…

I loved the format of this novel.  The whole story is told through a series of notes, letters, invitations, cards, emails, and chat.  You know, the way we tell our stories every day.  I loved the nuances and the misspellings and the quirkiness of it all.

I really was attached to the character of Rosie and was cheering her on…and groaning as she made various bad decisions.  I didn’t get as attached to Alex, but that is probably as the story has more of a focus on Rosie and her life.

It was a great bookclub choice for the month of love.  It was “enchanting”.   But, more than that, it was just plain fun to read.

Note:  This book was also published under the titles of Love, Rosie and Where Rainbows End.  Oh, and it’s slated to be released as a movie in 2013.  Hopefully they do a better job with it than they did Ahern’s P.S. I Love You (loved the book; the movie was just okay).