New City East Lake Church
'We're climbing Mount Kenya. Not this Saturday, but the next."It didn't grab me, so I grabbed the next book.
"That she had not killed him in her sleep was still the great relief of every morning."Okay, this did grab me, and I kept reading. My first assumption was that "him" was probably her husband or boyfriend. I was wrong — it was her son. Ha, interesting! I kept reading to the end of page two where someone named Tom arrives wearing a parka and she — the narrator — says:
"You off to climb Everest?"That's funny! Two books, two beginnings, and two references to climbing mountains. In Shreve's novel, it's Mount Kenya; in King's, it's Mount Everest. I think I'll read The English Teacher first. Here's what it's about:
"Vida, a single mother living with her 15-year-old son on a Maine island, has tried to conceal from him the truth about his past. Then she accepts a marriage proposal, and her carefully constructed life starts to unravel."If you want to play along, this meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Share the first sentence or two of the book you are reading. (Sometimes it takes several sentences to get the full thought.) Then, share your impressions of that beginning. Click this link to see what others say about the books they are reading this week.
Writing Room Revelations, Part 1For the record, when I write, I prefer quiet or — if I need to drown out sounds — soft instrumental music without words. Notice in the photo of me at the top that I'm actually using pen and paper. These days, I do my best writing on a computer, preferably a laptop that can go wherever I choose.
Writing Room Revelations, Part 2
Writing Room Revelations, Part 3
Writing Room Revelations, Part 4
Writing Room Revelations, Part 5
Writing Room Revelations, Part 6
Writing Room Revelations, Part 7
Booksellers' jaws dropped today upon hearing that Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry had predicted that online shopping would wipe out general bookstores within five years. ... "I think in five years, other than a few specialist booksellers in capital cities we will not see a bookstore, they will cease to exist," Senator Sherry said today in Canberra.That article was published Tuesday. Joel Becker, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association, said, "I’m gobsmacked." One more quote from the article:
The owners of Angus & Robertson and Borders in Australia ... collapsed in February ... blaming online competition as one reason for the failure.I think he's wrong, but how sad most of us book lovers would be if there were no more bookstores to browse. I don't want to do all my buying through online stores. I like to pick up the books and flip through them.
"As I write this, I have a beard that makes me resemble Moses. Or Abe Lincoln. Or Ted Kaczynski. I've been called all three."Those first lines are from page three, where I also found this near the bottom of the page:
"The facial hair is simply the most noticeable physical manifestation of a spiritual journey I began a year ago. My quest has been this: to live the ultimate biblical life. Or more precisely, to follow the Bible as literally as possible."You can see his beard in the picture on the cover above. And the author apparently documented the whole year in photos of his face, from extremely short hair and no beard, through the stages of getting long hair and a bushy beard. I know enough about the book from reading reviews and the dust jacket that I know I'm already interested in what he does to fulfill his self-imposed attempt to take every biblical "law" literally.
One Amazon.com reviewer said, "Buried deep under the Andes mountains of Peru, a 5000-year-old plague waits to [be] unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. ... In an age of global concern about the possibility (or certainty) of a future pandemic similar to pandemics that have ravaged human populations in the past, a thirty-plus-year-old book about an ancient plague serves as a reminder that these fears are nothing new." The other two reviewers weren't much impressed with the book, and one of them said, "My advice -- do not set sail on The Plague Ship."Have any of you read any books by this author? What's your verdict? I may not read it, but I picked up the book because one of my bookstore customers bought just about every Frank Slaughter book I could find for him, if he didn't already have it.
From the dust jacket: "When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds' heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can't, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who've brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health. But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn't change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn't exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly's eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever."I got the next two books because of a comment Claire (The Captive Reader) left on someone else's blog:
"If you enjoy The Year of Living Biblically, I'd also recommend trying to find a copy of The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. Roose was Jacobs' intern/slave while he was working on The Year of Living Biblically and his book chronicles his time 'undercover' while on exchange at an evangelical Christian university. It's quite excellent."Actually, I already own this next one, having won it from Dewey in 2008. Since I let my friend Donna borrow it, I went ahead and got this copy from the library.
From the dust jacket: "Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also, to obey the hundreds of less-publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers. To grow his beard. To stone adulterers. The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal. Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally, including the Amish and the Hasidim. He discovers ancient Biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the 21st-century brain."
From the dust jacket: "No drinking. No smoking. No cursing. No dancing. No R-rated movies. Kevin Roose wasn't used to rules like these. As a sophomore at Brown University, he spent his days drinking fair-trade coffee, singing in an a cappella group, and fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional. Liberty is the late Reverend Jerry Falwell's 'Bible Boot Camp' for young evangelicals, his training ground for the next generation of America's Religious Right. Liberty's ten thousand undergraduates take courses like Evangelism 101, hear from guest speakers like Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, and follow a forty-six-page code of conduct that regulates every aspect of their social lives. Hoping to connect with his evangelical peers, Roose decides to enroll at Liberty as a new transfer student, leaping across the God Divide and chronicling his adventures in this daring report from the front lines of America's culture war. His journey takes him from an evangelical hip-hop concert to choir practice at Falwell's legendary Thomas Road Baptist Church. He experiments with prayer, participates in a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach (where he learns to preach the gospel to partying coeds), and pays a visit to Every Man's Battle, an on-campus support group for chronic masturbators. He meets pastors' kids, closet doubters, Christian rebels, and conducts what would be the last print interview of Rev. Falwell's life."
Summary: The authors "bring environmentalism to the masses tabloid-style in The Coming Global Superstorm, a quick look at global warming and its potentially catastrophic effects. Like Old Testament prophets, Bell and Strieber embrace lovingly detailed depictions of global cataclysm; unlike them, our modern-day doomsayers have more to go on than that old-time religion. Their writing is clear and straightforward, interspersing hard data with dramatization and speculation to create an engaging, enjoyable, but thoroughly spooky warning of the next Ice Age."Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. Marg has the Mister Linky this week, if you'd like to share a list of the loot you brought home.
"Knowing that critics get all kinds of special treatment, Reichl developed several characters — each with her own clothing, hair, accessories, and personality — so she could get an idea of what her readers can realistically expect to experience. Reichl says she was surprised to discover that each of her personae was treated a different way, and not just at restaurants. Her loud, gregarious redhead got lots of attention and made friends wherever she went. Her quiet, little old lady was often ignored and usually got poor service."I recognized myself in those words. I actually make friends wherever I go, but ... ! Although I haven't become stupid as I aged, I am treated more and more as someone who is mindless and simple, or at least as someone who isn't worthy of interest. Granted, I'm old, but I am neither little nor quiet. Apparently "wait staff" (as they are now called) assume "old lady" equals low tips.
All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?
"He enjoyed wood-working, reading, traveling, and helping others."This may sound like a strange line to single out of the obituary of the man who died yesterday, but it's what this book blogger noticed. He was an engineer and a perfectionist, so everything he made with his hands came out as perfect as it was humanly possible. Always. But reader? Not when I first met him back in 1956 on what turned out to be a blind date. I was sixteen, thought I was going swimming "with a group" of friends, and discovered "the group" consisted of my friend Mary, her friend David, and David's friend, who happened to have a car. He was home from Germany, where he was stationed at Rhein-Main Air Force Base outside Frankfurt, and he had turned twenty-two the day before. Six years is an awfully big gap in years for a teenager.
"How the heck do you meet all these authors? That's awesome!"
|Roberta C. Bondi|
"Dear friend, how grateful I am for the gift of your own existence in my life, for such a friendship in which we can talk openly about our lives with God and the hard and happy things for which we pray. May God always keep in our hearts the knowledge that these words spoken between us are, after all, as much a part of prayer as anything we do" (p. 49).One more quote from this book:
"As for us, ours is a God who loves, and if we love this God who is love, we long to express that love by imitating God, that is, by loving those whom God loves in the way God loves, in an appropriately human manner" (p. 128).I rate this book 9 of 10, a very good book.
"There is nothing that we go through here on earth that Jesus has not also endured" (p. 36).I know what they meant to impart, but this is just silly and likely to make thoughtful people pause. It's too broad. Jesus did NOT birth a child, I can imagine some new mother thinking. Jesus did NOT have cancer, I imagine from a suffering patient. Jesus did not even get old, like many of us in that class. C'mon, guys! You can do better.
"Too often, we are conditioned to think of prayer as asking God for what we want — dear God, give me this, give me that. But now, in praying that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are attempting to school ourselves to want what God wants" (p. 66).
"When John Marsh was a young boy, he used to watch his mother getting ready to go out for the evening. ... 'How do I look?' she would ask him, and he never knew what to say. What he felt was: Gone."Notice that ellipsis (...) in the middle, showing there were sentences that I omitted. Let me summarize those missing sentences for you: lipstick, mirror, rouge, mascara, pin curls. Those details make my eyes glaze over, creating a definite desire to put down the book. Berg buried the only interesting word — gone — by continuing to pile up words in the first paragraph until the boy answered by saying, "Pretty."
"For though he had stood beside her, watching her every move as she transformed herself, he was never sure that the made-up woman before him was still his mother, and this made for a mixed feeling of fear and confusionn. Nonetheless, he always smiled and said softly, 'Pretty.'"I guess my own writing is more spare, allowing the reader to imagine details for herself. I, as reader, don't need help to imagine that "getting ready to go out" involves (for most women) looking in a mirror and putting on make-up.
|Hosted by Booking Through Thursday|
Summary: In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Vreeland used that fact to tell this story. Bethia Mayfield, narrator of the novel, is growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans.
Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other.
Bethia's minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe's shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb's crossing of cultures.
Summary: The story of a year in her life that began with her daughter in a medically induced coma and her husband unexpectedly dead due to a heart attack. This powerful and moving work is Didion's "attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."