I adore the times spent with my fellow members of the Paige Turner Book Club...but I have a literary appetite that simply cannot be sated with just one book a month. This blog is a place for me to talk about more of my reading adventures. Reviews, summaries, highlights, warnings, praises and quotes. Because after all, it can be a jungle...er...savannah...out there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eve: A Novel of the First Woman

By Elissa Elliott

If this book had not been on CDs, I probably would have stopped reading after the first few chapters. As it was, I had to “muscle through” and remind myself that I would be spending the time in the car anyway, so I might was well see how the story wraps up.

This book explored Eve, and Adam, their family, and their family’s interaction with the population of a nearby city. I read some reviews that were very harsh with the “historical accuracy” of the novel. To be honest, I wasn’t upset at all with the liberties Elliott took with Adam and Eve’s world. I *was* bored with the dynamic of the book. It was very disjointed. Half of the story was flashbacks by Eve, recounting creation, the fall, the exit from the garden, etc. But these flashbacks were all very bland. I could have done without them altogether. Also, the language of the book was inconsistent. For example: Eve has words for “ubiquitous” and “flummoxed” but not for “sun” or “brick.” Also, I found the plethora of similes a bit much to trudge through at times.

Adding to my frustration was Eve herself. She’s an incredibly weak and boring character. Her children all surpass her in intelligence, critical thinking, personality, and believability. For example: Eve and Adam are amazed when their six-year-old sun invents mud bricks. Not just by drying mud in the sun mind you, but by adding in different mixers to give added strength and structural integrity. Her other children are incredibly accomplished weavers, cooks, doctors, and farmers. Yet Adam and Eve seem to excel only at reminiscing about the past and wondering about their relationship…both with each other, and with Elohim.

While I enjoyed some the questions Elliott asked through her characters, I found it hard to believe that the children would be the rocks of the story. A couple of them trust Elohim, a couple others trust the faith of the city people, and the youngest is believable in her growing understanding and questioning. But Adam and Eve are frustratingly inconsistent. They vacillate from one extreme to the other: from wondering if they had hallucinated their experiences in the garden, to assaulting one of their children for even suggesting that Elohim isn’t the only god that exists.

This book had an interesting idea, but for me at least, it failed to deliver. If you’re going to write a book about Eve…I want to care about her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Latter-Day Cipher

By Latayne Scott

This book caught my eye because it was a murder mytery involving a familiar idea, but with a new setting. The deaths in this story have a religious focus...but instead of centering on the Catholic church, this book used the backdrop of the Mormon community.

It was an enjoyable read, though I was let down by the ending. After keeping my attention so well, the book ended very suddenly and I didn't feel it wrapped up well. Anticlimatic might be the word I'm looking for. But until that point, I enjoyed the journey of the main character.

The autor writes as someone who was burned by her experiences with the Mormon community. But while I sometimes felt like she was venting, I think she was also careful to show that not everyone in the Mormon church is a an extreamist. And similar to the DaVinci Code, it's probably a good idea to remember that this book is a work of fiction, so all the craziness should be taken with a grain of salt.

As usual, some of my favorite characters were the ones cheering from the sidelines. Why do I like minor characters so much? *sigh* Well, no matter the reason, one of my favorite relationships in this book was between Selonnah (the main character) and Ann (a character she meets along the way). They had some wonderful conversations.

All in all, it made a welcome break from my organizational theory books. Have you read this title? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Art of War for Women

By Chin-Ning Chu

This was a great audio-book find. The full title is: "The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work." I found it to be simple, insightful, respectful, and refreshing. I would definitely recommend it to any one of my female friends. It's not very long, but you'll find yourself mulling over Chu's insights for long after the CDs are done playing.

One thing I really enjoyed: Chu encourages women to be honest with themselves. What makes you happy? What do you want out of life? What are your strengths and weaknesses? ... There are no right or wrong answers. I really the analogy Chu used here. What kind of shoes do you want to wear: combat boots or glass slippers? Either answer is fine. Some women want glass slippers. Their perfect world includes prince charming, a castle, and a home life. Some women want combat boots. They want to enter the battle and conquer the business world. Each option is fine and good. But where we run into conflict is this: wearing a combat clothes with glass slippers, or trying to coordinate boots with a ball gown. Neither works. Because deep down, you're not being honest with what makes you happy. Such a simple idea. But one that needs to be remembered from time to time.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There's a lot of practical ideas and relevant advice. So if you're looking for something to play during your normal commute....give "The Art of War for Women" a try!