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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reading Update

It's about time for another update...don't you think?

Raw Stats:

39 books read.  (up from 12 in March)
18,072 pages.  (up from 5,601 in March)
28 new (72%).
11 re-reads (28%).


    TBR Challenge - Goal:  12 books.  Completed: 5 books.  I'm still on pace to finish by the end of the year.
    Audio Book Challenge - Goal: 20 books.  Completed: 11 books.  I can't believe I'm getting ready for the 12th book of the Wheel of Time!  This series has been a constant presence in my car since January. (You haven't seen any reviews/reports yet because I'm waiting to finish the whole series first.)
    Support Your Local Library Challenge - Goal: 50 books. Completed: 27 books.  I'm in love with the library! 

      Books I'm reading right now:

      Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster - Thanks to a tip from my friend Heather, I get to listen to Zachary Quinto perform this book based on the new movie.  It's fantastic!!
      Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver - a Bible Study assignment.
      All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - Recommended by one of my former students who couldn't believe I hadn't read it when I was in high school.  It's supposedly one of the most loved war novels of all time. 

        Coming up:

        The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan - then I'll be officially caught up!
        The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer - a thriller.
        A Chance to Die:  The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot - from my TBR list
        In My Hands:  Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Opdyke - a book club assignment

        There are seven books I have read but haven't blogged about yet, but that's not too bad.  I'll work on remedying that situation soon.  Is there anything I should add to my list?

        Tuesday, May 25, 2010

        The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

        I picked this book for my book club for two reasons.  1) It was a Hugo Award winner.  2)  It's an alternate history that looks at the world 20 years after WWII, but as if the Axis powers had won. The book follows several characters as they navigate their lives in a United States that has been parceled out to both Japan and Germany, with a buffer zone in the center.

        Bottom line:  It was wierd.

        I forced myself to finish hoping that it would all make sense at the end.  But it didn't.  It just left me with a very unsatisfying "huh" feeling.

        Thankfully, I had some insight into one of the major plot devices because of another book I've been reading:  Watching the Tree by Adeline Yen Mah.  Thanks to Yen Mah, I sort of understood the I Ching (Book of Changes).   But Dick takes the I Ching and uses it in a completely different way than Yen Mah described.  Based on what little I know, I would say it was a completely wrong way.  (But I'll be the first to admit I'm not an expert.)

        In addition to the the wierd and disjointed plot, I found the characters and the writing dry.  It was hard to root for any of them.  Maybe I'm just not into the storytelling of the time period.  But there it is.

        Even with it's award and it's fame, I would skip this book.

        Monday, May 24, 2010

        My Struggle With Faith by Joseph Girzone

        I knew that Joseph Girzone was the author of "Joshua" series. I didn't know that he was also a Catholic priest.  So when I saw this book on a library shelf, I was immediately intrigued.

        I'm glad I picked it up.

        I learned a lot about the Catholic faith:  about the sacraments of confession, about their take on marriage and communion, about a lot of things.  (I found it fascinating that while catholic and protestant ideas can be very different from each other, we often use the same passages as our inspiration.  We just interpret them differently.)

        Girzone's tone is very conversational and approachable.  I loved that he was able to share (and even critique) without getting preachy or nasty or bitter.  He's not afraid to let the reader know when he doubts, when he's still figuring things out, or even when he disagrees with the stance of the Church.  Sometimes on very big things like the necessity for priests to be celibate, or the process of marriage annulment.

        The more I read, the more I felt like I had discovered a kindred spirit.   For example:  In one passage he writes "It was not easy for me to keep digging and digging for a ‘reason for my faith.’… In their dedication to dogma, they lost total sight of the gentle, forgiving Jesus they were supposed to be representing.  Instead, the did more damage to the name of Jesus and to people’s faith than heretics did with all their strange theological ideas. ….It was downright depressing."  I've had similar thoughts in my long relationship with the church.

        Girzone's book is full of honesty and compassion.  If you're curious about the Christian faith, (or even if you have a disappointed view of the Church as an institution), I would strongly recommend this book.