Saturday, January 21, 2012

11. Read at least 12 books a year, 2012


9. The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein. Love, love, love this book. It's a memoir about a street in London. There was a Jewish side and a Christian side. And you guessed it, an invisible wall between the sides. The author wrote his 1st book (this one) when he was in his 90s. Amazing. I loved the book. I highly recommend it.

It has been especially pertinent to me now, with the Constitutional Amendment vote tomorrow (May 8th in North Carolina). There is one side. And the other. Different from the book though, the wall between the two is quite visible. Yard signs stolen. Property damaged. Harsh words spoken. Human nature, my friends. That's human nature. It's not been pretty. And it's been both sides doing the damage. It has been sad to see people who I've thought were loving and caring be so mean to someone else just because they have a different opinion and vote on an issue.

When reading this book, I expected to read about the wall between the two religions. After all, it was Europe near the time of WW1 and WW2. However, things haven't changed much have they. People are still disrespecting the other side. On both sides of the issue. Here's my soap box. I have my reasons to vote the way I will. And the opposite side has their reasons for voting the way they do. While I don't agree with their stance, I certainly respect their opinion and their right to it. And I expect the same. Just like you don't have to explain to my why you are choosing to vote the way you do, I don't need to explain to you.

I've heard this a lot: You're not a real Christian if you vote for this amendment. Yikes. I've also heard this: If you really know Jesus, you would vote against this amendment. Another yikes. This vote is not a litmus test for faith. People of all faiths are voting both for and against.

I've read a lot on the issue. Here's the best blog post I've yet to read. Not that I need to explain anything regarding my vote. But it does seem like those voting FOR on the ballet are getting persecuted and called nasty names just because the other side (or some of them - I do have many, many friends who have respectfully disagreed with me) don't understand. Calling people things like bigots and homophobics. One can vote for the amendment and not be a bigot. I have lots of gay friends whom I love dearly and am not afraid of. 

Thousands of Americans have given their lives so that we all can have our own opinion while in the voting booth. This is America. Respect one another's opinions. Vote your conscious. And I'll vote mine. I'm off the soap box now. 

And with the finishing of this book today, I check this one off my list. Since my 1001 days end in September, I figure I only HAVE to read 9 books. 

8. Peony in Love by Lisa See. Oh how I wanted to love this book. I love one of her other books, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. A lot. So when I saw this book, Peony in Love, I decided to read it. Sort of. It was my 1st book on disc experience. And while I liked having someone read to me (ah! So this is what it's like for my girls!), I couldn't get into the book. The first quarter was fantastic. It is  about a girl from China who falls in love with a man even though she is betrothed to someone since birth. SPOILER ALERT!!!!! She ends up dieing from love sickness because she has to marry her betrothed and not the man she loves (they actually end up being the same man, but doesn't find out until right before she dies). That part of the story was wonderful. I loved it. Chinese Romeo and Juliet. Then the rest of the book happened. It was all about how Peony's 3 spirits were in 3 different places and how they end up coming together and her spirit ends up together with the man she loves. Weird, right? I thought so too, which is why I didn't finish the book and why I won't recommend it. It's always so sad when a book has such potential, but turns out to be bad. 

7. Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay. I saw this book cheap somewhere and picked it up. It's an Opera Book Club book, so I was suspicious. Nothing against Oprah, but I don't really care for her book selections. We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates was the last Oprah Book Club book I've read and I didn't care for it. So, I was a bit dubious about Vinegar Hill. But, I bought it anyway and read it. It was a quick read (2 days, which is really quick when you have 4 kids and a household to run), so it was good in that sense. I enjoyed the story well enough, although it was pretty sad (just how I like my books). It was well written. But there was just something about it I didn't like. The characters weren't developed enough, which I can get past in a book with a good story. I think it was the underlying message...which I'm still not sure what it was, but just doesn't sit well in my soul. Strange, I know. In any case, I would recommend this book to those who like a lot of family dysfunction and who like to really think after you read a book.

6. Gladys Alyward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet and Geoff Benge. This is a must read for everyone. It's about an English woman who decides to be a missionary in China during the Japanese invasion. She was an amazing woman. At one point, she had over 200 children that she "adopted". She unbound little girls feet. She stopped prison riots. She watched over 200 college students get beheaded for their belief in Jesus. What a way to live the life that was bought at a price.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've read this one before, but years ago. We're reading it for book club, so I thought it best to re-read it. And I remember why it's my all time favorite book. It's the best book ever written (other than the bible). If you haven't read it - do it. You won't regret it!

4. Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own by Jenna Woginrich. This was a book recommended to me by a sweet friend who shares my desire for a farm. She came across this book and let me know about it. It's a memoir about a girl who has a dream to own and operate a farm. It hit home for me. I want my own farm. I don't want to breed rabbits or be a shepherd like this author. But I do want chickens, maybe a turkey. Goats. Barn cats. A farm dog. And most of all, a horse. Friends: one day (Lord willing!) I WILL have my own farm. I'll have a cat to chase away mice. I'll sell eggs to pay for my chickens. I'll learn to make goat cheese. And when I do, I'll remember this book.

3. Left to Tell by  Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book is one of those that I kind of wished I didn't read. But it's important to not forget, so I read it. It's about the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s. Such atrocities against humankind. And a precious story of one woman's internal battle of forgiveness and bitterness. If you don't mind the details of torture and murder, read this book. If Immaculee could forgive those who hunted her, I can certainly forgive those who hurt my feelings.

2. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. Interesting book. Weird book. Not sure if I liked it or not. Some parts were hokey and reminded me a little too much of juvenile fiction. I don't think I'd recommend it to just anyone. And it's not one of those books I can say much more about since it's the kind of book you don't want to know anything about until you read it.
1. Finding Alice, by Melody Carlson. I got this book from a friend and thought it sounded really interesting. It's about a woman in college who gets Schizophrenia. Intriguing, right? It started out great. Then got better and better. Then it crashed. I didn't realize it was Christian fiction until too late to stop reading. I wanted to see how it ended.

Please don't hate. No emailing me nasty trash talk. I have nothing against Christian fiction. Well, that's not true. I don't like it. At all. I have yet to find a Christian book that it well written and not hokey.

So, while I was taken aback by the genre of this book and while I did think it was a little hokey at times, it was written well-ish. So, if you're looking for a slightly hokey, not great but not awfully written, Christian Fiction book - this one's a good one.

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