Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Continued Reading of LB Series

I'm up through book six now.  These make for very compelling reading and my only real recommendation is that you always keep the next book handy ;)  It drives me nuts to get to these cliff hanger endings and have to wait to start the next book.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Left Behind ~ Tim LeHaye and Jerry Lee Jenkins

Left Behind Series Hardcover Gift Set (Left Behind)
I've made it through the first four books since last week.  So far, so good, I'm really enjoying them.  I've always found Revelations difficult to understand so this is a bit of an education for me.  I'm sure that most people know the basic idea of this series, so a full on review seems silly.

Five out of five.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Black House ~ Stephen King and Peter Straub

Black House
This book is the sequal to The Talisman and together they are two of my absolute favorite books.  Don't let the authors fool you, this is not your typical Stephen King story.  If you've ever read his Gunslingers series, then you'll be pleased to find another wonderful link hidden in these pages.

Jack Sawyer is a "coppiceman."  At 31 he had already earned fame in the LAPD and across the country, and he'd already retired.  The place he retired to, Coolie County in Wisconsin is the very essence of clean, bright, semi-rural town living.  Jack moved there because it reminded him of another place, a place he'd spent his twelth year, a place he'd blocked from his memory.

While Jack is hiding from his past, there is another lurker in Coolie County.  This man is evil, he is a cannibal and as he puts it his favorite dish is "baby's butt."  Children are disappearing and when their remains surface horrible things have been done to him.  When the book opens we are asked to "bear witness" to the sad remains of Irma Freneau, the latest of the Fisherman's (as they call him) victims.  This is not the typical grotesque Stephen King in your face bloody wreck.  There is a delicacy here and an understanding that when bad things happen we have to face them, we have to bear witness.

Along with Jack and the Fisherman, we meet many people and come to love or at least appreciate most of them.  Tyler Marshall, son of Judy and Fred, goes newly missing.  Judy herself is an incredible example of the strength and courage, the beauty, that shines from within.  Dale, the town sherriff and his crew of police men and women.  Among them we meet the Mad Hungarian, a character you love and loath for his weakness.  In my opinion, one of the most moving of the characters is Henry Leyden.  "Even a blind man can see" that Henry is too cool for reality.  The Thunder Five is a motorcycle gang, Beezer, their leader, was the first parent to lose his child to the Fisherman and his gang is a fine reminder that people are more than they may seem.

This is a wonderful story, full of "other places," fantasy, fear, heroism, and the "coming of the white."  I would not recommend this to be read before The Talisman, because you really must know Jack Sawyer first, and that story lets you know what happened "when Jackie was 12 and no one was anything else."  Just thinking about the people you meet in that book gives me a warm heart, and a few shivers.

Here's a quote for closing, to give you an idea of the merit of this honey of a book:
"The blessing of blessings that vanish.  What you love, you must love all the harder because someday it will be gone."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Uncle Tom's Cabin~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin: or, Life among the Lowly (Modern Library Classics)
Five out of five.

This is a beautifully told story, following the lives of slaves and slave holders in early America.  Most people must read this book in school, it's another one that I missed and now, I wish I would have had this knowledge for all the intervening years.  The angles here, the views, the demands for a straightforward Christian look at slavery are something that I simply have not encountered until this point.

This novel cries out to the patriot and the Christian to see how slavery degrades, not just the slave, but the owner.  It's not all concerning the old slave system, wage slaves are mentioned as well.  It seems to me, the more I read, the more amazed I am at how little we've managed to change.  Dickens, Stowe and Twain, they all had the same feelings and understandings that I hear people begging each other to understand today, and I can't decide if this depresses me or heartens me.  It's depressing, because all this time the problems and problem people still use the same excuses.  It's heartening, because I can look back into history now and know that we weren't all walking in inky blackness.

Sorry, this is becoming more of a blog than a review, isn't it?  Back to the matter at hand!

Food for thought:

from page 547
But, what can any individual do?  Of that, every individual can judge...  See, then, to your sympathies in this matter!  Are they in harmony with the sympathies of Christ? or are they swayed and perverted by the sophistries of worldy policy?

I was going to include pages and pages of quotes, but I suppose I should leave you something to read.  Really and truly, this is a moving book that portrays a view of slavery in the United States far different from anything to which I have been exposed.  Not only are there sympathies with the whites, but a deep and stirring compassion.  This is not a beat you over the head you are so evil book.  This is truly a persuasive book, that even now, even so long after slavery (at least of the physical chains type) has been abolished can still cause a person to stop and say, have I done enough?

I have yet to describe the story, huh?  Uncle Tom is a devout Christian.  In the face of all manner of evil, he stands firm in his faith.  One moment does Tom quiver and the Lord is there to sustain him.  Another person on the same farm where we meet Tom, becomes a fugitive.  She herioically risks her life to save her child and meets heroism of a quiet and steadfast type in the Quaker village where she hides.  Cassy, in my opinion one of the most moving of all the characters, depicts the grotesque nature of a soul that has been twisted and warped, because it is "owned" by another.  Really, it's so hard to describe anyone without giving the whole story away!

This book took me five days, it was worth every moment.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Doomsday Key ~ James Rollins

The Doomsday Key: A Novel (Sigma Force Novels)
Four out of Five

Just finished this.  Rollins' book is in the same sort of genre as Angels and Demons.  It mixes history, science and religion to create an interesting action packed story.  Lots of truth in this book and the last chapter "splits the hairs" so the reader can know what is fact and what is fiction.  I love books like this that include so much information and I can't wait to dive into the recommended reading.

Rollins' sets out an almost end of the world scenerio that revolves around well meaning CEOs and a variety of government and secret agencies.  Celtic crosses are pivitol to the story and much of it revolves around the history of Celt and Christianity colliding.

A good read, but I do get tired of the sexual tension.  Gray sounds like a hotty, but really.

Breathe, a Ghost Story ~ Cliff McNish

Breathe: A Ghost Story (Exceptional Reading & Language Arts Titles for Intermediate).  My daugher's friend lent me this book.  The girls all gave it five out of five, but I'm a tougher audience.  This story is about a psychically sensitive little boy and his mom.  They move into an ancient farm house and the boy gets to know the ghosts there as well as the why they're trapped.  It's an interesting story, not too bad for younger people, but I completely disagree with how it represents the afterlife and I don't really like the young boy's god-like powers.Three out of five

An alright read, slightly chilling and good for a long night.

Midnighters~ Scott Westerfield

Midnighters #1: The Secret HourI read the first three in this series at the beginning of this week.  I know, bad blogger!  I give it three books (out of five).

An interesting series.  A little too sexual, in my opinion, for its young audience.  A special group of people, born at midnight, are able to access a fissure in time.  Every night the stroke of midnight lasts one hour for them.  Unfortuenatly, midnight is not a safe time.  Throughout the first three books you meet the core characters, learn their difficulties and their gifts.  There's a lot of interesting history, math and physics to be found in these stories.  Pretty good for light adult reading, but a little too sexual for young teens.  I know kids play these games, but I'm not sure it's good for them to read about it.