Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rapid-fire Book Reviews, part 1

Since reading is my absolute favorite hobby, I have several books going at any given time. Books for fun; books to inspire me as a homemaker; books to grow me in my faith; and books to stretch my brain. I wrapped up several books in the last few weeks and decided to share a few thoughts from each. So here goes...

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I've been a longtime fan of Austen's works, but had somehow never read this one. Since I absolutely love the film version (the one directed by Ang Lee, starring Emma Thompson) I decided it was high time I read the novel. All of my favorite Austen elements are there: witty dialogue, clever prose, humor, good characterization (especially Elinor, who you can see from my sidebar reminds me of myself,) true love that almost escapes. However, while S & S was a very enjoyable read, Pride & Prejudice remains my favorite of Miss Austen's novels. I can read P & P over and over again.

Gold Cord: The Story of a Fellowship by Amy Carmichael. There is no doubt that Amy is one of my biggest heroes in the faith. I have read 2 separate biographies of her (Elisabeth Elliot's A Chance to Die is the best) and many of Amy's own works. In Gold Cord (first published in 1932,) Amy is telling the story of the first few years of Donhavur Fellowship. Donhavur is the name of the ministry that began as an outreach to girls who had been sold to pros.ti.tution at the temples in southern India. Amy and her colleagues rescued these girls, shared the gospel with them, and gave them a place to live. Donhavur quickly added hospital facilities, nurseries, and a school, since many of the "girls" were with child or had children when rescued. It took me a year to finish this book, as I read it only a little at a time, then put it aside. Amy is somewhat old-fashioned in her language and modest in her descriptions of people and events, so it can be challenging to follow the story at times. But there are many jewels to be found here and I highly recommend it.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have read portions of this book before and thought it was time for a refresher. The premise is that each of us is wired to show love (and "feel loved") in a specific way. I returned to this book in order to rejuvenate my efforts to show love to my husband and children in ways that would bless them individually. Chapman says children have a "love tank" that, when full, allows them to develop normally and feel secure. When the tank is low, they tend to act out more and misbehave. The five love languages are: Words of Affirmation; Quality Time; Receiving Gifts; Acts of Service; and Physical Touch. If you pay attention to how an individual tends to show love, then you can know how he or she needs to receive it. A very helpful book not only for our marriages and families, but relationships in general.

Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon. This is book eight in the Mitford Years series. Still trying to catch up with My Sweetie, who has already nearly finished Home to Holly Springs. I love Mitford novels and this book is no different. I commented to My Sweetie that whenever I am in a grumpy mood, he should just send me off for 30 minutes with a Mitford book and I will come back a changed woman! This book is set at Christmas time and centers around Father Tim's restoration of a badly neglected European nativity set. It was a joy, as always! If you haven't read the Mitford books yet, you don't know what you're missing!

That's it for part 1 of Rapid-fire reviews. Stay tuned for part 2: Children's Books!

8 comments:

Mike said...

Jen,
These are great. You have a gift for crafting concise yet informative reviews. Phil is ahead of me as well, I have yet to start "Home to Holly Springs."

Kate said...

Great reviews. Sitting in my pile is "The 5 love Languages of Teenagers". Looking forward to that.

Scott said...

I've read a few of those, and your critiques are pretty good, I must say. I have 4 girls, so I'm looking forward to the children's books next. Btw, thanks for the advice about keeping the kids' bathroom cleaner. I got a lot of good suggestions. Thanks

Kate said...

btw - how in the world do you find time to read???? i got a book for xmas and am on chapter three! yikes!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Homeschooling 5 is a busy life and I'll go crazy if I don't take time to "fill my own tank." I try to read for 30 min in the afternoon while the little ones nap and the big 3 finish work or play quietly - before the dinner rush starts. I also read in bed at night. I'm learning to let things be a little messy and take a break so I can get back to life more refhreshed!
(Oh, and I also have books in each bathroom - some days that's the only quiet I can get!)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Wow. I really want to read some Amy Carmichael. I never have and she sounds like she had such a heart for God and passion for Jesus and His people.

The Small Scribbler said...

Oh, The Seven Silly Eaters! I love that book. I love the personalities that come through and how cozy that little house is that they all cram themselves into. I always think, I want to be a part of that family every time I read it to the kids.

Kate

Aunt Tabbi said...

You don't know me, but I love the Mitford books! They have put me in such a good mood. When life is crazy, I retreat to my reading spot and get a couple chapters down. I'm currently on book 7 and I looking forward to the others and then on to "Home to Holly Springs".