Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Book List

   70.  Miracles by C.S. Lewis (*****)  C.S. Lewis is some kind of awesome.  As some of my friends and I like to say "He's better than Chuck Norris."  Easily. 

71.  The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (*****)  Really sweet.  Newberry Honor Book.

72.  Ten Books That Screwed Up the World and Five Others That Didn't Help by Benjamin Wiker (****)  Very interesting.  I would recommend reading it. PG-13 rating, though. 

73.  Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
(***) Sci-Fi.  Amazingly these books sort of enthrall me.  Plenty of plot twists that are totally unexpected, and I love the main character, Max.  Some language.  

74.  Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson
(***)  Ditto above.

75.  East of Eden by John Steinbeck  (****)  This book blew me away.  I loved the themes and the redemption and the lessons.  Beautifully woven words.  BUT, unfortunately, I would have to give at the very least a PG-13 rating.  This book is intense, vulgar and packed with language and "adult situations" prostitution... you name it.  Ultimately it's a story of good vs. evil, our personal struggles with our own sin nature and the redeeming power of God to save, IF we choose to be saved.  Amazing. 

76. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
(****)  One of Agatha Christie's most famous novels.  Read it and you'll know why.

77.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (****)  I can't help it.  I love it. 

78. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (*****) Reviewed HERE
79.  Scumble by Ingrid Law
(****)  Pretty awesome.  Companion to Savvy, so read that one first if you haven't already. 

80.  Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (****)  Surprisingly I kind of loved this book.  It's funny, because I found myself deeply identifying with the author and two paragraphs later raising my eyebrows.  Haha, ok, not really.  What I mean to say is, this book advertises itself as "Non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality" and that's basically what it is.  A lot of Christians would probably be offended by some of what Donald Miller has to say.  It's not for everyone.  But, again, I liked it.  

 81.  Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury (***)  Sequel, or rather, extension of Dandelion Wine.  And, disappointingly, not nearly as good.  It just didn't hit me the same way.  *shrug*  But, regardless I still consider the author as having some kind of special magic juice in his pen instead of ink.  Wonder where I could get some of that?

82.  A Shot in the Dark by Richard Powell (****)  Well, if you're in the mood for an action movie from the 1950s but you're really more in a reading mood than a watching mood, and you'd like some soldier-y action and a lot of pretty girls, er dames all referred to by their hair color (i.e. "a blond" "a brunette", etc.) and you like characters that are always making cute remarks, see? And you like those same characters to be addicted to cigarettes in a big way (back in the 50s this was totally normal) and you like international crimes and big deals, and some really fantastic (and funny) descriptive passages.  And just some plain awesome lines, like for instance this one: "According to the books, back in ancient times you had to rescue women from dragons before they felt that they had a first mortgage on you.  There must have been a surplus of men in those days.  In modern times a mouse would do."  Well, then.  This book is for you. 

83.  Prison to Praise by Merlin Caruthers (***)  Feels sort of like a faith thriller.  :)  Good stories.  I'm not sure I agree with all the author's theology but in all honesty, I doubt there's any book on faith or theology with which I agree 100%. 

84.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding
(****)  This book is hard to describe without totally giving away the whole central theme.  Which, without going into too much detail and trying not to sound too shallow at the same time is basically good vs. evil.  It's about human nature, society and government.  In the author's words "The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.  The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable."   

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Monday, August 02, 2010

July Book List

64. Savvy by Ingrid Law (****) (342 pages) Savvy is just plain an awesome book.  I love the style, I love the message, I love the characters, I love the descriptions, I love the voice.  And the sequel is coming out next month.  :)

65. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (****) (203 pages) Very humorous and well written.

66.  Dug Down Deep, Unearthing What I Believe and Why it Matters by Josh Harris (*****) (231 pages)  I loved this book.  I think that the author and I have a lot in common.  Growing up in the church world, Christianity tends to become more of a way of life than a foundation and a belief system chosen of our own accord.  I appreciated this book so much I really can't describe it.  Highly recommended.

67.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
(**) (419 pages) Two stars because it held my interest to the end.  Excuse me while I climb back onto my soapbox.  Is anyone tired of hearing this yet?  WHY, WHY WHY???!??!  must there be SO MUCH language and... JUNK in Young Adult Fiction?  I understand that it's nothing kids don't hear every day the minute they walk out their front door.  I don't care.  It's wrong.  It's disgusting.  I finished this book because the progression of it fascinated me in a train wreck kind of way.  Can't bear to keep going, but can't look away...  The plot comes out so slowly and so fragmented that it's illogical to stop 3/4ths of the way through the book because by that time you are only starting to understand what it's all about and you've already invested so much time into it... I'm sure it's designed this way on purpose.  Which is quite genius, I'm sure.  But, I found the main character annoying, and I really didn't like any of the other characters either come to think of it.  The writing is only so-so in my opinion.  Maybe it's just not my preferred style.  Or, maybe I'm just being too nice.  If you have any aversion to language and adult situations, suicide, etc.... do not read this book. 

68.  Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (****) (184 pages) This book is full of magic words from start to finish.  I think I could've read it one sentence a time and stopped to consider and wonder at each one.  The front of my (borrowed) copy calls it "A novel of the strange and wonderful" which I think is a very accurate description.  This book is summer, life, death, wonder, horror and growing up all neatly packaged into 184 pages of the most beautiful prose that I'm almost tempted to call it poetry. 

69.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (***) (374 pages)  Reviewed HERE
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