Saturday, June 07, 2008

Beach Reads

As our vacation comes to a close, so do my days of lazily reading on the beach. In essence, this vacation also serves as our "babymoon," and I know I will not come to the beach as footloose and fancy free in the future. That said, I decided to soak in all the "good reads" that I could. In addition to catching up on my Real Simples, Dominos, and Baby magazines, I read these 3 great books!
Someday is the newest in a Christian fiction series that I began reading years ago. It is centered around a family--the Baxters--and is set mostly in Bloomington, Indiana. While I have tired of the series a bit {this is the 13th book in the series.}, I have not tired of the family. In fact, I feel like the Baxters are my friends, my neighbors, even sometimes my confidantes. While the lines can sometimes be cheesy, these books have real life, real issues that Christians face daily and can identify with, and they are anchored in faith and scripture. Some of the verses that Kingsbury focuses on have become my go-to verses during times when I am praying scripture. This particular book continues the storyline of the previous ones and focuses on issues that threaten Godly marriage. It seriously made me thankful for and want to pray for protection in my own marriage. If you are interested in the series, you should start at the beginning with Redemption. The first 5 she wrote collaboratively with Gary Smalley, and in my opinion, they are the most well-written, have the most depth, and set the tone.

*On my last trip to the beach for New Year's, I read Hosseini's first novel, The Kite Runner. It immediately made it to my top 25 list. I loved the social awareness that it surfaced. I loved the character development, the intensely complicated relationships, and the idea that redemption can even be found through future generations. I loved his first one so much that I incorporated it in my 10th grade Honors World Literature class during our study of Social Injustice. The students who chose to read that book also fell in love with it. I have been saving his second, A Thousand Splendid Suns, for this trip because I wanted to be able to give it my undivided attention. This book also focused on characters and their relationships, but this time the relationships were between women. It took place beginning in the '70's when the Communists were in control of Afghanistan and moved through the rule of the Taliban, the Americans' role and non-role in all of it, and their ultimate journey to redemption as well. What made this book even more interesting to me was that I watched the movie, Charlie Wilson's War, simultaneously. The movie depicts the Americans' covert war that helped Afghanistan defeat the communists. If you are interested in and an advocate for human rights and social justice, or even if you just are interested in broadening your world view, I would definitely recommend both of these books!

Jodi Picoult, author of many books including 19 Minutes {which I wrote about at the end of last summer} and My Sister's Keeper, is a master at telling psychologically complex, morally gray, and poignant stories. At the beginning of each of her books, you can think that you feel black and white certain about an issue, and by the end of it, through looking at that same issue through each of her character's perspectives, you can justify and view that issue through a totally different light. In this particular novel, she addresses the issues of rape, protecting your family, discovering self, and reinventing of identities. One of her main character's is a prominent scholar of Dante's The Divine Comedy which tells of a pilgrimage through the 9 levels of Hell. Her husband is a comic book artist who is writing a new comic that deals with a father's search to rescue his family, traipsing through the levels of Hell--hence the title, 10th circle. This book deals with the overarching question, "Should the punishment fit the crime?" Is every action due an appropriate reaction or consequence? Are there exceptions, ways to justify acting outside this sphere? How does it all make sense? It was a page-turner and thought-provoker!

Next on my list are The Last Lecture, Water for Elephants, and The Shack.


Jesse Faris said...

I am reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" right now! Not very far into it, but I have high expectations from my past love of "The Kite Runner." Happy to hear that you liked it!

I also want to read 'Water for Elephants" and the "The Shack." You'll have to let me know if they receive the KDC stamp of approval!

Kristy said...

Forgot to mention... Patrick's beach reads were Playing for Pizza by Grisham, and he's in the middle of my FAVORITE: Lords of Discipline by Conroy.

Tiffany Norris said...

Several of these are on my to-be-read list--A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Shack, Playing for Pizza and anything by Jodi Picoult! She is awesome.
Glad you got to catch up on your reading!

LeslieJerkins said...

Let me know what you think about Water for Elephants, when you can... I need to discuss