Monday, March 14, 2016

March 2016 "Quick Lit"

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for "Quick Lit", in which we write short-and-sweet reviews of the books we've been reading:

 The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew (nonfiction). This memoir focuses on Kinew's challenging relationship with his father, a Catholic-residential-school survivor and respected Anishinaabe chief. Kinew writes of his father's painful childhood and residual anger, how that affected his relationships with his family, and how Kinew himself walked a troubled path as a young man before getting his life back on track (he is now an aboriginal educator, activist, broadcaster, and politician) and renewing the bond between himself and his dying father. A beautiful book about forgiveness, reconciliation, spirituality, and family.
 


Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me: What My Favorite Book Taught Me About Grace, Belonging and the Orphan in Us All by Lorilee Craker (nonfiction). This lovely and touching book interweaves episodes from Craker's favourite novel, Anne of Green Gables, with her own experience as an adopted child and as the mother of an adopted child. Craker is a funny, warm writer who will have you laughing at her goofy, Anne-like foibles one moment and getting misty-eyed about her heartbreak the next.




Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg (nonfiction). Written in Ortberg's usual straightforward and honest style, this book discusses the importance of understanding the soul and what it needs to be healthy and connected to God. Ortberg draws heavily on the teaching and example of his mentor, Dallas Willard, throughout. I found it very helpful and practical.



 A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (fiction).  I've been a fan of Tyler's ever since I read Saint Maybe, and I've read everything she's written since. Her last few novels have been just okay at best, in my opinion. This latest one has a broader scope than usual, covering several generations of the Whitshank family. I liked the sections about the first Whitshank ancestor, a social climber afraid of being held back by his much-younger girlfriend, but the modern-day sections felt like Tyler retreads: ditsy mother figure, stoic father, assorted kids and in-laws that you can't keep straight, odd anachronisms (a baby named Susan in the 1990's??), and potentially explosive secrets that seemed to fizzle. Tyler has always done quirky characters really well, but here she can't seem to pull them together into a compelling plot. I hate to say it, but I think Tyler peaked 20 years ago and her readers have been settling for just okay ever since.

4 comments:

  1. I love Saint Maybe and have read a lot of other Anne Tyler novels once, some of them twice, but the only other one that I really thoroughly love and recommend is Digging to America. Many of the others have a main character I'm supposed to like but don't, characters that are too much like others in her books, or plots that just don't matter.

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    1. That pretty much sums it up, Becca! And I agree: Digging to America was her last really good one. Sigh.

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  2. Thank you so much for this Anne recommendation. I'm adding it to my list.

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    1. Just saw your comment today, Caroline: I hope you like the Craker book. I loved it; it's one of those "I laughed, I cried books."

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