Tuesday, July 15, 2014
July "Twitterature": starting books, finishing books, and everything in between
Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly Twitterature post in which we share brief reviews of what we've been reading.
This month's highlights:
- I read half a novel and couldn't finish it before the library hold expired. But I've got it back at last!
- I read three chapters of a novel by one of my favourite authors, quit, and returned it to the library. (Does that make me a bad person?)
- I read a huge, unnerving nonfiction book.
- I read a small, encouraging nonfiction book.
My half-read novel: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I was thoroughly enjoying this delightful novel (written in the 1940's) about a bright and resourceful teenage girl, her eccentric, penniless family, and the two intriguing young men who move in next door to the tumbledown castle where the family lives. But my library hold expired and I had to return it unfinished! (Oh, the trials of the frugal reader.) I just got it back on the weekend and am eager to finish it off. Maybe next month I'll tell you how I liked the whole thing.
My quit-after-three-chapters novel: We are Water by Wally Lamb. I loved Lamb's She's Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, and The Hour I First Believed. I also heard him speak at the Festival of Faith & Writing in 2010 and met him at his book-signing there; I was impressed by his kindness and humility. But I just hated what I read of We Are Water: pages and pages of self-indulgent backstory by at least three different narrators. My sincerest apologies to Mr. Lamb and anyone who read and loved this book -- but I want to be turning pages because I can't stop reading, not because I feel guilty about quitting.
My huge, unnerving nonfiction book: Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink. This book details how a New Orleans hospital coped during Hurricane Katrina; it focuses particularly on the controversy surrounding patients who died under questionable circumstances. Very interesting discussion of important issues like disaster response, health care rationing, euthanasia, and societal values in general.
My small, encouraging nonfiction book: A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness by Marlena Graves. I won this book in a draw on Micha Boyett's blog and am very glad I did. The author writes in a warm and gently encouraging way about how we can encounter and be changed by God in the midst of difficult "desert" times in life. She draws on her own experiences as a child who grew up amidst poverty and alcoholism, showing how from an early age she placed herself in the Bible passages she read and learned to look for God in whatever situation she was in. (I quoted a bit from Graves's book in a previous post.) This is a book I know I'll return to again and again.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What are you reading at the moment?