Monday, June 07, 2021
Sunday, June 06, 2021
About the Book:
Thursday, June 03, 2021
I don't know about you, but I'm getting more use out of my public library lately--and entering its doors less. Yes, I'm a digital content junkie. Through the magic of a couple of apps on my phone or Fire, books can be in my hand as quickly with my library card as with my credit card. Definitely a win for my wallet. Let's take a look at some of the choices:
Library-Purchased Ebooks and Audiobooks
Pay Per Borrow
Being a Good Citizen
Tuesday, June 01, 2021
About the Book:
Combining heart-wrenching emotion with edge-of-your-seat tension, Charles Martin explores the true power of sacrificial love.
He shows up when all hope is lost.
Murphy Shepherd has made a career of finding those no one else could—survivors of human trafficking. His life’s mission is helping others find freedom.
But then the nightmare strikes too close to home.
When his new wife, her daughter, and two other teenage girls are stolen, Murphy is left questioning all he has thought to be true. With more dead ends than leads, he has no idea how to find those he loves.
After everything is stripped away, love is what remains.
Hope feels lost, but Murphy is willing to expend his last breath trying to bring them home.
My Comments:I almost quit about 10% into the book because I couldn't figure out what was happening or how the characters fit together. However, I kept reading and in the end, I can't say I wasted my time, but no, I will not be reading the next book in the series.
The story is told in the first person by Shepherd, and it follows two timelines--what is happening now, and what happened in the past to bring him into this line of work.
Based on the blurb above, I expected a story where his loved ones were kidnapped early in the book and we as readers spent most of the book watching him follow the clues and dead ends to rescue them. Instead there was a lot of exposition about Murphy's childhood and young adult years, followed by some current action, then, in the last quarter of the book the kidnapping and resolution.
What did I not like? Basically, the characters all seems so unrealistic. Murphy was a loner kid who had only one friend, but at some point he saw some trafficking victims and rescues them, and that is noticed by someone. He gets an appointment to the Air Force Academy, even though he never applied, and while there, is mentored by an Episcopal priest who is a chaplain, but who wears robes around the Academy, not a uniform. The chaplain signs him up for an online seminary and between his Academy work and the seminary program, Murphy is busy to say the least.
After graduation, instead of going into the Air Force, he goes to work for his mentor in some super-secret super exclusive group that rescues people. They set up a community for the folks they rescue where they can receive counseling, love, support, etc.--and I'm talking community, not a couple of buildings.
Monday, May 31, 2021
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
About the Book:
Monday, May 24, 2021
About the Book:
Sunday, May 23, 2021
I saw a post recently about parents getting upset about a book the teacher was using in class. I can't remember what book it was, but the bottom line was, as I've found to be pretty normal in such cases, whose worldview was to be presented to the kids--that of the author or that of the parents?
There are those who say that kids who are being brought up in homes where LGBTQ people are seen as sinners and/or freaks need to see books that present them as normal people with normal goals and feelings---books that normalize what these kids are feeling--and yet those kids' parents don't want that behavior normalized.
There are parents who vehemently object to having their children read Mark Twain's books with the character Nigger Jim (sorry, I refuse to say N---, I won't call anyone that or use it to describe anyone today, but if I'm going to refer to the word, I'm going to use it) because they consider the word "Nigger" to be SO offensive, while other people believe Twain to be a big enough part of American literature that reading his works is a must. One group is afraid of the normalization of the use of an offensive word--or at least the failure to absolutely condemn the use of the word, and another points out that the protagonist respects Jim--something that wasn't necessarily normal at the time the book was written.
But what about when you get away from reading assigned to kids or books available to them? What about when you are talking about adults who are responsible for their own reading choices and their own moral and cultural choices? As adults should we strive to be "inclusive" in our reading material? Should we seek out fiction that challenges our worldview, or criticize a book because it promotes a worldview different from ours?
I am a conservative Catholic. My views on sexual morality are probably more conservative than 90% of the country--I know it and I own it. However, my taste in reading material is far more liberal than my beliefs--I don't automatically turn down books because they have sex scenes including sex scenes (no matter how graphic) between unmarried people, despite the fact that I believe non-marital sex is wrong. On the other hand I have absolutely no desire to read a gay romance.
I've read a lot of Christian fiction over the years and often got annoyed if I thought the author mis-represented Catholicism. However, I have problem reading about how Protestants live Christianity, or about the Amish (though I don't like it when the point of the book seems to be to show how awful the rules of the Amish faith are). I've enjoyed books about Muslims being Muslims. I don't have to agree with the author's beliefs, or the beliefs of the characters I read about, but I don't like it when I'm told that my beliefs are wrong--particularly when authors mis-represent my beliefs. I know there are people who absolutely refuse to read anything classified as Christian fiction even if reviewers say it isn't preachy because so much of it promotes a world view with which they disagree. Most people I know decide if a book by a political figure is worth reading simply by looking at who wrote it--and if the person is on the wrong side, they pass.
Some of the many challenges floating around on book blogs deal with diversity or multi-culturalism. Bloggers say they will read a certain number of books about other cultures. I will admit I rarely seek out such books, but I'm not averse to reading them. On the other hand, I do like finding books about people like me--married women with grown kids, women facing life post-children, women who are closer to my age than to my daughter's. I like books set in my part of the country and books with a Catholic bent.
To what extent should our reading be a mirror--sending our beliefs (for good and bad) back to us, showing us what we look like, and to what extent should it be a lens through which we can view the other side of the story?
Saturday, May 22, 2021
About the Book:
Monday, May 10, 2021
Sunday, May 09, 2021
About the Book:
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
About the Book:
When Lark Ashwood’s beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark’s been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?
Hannah can’t believe she’s back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother’s house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away...
Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She’ll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.
This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time...
Monday, May 03, 2021
Saturday, May 01, 2021
About the Book:
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
The Road to Rose Bend
About the Book:
Sydney Collins left the small Berkshires town of Rose Bend eight years ago, grieving her sister’s death—and heartbroken over her parents’ rejection. But now the rebel is back—newly divorced and pregnant—ready to face her fears and make a home for her child in the caring community she once knew. The last thing she needs is trouble. But trouble just set her body on fire with one hot, hot smile.
Widower and Rose Bend mayor Coltrane Dennison hasn’t smiled in ages. Until a chance run-in with Sydney Collins, who’s all grown-up and making him want what he knows he can’t have. Grief is his only connection to the wife and son he lost, and he won’t give it up. Not for Sydney, not for her child, not for his heart. But when Sydney’s ex threatens to upend everything she’s rebuilt in Rose Bend, Cole and Sydney may find that a little trouble will take them where they never expected to go.
Monday, April 26, 2021
I can't really tell you what I did last week, but I did get one review book finished, Susan Mallery's Stepsisters which I enjoyed.
It rained last weekend but this weekend was absolutely beautiful--warm but not hot and sunny and, well, as my husband said "Chamber of Commerce" weather. He and I went out to lunch (yea for vaccines, we are willing to take the risk of going out, even if it means eating inside) and then drove along the lakefront where lots of groups had gathered. I really think this Covid thing has about run its course.
I have several new posts on my blog this week:
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Luke Chapter 10 includes the story of Martha and Mary. I'll quote it below and being a good Catholic who respects copyright law and is too lazy to determine how many verses I can quote of a copyrighted version without running afoul of the law, I'll use the public domain Catholic Bible, the Douay Rheims--this edition was published in 1890 and the general language is similar to the King James Version.
From Luke 10
38 Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word.40 But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me.41 And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things:42 But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I just finished a NetGalley (advance publicity copy) of a book that brought this story to mind. The book is A Song for the Road by Kathleen Basi.
I loved this book and will be publishing a review of it when it gets closer to publication.
Anyway, the story of Martha and Mary has always annoyed me just a little--yes, I'm a Martha, not a Mary. I'm the volunteer, the one who leads Girl Scout troops, teaches religion classes, reads at Mass and is generally available if someone needs something done. If service hours had been a thing when I was in high school, I'm sure I would have had plenty. Give me something to do and I'm in my element. Make me sit and socialize and I get uncomfortable fast.
What is the story supposed to tell us? Are we all supposed to spend our days sitting at His feet? I'm sure to some extent the answer to that question is "yes". We need to take time in prayer to listen to what He has to tell us, and for some of us, that can be hard. Silence and contemplation is harder than a to-do list.
However, I noticed in reading the story, it doesn't say "and Jesus said unto Martha 'put down your dishes, bank the fire and come listen to me. Don't worry about dinner ' " Perhaps he wasn't criticizing anything about Martha except her criticism of Mary. Both Martha and Mary loved Jesus, they just expressed that love differently.
Martha and Mary appear in John's gospel as well, in Chapter 11:
20 Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home. 21 Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: 26 And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? 27 She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. 28 And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 She [Mary], as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him. 30 For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave to weep there. 32 When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself, 34 And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see. 35 And Jesus wept. 36 The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him. 37 But some of them said: Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. 39 Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days. 40 Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? (emphasis mine)
Again, Martha is portrayed as the doer, Mary as the receptive one--which doesn't mean that Martha was not receptive, it just means that she thought in practicalities---"he stinketh", and Mary had to leave the house and approach Jesus. Both loved Him but they were different people and loved differently.
In A Song for the Road, the main character, Miriam, starts off believing that she hasn't loved enough, and that she wasn't loved enough by some and through her journey she learns that the love of Martha (my words, not Kathleen's) is no less (or greater) than the love of Mary.
How do you love? Are you a Martha or a Mary? Are you being called to be more of the other?
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
About the Book:
Sunday, April 18, 2021
About the Book:
- how the doctrine of real presence is rooted in divine revelation and how the Church’s teaching regarding transubstantiation is spiritually fruitful for the believer today;
- how to make your own the doctrine of real presence by worshipping Christ in the Eucharist and therefore making a real assent to real presence;
- how the Eucharist, although not the exclusive presence of Christ in the Church’s liturgy and mission, is crucial in growing our capacity for recognizing those other presences; and
- the important relationship between Eucharistic communion and adoration.