Do You Hear What You Are Thinking? by Jerry A. Schmidt
I'm having a hard time giving some adequate thoughts about this title. Not because it was bad but because it was SO good. And because one read isn't enough. I'm labeling my first read of it a warm-up read to the real read which might lead to a cool down read of it. Seriously! It is a small, short little book that is packed full of really wise counsel.
Do you hear what you are thinking? Think about that question again. What you think translates into belief and action. So what we think needs to be reexamined, most especially if what we believe about ourselves, the world, faith, etc and how we act because of those beliefs are unhealthy.
I don't think in positive and healthy ways about myself and that manifests itself in all sorts of dysfunction junction ways. I am okay admitting this, I am not okay with living like it *forever* ~ especially when I am aware of it and know it can be different. My counselor mentioned this book somewhat offhandedly so I searched it out - literally had to search it out as it is out of print and hard to find - and am glad to have found it. I'll also be glad to share it, my husband is the next person I'm handing it to for reading and gleaning! *wink*
His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik
I confess I would have never given this book a second look, well a first look actually, had it not been brought to my attention. It's not a genre I am inclined toward. But a book club that I am mostly a part of chose it and I'm game to read things I normally wouldn't so I picked up Novik's book 1 - of what I found out was a total of 9 in the series - and dove in. Because this is not my genre I feel my review will be colored a bit by that so keep that in mind.
Captain Will Laurence serves for His Majesty's Navy right up until the moment when he captures a dragon egg from a French ship and it hatches in his presence and he becomes the dragon's handler. Laurence and the dragon are now in the aerial corps for His Majesty. The dragon, named Temeraire by Laurence, turns out to be quite a catch for the English military as he is a rare breed. This title is the story of Laurence and Temeraire becoming a team and learning how to be aviators and not sailors for the King.
While Temeraire is an interesting character I can't imagine he is interesting enough to pull off 9 full length novels and a couple of novellas in between. There's only so much development you can do with a dragon, only so many stories you can create with a man and his dragon until they begin to be variations of the same battles and stories. I found the story hard to keep engaged with, slightly bored with the repetitive details of dragon care, and not as compelled by Captain Laurence or even Temeraire as I imagine people who like the genre probably are. I'm not sure I like Novik's writing either, it gave me the feeling of flatline. If it had been more engaging I would probably be inclined to read on in the series. As it is I have no desire or need to read books 2-9.
Liar Liar (Helen Grace #4) by M.J. Arlidge
Kindle Edition 440 pages
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for this free readers edition. In exchange I am providing an honest review.
I LOVE M.J. Arlidge and DI Helen Grace. Yes, I realize this is a genre I love anyway but Arlidge does it SO well!
In this title DI Helen Grace and her team are in a frantic search to find an arsonist who can also add murder to his/er resume. 9 fires in three nights, 4 people dead, several wounded. Any leads Grace and her team dig up are ending in dead ends and time is not on their side as it appears the arsonist is getting anxious. The investigation is not made easier by the dogged presence of media and the anger Grace endures from those who don't like her theories about the possible suspects. Add to the stress of the investigation a new Captain that the DI has to report to and get to know plus personal life changes and Helen is once again the most popular unpopular copper in Southhampton.
Fire freaks me out. I think it might be the thing that I would hate to be in the most. Arlidge must have observed, interviewed, etc firefighters to get a handle on how fire behaves because the descriptions of it make me feel like I'm *in* it. In this title Arlidge backed off of Grace's personal life a bit but still moved that storyline forward. I'm so curious to see where Arlidge takes Helen Grace professionally and personally.
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene H. Peterson
Whoa. Just whoa. I honestly don't know what to say about this short but impactful book from Peterson. He says so many insightful things, so many soul examining things. His discourse on the replacement trinity was eye opening and challenging to American christianity, as it should be. American believers need to allow themselves to be challenged in how they interact with Christ and his word. Peterson provides the challenge in a grace covered conversation. I have the study guide for this book and will do it separately at some point. It will provide the much needed, in my opinion, reminder of how to read the word of God and interact with the One who authored my life.
We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley
Kindle Edition 352 pages
Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday for this free readers edition. In exchange I am providing an honest review.
This story could have been beautiful.
That might be harsh but I'm not sure how else to start this review. The characters and plot of this title follow this trend I've noticed the past few years about obscenely wealthy residents of, usually, New York City and their struggles of being the 1%. It makes me groan. This title has pushed me over the edge, I'm not reading any more books that have descriptions about wealthy people struggling to make sense of their lives.
In this title Catherine is a wealthy 43 year old that is so delusional in her goodness that I felt slightly violent toward her. She's so annoying. So privileged in all the worst ways. So whiny. I might have liked her more if Huntley had spent only one or two chapters on the character of Catherine that she spent the whole of the book except for the last chapter. I am much more interested in the Catherine of the last chapter than the one that spent the majority of the book whimpering about her life.
Ugh. There's more I could say about the book but then I would sound whiny and annoying so I'll just say I don't recommend it. Not unless you like reading about wealthy people who think they have awful lives and whine about it.
Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross by Michael J. Gorman
A couple of things led to my DNF (did not finish) status on this title. I had to get it through inner-library loan and there are no renewals on it and I started it too late to get through it by the due date. The second reason was it was SO meaty and academic that I couldn't get my head into it. I'm just not in that heady of a space right now. I got to page 45 before I decided it was time to give it up and since it was also sitting at the door of its due date the choice was kind of made for me. But I did not abandon it because it was poorly written or dull. Even though it is meaty and heady it is not dry in its delivery. Gorman keeps it engaging, at least in this reader's opinion! This is a title I picked up on my continuing quest to read the books on my friend's class lists for her classes. She had to finish the book, I did not. However, I may pick it up again at some point in my life - although considering the length of my to-read list that is probably not actually going to happen.
The Spirituality of the Gospels by Stephen C. Barton
This title landed on my bookshelf in my continued reading of my friend's class reading lists. It's a short but heady book outlining the four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke (and Acts), and John and the contributions they each make to the spirituality of Jesus and by extension to us. Barton unpacks the specific focuses of each gospel and how they differ from each other - and yet how they support one another. Out of the four gospels Matthew has always been the one I lean into the most. I've always attributed that to an in-depth teaching I sat through years ago in which the person who taught the book brought it to life and made it sing out to me. And while I think that is definitely true, I also would contend - perhaps because of reading this book by Barton - that I also lean into Matthew's gospel the most because of the way I see and think about things. This was an interesting read, I never would have come across it were it not for my friend's class. It's rather academic so not for everyone but an interesting read for me.
Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel by Luke Timothy Johnson
A couple of things led to my DNF (did not finish) status on this title. I had to get it through inner-library loan and there are no renewals on it and I started it too late to get through it by the due date. The second reason was I kept nodding off when trying to read it - even after a good night's sleep! This tells me that it wasn't engaging enough for me to get through it. I got through all of the preface and chapter 1 and upon starting chapter 2 felt reluctant to try and push through and make it happen before the due date. Johnson's writing is not for me - I found it to be dry and tedious. The topic I was excited about but Johnson's delivery of it left me disappointed. Bummer.
Out to Canaan (Mitford Years #4) by Jan Karon Audio Book Narrated by John McDonough Part of the joy of this series is the charm of the characters. And part of their charm is their simple and down to earth ways. I found out that Hallmark Channel did a movie, "At Home in Mitford" so of course I watched it. I didn't have high hopes and it's a good thing. My dad has never read the books so he loved the movie. If you haven't read the books it was a cute movie in its own way but it had nothing, literally NOTHING, to do with the book series except for the names! I realized what was missing from the movie that the series has is the charm Jan Karon created with such salt of the earth people and simple ways of living life. I suppose, in 2017, trying to translate that visually wouldn't fly with the majority of the population which is really too bad. Perhaps those of us living in 2017 should reexamine the simpler ways of life.
Readings I enjoyed the past month in this year long read (which is actually going to take me longer than a year since I have fallen a bit behind. Whatever! *grin*): Aesop's Fables. Yes, that's all that I really enjoyed from the selections I read the past month. One particular reading I ended up abandoning due to it's length (WAY more than the 15 minutes *promised* and I'm a fast reader!) and it's wordiness. It was such a tedious selection. Anyway, I'm snacking - definitely not feasting - away at this book.