Saturday, March 13, 2010

The absent-minded blogger

I've been a bad, bad, blogger again. Actually, if you count the B&B blog that I post on, I've been a better blogger than I give myself credit for, but...

I should have blogged about something funny Peyton and Paige did last weekend while they were over here, like Peyton getting giddy in Brookshire's because I told her that we would get a roll of cookie dough instead of break apart cookies so we could eat it raw. That might have been the highlight of her week because she was psyched!

I had to go buy them books at the book fair this during public school week. And bring them food. They had someone different come every day. And I do believe everyone bought the books. Who can blame them?

Lately, I have not had much time to read. But I'll share just a little bit about a couple of the books I finished recently. I haven't reviewed them here yet because that sort of seemed like a chore since I would not say that I enjoyed them. BUT, I'm going to go ahead and post on them so I can move them off of my computer desk (which served as a reminder to post reviews) and get them back onto the bookshelf.

Though not my original intention, I've now read through all three nominees in the Contemporary Stand-alone category of the 2009 Christy Awards. I didn't realize I was doing that until after I read one of them and owned a second (I think that's right). A few months ago, I read Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas (Moody Publishers) which was depressing, in my opinion. You can look through the archives to find the review. But, I found it for $1 when I went on a Mardel's clearance shopping spree.

Then, I read Embrace Me by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson). This one too was a $1 purchase, but I had thought the book sounded interesting when I had been looking for books previously.

Here's the back cover copy:

Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful . . . a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.

When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattoed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster . . . and improbably close to grace.

The book got great reviews, but I had the hardest time getting through it. I started it months ago. I read it for a while, then read another book that came out that I had been waiting for. Then, I started reading on it again. And stopped again to read a couple of other books. But, I was determined to get through it and finally finished it.

Two different characters alternate back and forth doing the narration. One in present day and the other several years ago talking about events that happened several years before that. So if that weren't somewhat confusing enough, at some point, they kind of meet in the middle, then both to the present.

If you think you might want to read this book, skip the following part. I won't give away the whole story, but... The lizard woman became disfigured by burning herself with Drano. Her best friend in the freak show was the "human cocoon" who was a woman with no arms or legs. And the self-mutilating preacher was the same person as the tattooed monk.

I guess I just didn't get the deep redemptive meaning the author set out for the reader, but I just thought the whole book was sort of hard to follow and very bizarre.

The winner of the category, and the one I preferred of the three was Dogwood by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House). I really wanted to read this after how much I loved June Bug. I bought this one for full price off of B&N or Amazon around Christmas.

Here's the back cover of this one:

Small towns have long memories, and the people of Dogwood, West Virginia, will never forgive Will Hatfield for what happened. Still he returns, intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved--only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison.

Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and "do life" the best she can.

The secrets of Will and Karin's past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn't survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.

Evidently, to be nominated for this category, the book had to be told from more than one perspective. This one came from three different people.

Let's just say that I was disappointed in this one because of how much I loved June Bug. I had a hard time getting into this one. Maybe I just have a book reading block lately because I'm not loving the one I'm reading right now either.

OK, here is my spoiler. I'm doing this because when I was telling others about this book they were entertained by my description.

Of the three narrators of the book, you really wonder about Will because he is hung up on a woman he used to date who is married to a preacher. He is determined he will end up with her. You think the whole time... seriously? You think you're going to have a happy ever after with a woman who would leave her preacher husband for you, the ex-con everyone hates even though we know you didn't mean to do what you did?

Karin... We know the whole time she isn't just right, but in the end, we learn she's delusional. Her "preacher husband" is actually her psychiatrist.

And Danny Boyd... he's actually dead.

I know that really isn't a fair description of the book. The point is supposed to be an examination of sacrifice and realize our need for a savior. I just had a hard time getting through to that point.

On all counts, it could be my attention span and focus that's my problem with not enjoying these. Obviously, because they were nominated for awards, many people thought they were very well written and entertaining. Maybe it's like watching the movies nominated for the Oscars.

Anyone watch that last week? Anyone watch the Barbara Walters special before? That interview with Mo'nique was strange...

1 comment:

Pam said...

That's funny about Peyton and the cookie dough. It's much better to eat it raw, I think.