The Quarterly Book Review
It has come to my attention that I quite possibly read more than many other people do. I don’t know. It could just be that I read anywhere from 3 to 7 books at a time. (I’m pretty sure I have a problem, but now is not the time to talk about it).
In any case, my semi-annual book review is now a Quarterly Book Review. It will be more selective than before, and hopefully more informative. The following is the first installation. Feel free to send in requests and recommendations at any time. I always need suggestions to expand both my reading and my worldview.
New York: the Novel by Edward Rutherford
My dad is always reading these horrifically long novels by Edward Rutherford, and none of us can ever figure out why. One day I made a passing comment about an immigration issue, and my dad immediately leapt up and grabbed New York off the bookshelf. I decided to give it a try. At 880 pages it is likely the longest book I’ve read, and it was actually fascinating.
So what is it? The novel begins in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1664 and tells the history of New York City up to 2009 through the lens of a single family, with secondary families coming in and out of the story at various points in time. It’s a rich storyline and a unique view into how sweeping historical events effect individual lives, not just a city, or our country. I’d absolutely read more of his books, and Edward, if you’re reading, I’d like to request one about Mexico City. Thanks!
Tattoos on the Heart by Father Greg Boyle
I can’t believe Father Greg’s stamina as he describes his ministry in a book-long series of anecdotes about the people he lives with in the projects of East LA. He’s down to earth, humble and lives to be as Christ-like as he possibly can, all in the midst of poverty, among people who are continually told they are good for nothing. He reminds them every day that in God’s eyes they are whole and good. If he can do that for all the difficult people he encounters on a daily basis, what does that say about how I interact with the people around me? It gave me so much to think about. I’m still processing it.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
This is probably one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read. Corrie ten Boom, a middle-aged Christian woman living in Holland during the German occupation was a leader in hiding Jewish people and moving them to secure places. She eventually served time in a concentration camp, where she led many people to Christ and learned that it is “in darkness God’s truth shines most clear.”
While the conditions she lived in were shockingly horrific, her ever-increasing faith in God and determination to rely on God’s provision is both surprising and humbling.
The Translator by Daoud Hari
As much as it pains me to say so, most of what I knew about the conflict in Darfur came from campaigns to raise awareness on facebook. I supposed that those efforts made me aware, but didn’t particularly educate me on what was actually going on. I picked this book up off the recommended shelf at my local public library and I finally started to understand the implications of the conflict.
This book is written by Daoud Hari, a local tribesman who moved around North Africa for most of his life studying English and meeting just about every kind of person imaginable before returning to Darfur, where he began working as a translator for international journalists. Now unwelcome in Sudan, he is living in the United States, doing his best to get the word out about the conflict and sharing his story. This book is a window into his life and his family’s struggle to survive, fleeing their village as it was violently attacked and making their way to refugee camps in Chad. Pursued by the Sudanese government, he continued to risk his life to take journalists in and get the story out to the rest of the world. His story is inspiring, courageous and informative.
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
This book is excellent. Not only because it is set on Capitol Hill in Seattle, but because it is follows the journeys of several souls that are lost – some more than others, and all in different ways. They intersect in one lonely woman’s home and each one finds what they have been missing all along: family. It is a story of love emerging in unexpected places, and people finding that they best understand themselves when they view themselves through the scope of a loving community.
Follow my reading, and yours, on good reads.