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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Another List, because, GASP!, I've been too busy (reading) to blog

Blood of the Lambs, by Kamal Saleem. Saleem is surrounded by a bit of controversy, and I won't vouch for his personal integrity, but the story he tells (purportedly his memoir) does seem to be in line with what we hear about militant Islam from other sources. Thrilling, frightening, enlightening.

Marriage and Caste in America, by Kay S. Hymowitz. A good book, but not as important as her other book Manning Up, so, if you only read one, read Manning Up.

Twenty-Five Books That Shaped America, by Thomas C. Foster. I really liked his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, so I had high hopes for this one, but it fell flat, in my opinion. For one thing, early on I found myself profoundly disagreeing with his interpretation of The Scarlet Letter, but that disagreement caused me not to trust him as much when it came to books I haven't read (which happen to be most of the books he treats of, as I haven't been a big reader of American Literature).

Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen, by Emily Brightwell. A light-hearted Victorian mystery. Certainly the book turned out better than I expected when I began it, yet it was still brain candy. I wouldn't be opposed to reading more of the Mrs. Jeffries series (apparently quite extensive, though this was my first exposure to it), but nor would I seek them out.

Cruel and Usual Punishment, by Nonie Darwish. It is subtitled, The Terrifying Global Implications of Sharia Law. Terrifying they are. Ms. Darwish tells of the impact of Sharia law on individuals and on families and on societies, sharing some of the history of the Arab culture in which Islam arose. She suggests that Islam provides a religious justification for the enslavement and subjugation of weaker people, be they women, children, or other people groups.

The Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan. An exciting series of four books written for Young Adults. Not my first choice of genre, but they were fun reads. I think adolescent males would really enjoy reading them. About this, I would say you definitely need to read them in order, and read all four of them. The story line runs through all four books, and is progressively revealed through all four books, and they become better as they go along.

Beauty, by Robin McKinley. This was a pleasant retelling of the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. I did like it, but I was also uncomfortably reminded of my misspent youth, glutting on romance novels. My own problem with it does not make it unsuitable for others, and it was nicely written.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, by Karen Swallow Prior. I do like reading about books and reading, but Booked is definitely low on my list for such books. It simply did not move me as much as other books about reading (though I did prefer it to Foster's book mentioned above).

Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell. A well-written window into a place and a period of time I was practically ignorant of, yet with some odd features (I won't detail them, as they'd give part of it away). Ms. Russell is a talented and versatile woman.

Murder Being Once Done, by Ruth Rendell. My first mystery by Ruth Rendell, a writer many later mystery writers look up to and mention as a hero. I thought it better than the Mrs. Jeffries mystery mentioned above, but not as good as my favorite authors (I do like me some Christie and Sayers and P.D. James). I would certainly read more by her, though. Warning: there are a couple flamboyantly homosexual characters in this book.

The Duck Commander Family, by Willie and Korie Robertson. I've only watched one episode of Duck Commander, mainly because my husband is not at all interested in the show. So many of my friends watch and like it, though, that I wanted to familiarize myself with the characters. This was a quick and pleasant read. The formula of tying each chapter to a moral lesson and a recipe seemed a tad bit contrived at times. Reading the book increased my interest in watching some more episodes of the show.

Lit!, by Tony Reinke. This book is just about the best book about reading I have ever read (I could almost say the best, but worry I might be forgetting one). If you pick one book to read from my list, I highly recommend you pick this one. The first half treats of the theological and philosophical defense of reading. The second half offers practical tips for reading. The whole book deliberately and explicitly seeks to glorify God, to the point that one could almost use it to evangelize unbelievers. I read it on the Kindle, but I'd like to own a physical copy. Scratch that. I'd like to own several physical copies so I could hand them out. I plan to reread it.

One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She has a distinct way of writing. Sometimes I found that tedious and irritating, sometimes I was startled by the insights she was thus able to elucidate. I need to think through the ending a bit, as I'm not sure if my discomfort with some of the things she says at the end is right or wrong. But, I would recommend it. I think it could be life-changing for some readers.

Seekers of the Lost Boy, by Taryn Hayes. A decent children's fiction book set in South Africa dealing with Apartheid, and with a pointed evangelistic message.


  1. Glad you are still out there!!

    Eva in AZ

  2. Hey there - thanks for including my book on your list. I was browsing google and discovered your post :-) Lovely to "meet" people across the world in this way. Good on you for all that reading! It's impressive!

    1. Taryn, thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. It is very exciting to me when an author of a book I've read deigns to notice my little blog. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply to your comment. I was holding my blog very loosely at the time you commented. I am full of hopes that I can pick blogging back up now. When will your next book be published?

  3. Hello Dear Gull,
    I know you are busy reading - and editing! - but just wanted to say that the world is waiting for what more you might have to say about books.