Thankfully I had read the majority of the books this month before the order to shelter in place was called in response to the coronavirus global pandemic. Once called our lives turned upside down and I read one book - my book club book, The Dog Stars, ironically a book about - a pandemic. A few quality reads this month. I finally read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. The ladies in my book club were surprised I hadn't read it, and actually, I've thought about it over the years but just never picked it up. It finally showed up in my library hold and I loved it! Misty Copeland's memoir was fantastic - worth the time! Jeff and I read through Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado during our morning reading time and we both love Lucado's easy going style, yet thought-provoking and convicting.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I still remember the lines in the movie, Footloose, with Kevin Bacon as Ren. “- Mrs. Allyson: Slaughterhouse-Five, isn't that an awful name?
- Ren: Yeah it's a great book... Slaughterhouse-Five, it's a classic.
- Mr. Gurntz: Do you read much?
- Mrs. Allyson: Maybe in another town, it's a classic.
- Ren: In any town.
- Mr. Gurntz: Tom Sawyer is a classic!”
If I'm honest it was that movie quote that first made me want to read Slaughterhouse Five. 36 years later I have finally read Slaughterhouse Five. And, yes, it's a classic. It reads like: a prisoner of war during WWII having dreams through time, in the past, in the future, and outer-worldly and science fiction-y. It seems to me he has the dreams as a way to survive the horrors of war and to search for something [other] when fear is at it's starkest. The book reflects heavily on death as an unending vicious cycle...so it goes. While I could have chosen this book to fulfill one of my 2020 Reading Goals - read a book published in each year since I was born, instead, I chose this to fulfill Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2020 Reading Challenge - a classic you didn't read in high school.
Ice Station Zebra by Alistair Maclean. A mild suspense, thriller. The newly commissioned atomic submarine Dolphin, which was exciting learning, has impossible orders: to sail beneath the ice-floes of the Arctic Ocean to locate and rescue the men of weather-station Zebra, gutted by fire and drifting with the ice-pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. But the orders do not say what the Dolphin will find if she succeeds – that Ice Station Zebra is not what she claims to be, the fire at Ice Station Zebra was sabotage, and that one of the survivors is a killer…I chose Ice Station Zebra to fulfill my 2020 Reading Challenge - read a book published in every year since I was born. Ice Station Zebra was first published in 1963. An interesting and exciting learning opportunity.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Beautiful prose and imagery; extremely well-written, however - it is a very difficult read. The subject was quite depressing. Housekeeping is deep work. It is dark and woesome and sad, yet there are sparks of resiliency. I felt there was no human comforts; a miserable existence - except Ruthie and her aunt Sylvie didn't seem to think so. This would make an amazing book club read with lots to pull out and pick apart. This is a debut novel by Robinson first published in 1980. This will fulfill my 2020 Reading Goals, read a book published in every year since I was born [for 1980] and for the MMD Reading Challenge - a debut novel.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. There was a time many years ago when all I read was Christian fiction and the occasional non-fiction Christian. Even during that season of my reading life I never read, probably the most acclaimed Christian fiction novel of all time, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. When I was researching books to read to fulfill my 2020 Reading Goal, read a book published in every year since I was born, Redeeming Love was number four on Good Reads most popular books (of all books) published in 1991. A Christian fiction book was number four. Over the years I stopped reading most Christian fiction books because I felt the writing was tepid, ineffectual, and saccharine. I have read other Francine Rivers books and I am thrilled to have found a Christian fiction with meat, not lukewarm, quality writing, and a superb story of redemption - a re-telling of the powerful story of the Bible of Gomer and Hosea.
Tilly by Frank E. Peretti. I have read two of Peretti's most famous works, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. This Present Darkness still lingers on my all-time favorite books list, ever. I was at the library browsing the shelves and came across Frank Peretti's books on the shelf. Tucked between his darker supernatural works was this slim, just 126 pages, novella and I was intrigued. I had no earthly idea of the contents. I was simply blown away. Supernatural, yes. Dark, no. It was a breathtaking, heart-wrenching, exquisite piece - perfect truth - on forgiveness.
Life in Motion, An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland. I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by this engaging and enlightening peek into the life of Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre (the supreme ballet company in the US). Copeland's life growing up was hard and pain-filled but she triumphs through. I thought I might see a hint of success, or ego, but even when she is sharing successes, or sharing something that would give anyone a huge ego, Copeland speaks with aplomb, yet with humility. It is a striking balance for this passionate, endearing ballerina.
Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean. Brilliant, clever writing - with humor. MacLean writes as one 'in the know' on espionage and suspense during WWII. A team of 8 special agents are sent in to parachute in to enemy to rescue a member of Eisenhower's staff who has knowledge of the plans for D-Day, before he is made to talk. It begins in humor - and peril, and ends just as dramatic. I read this - easily at the top of my list for my 2020 Reading Goals - read a book published in every year since I was born - for 1967.
Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado. An easy, yet insightful read in typical engaging and fun Max Lucado fashion. Jeff and I finished this, our second book this year. We enjoy our time in the morning, immensely, reading aloud together a Christian non-fiction book and from the Bible. Each one of us is uniquely created for a purpose. How are we going to step up and rock the world we are in, in this present time, right where we are at? How will you treat others? How will you live? Just as Christ commissioned his disciples, He commissions us, also his disciples to preach the Gospel - and live the Gospel message of hope.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. At the beginning of the year I put together a huge list of books for my book club to select a book for February, March, and April. The Dog Stars was chosen for March. How could we have known? A book about the survivors of a pandemic and then we are facing a pandemic by the middle of March and my book club has mixed feelings about even finishing their book. I did finish because I'm not a sensitive - in that way - and haven't internalized the coronavirus global pandemic, emotionally, and do not fear the future. While I did enjoy The Dog Stars and I loved the main character, Hig (and his dog) and could easily see the character of his gun-toting lone neighbor, I liked his book Celine 100% better.