Books

So few pages, yet such a great reading experience from Rebecca Stead! When You Reach Me is richly detailed and well written, and brings you back to the delightful and difficult parts of being eleven. The $20,000 Pyramid is a small part of the plot, which is the only reason I could find for it to be set in 1979, but the chapter tie-ins to the game show are a nice touch. This is YA at its best!

 

Linda Medly’s graphic novel, Castle Waiting, was very enjoyable, with b&w art that is detailed and lively. Although there is no “proper” plotline in this unhurried depiction, the linked tales are rewarding with a strong slant toward feminine strength, uniqueness, and alternative families/communities.

 

The Martian by Andy Weir is self-published and wonderful!  A mere 99 cents (on Kindle) brings you humour and science on Mars. Watney is an engaging character and staying only with his POV wasn’t practical if he were ever to leave Mars, but I was disappointed when it switched away from his log entries.

 

Much of Learned Optimism (Martin Seligman, PhD) is interesting, but it promises more than it delivers.

 

Although the storyline of Page by Paige is nothing special, the sketchpad-style creativity of this graphic novel makes it worthwhile. Gulledge’s ability to visually show the protagonist’s inner life is delightful. After initially reading the story, I went back several times just to take in more aspects of the drawings.

 

After reading Midwives last month, perhaps I was expecting too much from Chris Bohjalian’s The Double Bind.  Nothing special here, and I don’t typically prefer mysteries, which this nearly was.

 

While I think the content is useful, the way it is presented in Leadership and Self-Deception gets in the way. I felt that the authors were being condescending. I’d prefer straight information with stories as examples, not the whole thing presented as a story.
I read this book aloud in the car while we drove to Minneapolis.

 

I wanted to like Rebecca Stead’s First Light but I felt the characters were less real than I wanted them to be. I also shouldn’t read stories that take place in frozen places, since I can’t enjoy that aspect at all!

 

As you read my review of Beyond Ordinary, keep in mind that I like Justin & Trisha’s blog and have been awaiting their book with anticipation.
This is another marriage book that asserts that you must be in perfect relationship with God to have a worthwhile marriage. It seems completely unreasonable to me to claim that only Christians can get marriage “right.”
There is not much advice in the book other than the selflessness associated with devotion to God.
(This was another book that I read aloud in the car.)

 

I was given Marina Nemat’s Prisoner of Tehran, and never would have selected it to read on my own. Although this memoir was moderately interesting, there isn’t enough content about Iran or its struggles to make that the reason to read it. The writing style is quite dull and it feels false to have such unemotional writing about the tragic events in her life.

 

I gave Divine Appointments a try because I recall being entertained by Baumbich’s Dearest Dorothy books. This one was kind of a slow slog, with one of the character’s emotional-outlet writing being the worst of it. Unfortunately, the reader is continually told what is simmering below the surface in the characters’ hearts, rather than allowing us to see it through their actions.

 

Movies

There was a lot more beer-drinking in Blue Like Jazz than you usually see in “Christian” movies. I didn’t attend college so I can’t comment on how accurately that is portrayed (85% performance art?!?), but it seems that Don’s crisis of faith is too easily dulled by liquor.  The animated interludes definitely were not my favourite parts, but the film itself has many entertaining and humorous moments. Lauryn is the strongest and most interesting character, which is not great since her role wasn’t central. In the end, I don’t know if I can really say that I recommend the film, but I do think it is worth 90 minutes of your time simply because it is different and may cause you to think.

 

Brave had a lot of laughs and was entertaining, but I’m not sure about its overall message.

 

Blog posts you should read:

If you are a Church Person, read this.

 

In my ears

the Gray Havens

 

In the kitchen

I’m tired of cooking. When I was a teen and pre-teen, my mom used to desperately dread having to plan food for our family and I totally get that. The list of ingredients that are good for us gets shorter and shorter.

 

5 random things about February

1. We saw The Dishwashers at PTE. I wasn’t captivated by the script or story but could admire the set and actors.

2. We stopped in at Albertville for the first time (just to get jeans at the Calvin Klein outlet).

3. Four eight-hour drives is 32 hours, which felt like a lot.

4. This has been a feeling-old month: failing eyesight, greying hair, indignation at the prices on restaurant menus…

5. Best fast food: SmashBurger