Saturday, June 27, 2009

Big Book Review, Vol. 3

In the continued absence of baby, another quick recap of the books I've read over the last several months. When I put it down in print, I'm always amazed at how few books I actually get read because in actuality, I read every day. But, as I've said before, we subscribe to quite a few relevant (to us) publications that I do read cover to cover as well. It really bites into my time for actual book-reading. And then there is always the fact that sometimes I only make it a page or two before my eyelids are crying out to just let them close. I must obey them, you know. But, regardless, here is the list:

Unassisted Childbirth, by Laura Shanley

Wow. This book made me so sad. There were some helpful (factual) parts to it, citing research and stats. But, the vast majority of the book consisted of her beliefs in all manner of "new age"-type powers of the human mind. For instance, she holds firm to the belief that there was an "energy personality essence" named Seth who spoke through a woman named Jane Roberts. She goes on to say that Seth teaches that "consciousness is independent of the physical body and we all travel out of our bodies every night [through our dreams]."(p.78) This, she accepts as fact, though she continually dismisses out-of-hand any Christian belief as pure myth for the uneducated. She concludes the book with her story, meant to inspire and encourage as a woman who faced adversity and overcame by her sheer willpower, but which left me so profoundly sorrowful for her. Pray for this woman. As far as information goes, there are other books with more in them.

Playing for Pizza, by John Grisham

A light-hearted story about a down-and-out professional football player given a second chance. He is offered the opportunity to play for Italy's little-known football league and in the process, he really finds new meaning in life. The story is enjoyable. But, the descriptions of the food were divine. My mouth was watering. And, I was ready to pack my bags for a trip to Parma. I wonder who could take care of the animals and the garden while I'm gone...

Putting Food By, by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan

Whew. That was a book chock-full of information. While it doesn't exactly read like a novel, I did actually read it all the way through. Well, I skipped the fish parts...because we aren't big fans anyway & it's not like there is ample opportunity to catch huge amounts of fish around here. Anyway, for the most part, I found it very helpful. I was a little put off by the fact that they include nitrates in their curing instructions...I know that it can be done without because I've purchased cured meat with none in it. They also rely heavily on white sugar, though they do acknowledge that people want alternatives and do try to give those. I appreciated the fact that they not only gave instructions, but explained the "whys" as makes it obvious, then, what must be adhered to and what can be altered. For instance, in recipes that include salt, she specifically states whether the salt is for preservation or just for flavor. Good book for the beginner, which I am!

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt

I have not seen the movie, but did enjoy the book. Well, "enjoy" may not be the right word. It's hard to say that you "enjoy" a book about extreme poverty and alcoholism. Told from Frank's viewpoint as a young boy growing up, you get such a sense of the hopelessness that his family faced. The empty stomach with no food in sight. The knowledge that, once again, dad is out drinking what little pay he is given. And the sheer sense that it won't, can't, get any better. It really has given me a better sense of how much I have been blessed. For starters, I have more than weak tea for my lunch.

Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity, by Frank Viola

This is a sequel, of sorts, to his book Pagan Christianity. It picks up where the other leaves off, giving us a "where do we go from here" look at the Church. It deals heavily with the concepts of leadership, covering, hierarchy, and decision-making. One of the more interesting points, dealing with covering is this: If one must be covered by another Christian, then who will cover the top person? If Christ does, then why can't Christ cover all of us? If His sacrifice removed the barrier, then why doesn't the Church seem to put into practice the idea that every believer actually has equal access to God? Interesting questions. Again, as with Pagan Christianity, it isn't for the average church-goer. It is for those who are questioning the way we "do" church and who wish to "reimagine" the Church as the actual body of Christ.

For school (Sonlight's picks plus a few of my own), I read the following:
We also listened to recordings of the following books:
  • Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
  • Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
I am currently in the middle of a huge book, Building Christian Character, by Blair Adams. It has been so good. But, I will wait to discuss that when I am finished.


OurCrazyFarm said...

What? Still no baby:) You are in my prayers that God would allow you to have this sweet little one without the induction. Ecc 9:10 assures us that all things are in His hands, so wait in peace:) My boys were both a week over due; maybe it's a boy.

I loved your book review! It was impressive to me. I have just discovered James Herriot, and was excited to see that he had a childrens book. What deep reading you have done! What a wonderful thing to pass on to your children.

Hopefully that baby will cooperate and the next post will be about childbirth??!!

Missus Wookie said...

I've just done a magazine review because a couple of readers asked what titles I was reading whenever I said, "Reading - mainly mags" :)

Putting Food By is a favourite around here too.

Laura Shanley said...

This - "she continually dismisses out-of-hand any Christian belief as pure myth for the uneducated" - is simply not true. I never made any statements to that affect in my book. I did make a comment about the Christ "myth" as I believe that much of what Christ said has been misinterpreted and distorted over the years (both intentionally and unintentionally). But I also have Biblical quotes in my book, and certainly made it clear that faith is at the heart of my work. Yes, I have been inspired by the Seth material, but have also found inspiration in Christianity and Buddhism.