Saturday, October 30, 2010

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

This is another book by my new favorite author. It's another collection of short stories. Simple, but rich. Excellent character development. And, I've written this before in a previous blog post about The Interpreter of Maladies - the writing seems so effortless. It's really wonderful.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The story of Major Ernest Pettigrew, Englishman and widower, and his unlikely friendship/relationship with the Pakistani shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali, and the buzz that this creates in their small town.

This is a delightful, charming book. One of those that is good for a rainy afternoon spent on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and a cat. (If you want to borrow a lap cat, my cat Roger would love to meet you. But he's just to borrow, not to keep.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You by John Ortberg

I first heard of John Ortberg when one of my teammates when I was overseas let me borrow a book called If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get out of the Boat. I read it, loved it, and thought, "This Ortberg guy is really good!"

I didn't know then that I would one day attend his church. (That's my disclosure: this book is written by my pastor.)

I must say that Ortberg is actually a lot funnier when he speaks. His jokes don't translate very well to the written.

None of us is who we were created to be...and this book is about how to move closer to who we are created to be, but it's not a try harder, do more kind of book.

Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

A couple of months ago, I saw Laura Bush and her daughters on an episode of Oprah. Laura Bush was promoting her new autobiography, and I decided to read it. I didn't vote for George Bush (#1 or #2) for president, and I didn't really know anything about Laura Bush.

Bush chronicles her early life which I found pretty interesting. When she gets to the White House years though, it's a recitation of state dinners, trips abroad, and cause that she devoted herself to. I do like that she's a librarian, loves to read, and promoted literacy and reading.

This book was okay and pleasant enough, but didn't have the juice and insider's look into the White House and the Bush presidency that I thought it might have.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Losses of Our Lives: The Sacred Gifts of Renewal in Everyday Loss by Nancy Copeland-Payton

Sometimes I read a book that speaks exactly to what my heart needs to hear that week.

This one did not.

Not that it’s a bad book – it’s actually pretty good – but I think that the timing was off in my reading of it.

The book talks about all of the losses that we experience daily and through our lives. There are so many beginnings and ends in life, and we are not very conscious of many of these.

On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard

It’s a popular thing these days to try something different for a month or a year and then write a book about it.

In this book, the couple spends one month eating on $1 a day. Then, they spend one month eating on $4.13 a day (which is the food stamp allotment along with limited additional personal spending). Then, they try to eat a healthy diet.

It took me a long time to finish this book. There was something that just seemed gimmicky about it all and the couple (who alternate writing the chapters) didn’t endear themselves to me at all.

The book did make me think some about food, how much I spend on it, and how healthy my diet actually is. But I must admit that after I finished the book and the chapters on healthy eating, I ate Top Ramen for dinner followed by four Girl Scout Thin Mints for dessert.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

After I read The Namesake, I tried to wait a bit before checking out other books by the same author to have some distance between this incredible reading experience and whatever I read next by the author.

I think I waited a week before I went to the library and checked out the other two books.

This is a collection of short stories, and I don't tend to like reading short stories. However, I liked these. The author's writing seems so effortless and the stories are so human. Check it out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rocky Road by Rose Kent

Sometimes I wander into the Children and Teen sections of the library. I think it's a shame that after we hit adulthood (whenever that is) that we forget that there is some great young adult and children books out there.

This book is by the same author as Kimchi and Calamari which I reviewed back in 2007. It's about Tess, her deaf brother, Jordan, and their mom who suddenly uproots them from Texas to move to New York. They don't have a lot of money, but Mom has tons of ideas about starting a new business: an ice cream shop. They move into a retirement home where lots of funny characters welcome them and help them out.

Lots of themes in this book: community, transition, and loss. Also, there's a mental health element in here as well as the mom has bipolar disorder and is reluctant to see a doctor and take medication.

A delightful read, just like the author's previous book. A fun weekend read.