Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Books I Read in January

Dracula took me a bit to read. Not because it was difficult (I actually thought it was surprisingly easy), but because I started it at the end of the year when I was working hard to keep my A in Microbiology, and then I had my marathon Christmas sewing spree. I was able to finish it right at the first of January, and I really enjoyed it. There are so many classics I want to read. I own shelves of them, but I often get stuck passing them over for more current reads. I am trying to discipline myself to slowly work my way through, and Dracula has long been on my list. I loved that it was spooky right from the get-go, and that the intrigue and suspense stayed high throughout the story.

I loved, loved, loved this book. So much so that I have a goal to read everything that Alison Weir has ever written. The time period alone had me sold, but Weir is very adept at storytelling, and her research is so impeccably done. Innocent Traitor tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was England's shortest reigning queen, reigning for only 9 days, and totally against her wishes. I really enjoyed getting to know Jane in this story, as well as the backdrop characters like young Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and the infamous Henry VIII. Even the most gruesome details of this period of England's history were told with such emotion. voted Unbroken November 2010's Best Book of the Month, and in their Top 10 Books of the Year. It has to be. You read this book and can't even believe that this is the story of one man! Like a real life Forrest Gump, but in hell. Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of Louie Zamperini, a scrappy little Italian kid who is always getting into the weirdest (and funniest) trouble as a kid, and to keep him focused and on the straight and narrow, his older brother has him start running track. Soon it is realized that Louie is not just any runner, and within a few short years finds himself running in the Olympics, shaking Adolf Hitler's hand, and set to break the world record for fastest mile. But then he is drafted into the War and flying as a bombardier. Whose plane goes down. Only three survive and they float in the Pacific Ocean for 47 days (setting a record for longest survival on a raft), fighting off starvation, dehydration, and hundreds of hungry sharks. They finally reach land, only to realize that it is Japanese occupied, and he spends the next year plus as a prisoner of war at a camp the rest of the world doesn't even know exists, and at the hands of some of the most violent and sadistic Japanese Corporals. This is an incredible story of an even more incredible life and man. And just like Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, I hope this one also becomes a film.

These next books are ones that were sent to me by Luisa. They were a perfectly inspired prescription. M. Catherine Thomas has become one of my new favorite writers. There is so much truth, simplicity, and profound depth in her writing. This book taught me to trust the plan for me, for my marriage, and for my children. That all things are in God's hands much more intricately than I can ever comprehend in my mortality is a soothing relief. I will reread this book, for sure.

Sometimes it's easier to not think about, but in truth, this is a spiritual world that we live in. There are spirits, both light and dark, and their influence is very real. This books describes those spirits and also light and dark in other forms in our lives and how to be more aware of the forces working in our lives. Much food for thought, and also valuable tools to use.

This is the book I referred to yesterday when I wrote about our Family Home Evening lesson. This is one meaty book. I love that Thomas seeks truth from all sources, not just LDS ones. Inspiration is available to all, but can be magnified by the choices we make in our lives. There is a current of energy that flows through life that enlightens and inspires, and its source is God. The nearer we get to Him, and the more like Him we become, the more full of love we are and the more access we have to that which He wants us to have and know. This is a very compassionate book, tender with those of us who are trying our faltering best. It is also a book filled with the most beautiful hope that I've ever read, besides the scriptures, of course. It has given me so, so much to think and ponder on. Completely life-changing.

A moving read by one of my favorite authors. I adore Richard Paul Evans' stories, and I did long before I knew him personally. His stories make me happy and thoughtful. They're easy to read and hard to forget. This has to be one of my favorites. Promise Me is about Beth and the men she has loved. One in particular, whose love came quite unexpectedly at a devastating time, and which changed the entire course of her life in an unbelievable way. When I just want a quick, fun story, I can always count on Richard Paul Evans.


Kathi Oram Peterson said...

What a great goal, to read the classics! You've inspired me. And I'm definitely checking out Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir. Thanks for posting about them.

Luisa Perkins said...

You're smart to chronicle these month-by-month. I'm so glad you liked what I sent!