The weather in Indiana has been unseasonably warm for October. Not that I’m complaining. Cold weather is not my thing. Soccer season has wrapped up. Camping is over for the year. I’m working fewer hours now at the bookstore, which is good for my sanity and good for my reading life.
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The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling
I liked the emphasis on trying to move forward in the midst of the whirlwind. This resonates with me. There’s so much daily pressure. Lots of details that must be tended to every day and some that fall through the cracks. To move forward, you have to resist all that pressure and focus on the things that move you forward. Those are your priorities. Even when there’s so much else to do.
The book deals with how to achieve your “wildly important goals” through lag measures and lead measures. It took me awhile to understand the main concepts, but I they were helpful once I understood.
To be honest, I didn’t make it to the end of the book, but I will revisit it.
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore
I wasn’t expecting a novel by Beth Moore to start out with a dead body. But, it works. She calls this project “novel” in every sense of the word, because it is her debut into fiction.
The story centers around Jillian Slater, and the dead body belongs to her father. From the front dust cover “She hadn’t seen her or her grandmother, the ice queen— in almost twenty years. Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family’s broken history, and despite Adella’s wiliest efforts, only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.”
I had to push myself to finish because the story started to slog in the middle. Although Jillian as a main character lacked some emotional development, there was a strong plot and the story was redemptive. I didn’t expect any less.
The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I loved the setting of this novel, one that was unfamiliar to me—New York in the thirties and forties. There’s something about New York that captures the imagination. When I visited as a child, two things made an impression on me: the streets were dirty and the unusual dress and hair styles of the Hasidic Jews. Still, the allure of New York transcends reality.
Katy Kontent is a working girl, but she runs in circles with the wealthy of New York. But, life doesn’t go as planned and people aren’t always who you believe they are.
The novel is well-written and compelling. The morality leaves much to be desired. I can’t quite identify the intrigue is in this novel. It certainly includes unexpected twists. It’s a tribute to the complexity of human nature, and especially human love and romance.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Loved the unique premise of this book. It’s told from the viewpoint of an older woman whose wandering, forgetful mind is sliding into dementia. It flashes back to her childhood. The greater portion of the book focuses on the events of Elizabeth’s early years. It’s interesting as she’s losing her grip on remembering details, she still remembers the feeling of loss.
To me, that rings true. The human psyche is a wonderful and marvelous thing. It never ceases to amaze me.
The pain of dementia is offset by the complexity and sweetness of family relationships.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
The Ten Booms built a secret room in their house to hide Jews during the Hitler’s occupation of Holland. They were discovered and arrested by the Germans.
I didn’t see it in the past, but the real hero of the story is Casper Ten Boom, Corrie’s father. He taught his children the truth. He led his family to believe the Word of God and live it out in practical, every day life. They did what was in their power to combat evil.
This book has impacted me for decades. I remember going through hard times and thinking “If Corrie Ten Boom can survive, I can survive.”
Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews
Such a great book! I learned so much on her blog and through her e-book. I’m kind of excited about e-books now that I know some of the inside story.
I think there dollar, 50 page e-books are the way to go. It breaks down a lot of the barriers people have about buying books and reading books— too much money, too much time.
Amy calls it her unique selling proposition to sell a short book on time management. (Maybe someone should sell a cheap book on money management? Of course, you can find lots of free stuff on the internet.)
I learned from her blog why she turned down a traditional book publisher. The book publisher wanted it 7 times longer, to justify the cost of printing and selling the book.
Of course, that defeated her purpose. Which goes to prove a lot of books are “stuffed with fluff” (to quote Pooh) in order to make them long enough to print as a traditional book.
Tell Your Time is concise and practical. She implements and tweaks principles from two of my favorite books, Margin by Richard Swenson and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stepehen Covey.
The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter
Gene Stratton Porter is one of my all time favorite authors. A guest on the Read Aloud Revival called this her favorite Porter book. I liked it well enough, but don’t think it’s better than Girl of the Limberlost or Freckles.
She does a good job with plot, keeping you guessing while you’re turning pages. Five stars for wholesomeness. If anything, this one erred on the side of preachy. It’s so interesting to see what things have changed in the last 100 years, and which have not. Baby care certainly has.
The Bee Keeper centers on a wounded soldier who has escaped a government hospital and throws his fate to God. There’s some things that could be considered coincidence in the story, and some that’s predictable, but overall, satisfying. Stranger things have happened in real life and God does work in mysterious ways.