Monthly Archives: November 2016

What I’m Reading, November 2016

leafinfrost

The weather continues unseasonably warm, but we got our first heavy frost last week.  We’re enjoying the lull between soccer season and basketball season.  The bookstore got a facelift with a new paint job.  Still waiting for our new signs to show up.

I thought I only had read a few books for review, but I had forgotten about some.  Some good picks this month.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

magnoliastory Buy now from Amazon

Chip and Joanna Gaines are extraordinarily ordinary people.

The Magnolia Story takes you behind the scenes of HGTV’s star couple.

They are unusual to take so many risks, but very human.  Hard working people with  a strong marriage.  No TV in their lives.  Talented, yes, but, really, it’s the synergy that they bring to the table that catapults them to success.

 

mr-penumbras   Buy now from Amazon

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore is a fun mix of old books and new technology. The characters are fairly engaging, likeable and relateable.

It did start to slog about a third of the way through, but a new character was introduced and that made a big difference.

The story is not really about a bookstore, it’s about a secret society, so there’s some mystery there that keeps you turning pages.

 

 

hamsterprincessBuy now from Amazon

The Hamster Princess is a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty.  Cute interpretation.  Not sure if I’ll read any more in the series, but that one was entertaining.  Really not sure which age level it’s aimed at.  I’d guess elementary school girls.  It did have some layered humor, now that I think about it, with all the references to organic cabbage and so on.

tribe Buy now from Amazon

Tribe is fascinating.

Interesting food for thought.

So Tribe talks about some interesting things, some are not intuitive.  One is that people miss war.  They miss the comradrie, the breakdown of natural human barriers, the absence of isolation that comes with war.  There’s actually less mental illness during war.  Possibly because people aren’t focused on themselves, but on a common enemy.

Here’s another thing:  sufferers of PSTD from rape have an easier recovery than war victims.  The author proposes that war victims have a harder time separating the good from the bad in their experiences.  Sleeping in close proximity with a lot of people apparently is better for your mental health than being isolated.  Maybe nursing home are a good idea.

Another thing was the difficult adjustment that servicemen had coming home and re-adjusting to civilian life. Again, there’s that loss.  The loss of living and sleeping in close proximity.  The loss of a common enemy.  The loss of people who understand you and your way of life.  So much of that can be applied to missionaries returning to their passport country.  There’s the loss of the expat community.  There’s the loss of the cause and the common vision of evangelizing a lost people group.  There’s the camaraderie of fighting a common enemy.  There’s even the living and sleeping in close quarters.  There’s a loss of living life together, even under less than ideal living conditions, maybe especially under less than ideal living conditions.

There’s a loss of identity in coming back.  There’s re-negotiating your marriage.  There’s re-negotiating all your relationships.

This type of sociological analysis intrigues me.

I was intrigued by the publisher of Tribe, also:   Twelve.  Apparently they only publish twelve books a year.  This one was a short book, shorter than most, and it is well-written.  I’ll be interested to see what else they’ve published.

acuriousbeginning  Buy now from Amazon

A Curious Beginning doesn’t get five stars for promoting morality, but at least it wasn’t immoral.  Four and a half stars for traditional values.

I bogged down a little in the middle, but I love a book that surprises me: honestly, a curve ball I didn’t expect.

I appreciated the two main characters in the book, even if I didn’t identify with them, I found them entertaining.  There’s also something enticing about a story set in England in the 1800s.  It almost makes me want to look up a little history from that time period.

lovewarrior Buy now from Amazon

Wow.

Raw. Real. Brutal transparency.

I’m haunted by her story. What a triumph of grace.

Not many memiors are page turners.  Love Warrior is.

It’s not just the honesty and transparency that’s compelling.  It’s the victory of the human spirit.  It’s the journey everyone takes that they are afraid to voice.  It’s the courage that it takes to say those things out loud.  It’s being afraid and doing it anyway.

And the reader, from the safety of their lazy boy, is free to judge or not.  But there’s something holy about a soul laid bare, exposed for the world to see.

She was bulimic and alcoholic that grew up in a loving home.  This book focuses primarily on her marriage and how two broken people try to find themselves and each other.

It’s messed with my mind at many different levels. It’s rare to find such gut-wrenching honesty about life without a spin.

Her hallmark is extraordinary courage.

Heads up for language and some graphic passages.

Postscript:  Since Love Warrior was published, Glennon Doyle Melton’s life has changed.  That has given me more food for thought and I’m hashing through it.

blackstar   Buy now from Amazon

I read SD Smith’s The Black Star of Kingston, mainly because I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of The Green Ember, which is the S.D. Smith book that I really wanted to read.  I was little underwhelmed by the story of a community of rabbits that has power struggles for control of the kingdom and fights enemies and is bravely loyal to king and country.

But, then again, I didn’t ever make it to the end of Watership Downs.

I’m hoping The Green Ember will be better, because I’m always on the lookout for great books to give my nieces and nephews.  I was hoping for a stronger spiritual message in the book.  Maybe I missed it.  There is a good classic conflict between good and evil and more than a glance at traditional values.  Those qualities alone are hard to find. I can live with that.

What are you reading?

 

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The Ties That Bind: Understanding the MK Connection

mkconnection

A classmate of mine is no longer walking this earth.

I feel the loss deeply.

I wonder for the umpteenth time why the bonds between third culture kids are so strong.  After all, it’s been decades since we shared a campus.  Only a small fraction of my life was spent building friendships in that arena.  And, yet, the impact is inexplicably profound.

I’ve pondered it again this week as I have before.   But, this time, I’ve come to some new conclusions.

The pyschological explanation is that we all met during impressionable, vulnerable years when our identities were in formation. We all experienced two or more cultures and were trying to decide which culture we personally identified with.  “Who am I?”  just became more complicated.  And here we are surrounded by a group facing this same challenge.

Most of us were not living in our passport country and far from extended family.  Into that vacuum emerges a third culture.  A group of expats on the same journey.  Kindred spirits who knew what it was like to be transplanted.  To be dropped into an island of English speakers surrounded by foreign languages, food and ways.  In this context, we struggle to answer the questions: Who am I?  Which culture will I choose?  Who are my people? Where is my tribe?  Where do I belong and how do I get there?

Those same fundamental questions we were all facing and answering, mostly oblivious to the process, but mindful that we were not alone.

The spiritual explanation took me by surprise.  I woke up one morning with verses from Mark 10 on my mind.  “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel, who will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age  (houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields– and with them  persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”

The bonds are strong, the connection is deep because Jesus promised to provide family to those who had given up family.  He hard-wired the bonds to be stronger than passing friendships.  Many in that expat community were missionaries.  They had made sacrifices for the sake of the gospel.  Jesus promised to recompense those sacrifices.  Not only in the life to come, but in this life as well.  Inexplicable.

Related posts:

When Your Family Tree is Grafted

The Itch I Couldn’t Reach

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