"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Books

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow -- A story about a young lady whose dreams to study in another country are canceled by impending war.  World War II. So she joins her family's silk weaving business and meets a host of interesting characters including Jewish German boys who were brought over to England.   Pretty interesting tale.

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy  - - a great memoir of a doctor's first year of doctoring.  This book made me cry at times, made me nervous, fearful, and made me smile quite often as well. He liberally uses (what I consider) bad words, but maybe that's just how doctors - and most of the rest of society?? - talk and write nowadays.  I loved seeing him grow in confidence throughout the book, and there were several memorable and favorite characters - both patients and medical personnel. 

The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C. Scott -- I think Amazon recommended this book to me. I really can't remember, but somehow I ended up with it, and I finally read it.  I often find deconversion stories interesting although I take what is said with a grain of salt.  I know a convert to Islam who said she was reading all the silly stories in Mormonism, and she ended up becoming atheist. She was honest enough to realize her own faith had silly stories. And, hey, with a talking donkey as a story I grew up hearing as truth, I realize I'm right there, too!  That said, this was a story of a Mormon convert or maybe her parents converted when she was young so she grew up Mormon.  I started this book several weeks ago and only finished it in early May so I forgot a few details. Anyway, she went to Brigham Young where it seems almost all Mormons go, but she ended up leaving the faith. She tells some interesting facts about Mormonism - some of which she claims isn't taught today in order to make the faith seem more... normal, less contentious??  I am not familiar with her at all outside of this book so who knows if she's legit.  The book was pretty interesting and reminded me (not that I needed it) why Mormonism isn't for me.  No polygyny and having a bunch of children in my heaven! At least Mormonism doesn't really have a lake-of-fire hell...that's a plus. Unless you wanted your enemies to burn forever....

The Returning by Ann Tatlock -- a family copes with dad returning from five years in prison, and he copes with fitting into the family and community again.

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot -- in the new books section of the library; the author's story of spending time with her divorced grandparents and trying to find out the history of their marriage, divorce and the years living in Europe during World War II.   Why, oh, why, does her grandfather speak of her grandmother with such hatred?  And why can't she get straight answers from either of them?

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook -- "The True-Story of a Domesticated Princess"  -- I saw this in a book exchange in Southport. I tend to enjoy stories of people living in other cultures, and I did enjoy many things about newlywed Lisa and her husband Peter as they moved to Japan just a few days after their wedding.  The chapters deal with adjusting to doing laundry, and cooking, weight gain, the difficulty in traveling without having a car, and not having a close friend.   Lisa's lifestyle and upbringing was far different from mine, but still I very much appreciated the few lessons she learned while living in another country and how she changed after spending time in a very different culture.   (I didn't even know what a J.A.P. was until several years ago when I lived beside someone from New York City, and she mentioned those Jewish American Princesses.)

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin  -- a nurse who has a pen pal fighting against the Axis powers in World War II.  The story of Philomela (Mellie) and Tom, and how they write anonymous letters, and later get the chance to meet.  How would that work out?   An OK book. 

Heavens to Betsy by Beth Pattillo -- an easy read about a woman pastor and her desire to be a senior pastor when the current pastor suddenly retired; also, she wants to marry

If the Oceans Were Ink by Carla Power -- subtitled "An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran" -- a secular journalist with a Jewish mother and Quaker father discusses a bit about her growing up in Islamic cultures, and her friendship with an Indian sheikh, Mohammad Akram Nadwi.  She talks about visiting him in Britain, and also in his hometown in India, they discuss the Quran, Muslims, and all sorts of topics relating to the world and Islam. 

A few of the many things that took my attention. I stopped noting them after awhile...just read the book if this sort of thing interests you.

The sheikh's mentioning of Christianity's "abstract ideas, like closeness to God, and being a good neighbor, and loving one another" vs. Islam's rules like praying five times a day, and brushing your teeth like the Prophet. Details, details, details. Not big ideas.  (pg. 53)  This took my attention because I remember asking people before what they think "loving God with all your heart" looks like.

The talk about purdah was interesting when the sheikh and Ms. Powers went to the sheikh's village in India.  Brothers and sisters often times didn't even speak to one another. (!!!)

About practices that aren't Islamic, but just traditions - like the niqab.  "To someone who has grown up in the village, they think it is totally Islamic.  They can't separate what is tradition from what is Islamic.  The only thing people in Jamdahan know about the niqab is that the Hindus don't wear them, and Muslims do."  Like many village customs, "they are traditions not done from religious knowledge, but to build their identity as a group." (p. 90)

Something that bothered me: I wish she had pressed harder on some topics. Like that whole beating wives.  I know the sheikh said it placed limits on it since beating women was a common Arab practice, but even symbolically, even if you were going to hit me with a toothpick, THAT STINKS!  Men are often far more disobedient than women, and to make women into someone a man can discipline really really irritates me!

The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry  -- a rather silly girl starts over in a new town after her elopement plans don't go through when her fiance' doesn't show

Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller -- I didn't realize at first that I'd read a another book by this author. I just saw this one in the new books section and thought life in Africa, troubled marriage to an American, and now living in the US sounded somewhat interesting. 

How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barabara O'Neal -- this is a story about a lady (Ramona) whose pregnant daughter has to go to Germany to visit her wounded-soldier husband, who takes care of her daughter's step-daughter, who manages a bakery in Colorado Springs, and Ramona's own story of when she was fifteen, pregnant, and sent to live with an aunt until her baby was born.  A pretty good book I found at another library in town.

Cherished by Kim Cash Tate -- this is a follow-up book from another that I'd read by this author a few weeks ago.  We see some of the same people, but are also introduced to a few new characters as they search for unconditional love.

If You Follow Me by Malena Watrous -- this is a pretty fun way to find out about a rural place in Japan - not a place on the map of most tourists!  I tend to like these stories of Americans living abroad, and while this one isn't real, the author interview made me realize probably much of it was based on true happenings during her own months in Japan.  The first third dealt with gomi (trash) rules, and I was like: how good can a book be if you have to keep reading about two American women who can't sort and dispose of their trash without getting in trouble?  But, you know, it was pretty good.  The talk of Marina's father made me reflect on my own which sometimes makes me teary-eyed. So there was some of that, too.


Haitham Jafar said...

A fifty-year silence is the only one I know from this list!

If the oceans were ink seems like a good read.

Thanks for this!

Niki said...

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France is one of my TBR books. :-)

Susanne said...

Haitham, thanks for letting me know which one is familiar to you!

Niki, I didn't know it was well-known. I just happened to see it at my library one day! :)