Monday, March 28, 2011

A Beggars Purse- Toni Nelson

A small book with a big message. The memories of Toni Nelson as a young child through her life as an adult. Snipets here and there from different memories Toni has of her grandparents reaching out to others. As a child she recalls seeing the Hobo's on the rails, jump off and come to her doorstep where her Grandma would give them a meal.  He marks their doorframe in a code that others recognize as a safe house, where you can get a good meal. Her first encounters with the homeless, and the simple acts of her Grandmother last with her through her life.
The book travels through a move to the country, Toni growing up, getting married and  then comes full circle at the end of the book when she is offering hope to the homeless she meets with a lunch.
It is a very simply written book, but with a message for all in regards to the homeless. We dont have to volunteer at the soup kitchen, or start a homeless shelter, or set up a tent ministry downtown.. we can simply be open to the call of God and when we see someone without, we offer a meal. Not money for their bad habits, but a meal, a smile, and a friendship. Simple, but if everyone would do it, I think the world would be a better place.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chronicles of the Broken- Amanda Washington

When I saw that Amanda Washington had written a book for teens I offered to review it for her, as I was so excited to hear about a new author writing for the kingdom of Christ.
Set in Washington State this contemporary christian novel for teens takes the broken lives of 5 teens and throws them together for a winter camp retreat. All 5 are struggling with their own issues in their families, with themselves, and none of them know the power of Christ. Mothers dieing of Cancer, anger issues, cyber gaming addictions, loneliness, isolation, abuse.. these kids display a vast range of teens today.
 James is the pastor of an older, stagnant church. He is gifted with a 1 week stay at 2 cabins to host a youth winter retreat. The giver of the gift is an atheist man whose father was the past pastor of the church. With no youth in the church to attend the camp. Through God's hand comes 5 teens who are reluctantly going on the trip. Rachel a young adult in the midst of a separation , with an overly judgemental mother is asked to be the girls counselor for the trip.
The week of 'camp starts out rough as the teens are feeling forced to be there, and have no interest in learning anything the pastor has to say.
The book leads off with a prologue cliffhanger right from the beginning.
I would say that the audience that will best enjoy this will be school students rather than homeschoolers. I think that they will be able to relate a little bit better to the dynamics of the group and they are exposed to more of the things that happen at school.
The message of Christ dieing on the cross for the sins at all is not preaching or overwhelming to an unbeliever. It is clear and deliberate and I think it would be a great book for Christians to give to their unsaved teen friends.
Fantastic first novel and I look forward to the next one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Juggling books

I have to multi task a lot on a farm with 6 children, and the same goes for reading. I can't be reading just one book at a time, I usually have a book mark in several. Of course my Bible should be first, then I enjoy reading a book to the kids, usually have a non fiction Christian book started, a fiction book started, and then am collecting more books for my shelves. Not enough time for me to read all these books! And having said that, there are books that I pick up, start to read and decide I have better ones than that. I will make sure to include those here as well. There are too many books to spend time reading ones that you dont like.
I will definately add A chance to Die to my list by Amy Carmichael. I think I read it years ago, but it would be a great refresher. Anything by Elisabeth Eliot is fantastic as well, my devotion right now Keep a Quiet Heart is by her.
Happy Spring, and hope you can get good at juggling these books!
Melanie

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I am a historic fiction buff! I love to read books that take me back to another place and time, to not only share in their story but to learn a little while I am there about history. I think if my History classes in High School would have assigned some historical fiction books I would have learned  A LOT more then!
The Help is set in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 when there was definate lines between whites and blacks. Where the white families had a black maid to help them clean, cook, and care for their children. Where the women were into raising money for poor black children in Africa, getting their husbands elected to Senate, and keeping up appearances of wealth and power.

There was one woman who stood apart in her heart, Eugenia.. nicknamed Skeeter. Unmarried, college educated, Mama pleasing, thoughtful.. Skeeter.
Skeeter wanted to write, wanted to write more than housecleaning articles for the local newspaper. She came up with an idea to write a book from the perspective of the black women as a maid to white families. The publisher was skeptical it would sell, with such unrest and rioting down in the south. She told Skeeter she would need 9 maids to interview. This book takes us through Skeeters determination, to show the 'other side' of the story. To go against social norms and present the boundaries that were evident, but brushed under the table.

The book is told in 3 characters, through Skeeter, and 2 maids, Aibileene and Minny. We meet many of their family, friends and get to know the characters well through Ms. Stockett's character development.

I love how Ms. Stockett brings out the good and the bad. It isn't a story to bash whites or blacks. It isn't a story to make it seem like one is better than another. It is a fiction account of what the households were like down in the south during that time.

I have read several books that take place during the civil rights movement, some of them are very detailed, and hard to read. Others tend to fluff over what truly took place. This book has a great balance with nothing too violent, and not fluffed over.

New Blog

I have tried to have blogs about homeschooling, homesteading, Bible studies.. I just can't find the time to write enough on them so ended up just hanging out with Face Book. I love to read though and would love a place to review books for others, to inspire more people to read all that is available. We are so blessed to live in a country where we can read books, where the name of Jesus can be proclaimed in a Fiction novel.
So this blog is simply for reviewing books.. Some Christian ones, some Clean secular ones, even some Non -Fiction and Memoirs.
I hope to inspire you to turn off the TV, the computer, the ipod.. and get back to reading :)
Be blessed in Him
Melanie