Monday, April 03, 2017

March Retrospective

1) A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

I have read all of Alexander's books about Nashville, truthfully just because Middle Tennessee has been home to my family for hundreds of years, since before the time in which the books were set. And since I don't live there any longer, I like to try to hold on to the connection any way I can. My parents moved from Nashville this month and I feel like I want to grab hold of my heritage more than ever. These books don't really need to be set in Nashville though- they just have a couple of landmarks and historical figures thrown into a story that could've taken place anywhere in the South. And they're cheesy. Alexander is a flowery writer and has some favorite turns of phrase that are a bit cringeworthy. Her characters are always somehow heroically progressive, men and women well ahead of their time. Then again, I have an idea that probably a lot of people were of a different mind than the people of their time then just as many are today. Still, I think this is the last in the Belmont Mansion series and I'm glad for it to be over. It took me a while, a few days really, to get through the first chapter- just to gear up for reading a sort of Hallmark movie-like period piece. But once I did gear up, it was a quick and pleasant read. So while there are lots of reasons not to like these books, I still find myself enjoying them and coming back for more.

2) The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This book is about two teens, Daniel and Natasha, who meet one day in New York City and are forever changed by the events of that one day. And it depressed me the way Oprah depresses me. I wrote a couple of paragraphs about why and I deleted them. Then I wrote more and deleted that. I think it can best be summed up as a book written from a tragic moral perspective- one that is not glaringly problematic at first glance, but one that offers peace and understanding without really understanding the true Source of peace. I guess I should be glad to think that even people who don't seek Christ can find a way to live their lives with purpose, to forgive, to love, to grow, etc. I just can't imagine being able to do any of that apart from hope in Christ. I can't imagine that there really are these healthy, mature people out there making their way through life any more than I can imagine that people's houses really look like they do in magazines. Maybe I am just exposing my own brokeness (and messiness), but I don't buy it. I call bullshit.

3) The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

All of the characters in this book seemed creepy to me. And this is another book that felt very religious, very "spiritual" - I mean, it is chock-a-block full of magic and witches and allusions to Scripture- but not based on truth. It was more of this idea that I keep encountering- that we're all connected and all part of God somehow. I feel like I can't really even write that because it seems so obviously wrong and surely no one is saying that. But Daniel did say that in The Sun is Also a Star. And at the end of this book, the Beast, the Bog, the Poem, and the world are said to all be the same thing- and the Witch will become one of those things. Do you see what I mean? Not exactly, I'm sure, if you haven't read the book. But anyway, I am just weary of wading through all of this "spirituality."

4) Middlemarch by George Eliot

What a treat! After two books that really brought me down, it only took about fifty pages or so for me to really enjoy Middlemarch. For a book that is over eight hundred pages, fifty pages is nothing! And the only reason it took as long as it did was because the beginning of the book was a lot of introduction to characters and situations and that just took a little bit of concentration on my part to get to know everyone. Love! Love! Love! Will be reading more Eliot soon!

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