Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx



Review: The Shipping News
E. Annie Proulx
1993
Charles Scribner’s Sons

Product DetailsProulx can write!!  At least as far as this book goes.  I've seen a few reviews that mentioned this one as a bunch of nowhere nobodies doing nothing essentially.  They are welcome to their opinions, but I couldn't disagree with them more strongly.  Those nobodies from nowhere have stories, lives, and are doing plenty that amounts to really living.  All the while the undertow constantly pulls against them.  Character development is the strongest I have read.  There's a touch of the mysterious all the way, and always a bit of suspense and uncertainty.    Always the feeling that more is being said than is being said.  Gives the reader the urge to think about this book and that, to me at least, makes this one to recommend to you.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson



Review: The Never-Open Desert Diner
James Anderson
Crown Publishers
2015

If you haven’t read this one, I think you are missing a good book.  Feels like a flashback to an earlier time when reading was enjoyable, the story absorbing, tender but authentic, and well spun.  The title says much more than I first thought.  Lots of other things are not open in this desert.  Doors are locked and behind them the pasts that hold people in the desert.  
 
The dust cover front leaf says, “The Never Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.”  Generally, these descriptions go overboard, but this one describes what I found in this book.  Ben Jones and Walt will remain with me for a long time.  They might be archetype characters.  The author does have an MFA after all and has done some editor type work.  He probably knows a little about that sort of thing.  Whatever or whoever they are, the reader becomes involved immediately with them.

A brief synopsis of the story line is that Ben Jones stumbles across an archway in the desert that he’d not seen in his 20 some years of delivery truck driving this route.  He decides to check it out since he needs to answer the call of nature anyway.  He discovers a house behind the arch that he assumes is deserted.  It isn’t and the story goes from there.  The scene where he meets the resident of the house is laugh out loud humor.  This book has plenty of wit, humor, danger, and pathos.  The bad guys are really despicable, too.  All that teamed with the cast of characters mentioned above make for a good read and it is.  Find a copy and see what you think.   

It’s the most satisfying fiction read I have run across in quite a while.  Action, dialogue, story all worked for me. Good work, James Anderson.

I received this book from the publishers in return for a review.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe by Lina Abujamra



Review: Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe
Lina Abujamra
Baker Books
2016

I had no idea who Lina Abujamra was when I picked up this book.  That was my loss, but she’s definitely on my radar now.  She’s a doctor---MD type---that has the time and energy to write.  She also maintains an active blog and a speaking ministry.  Check this site out in a minute. www.livingwithpower.org  There’s even some freebies available.  What about this book?

Product DetailsAfter admitting that good intentions don’t get it done she says this, “No matter how strong we claim our faith in God is, when life is hard it all comes down to resolve.  Do we really believe what we say we believe?” (15)  Her writing is clear, direct, and spot on.  Her doctor side comes through in her narratives when she cuts to the chase, goes for the root cause, rather than treating just the symptoms.  Gotta love that!  I appreciate it anyway.  But the style isn’t without compassion.  Some of her topics are belief, obedience, yielding, giving, joy.  It doesn’t stop there, but I’ll let you see what I didn’t name.  If you take this book seriously, you will find changes occurring in your life.  Changes that touch you and those around you.

Here’s an example of one of her resolve statements.  “RESOLVED: that I will daily give up my rights and say yes to Jesus in big things and small, even when I feel like saying no, confident that surrender is the pathway to joy.” (101)  She knows that this cannot happen from her own strength, in case that thought popped into your mind.

Get a copy of this book.  Read it, and then see if resolve might be something more important than you thought.  Yes, I recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.