Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall Reading Challenge: Part 3

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I’ve finished a few more books to review. (Shannon, you could leave now, but I think you will appreciate one of the reviews. It’s a book that I know you want to read. However, I know how you feel about book reviews. Normally I don’t care for them either, but this time I feel slightly different about them. I just want to share which they might enjoy and which they will want to avoid at all cost.)

Okay, I’ll start with the “To Read” book on Shannon’s list. (Chili and Peach, you may want to consider putting it on your reading list too.)

Say Good Night to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs is a wonder of information that I have come to appreciate. Having dealt with the lack of sleep grudge for most of my life, I was hesitant to read this book, mainly because if I thought if I take a sleeping pill most nights and still can’t sleep, then this book can’t help too much. Boy oh boy, am I oh-so-happy to be wrong.

The book really gives practical, insightful solutions to sleepless or fragmented sleep nights. It had me keep a sleep diary that monitored my sleep patterns; then it evaluated my insomnia by running through a self-assessment. Once some things that were pertinent to my lack of sleep situation were established, I learned how to make some changes that helped me to sleep better, longer or how to fall asleep faster if I wake in the night.

The one thing that helps me most was the idea that I do not have to have 8 hours of sleep in order to feel rested. I think I often felt tired just because I could not sleep like normal people. I’m more of a 5 ½ to 6 hours a night person, and that is just fine. If I go to bed later than others, that is okay and if I wake earlier that is okay. I am finding that I don’t resent those in my household (Mr. Right) who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and sleep for 12 hours straight. Well, to be honest, most of the resentment is gone. I still dabble with the envy a bit now and then. I have definitely learned to be content with the sleep I do get and to enjoy some of the quiet times.

There are several other things it covers, but I’ll stop and just say that I highly recommend this book to anyone who is having problems sleeping. Not that reading it will put you to sleep, but that after reading it, you should be able to sleep better.

Okay Shannon, you can leave now if you don’t want any more book discussions.

I’ve never read anything by Sarah Waters. I picked up Affinity without knowing a thing about it. I have to say that Ms. Waters is an incredible author who tells just enough to keep the story interesting, but leaves you inquisitive enough to keep reading to find out what happens next. The novel was set back in the 1800’s and deals with a young woman, Margaret, who is frail and a bit weak-minded. Her father has passed away recently, her sister gets married and she has attempted suicide, which failed miserably. She becomes a “Lady Visitor” at the local prison when peaked with curiosity about it. It is there that she is introduced and befriends Selina, a woman who is spiritual medium who is in the prison.

The story takes twists and turns, often switching from the present diary of the Margaret to the memories of Selina. I must say that the ending was unique, suspenseful and riveting. But I felt a bit of remorse for the characters and the choices they made in their lives. Also it had a nod to the lesbian lifestyle that I was not expecting. No graphic details or such, but the suggestions or desires for it were clear.

I wouldn’t really recommend it, but I wouldn’t rule out any other book by Waters. I know now to actually read the inside cover to see what the subject matter will be for the next book.

Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury wasn’t on my list, but I had it in the que at the library, so I ran through it. It is the sequel to One Tuesday Morning, a story written around the collapse of the World Trade Center. The sequel follows up with Jamie Bryan, the widow of a NYFD and the life that she lives three years after the fall.

I liked it, even if the story was a bit slow moving for my taste. Often, I just want to get on with it and go, but this author likes to linger over each thought and emotion. Despite the 25 mph limit, the story was good. But I have to tell you, I totally knew the story would play out the way it did when I finished the first book. No surprises for me there. Still, it was sweet and romantic and good to read how characters trusted God so fully, completely and unwaveringly. And that, my friends, is an excellent thing to read in my book.

Lastly, I just finished A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Know first and foremost, it is a completely secular book. It's irreverant and has language that I'm not used to seeing. It's a black comedy type fiction with really wacked out ideas making it an almost cross genre of fiction and science fiction that crosses the living world with the Underworld and the Death Merchants (soul carriers) in between the two.

Charlie, the main character is a Beta Male with all the complete attributes. He doesn't get women, he's completely paranoid in a conspiracy theory sort of sense and he is down-right likable once you get past his quirks and oddness. His friends are just as weird, but again, I learned to appreciate their peculiarities and their devotion to each other - even if they show it in the most bizarre ways. And he is a Death Merchant who is learning the trade.

The book is strange and fast-paced, but it doesn't want to leave anyone behind, so it has great resting points. The writing is outstanding; it would be superb if Mr. Moore had left out the foul language altogether. There were sexual situations, but as a relief, the times were few and brief.

So the encouraging side of me says to skip it because it does not make for Godly reading, but the funnybone in me says you will laugh your hiney off when you read it. So make your own choice about it. And if you read it, go ahead and read the acknowledgements. That man is funny in that part of the book too!

Happy reading everyone!

Previous review: Fall Reading Challenge: Part 2


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