Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Books I've recently read - short reviews

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book was helpful in understanding what went on in the south during the 1960s, when black women were maids for white women. The maids did all the cleaning, cooking, and raising children. It's hard to imagine what any of the white women did, aside from being selfish and getting their hair done and doing things for the league they were involved with. The story focuses on a white women who has a desire to write about the things the maids deal with as black women in that time - how they are treated and how they live.

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Pope Joan may or may not be an actual historical figure. There is some evidence to proove she existed and fooled everyone into believing she was a man who became pope. The Catholic Church has covered up and deny any evidence about it because it is shameful and embarassing. It was a very interesting novel. Joan's character was strong and very intelligent. I loved reading about her theological discoveries, her challenges and the debates she courageously spoke and thought about. Since the novel takes place during the 800s, there is some mention of the Viking attacks and brutality toward women, but I believe the author really took it easy on the readers.

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Amazing book on how two totally separate lives come together through the power of God and how God can take those two lives and change them for Him. All through the obedience of one humble woman.

In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
This is my second time reading this book. It has been at least 5 years since I last read it. The story is of a pastor's proposition to his church for any member that is willing to live for a full year basing every decision on following Christ's example and always asking "What would Jesus do?" when faced with a decision. Among the members of the church that agreed to take on the pledge were some of the most prominent men and women in their town. They had to sacrifice many things, jobs, families, securities, but it brought the people of the church closer together and saved many men and women from the slums. It's amazing to think how easily we live our Christian lives, without ever taking up our cross and following His example. This is a very practical book for thinking about what it really means to be a Christian.

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Lots of good information in here about living as a "locavore". Barbara, the author, decided to leave the fast pace of Tuscon where food and even water is shipped in, to rural Virginia where they could grow or raise everything they ate for an entire year. Anything they didn't have growing on their small farm, they bought locally at farmer's markets. It's an amazing journal of the year they lived and makes it very compelling to start thinking more seriously about buying and eating things grown and raised locally.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Extremely thought provoking. The author talks about reasons why some people are more successful than others, either because of birth month, because of genius, because of 10,000 hours of study, etc. He talks about why Korean airplanes crashed more frequently than other airlines based on societal differences. It's very interesting in terms of raising kids and how to help them be successful.

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