Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Book addiction

I recently read a blog by Liz Curtis Higgs about her addiction to books. I unfortunately suffer from the same disease. But I don't buy all the books I want to read (we'd be broke, beyond broke to busted), instead I order them from the library. I've written before about how wonderful my local library is, but they feed my addiction. When I find a book I enjoy, I want to read everything else the author has ever written, then if that author recommends another author on their blog, website, or acknowledgements, I check that author out too. I read BookPage magazine looking for new releases, and I check out Amazon.com daily for more books. As soon as I finish one book by an author, I reserve another title by them at the library. Sometimes I can go several days without having anything to pick up, and then BOOM, suddenly I have eight books to pick up at once, and they go to the bottom of the pile at the side of my bed. (Unless I'm really excited about a particular book, then it goes to the top and everything else gets shuffled down.) Currently I have 24 books at the end of my bed, all library books, all due before mid-May. I gave Jesse permission to cuff my on the head if I order anymore before I pare the pile down, and I haven't reserved any books for myself in almost a week. I love to read; I truly do. By the way, three books are in for pick-up at the library for me today.

Things We Held Dear by Ann Tatlock is a rare gem of a Christian novel. Neil Sadler returns home to Mason, Ohio after the sudden death of his wife Caroline feeling like he has unfinished business in the town he abandoned almost thirty years ago. He returns to find Mary, the once love of his life, in trouble. Can he rescue her this time instead of abandoning her the way he did so long ago? This book is so full of the little details about life in a small rural town, it's obvious that Tatlock loves and respects the people there. There are no stereotypes here, just people with their flaws and strengths. One of the things that I loved best about this book is that that Christian characters didn't walk around proselytizing the way Christians often do in books. People, at least the ones I know, don't really talk that way. Tatlock's strongest Christian character Uncle Bernie uses St Francis' motto about the faith "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words." When Neil does find faith, it happens naturally and doesn't completely change the character, it just gives him more depth. The renovation on the house are a nice metaphor for the changes going on within Neil and the Sadler family itself. Oh, and I did I mention that with all this great detail, plot, and characters, Tatlock also manages to get in a murder mystery? And she handles it deftly. Kudos to Tatlock on a beautiful piece of fiction!

The Enemy Within by Michael Savage is a harder book for me to review. Savage is a brilliantly intelligent man, and he has so many valid points to make. I wish that he didn't call names and use such inflammatory speech to do so. When my children scream or use foul language, I let them know that I'm not going to listen to them until they speak calmly. I feel like asking the author to do the same thing. If he could re-release the book without all of the vicious language, it would be so much stronger, and maybe more liberal people would read it. As it was, it was hard for this conservative to read. Especially when Savage asserts that God would vote conservative and is angry and full of rage. God is too big to limit himself to conservative or liberal, and personally, I think that sending his Son to die on the cross for us is a pretty good indication of how much He loves us. Don't get me wrong, there are some sound arguments in this book, you just need to read deeply for them. Don't get caught up in the rhetoric, no matter what side you're on. Calling names and spewing hate doesn't help either side, knowing the facts does. The other problem I had with this book was Savage's trying to intersperse stories of his childhood. The stories don't mesh well and sometimes are jarring in their usage.

Tomorrow: Irreparable Harm by Randy Singer and Julie and Romeo Get Lucky by Jeanne Ray.