Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Hidden & Dream of Life

It's easy to tell that I live in a small town. Yesterday UPS dropped off a package at the front door. I was excited until I noticed that it had been left at the wrong address. I called UPS to arrange a pickup and left the box near the door. Later in the afternoon, I received a phone call from the library. The woman whose package I received had received a package for me, told the librarian who then called me to let me know where my package was. Jess made the switch, and I had my books before the end of the business day. UPS never did call back to make the pickup themselves. It's one of those great things about living in a small community where everyone knows everyone else; while the librarian wouldn't give the woman my phone number, she took the time herself to call me. One more reason to love my library too!

The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel is a heart-thumping Christian horror book in the way of Dean Koontz. Susan Stone returns home to Colorado to help out on the family ranch after years of self-imposed exile. She finds a young man chained in the woods who changes all of their lives. There are a few cases when the characters “find” their faith a little unrealistically and it seems forced. Mackel does a great job of writing suspense and keeping back just enough information to keep the reader guessing without making it frustrating reading. Mackel’s writing is spot-on, my only complaint is that the “why there/why now” question of the story is never really answered.

Dream of Life by Michael Phillips was a serious disappointment to me. To be honest, I was unable to finish the book. I’ve read Dream of Freedom, and at about half the size of DOL, it was an enjoyable read about blacks and whites fighting together and doing what they can to combat the evils of slavery in the first half of the 19th century. This book includes Native Americans in the mix, and when Phillips wrote about the people, the book was enjoyable. Unfortunately, page after page was devoted to proselytizing. It seems that every character felt the need to give a speech about God. Yes, this is a Christian book, but the speeches seemed out of place and forced. Occasionally no character was even delivering the speech, it was just a sermon from the writer! Christian books can get away with the intermittent character trying to persuade another character about the love of God, but when nearly half the book is taken up with such speeches, the book is less a work of fiction and more a theological discussion.

Today Mia's spending the day with Mom. She'll have a blast running around outside and getting filthy: the idea of heaven to a three-year-old. Jess has a ton of homework to do (of course), and I'm going to take it easy. I'm almost finished with His Excellency, a biography of George Washington. I'm just getting started on my presidential biography project.