Finish #15 – Live Like a Jesus Freak

P2101677.JPGThere’s my girl, Luna, hanging out with finish #15, Live Like a Jesus Freak by dc Talk. This was another book that I read with my kids. (Not Luna’s best photo, by the way. She’s quite spazzy sometimes, and this was the only photo where her head wasn’t all blurry. She was licking the book, licking herself, looking up, looking down…basically, she was as uncooperative as possible! I’m amazed that I got her with the book at all. She found it quite suspicious when I set it next to her on the carpet…so suspicious, in fact, that she retreated to the safety of her bed.)

I must first start by saying that the four of us did not like the term “Jesus Freak.” Sorry, dc Talk fellas, but we subbed in “believer” whenever “Jesus Freak” appeared.

That being said, there were lots of great things about this book. For myself, I really enjoyed the “Jesus Freaks (aka believers) Around You Now” sections in each chapter. I happen to find stories about missionaries and heroes of the faith inspiring. None of the short stories in this book made me cry, though. When the kids were younger and we read books from the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series, I always shed a tear or two at the end, much to the amusement of my children. I couldn’t help it. As those stories were biographies and most of the people were from the past, the books always contained the end of their lives. In other words…their deaths.

There was one exception to the waterworks, though. I don’t think that I shed a tear while reading the story of David Livingstone’s life. As a woman, I was not impressed at how he left his wife behind and went on to spend a bunch of time exploring. Perhaps he shouldn’t have acquired the wife to begin with…Just saying. I thought I remembered reading that she went crazy. But then again, that may have been him. Googling “Was David Livingstone’s wife crazy” so I could refresh my memory of his life netted me this little nugget: He was apparently obsessed with his bowel movements and allowed them to dic­tate his moods. (Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298546/Dark-Dr-David-Livingstone-New-letter-casts-explorer-different-light.html#ixzz41F6EVXYk)

But I digress. Live Like a Jesus Freak gets almost two thumbs up from me. That second thumb doesn’t go all the way up because I had to keep replacing “Jesus Freak” to appease the offspring and answer the question “Did it say believer there or did it say “Jesus Freak” there?” nearly every single time.

 

 

 

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Finish #14 – The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

DSCN1257.JPGSeven hundred and three pages…Whew. (Thank goodness there were some pictures sprinkled throughout.) This one sorta ranks right up there in epic length like Les Miserables and Lord of the Rings.

What drew me in first was that adorable blue bear on the cover and the review stating, “Sheer craziness…Very amusing.” Then there were the words on the back. “The most entertaining book in years.” This last quote was attributed to Frankfurter Allemeine Zeitung. I don’t know who or what Frankfurter Allemeine Zeitung is. A Google search netted a Wikipedia result about Frankfurter Allgemeine (notice the added “g”) Zeitung and a whole bunch of other websites in German. No matter. I had to read this book if only to see if it was, indeed, the most entertaining book in years. Finish #14 is The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers.

Crazy? Indeed. Amusing? Yes. The most entertaining book in years? Eh. It was entertaining. But the most entertaining? I’m not certain I’d go quite that far. I thoroughly enjoyed numerous parts of this book: Bluebear’s time spent in the Eternal Tornado, Bluebear’s interactions with the Troglotroll, and Bluebear’s fourth life on Gourmet Island. Bluebear’s time in Atlantis, though, was a bit too long for me. That part could have, in fact, almost been a book all its own as it lasted a whopping 178 pages.

So, would I recommend it? Yes. The creativity and imagination that went into the writing of this book make the time spent plowing through 703 pages worthwhile. Would I perhaps like to see a Captain Bluebear edition of Munchkin? (Any Munchkin fans out there???) Yes to that too…are you listening Munchkin creators. Get right on that, would you? Cards with Troglotroll, Spiderwitch, and Zamonium monsters…Dimensional Hiatus curse card…The possibilities are endless.

 

 

Finish #13 – Banner in the Sky

P2051668.JPGFebruary has been a slow month for finishing books. I’ve been reading something quite entertaining and full of creative flair…and almost 700 pages long. I’ll share all about it in my next post. For now, though, I’ve finished Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman, which was another book that I read with my kids.

I have to say that I didn’t get into Newberry Honor Books when I was a kid. That little seal in the corner wasn’t a beacon shining away to attract my attention. In fact, I was less likely to read a book if it had any such distinction. I was more of a “fluff and stuff” reader as a kid. Any girlie serial set of books (think Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High) was sure to catch my eye and my interest before anything that told a more original story. I’ve since developed a more diverse taste in books, and this in spite of my years in high school Honors English in which my teachers attempted to destroy any interest in reading anything!

It’s rare when the kids ever admit to liking any “school” book, but I thought it was a good sign when they insisted that I read the final three chapters on Friday afternoon so they could see how it ended. Perhaps they just wanted to get it over with. Here’s their ratings:

Kid #1 – She gave it a “thumb up and a half.”

Kid #2 – She gave it 1 diagonal thumb down, because “what’s so great about climbing a mountain.”

Kid #3 – He gave it 2 sideways thumbs, which maybe add up to one thumb up??

I, however, will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it (as I do any book that has anything to do with climbing mountains). The only thing that could have made this book better would have been if it had been Mt. Everest that Rudi Matt, the main character, had been climbing. (Well, there was one other thing that would have made the book better, but you’d have to read it to the very end to figure out exactly what that thing is.)

So, why Mt. Everest? Simply because I am fascinated with Mt. Everest. I’d love to climb Mt. Everest. I’d love to even just stand at the base of Mt. Everest and stare up in awe at its grandeur. I’ll probably never do the latter, and the former would most certainly kill me or at least leave me minus all my fingers and toes thanks to the Raynaud’s Disease that makes even a northern Michigan winter difficult to handle without all sorts of warm winter clothing involving wool and down and subzero ratings. So, until someone can figure out how to get both me and my space heater to the top of Mt. Everest, or any other tall mountain, I will have to continue to live vicariously from the comfort of my living room.

Interesting to note, and only found in the “About the Author” page in the back, is that the author happened to be a member of the first American expedition to Mouth Everest. Pretty cool.

 

 

Finish #12 – Twelve Ordinary Men

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI almost forgot about this one! We started reading Twelve Ordinary Men for our Adult Bible Study at church way back in September 2015. Our class discussed a chapter or part of a chapter every time we met, and so we didn’t finish reading this one until mid-January.

Prior to reading Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur, I know I would not have been able to name more than maybe 4 disciples (and I’ve been in church nearly every Sunday of my entire life). I’d probably start by listing the “Sons of Thunder,” then I might get Peter (famous for denying Christ), and maybe Thomas (because he’s got that nickname “Doubting Thomas”), and then I’d remember Judas Iscariot. Who can forget Judas? Oh, that’s five…guess I’d do better than I thought, but that still leaves seven. Some of those guys just aren’t discussed much within the gospels, other than to be mentioned in the list of who was called, so my inability to remember them is, I think, forgivable.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the disciples.

 

Finish #11 – The Paris Key

The Super Bowl came and went, and I can say that the grand total of my minutes spent watching equaled approximately two…give or take a couple seconds. I caught a glimpse before dinner. I saw a small portion of the half-time show, then I saw the inside of my eyelids for the remainder. I woke up just in time to catch Peyton Manning speaking when it was all said and done. P1241666.JPGThis weekend I finished reading The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell. I started it a couple of weeks ago but got sidetracked by the Susan Mallery book that I recently completed. Sometimes that happens. There wasn’t anything wrong with The Paris Key, I just got distracted!

Set in Paris, The Paris Key bounces between the story of Genevieve Martin (who sets off to Paris to find herself) and the story of her mother (who also came to Paris, years earlier, to find herself). Throughout the novel, we are enticed to keep reading by the little snippets of information that the author divulges about Genevieve’s mother’s time in Paris.

Overall, I’d give this one a thumb up and, as the kids would say, “a sideways thumb.” In other words, it was good but not good enough to keep me from getting distracted.

***I almost forgot…well, actually I did forget, so I’m adding this in…this book taught me a new word. (Then I forgot what the word was, and someone threw away the paper I had written it on, so I had to peruse the “q” words in the dictionary to find it again.) Here it is : QUOTIDIAN. It means “occurring every day.” She actually used this word twice. I love it…if I could only remember it, it would be a great word to use whilst playing Scrabble. Or not, it’s a little long!

What are you reading?

 

Finish #10 – Marry Me at Christmas

P1191664.JPGFor so long it felt like just about the only thing I had time to read was music notes…arranged into show tunes. Indeed, there was a whole month where I spent nearly an hour every day just practicing show tunes. I am so glad that is over, and I vow here and now that I will never let myself get talked into doing that again! (I really need to learn how to say no when people ask me to do things!) After over forty hours of practicing for just two performances, I can finally take a deep breath and say that it’s behind me (and that I never want to hear another show tune again.) I also never want to perform again for the group for which we did the show. A luncheon preceded our performance, and I thought they were never going to get on to the main event. Seriously, these ladies must have been charter members in the “100 Chews per Bite” club. You would not believe how long they took to get through a plate of salad, a few chunks of chicken, and a slab of what looked like pound cake. I’m fairly certain I grew a few more grey hairs in the time that I spent waiting. Had I known exactly how long they would take to eat, I could have planned my arrival at the venue better. Instead of sitting around, I could have run 5 miles, done my weekly grocery shopping, read a book, and still have had time left over to finish the quilt I’m working on. I may be exaggerating slightly…but only slightly. (On a side note, they had Oreo Thins on the table in place of table mints. My daughter made short work of those. The question we have is, Oreo Thins. Why? Oreos should not be thin. They are a junk food. They should be enjoyed in all of their double-stuffed awesomeness. I can’t imagine that this product will be around for long.)

I did manage to finish Susan Mallery’s Marry Me at Christmas in the midst of all the practicing. Despite the hokey cover (Check out that guy’s sweater with its plunging neckline?!?), this was a nice light read. If you’ve seen any of my earlier posts, you might remember that I mentioned that Susan Mallery, unlike Robyn Carr, seamlessly weaves past and new characters into her stories. Poor Robyn Carr. I really must stop picking on her, but I just can’t seem to get over the way random characters pop in at random times and add nothing to the plot of the current story. Susan Mallery’s extra characters, however, interact with the main characters and enhance their story while keeping us up to date on what has been happening in their lives since their stories were told or introduce us to a new character who might have a leading role in the future.