Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I have resisted reading this book for SO long!! I am one of those people who hates jumping on a book bandwagon, and it just seems like everywhere I go I hear people raving about this book. My book club is reading it next month, though -- and one of our members just received something like 25 copies of it for free, and gave me one. I thought "oh, I'll just read the first few pages and save the rest for next month". haha, that's funny. Once you start this silly book, you canNOT stop reading it, may as well forget everything else you have to do. So I guess that is an earmark of a very good book. The book I had contained a preview of her next book in the back, so I didn't realize I was so near to the end and actually felt cheated when I finished it all in one big gulp. I've felt a little bereaved today to be without the life of the characters. I'm glad there's a few more in the series!

I feel like a split personality, though, because there were some things I didn't really like. It felt so much like a Harlequin to me at times....can we have a few less "he crushed her lips" and "she swooned against him" scenes, please?? I mean, I like a good love story like everyone, but the dramatic flair was a bit much for me at times. Some things, too, seemed a little off to me. The main character is a woman from England in the 1940's -- would she really say "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ"? I mean, I'm not arguing that a nurse on the front lines wouldn't have awful language -- it just seems like a pretty American thing to say! And once, she calls her man "John Wayne" -- again, it seems particularly American. Would Europeans really have acquired the American slang necessary for these expressions? Maybe; it just seemed rather inauthentic to me.

I tend to prefer a more literary offering, which this book could have been with it's obviously extensive research and information. It came off feeling like a thriller, though - a beach read, a romance. I can't quite put my finger on why. Will I read the rest of the series, though? You absolutely bet your bottom dollar. I can't WAIT to see what happens here! I love the time travel concept, and love the premise of this book.

Oh, and if you love this book, don't miss The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis. Another time travel wonder -- I think I may have like that one a tiny bit better, and would have loved it if Connie Willis had written more in that series!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waaaaaaayyyyyy behind

Ok, a friend of mind on Facebook told me the other day that she actually READS this blog once in awhile for book ideas. I do update the "Books Read" section on the right pretty often, but haven't been reviewing books at all. I'm so far behind that I'm not going to try to make it look real pretty -- but here's a little blurb on what I thought about all the books I've read since my last review!

The Help: This is an awesome book I recommend to everyone! Based in the 60's in Mississippi, you will be shocked at how people still felt about black people in our lifetime!! My whole book club loved this one, and we had lots and lots of discussion about it.

Finding Nouf: Yet another bookclub pick - I picked it and it's my favorite type of book. You will learn a LOT about the Muslim world, culture, and mindset - all while being very entertained with a well written mystery. Loved it.

Boundaries: This book is VERY Christian-based, and therefore not all my clients can tolerate it, but it's the best book out there on having boundaries in relationships. I wish I could find a more mainstream book that explains this just as well.

10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting: We had a 6 week group on this subject at my yoga studio, using this book as the text. I can't think of a religion that would find anything disturbing about this book - it will help you no matter what your religious background is.

In Pale Battalions: Awhile back I heard that Stephen King LOVES this author, and I had never heard of Robert Goddard!! How could that be? This is touted as his best book, and I thought it was really good. A mysterious sort of book, set in Europe after the second world war. A worthwhile read, and I'll be reading more of his.

The Wise Heart: When I spout Buddhist stuff, my friends often think I'm leaving the Christian faith or something!! I've often said that Buddha wasn't a god - he was the world's first GREAT psychologist. If you want to read about Buddhist psychology, without any religious overtones, this is the book for you. It's fantastic. If all my clients read it and understood it, I wouldn't have a job.

Mentoring: I'm going to be supervising another therapist soon, and this is the book that I chose to read to prepare myself for the new role. Based on the Tao Te Ching, it provides a great frame of mind for anyone who is in management, parenting, or any kind of authoritative role in life. I like to use it as a companion book to "Grace Unfolding".

The Age of Shiva: I have been looking forward to this book for a long time. It's the kind I love - education about another culture (in this case Indian), while being entertained. I was a little disappointed, though, and it might just be because I was so busy that I really didn't have time to throw myself into this book. I read it in very short spurts over a long period of time. It just didn't capture me. Looking back, I think of it as a pretty good book, but it certainly didn't keep me up late at night.

Fingerprints of God: I think this book might be pretty similar to the movie "What the Bleep do we know?" You probably shouldn't read it if you don't want to blow your mind and question all of your well-formed and comfortable religious beliefs. A non-fiction book written by the religion correspondent to NPR news. I don't even LIKE non-fiction. I could NOT put it down until I was done.

One for Sorrow: It came highly recommended to me, but was a little too weird for my taste. The entire book is about a boy's friendship with his dead friend. I never did quite figure out if he actually SAW the friend, or if the entire book was just a catalogue of his delusions. I think the kid really needed to just go to bed with some really good anti-psychotics, myself.

Christine Falls: A mystery story by Benjamin Black, which is the pen name of John Banville ("The Sea"). Some reviews on Amazon complained that for a mystery, there wasn't enough "on the edge of your chair-ness". Well, that's John Banville...his writing is slow, evocative and beautiful. I personally loved the book, but you should probably read it more based on the fact that you love John Banville, and less on the fact that you love mysteries.

Ok, that's it. Promise I'll try to keep up better in the future!!