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Doing the books: quick reviews

September 29th, 2004 · No Comments

Actually I should be paying the bills tonight…so I should go do that, but for a moment, here are some quick book reviews from the past month…

  • Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt and Sweet Land Stories by E.L. Doctorow

    I read both of these on our San Francisco trip – on the way south, I believe. I think this was the first time I had read a collection from either of these authors. Byatt’s stories are like candy. Sweet. Lyrical pictures. One story takes an unique angle on the debate over a woman’s right to her body. What I’m left with, after reading her book, are a series of images, some strange, some wonderful.

    Doctorow’s book felt like visiting an art museum, seeing him paint in a variety of styles. I first fell in love with short stories while reading O. Henry as a child. Doctorow’s works have those same subtle twists. They are a bit more disturbing and darker than Byatt’s yet triumphant in their own way.

  • Educating the Whole-hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

    A homeschooling book that focusses on a simple way of raising children and guiding their hearts towards God. My minor quibble with the book is that the authors emphasize liberal arts from their own background, saying that we parents are not raising little scientists – I think I am raising little scientists! Reading what the Clarksons wrote from their own family experience encouraged me in mine. There are practical examples that are easily implemented, such as giving children tapes and a boom box to enjoy music on their own (which I did after reading the book). One of my favorite quotes:

    Without literacy, there is no liberty.

  • Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey

    I first read this book years ago, when it was new. Back then I was searching for a solution to the anguish within me. I wanted answers for my anger. Why was my life the way it was? After reading the book I was still disappointed with God and with Philip Yancey.

    But reading Yancey’s book again on our trip to San Francisco I discovered it anew. If you are angry, this book will not bring answers. Ration does not heal emotion. If you are angry enough to bang your head against the wall then you will only end up banging this book against the wall too. I speak from personal experience.

    Now that I am older and have worked out some of my anger through time and counseling, I liked it more. I thought I might discard it but now I will keep it. I realized that silence is a part of a relationship with God. Not even Job received specific answers for his suffering. I liked reading that God “cannot get humanity out of his mind.” I saw too how the ordeal of the past year has affected what I can see and believe.

    Pain narrows vision. The most private of sensations, it forces us to think of ourselves and no one else.

    Reading other’s stories comforted me – and challenged me in my position. People have had faith through greater fires than my own.
    I’m not the only one who has felt disappointed with God. And that gives me comfort too.

  • Tags: books