March 05, 2013

reading list recap

Overall: *****

Summary: An autobiographical account of the author's battle with breast cancer and with finding herself in "the middle place"- the point between childhood and adulthood and vice versa. The story features two stars, the author and her exuberant father, a local legend, who ultimately faces his own diagnosis. 

What I loved: Corrigan's writing is phenomenal, equal parts funny and matter-of-fact. As I read, I imagined the story as one long conversation I was having with her in my living room. An absolute read for anyone who has been touched by cancer or for any reluctantly grown-up daddy's girl. 

Not so much: Understandably, the author didn't come close to sugar-coating the process of her diagnosis or treatment which can be heart-wrenching to read. Her tone is also heavily sarcastic and straight-forward, which I happen to love, but could come across as harsh to others... but she will truly grip you by the heart and make you laugh, cry, and beg for mercy.

* you may remember me posting this inspirational talk by Kelly Corrigan last fall *

Overall: ****

Summary: Set in the deep south and narrated by the book's main characters, a husband and wife share the story of how they found each other, married, and eventually built a once in a lifetime love, and ultimately coped with losing it. 

What I loved: Being able to recognize who was speaking by subtle nuances in their language and tones, the pure simplicity of the story, the raw and tender moments as the characters processed their grief was heart-breakingly honest. 

Not so much: The author plays on the deep southern stereotypes of evangelical Christians and uses one character as the target of mockery in the story. Though I actually found it funny it also makes me sad that the behavior of other's (however well-intentioned) can cloud people (even fictional characters) from seeing and accepting God. 

Overall: ****

Summary: A daughter suffers through a life of slavery and solitude as she is forced to witness her lover marry her sister, manage the family ranch, and care for her aging tyrannical mother, finding comfort in the only thing she enjoys: cooking. Spending hours pondering and preparing recipes passed down to her from previous generations, Tita finds that through food she is able to communicate to her ancestors, family members, and most importantly, her beloved. 

What I loved: The traditional Mexican recipes, setting, and characters are so rich and vibrant, the different personalities come through so clearly through the writing, and the whimsical storytelling felt like I was sitting in Tita's kitchen listening to generations-old folklore. It's ultimately a love story with a kick. If you love Amelie, you'll love this.

Not so much: The story is beyond-fictional with bizarre and unrealistic events at almost every turn which made me set the book down and roll my eyes once or twice but I read the entire thing in a few hours and it felt like watching a quirky independent film. 

Overall: ***

Summary: The author presents an idea of three distinct leaders based on the Biblical Kings Saul, David, and Absalom and questions the reader about whose rule they are under. By expanding on Biblical events, the author creates fictionalized dialogue and actions that help create a better understanding of how and why each King acted as he did and how we can discern such behaviors in our lives today.

What I loved: The book is written in two parts with the first being primarily teaching, introducing the reader to the various behaviors, actions, and personality types. Part two is mostly the fictionalized story of how the Three Kings came to be and how they each ruled their kingdoms. It made me step back and consider how I choose to lead my own life and how I perceive the actions of those who are in leadership positions in our world today.

Not so much: It was an oversimplified quick read, designed for everyone to understand and relate to, but it is repetitive and somewhat lacking in context. It reminded me of "The Shack", with the fictionalized ideas of the Trinity, which left me at the end with a giant "huh?" all over my face. 

. . .

Strangely, I have discovered I have very few, if any, favorite books by contemporary male authors...
I havent been able to finish East of the Mountains by David Gutterson and can't get through any Malcolm Gladwell's, much to my poor husband's dismay. I don't know what it is but I find that I can't hear their voices like I can with female authors, and their language, slang, characters, or style rarely connect to me. 
Who can recommend a great male-authored read?

 I am ready & willing to keep trying!



  1. Come to think of it...I can't think of any contemporary male authors I enjoy, either! Hmm, I'll let you know if I come across any.

    1. haha! Isn't that bizarre? I think Chasing Chezanne was the last male-written novel I read and my only gripes were with his use of slang and the character development... like, no contemporary female author would use the word "bosom" seriously. Let me know what you find, I'll do the same! :)

  2. Have you tried any Christopher Moore? He's really funny and has some fairly quick reads...I got such a kick out of "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal."

    1. Hi Courtney!! No I haven't ready any of his stuff yet but it sounds like I would enjoy it. I did like David Sedaris if he is anything like that. I'll look him up! Thanks for the tip! :)


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