Friday, December 11, 2009
Books Read November
The Space Between: A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Development (NF 2009) - Walt Mueller
I read this book in preparation for a Sunday School class I’m co-teaching soon. Mueller is one of the leading guys on youth culture and this slim book serves as a good introduction to what’s going on in the life of teenagers.
Audrey’s Door (2009) - Sarah Langan
I started my 2009 “Halloween Read” a little too late to finish it before the end of October, so it eased into early November. Langan’s a talented writer and Audrey’s Door contains several wonderfully creepy scenes, but overall there were too many elements and concepts at work. Overall quite good, but just a bit disappointing.
As I Lay Dying (1930) - William Faulkner
“My mother is a fish.” Oh boy. Faulkner loves multiple points of view, stream of consciousness and dark, dark humor. He also loves strange and does it well. I haven’t read tons of Faulkner (at least not yet), but As I Lay Dying seems to me one of his more approachable novels. One by one, we meet the family of Addie Bundren as they seek to honor her wish to be buried in a nearby town. As with much of Faulkner’s work, the novel is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi.
Await Your Reply (2009) - Dan Chaon
An amazing novel. Read about it here.
This is For the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang (NF 2009) - Samuel Logan
A mostly disappointing look at the gang in question. Here’s why.
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters (NF 2009) - Timothy Keller
Like Dylan once said, you’ve gotta serve somebody, or in this case, you’ve gotta live for something. Is it money? Sex? Power? Whatever it is, ask yourself if it satisfies you on a consistent basis. Does it let you down? It’s probably a counterfeit god or, to use a more biblical term, an idol.
Odd and the Frost Giants (J-Fic 2009) - Neil Gaiman
If Gaiman had published this relatively quiet, short tale before the enormously popular novel The Graveyard Book, it might have slipped under the radar. Based on Norse mythology, this little tale is full of wonder, humor and adventure. In short, pure Gaiman.
Stormbreaker (YA 2001) - Anthony Horowitz
How I describe this book to kids at the library: “Fast-paced. Lots of spy stuff. Action. Danger. Way cool.”
How I describe this book to parents at the library: “James Bond for kids without the sex and martinis.”
Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (J-Fic 2004) - Geronimo Stilton
Lots of silly fun, filled with puns, wordplay and goofy characters. The book contains lots of color, cool fonts, and wacky images. The audiobook is filled with great voices and an entire plethora of sound effects. Lots of fun for kids, but not something I’d want to read in mass quantities.
The Film Club (NF 2008) - David Gilmour
A father makes a deal with his teenage son: You can drop out of school as long as you watch three movies a week with me. Maybe not the best parenting advice in the world, but Gilmour does describe some good movie moments and a glimpse at a touching father/son relationship.
Good People (2008) - Marcus Sakey
A couple rents out part of their house and one day finds a dead tenant and $400,000 in cash. From that moment, the accelerator is pushed to the floor as Tom and Anna Reid try to evade a drug dealer and a robber, both of whom have their eyes on the money.
Pobby and Dingan (2000) - Ben Rice
Delightful, funny, sad and celebratory short novel about Kellyanne, a young girl who loses her imaginary friends Pobby and Dingan. The story is narrated by Kellyanne’s brother Ashmol, who believes in none of the products of Kellyanne’s imagination. But he does care about her. Seek this short book (only 94 pages) out. You won’t be sorry.
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (NF 2006) - David Lynch
As I suspected, I learned almost nothing of any consequence about Lynch’s films, many of which I’ve admired. I learned more about Lynch himself and his philosophy, most of which can be linked to transcendental meditation, the chief focus of this short book. I don’t know much about transcendental meditation, but I think I practice some of the same concepts through prayer. All in all, this was a mixed bag. Just know that if you’re looking for insight into Lynch’s films, you won’t find it here.
That's it for November. Get out there and read something!