50/50 Reading Challenge Update: September Books

With the start of school at the end of August, the pace of my life transitioned from a leisurely Sunday drive to a Formula One race.  Football, fall baseball, marching band, and a new full-time job conspired to send the Whimsey family’s schedule careening into overdrive.  When I say September is a blur of shapes, colors, and dream-like memories, I am not exaggerating.

It would be easy to surmise that all the endless mad dashing around would have obliterated my leisure time for reading books.  There certainly wasn’t time to cook a nutritious meal, wash a go of laundry, clean a bathroom, or mow even one blade of grass.  And forget about time to engage in any blogging activities, which accounts for the dirth of posts here at Whimsey Pie.

Surprisingly, though, I found ample pockets of time for reading – while I was waiting for football or baseball practice to end, during orchestra rehearsal, waiting for the band bus to return from games and competitions, during my lunch break, etc., etc., etc.  So much waiting time was mixed in with the craziness that I was able to finish five books in September and begin a sixth one.  There’s nothing like a little schedule overload to focus my priorities – I can’t possibly make a proper supper for my family, but I sure as heck can find time to read one more book.

Just because I’ve read five books doesn’t mean I have hours to write lengthy reviews for each one.  (Yes, it takes me hours.)  But I really want to give these books the thoughtful attention they deserve.  My plan is to review each book in three sentences or less.  Wish me luck!  Breviloquence is not my writing forte.  (How is that for a twenty-five cent word?)

September Books

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  By simply naming the 1,000+ things she loved, Ann Voskamp comes to a deep understanding of the goodness of God and His desire for relationship with us.  Her strange phrasing and overly descriptive style of writing tested my patience and my attention span several times to the point of almost throwing in the towel.  This was a slow go for me, but well worth the effort.   (3.75/5 stars)

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  After his family is murdered, Nobody Owens is raised by two ghosts, has a guardian named Silas who may or may not be a vampire, is educated by a Hound of Hell named Miss Lupescu, and spends his childhood in the protection of a graveyard.  Neil Gaiman offers an incredibly imaginative take on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and creates a compassionate and, believe it or not, relatable tale of the struggles of growing up.  I loved it!  (4.5/5 stars)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  The author tells the story of Achilles and the battle of Troy through the voice of Patroclus, Achilles’ constant companion (presented as his lover in this version).  Patroclus is a far more admirable and likable character than most of the other players, including Achilles, whose hubris is his ultimate downfall.  Madeline Miller offers a vivid retelling of the Greek myth, seamlessly meshing human experience with legend.  (4/5 stars)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  Ender Wiggins, a seven year old genius, is believed to be the one person capable of defeating the aliens that almost destroyed the earth in earlier battles.  Ender’s intense training experiences often led me to forget he was only a child.  I understand why Orson Scott Card’s book won so many awards and is well on its way to becoming a much-anticipated movie.  (4.25/5 stars)

The Children’s Story by James Clavell.  Buddy read this book in his eighth grade English class this year and wanted to talk with me about it.  In less than a half hour, a newly appointed teacher from a new government manages to sweet talk the children in a classroom to tear up the American flag, question their parents’ authority, give up their individuality, and disregard God for government.  Quite a thought-provoking read on what we really believe, the values we hold dear, and the insidious nature of brainwashing.  (4/5 stars)

Breviloquence accomplished.  Who knew I was actually capable of it?  My book tally for 2012 is now at 35.  If I read five books a month for the rest of the year I will meet the reading portion of the 50/50 Reading Challenge.  I already have one book finished for October and am well under way on the second.  I’m really feeling the need for some light entertainment – perhaps some Kate Morton or Sara Addison Allen.  Life is too stressful right now for books that struggle with the big issues of life.  Please don’t judge….  We all need a marshmallow of a book every once in a while.

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