Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!
Sabbath Rest Book Talk will return in March!
There will be a few changes–good ones! First of all, I’ll be adding a few co-hosts. Both Carolyn Astfalk and Rebecca Willen will be joining me for March 5th’s SRBT. Also, we’ll be hosting the event over on my YouTube Channel as a YouTube Live Event. You can still comment and play along, of course. Lastly, I’ll be announcing the book selections and focus ahead of time, so you can read along and join the discussion a little more easily and thoughtfully. To keep on top of each month’s SRBT selections, do sign up for my monthly newsletter.
While we’re here, here are the selections for SRBT for March, focusing on JUSTICE:
Meanwhile, I’m still reading.
Her Royal Spyness Solves Her First Case by Rhys Bowen.
Oh, this was a rip-roaring fun thing to read. I initially picked it up because it’s been on my mind for a while to start this series, and Bowen’s latest (I think the latest?) was mentioned the 2016 list of Agatha Award nominees. The Agatha Awards are, “Loosely defined as ‘mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence,’ the Agatha Award salutes the books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie.” There’s a little too much racy talk in there for me to feel comfortable sharing this with my tween-readers. There are not, however, any actual sex scenes or horrifically detailed murders, etc. It was adult-funny, cleverly plotted, and peopled with fully-fleshed characters in spite of the fact that there were so many. I’ll be looking for more Royal Spyness.
In the Pleasure Groove by (Nigel, ahem) John Taylor
In the Pleasure Groove was everything you’d expect from JT. It was compelling, entertaining, slick, sexy, jet-setty… and flavored with a sad undercurrent of, well, narcissism. Still. Even in his chapters on facing down his drug and alcohol addictions. Don’t get me wrong: I am super glad the guy is working so hard health in all its dimensions, so invested in being a good father and husband. I’m concerned, though, that as long as he stays his own Higher Power, it might not last. In the end, that made the book unsatisfying. Still, if you’re recovering from or still a hardcore Duran Duran addict, I can’t not recommend In the Pleasure Groove. There’s a bit of depth for the reader in it, even if the author himself may have missed it.
Nutureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library’s worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring–because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.
It’s amazing how actual science works and how easy it is for us to turn our backs on factual reality when it doesn’t fit what makes us feel good about ourselves, isn’t it? Long story short: NurtureShock confirms the value of common sense parenting in the face of everything from participation awards to gifted class placement tests to fat shaming and schedule-cramming. I got a lot of validation out of this book and some ideas for modifying my own parenting choices as well.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Yeah, totally embarrassing that this is the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve ever read in my whole life. To my credit, I was in And Then There Were None in freshman year of high school (Ethel the maid–first one offed, but I got to scream really loud, so that was cool).
Anyway, quick read, clean enough, tight plotting, and even I forgot about one of the big clues at the beginning so that the end was a well-timed surprise. That said, the end was a bit… unsatisfying in a moral sense, if you get what I mean. As an investigator, Poirot was warmer than Sherlock Holmes and in that sense more enjoyable from a human perspective; Holmes quirks my eyebrows at both his brilliance and his awkwardness, but Poirot brings me along for the ride.
You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir by Melissa Ohden
What do you do when you find out you were not supposed to live? Would you want the find the birthmother who, according to all medical records, wanted you dead? And how do you hold onto a voice in a culture that calls you a liar and silences you at any available opportunity… because your very existence challenges the culture’s most cherished ideas? This is the story of a woman who survived an abortion in 1977 then went on to search for her birthparents. The pain, healing and triumph of her experience is one that every human should read. I give You Carried Me both five stars (would give a sixth if Amazon would let me) and a Four Kleenex Warning. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am honestly confident in giving this book the highest recommendation. Look for an upcoming in-depth review and giveaway in the next few days.
That’s it for February! While we’re here, gentle reminder: To keep on top of each month’s SRBT selections, do sign up for my monthly newsletter.