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Posts Tagged ‘BookPeople’

As usual, I can’t believe another month has flown by – and it’s time for the book-review post again. I do enjoy sharing my literary treasures with you – and if you’re so inclined you can find me on Goodreads. I don’t usually write long reviews there because I write them here, but since I love lists and books, I enjoy listing books on Goodreads.

Anyway. On to the books for March:

These High, Green Hills, Jan Karon
I love every book in the Mitford series – hence why I had to reread all of them once I started the series again. I love the deepening of the relationship between Father Tim and Cynthia, and watching Father Tim open his heart to Dooley, the homeless boy he takes in; Puny, his redheaded housekeeper; Miss Sadie, his oldest parishioner; and many others. Mitford is so charming, and yet it’s also real – Karon does a wonderful job of balancing the charm and the hard realities.

Out to Canaan, Jan Karon
I appreciate this book for its thoughtful portrayal of Father Tim’s struggles with retirement. He’s always defined himself by his work and his ministry – and now, faced with the idea of retirement, he feels strangely bereft, set adrift. He’s such a sensitive, thoughtful central character, and yet doesn’t devolve into self-pity or sentimentality. And Cynthia, now his wife, is spunky and charming and refreshingly candid.

A New Song, Jan Karon
This book takes Father Tim and Cynthia to Whitecap Island, floating in the Atlantic – and they meet so many quirky and charming people. A real summer treat.

A Common Life: The Wedding Story, Jan Karon
This book is shorter than the others, and sweet – such fun to read multiple perspectives on the days leading up to Father Tim’s wedding. Karon usually only tells the story from Father Tim’s point of view, but this book switches back and forth. It’s kind of fun.

In This Mountain, Jan Karon
This book makes me cry more than any other in the series – Father Tim is struggling with depression, and oh my, how it breaks my heart. But it’s still a loving, warm story, filled with characters who are so real and honest, and who love their priest so much. And I love the way Karon inserts hymn lyrics and Bible verses, and yet doesn’t expect them to answer all the questions. No platitudes for her.

Shepherds Abiding, Jan Karon
This is a lovely Christmas tale – of Father Tim’s work on restoring a Nativity scene. I love how all the secondary characters pop in and out of every story – the “Turkey Club” of middle-aged men who hang out at the Main Street Grill; Winnie Ivey, who owns the bakery, and her brother Joe, the barber; Puny and her ever-growing family; Louella, who makes yeast rolls and sings beautifully; and Hope Winchester, who works at Happy Endings Bookstore and finally, here, begins to allow herself to dream. (She lives up to her name beautifully.)

Light from Heaven, Jan Karon
I’d only read this one once before – it takes us into the mountains around Mitford, to a tiny mountain congregation filled with unusual people. Karon certainly has a gift – there are nine of these books, and they never get old. If you haven’t read the series, I recommend them – and so does award-winning memoirist Lauren Winner, who mentions them in her book Girl Meets God.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly
I bought this at BookPeople in downtown Austin, and devoured it in just a few days. I loved this story about a tomboyish, stubborn girl (hints of Caddie Woodlawn) who starts studying nature and evolution with her grandfather in 1899. She has six brothers, so things are never dull, and she has a smart, thoughtful way of looking at the world. So fun.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert
Alexis had an interesting perspective on this book – she didn’t really like it, but is still rooting for the author. I had mixed expectations after reading her post, but I loved Eat, Pray, Love, so I read this one anyway. And I will say: it’s a completely different book from Eat, Pray, Love. It’s still a personal/travel memoir, but contains much more research and much less personal heartbreak. I found Gilbert’s research on marriage – particularly her historical findings about marriage and women – fascinating. I think my favorite parts were the stories of the women in her family, and their experiences with marriage. I love that she didn’t find, in the end, one single formula that guarantees happiness in marriage. I also love that she had a happy ending – she did get to marry her sweetheart, known in the book as Felipe.

If you’re into Elizabeth Gilbert, into reading about marriage (like my therapist husband) or into unlikely love stories, you’ll probably enjoy this one. I’d love to hear what you think about it, if you’ve read it.

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly O’Connor McNees
I never win blog/online contests. I mean NEVER. But I keep entering them anyway, and I won this one – an ARC (advance reading copy) from Goodreads! Anyway, this is a fictional tale of a summer when Louisa May Alcott was in her early twenties, and oh, it’s so good. The author draws the characters so well – not only Louisa, but her sisters and parents, all of whom appear in fictional form in Little Women. The Alcott girls are different from the March sisters, though, and I think McNees portrays them as such. The historical details are well-researched, the description is well done, and the ending is both heartbreaking and satisfying. I usually don’t like it when people mess with my favorite authors, but I’m so impressed with this story.

That’s all for March. On to April books (and April showers…and winds…and flowers…)

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