Books 2011

Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry by Debra Rienstra and Ron Rienstra: Great, thoughtful, and challenging book about church worship. If you have any interest in worship and/or language, it’s well worth reading. I liked the conversational tone and the complementary perspectives. One a Shakespearean scale I give it a Henry V.

Harry Potter and the… by J.K.: I re-read them all after watching the eighth film. I love them. They’re just that good. I think Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite, but I’m always delighted to remember what good use Rowling makes of the supporting characters are in Order of the Phoenix and I still find The Deathly Hallows to be one of the most satisfying ends to a series I’ve ever read. On a Shakespearean Scale I give it a Winter’s Tale.

Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery: Always a fun re-read, I got through all but Rilla this time. These are great books to have going on the iPad for when I need something to read in the middle of the night or as I go to bed or when I have a few minutes here and there. Love them. Can’t wait until I can read them with the kids. I petered out at Rilla, though. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes I let it slide. On a Shakespearean scale I give them a Midsummer Night’s Dream with a little Measure for Measure thrown in.

The Alto Wore Tweed and The Baritone Wore Chiffon by Mark Schweizer: I was amused and then kind of bored. It’s sort of on over-the-top one note joke about mysteries and the church and Raymond Chandler. It was cheap on Kindle. On a Shakespearean Scale I give it a Love’s Labours Lost as put on by a mediocre but clever community college theater program.

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle: It was a coffee house mystery with lots of great passages about coffee and nothing particularly outstanding otherwise.  It wasn’t bad at all, but the character was a little shallow and the plot didn’t draw me in. I didn’t mind reading it, but I wasn’t champing at the bit for the next one. Okay. On a Shakespearean scale I give it a Two Gentlemen of Verona.

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure: McClure makes a pilgrimage to the places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and about which she wrote in her Little House books. She talks about the books, the real story behind the books, and her own reasons for needing to make the pilgrimage. As a total Laura geek from the books first and the show later (Little House in the Big Woods is the first chapter book I remember my mom reading to my–true story) I loved this book. Just loved it. I was laughing out loud, but also completely absorbed and totally in tune with McClure the story teller. Loved it! On a Shakespearean scale I give it an As You Like It.

Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner: I want to read it again which is a pretty good recommendation. It’s about making meaning with the story we do have and about coming out of the dark places into the light. It’s about healing and hope. It’s good stuff and it was interesting reading it juxtaposed to Miller’s book. But I need to read it again. On a Shakespearean scale I’m giving Buechner a 1st Tetralogy (I Henry VI through Richard III) as envisioned by Jane Howell for the BBC. Telling Secrets gets a 2 Henry VI.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller: It’s the book about writing the screenplay for Blue Like Jazz. It seems to have two separate subtitles. On Miller’s blog the cover photo says “What I learned While Editing my Life” and my book cover says “How I Learned to Live a Better Story.” It works on the metaphor of life as a story. It’s definitely worth reading. It has inspired me to try to “tell a better story,” to be intentional about living and to try to listen to the Voice of the Author. But I was reading Buechner at the same time, and there is a depth in Buechner that I missed in Miller. On a Shakespearean scale I give it a 1 Henry IV.

In the Bleak Midwinter, A Fountain Filled with Blood, Out of the Deep I Cry, To Darkness and to Death, All Mortal Flesh, I Shall Not Want, and One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming: I sped through these and thoroughly enjoyed them. They get better as they go, and, I have to admit, I kind of liked the gimmicks some of them used. All Mortal Flesh takes place all in a single day, marked by prayer times, and I Shall Not Want takes a whole year, marked by the liturgical calendar. The two main characters, Clare and Russ, are drawn well and are interesting. There are some strong supporting characters that begin to especially come into focus in the most recent book, One Was a Soldier. I hope she continues the development of the supporting players. On a Shakespearean scale I give it a Much Ado About Nothing.

Take This Bread by Sara Miles: Um, yeah, Wow. Whatever one may think of the theology (and for the record, I like it), it’s a good read and very well written. As I said in the blog, it’s about conversion, communion, and community. It’s about food and flesh. There’s something physical and something medieval about it. It’s life and faith and theology and musings. I don’t want to let it go. On a Shakespearean scale I give it a King Lear.

Deadly Advice, Preaching to the Corpse, and Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib: These were some of the mysteries recommended by the RevGals on the books Friday Five. They were fine. Fun, fast, clean reading. I am not as enamored of the protagonist, a psychologist and advice columnist, as I like to be in a mystery series, but she was growing on me by the third book. I would probably read another one. Sort of a tepid review. They weren’t great, but they were enjoyable. On a Shakespearean scale I give them a The Merry Wives of Windsor.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle: This is probably my favorite of the Time books. I love the intricacies of the timelines and the interconnectedness of everything. I also really like what L’Engle does with Mrs. O’Keefe, though it also breaks my heart. Yet Calvin kind of redeems the beautiful, golden Beezie. In Wrinkle he calls himself a “sport,” a genetic abnormality, but, in the end, he isn’t. I do miss Calvin in the book, but I just love that intricate time travel stuff. And I’m sure the Quantum Leap folks must have read this book. On a Shakespearean scale this one gets a The Winter’s Tale

Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle: I always like this book more than I remember. While I don’t really identify with the twins, it’s fun to get to know them as more than just Meg and Charles Wallace’s brothers and I love where L’Engle’s imagination takes the Noah story. It’s a very respectful book while being completely fantastical, too. Virtual unicorns are pretty great. On a Shakespearean scale, I give it a Pericles.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: It’s still a good book. A sci fi book with a female protagonist isn’t as much of a rarity as it once was, but this was one of the first. Meg is a little tiring, but she’s still a good character. And I suppose it is nice that she does have faults. She’s not too much of a Mary Sue character (that would be Vicky Austin, but that’s another story). Anyway, I enjoyed it and, really, if a person is going to read only one Madeleine L’Engle book, it should be this one. There’s a reason it’s the Newbery winner and the best-known of her books. And it’s the one that, when people talk about L’Engle, they discuss. On a Shakespearean scale, it gets, of course, The Tempest.

Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron: I always enjoy Margaret Maron’s books. This was a fine one. I liked having the focus back on the Colleton County population and I especially enjoyed the interactions with all the kids. A good book, but I don’t have a lot more to say about it. I am very much looking forward to the next one, set in New York City  in which Deborah Knott and Sigrid Harald meet up. Just fun! On a Shakespearean scale, I give it a Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Keeping Watch
by Laurie R. King: The first book I finished in 2011. It reminded my why I prefer cozies to thrillers. That said, it was a pretty good thriller. It had a bit more of Vietnam than I expected, but I should have realized it would go there. I probably won’t re-read it (which I probably will with Folly), but I don’t feel I wasted my time reading it. On a Shakespearean scale, I give it a Titus Andronicus.


One Response to Books 2011

  1. Jan Hilton says:

    I LOVE this section of your blog, plus i am always happy to find another HP fervent fan. I’ve reread them too many times to count and am now considering using one to read at the Banned Books event next Saturday.

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