Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Books I Read in April

This month I'm listing the books in a different order - not sequentially, but experientially. The first is the one I enjoyed the most and the last the least. Almost everything I read last month was disappointing, but there's always a new month and new books to explore. Onward! Titles in blue were free for Kindle at the time of this posting.

1) The Singing Sands by Tey (reviewed here)
2) Lady Rose's Daughter - Mrs. Humphry Ward (vintage fiction with substance, reviewed here)
3) Be Reverent by Wiersbe  (commentary on Ezekiel, reviewed here)
4) The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne (I did not love this, but appreciated its important themes, review forthcoming)
5) The Cross of Christ by Murray (Maybe I was just too distracted to get into this title. I usually love Murray)
6) The Young Clementina by D.E. Stevenson (one of the few Stevenson titles I have not loved, review forthcoming)
7) On the Way to the Cross - Oden (just okay)
8) At the Time Appointed - Anna Maynard (vintage fiction, I put this near the end because I can't even remember what it was about. Not a good sign of a great book. Here's my review at Goodreads)
9) Love by the Letter - Jagears (Ugh, typical Christian fiction, reviewed here)



Unknown said...

I have often wanted to comment on your blog, however, my life as a missionary in the little country just south of yours keeps me busy. I try to always read your reviews since we have very similar tastes in books. As well as the same feelings about Christian fiction. I read your review on GoodReads about Love by the Letter. I found your comment about the extreme insecurity of today's heroes and heroines very interesting. I had never thought about it, however, I think it is true. I wonder if the extreme self-focus most people have, including Christians, doesn't contribute to this. I'd be interested in your thoughts as to why so many people struggle nowadays with so much insecurity. None of us is immune to feelings of insecurity, and I too have struggled with my fair share. I do find though that the more I can just forget about myself and commit myself to the Lord that I struggle much less.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for your thoughtful question, Tamara. I'm not sure why most modern-day heroines are so insecure. I think it's a reflection of our culture. In the last 100 years women's roles have been re-defined so many times that we don't know who are anymore. We used to be defined by our relationships (mother, wife, etc.) but that's taboo now since we are supposed to find ourselves apart from anyone else's expectations. We are unhappy as career women (mommy guilt) and unhappy as stay-at-home moms since culture demands that we have a "real life" outside the home. With regard to appearance, we are barraged with unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of beauty. When was the last time you met a woman who was absolutely comfortable in her own skin? (I can think of about three in ALL of my acquaintances.) In order to identify with these insecure gals, Christian fiction writers are making their heroines a bundle of nerves. There's probably a lot more to it than that, but that could be one reason. Frankly, I prefere heroines who are tough AND womanly, which is very hard to achieve. (Dorothy Brooke in Middlemarch, Jane Eyre, Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, etc.) Even Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter didn't wilt away when public opinion was against her. (Though she had every reason to.)

Barbara H. said...

I've read a few of Wiersbe's commentaries and found them helpful, though, like you say, I wouldn't agree with just every little thing. Ezekiel would be a good one to have some learned thoughts to delve into.

Interesting discussion about insecure heroines. I hadn't exactly made that connection, but there are plenty. I wonder if part of it is the post-millennial thing about not being too sure about anything or any ultimate truth. Seems like that would make people generally insecure, with no sure foundations. But Christians shouldn't have that problem. Maybe it's a weakness to be overcome in the plot. One Christian writer with strong women characters is Dee Henderson. Even one of her heroines who was kidnapped and abused has trouble with close relationships with men, but doesn't come across as weak or insecure. Another secular classic strong heroine is Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White. But her half-sister, Laura Fairlie, is the exact opposite.