Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CRITICS CRITIQUE


Writers can't not write. Musicians can't turn off the music in their heads. And it's next to impossible for a critic to stop critiquing. It's bad enough that most writers I know can't seem to turnoff the analysis of every book they read or movie they watch, but when that writer (me) is also a critic, it becomes hard to read just for pleasure. Oh, I enjoy most of the books I read, but there's something in my makeup that makes me want to share whatever I like or don't like, even in books I won't be formally reviewing.

This past week I've been ill, nothing serious just a rotten cold and badly infected throat, making most pursuits difficult, so I've spent a lot of time curled up in a comfortable chair, reading. I'll post reviews on Meridian of some of those books, but I read some good ones I won't be reviewing, too, and have decided to write a few things on this blog about some of them. For the most part, they are books that are too short to be considered novels, one is a book for children, and one is poetry.

Conversations with a Moonflower is a pretty little book with a thick padded cover featuring a yellow moonflower. It was written by Christine T. Hall. The book caught my attention first because my mother always planted Evening Flowers in her flower beds. They're not as pretty as moonflowers, but they bloom late in the evening , smell wonderful, and look like weeds in the daytime. When I was a little girl a neighbor had a Night Blooming Cereus plant and invited my family to see and smell this unique flower on the one summer night a year it bloomed. I have fond memories of the beautiful blossoms on that scraggly, ugly plant that looked like a dead weed the other 364 days of the year. This small book is as delightful as its namesake. It takes the reader from a time of packing up the contents of a house that had been in the family for more than a hundred years and the kindness of Amish neighbors to the understanding the protagonist achieves as she shares the Moonflower given to her by an Amish woman with neighbors and family. She not only learns about interacting with others, but discovers that in spite of the ADD she has struggled with all of her life she can have moments of quiet inner reflection and awareness that enrich her life. Through her "conversations" with the moonflower she discovers the answers to most of her questions and the solutions to most of her problems in life are already within her and only need to be brought to the forefront at the right time.

One book I read is a book for children, especially for children who are adopted or who have an adopted sibling. Since I have an adopted grandchild, whom I love dearly, I had looked forward to a chance to read this book. It's called 10 Days Until Forever and is written by David Peterson with illustrations by Tera Grasser. It's a simple little story that counts down the days until a little boy is taken to the temple to be sealed to his adoptive parents. In the process of the countdown he interacts with all the family, ward, and community people who share in his excitement over this special occasion and who care about him.

Carol Lynn Pearson has written a short book of poetry called The Sweet, Still Waters of Home. This is a book specifically written for mothers and to honor them on Mothers' Day. It takes each stanza of the Twenty-Third Psalm, explains it, and places it in the context of today's parenting challenges. I'm not a big fan of poetry nor of Pearson's non-poetry books, but somehow her poetry nearly always touches me and I like this little volume a great deal.

The Tomb Builder by E. James Harrison at 150 pages is almost long enough to be considered a novel. It is based on a man in the New Testament about whom little is known, Joseph of Arimathea. In fact, no one knows for sure quite where Arimathea was. The book is fiction and is therefore speculative, but the historical and geographical facts are well documented. The quality of writing in this little book is excellent and Harrison tells a thoughtful and plausible story of the man who owned the tomb where Christ was placed for those three short days following his crucifixion. The actual cover is not nearly as appealing as the picture of the cover, but don't let a blah cover keep you from an excellent story.

I read Janette Rallison's My Double Life, too, and have to admit I'm a Rallison fan and have been for ten years or so. She writes for the YA market, which I don't review, but I usually read her books just because I love her sense of humor and because she just keeps getting better. This is a story of two sisters who know nothing of the other's existence until the one is invited to be the other famous girl's double. It's a story that takes a look at values and honesty. Though it's written for teens, I suspect I'm not the only adult who will enjoy it. And I assure you the story is much better than the cover

I've enjoyed reading some books outside my usual areas and recommend that other readers try something new too. It's too bad I had to get sick to find the time to do it.

March 31, today/tomorrow is the last day to enter the March Wish List contest.  Remember entries here, on the V-Formation (my blog same as here), or comments on my review column on Meridian count as entries.  All followers get one entry too, just for being a follower.



2 comments:

Stephanie Black said...

I loved My Double Life. Very fun book. My daughter enjoyed it as well.

wozeurey said...

Did you heard what Rob Matts said about that?

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