Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Winding Road - Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

There are some books that I just savor every word, like a very rich dessert or perfect meal.  The Morland Dynasty books have been such a find.  This latest tome I had to get from the library and it finally was available earlier this month

Back in 2007 my friend Teddi offered me a series of books on English history.  Beginning in the 14th century, the story of the fictional Morland family unveils the evolution of English culture, politics, religion, royalty and peasant.  I devoured the first 20 or so of the series that year and collected the rest and read them all over the past few years to come up to this one, The Winding Road, #34, which covers 1925 into 1931.

The author makes me feel I am living with her characters.  Their hopes, dreams, tragedies and everyday life are woven into the real stories of the events and people who shaped history.

I passed the 30+ paperbacks on to another friend.  Teddi passed away last August and these books are only one of many blessings she brought to my life.

Published: 2011  Read: March 2012   Genre: Historical fiction


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

I've been exploring the act of forgiveness and this book was recommended to me on the subject.  It's the story of a Dutch woman and her family who helped rescue Jews during WWII in Holland.  Corrie and her family were eventually arrested and imprisoned and when she was released she embarked on helping those affected by the holocaust - both its victims and its perpetrators.  I am awed that someone could forgive those who harmed them so terribly and inspired.

I marked several passages [Note to book lovers, I don't actually "mark" books - I use little sticky tapes that I can remove after I've read the book]:

p. 33 ..our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things.  Don't run out ahead of Him.  When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need--just in time.

p. 37  Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings.  It's something we make inside ourselves.

p. 48 Do you know what hurts so very much?  It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain.  There are two things we can do when this happens.  We can kill the love so that it stops hurting.  But then, of course, part of us dies too.  Or, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.

p. 209  The real sin lay in thinking that any power to help and transform came from me.

p. 231 And so I discovered that is it not on our forgiveness any more then on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.

At the conclusion of the book she shares her dying sister's wish,  "Tell people what we have learned here [in the concentration camp]..that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still!"

In all, a thought-provoking read that I would recommend.  I got in from the library so no link.

Published: 1971    Read: March 2012     Genre: Non-fiction

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sleepwalking Land - Mia Couto

I ordered this online because I had read about the author being a celebrated African writer and that the book had been chosen as one of the 12 best African books of the twentieth century.

It's the story of an old man and a young boy who are wandering a road in their war torn country, Mozambique.    They discover a journal of another displaced young man in an abandoned bus.  Their circumstances and the story in the journal are interwoven in a dream-like manner to portray the devastation and upheaval of war.  This style is challenging to follow and though a short book, it took me several evenings to read.

The author paints the landscape and characters in wispy images.  A quote I noted:
p. 39 - "Ideas, we all know, are not born in people's heads.  They begin somewhere out there, loose wisps of smoke swirling directionless in their search for a befitting mind."

I can't say I'd recommend the book, but it was a different choice.

Published: 1988 (English translation 2006)  Read: February 2012  Genre: Fiction listing