Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Darned If You Do


      After a tree falls on Tom Riordan's house, aka Tom Take, landing him in the hospital, the police find junk in every inch of his house.    His only living relative, Valentina Shipp from Indiana, is called in to take care of him.

      Valentina enlists the help of Betsy & Crewel World Monday Bunch to help clean out Tom's house.  They soon find out it's not all junk in Tom's house.   There are thousands of dollars worth of valuables.   Soon little things begin to disappear, and Tom ends up murdered in the nursing home.   At this point, Betsy begins her investigation and ends up with a very surprise ending.

      Very good mystery.  This is book number 18 in the Crewel World mystery series.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Appointments With Heaven

Dr. Reggie Anderson is the author of this amazing book.  If you want a glimpse of heaven, if you want to have peace about the death of a loved one, you will want to read this book.

Dr. Anderson shares his own experiences of being at the bedside when his patients have crossed over.  He tells of the scents and sensations that enter the room and the visions some of the patients have.

The book also covers Reggie's life and his journey of faith. He tells us of believing at an early age but then choosing unbelief when the unimaginable happens to people he dearly loved.

Appointments with Heaven is the Faith Book Clubs February 2015 pick at the Delphi Public Library.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I so appreciate an author who gets, really gets, adolescence. In ‘Eleanor and Park’, Rainbow Rowell has created two characters that I really truly care about; I want them to be real so Eleanor and Park can end up having a beautiful life together. I was rooting for them all the way to the end as they struggled with all the junk that often comes with growing up: bullies, rotten home life, poor self-esteem, peer pressure, self-doubt, and first love. Eleanor lives with her mother, four siblings and creepy stepfather. She and her siblings share a single room where Eleanor retreats as soon as her step-father comes home. Baths have to be carefully orchestrated because the bathroom has only a sheet tacked over the doorway rather than a locking door. Park, the son of parents who are still madly (and embarrassingly) in love with one another, has a ‘picture perfect’ home life (from Eleanor’s perspective.) His mother, Mindy, is Korean and owns an in-home beauty shop. His father, an army veteran who met Mindy while stationed in Korea, makes few demands on Park: take taekwondo lessons and learn to drive a stick. Eleanor is new at school and ‘meets’ Park when he reluctantly offers her a seat on the bus her first day. With unruly red hair and dressed like a character from ‘Godspell’, Eleanor is an immediate target for the kids at the back of the bus. Park, who is slight in build, has coal black hair and dark eyes that ‘disappear when he smiles’, wonders why everything about him is Asian while his younger brother is tall and brown haired and fair like his father. Each chapter is told in either Eleanor or Park’s perspective and bit by bit, word by word, discovery by discovery, a relationship is built that is based on acceptance, respect, and admiration – something many adults have difficulty accomplishing.  Eleanor and Park have a lot that they can teach anyone of any age. I love them and I love this book. A quick and very satisfying read.

Easter Everywhere: a memoir by Darcey Steiner

In sparse and poetic language, Darcey Steinke details her journey upon her very rocky path to God and spirituality. The oldest child of a Lutheran minister and former beauty queen, Steinke spent her early childhood moving about the country following her father’s church appointments. While growing up ‘churched’, it was common for Darcey to accompany her father on home visits, to the scenes of accidents and even concoct communion wine that she dangerously served up to the neighbor-kids.   
Because of the ever present tension between her parents, her mother’s fog of depression and her father’s disinterest in his own family’s faith formation, Steinke launched into young adulthood with an insatiable appetite for inner peace and acceptance. Her search led her to a series of affairs and sexual encounters, drinking, drugs and conversations with assorted spiritual gurus. In ‘Easter Everywhere’, Steinke’s writing is often compared to that of author Annie Lamont – and I definitely agree with the comparison. Like Lamont, Steinke’s path to a relationship with God is twisted but I appreciate that both authors have voices that ring true and they tell their stories with a no-holds-barred attitude. In this book, Steinke exposes her frailties, mistakes, and reveals her deepest doubts. For me, it is her candor that kept me engaged until the very end of the book. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Prior to reading Mary Roach’s engaging nonfiction book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers I, like many people, was woefully uniformed regarding the exciting after-life of many deceased bodies.  This well-researched and wryly written novel explores, in detail, the ways in which cadavers have influenced and continue to shape many aspects of our lives.  Consider, for example, your safety belt.  According to Roach “For every cadaver that rode the crash sleds to test three-point seat belts, 61 lives per year have been saved.” Even more interesting is the author’s discussion of the illicit act of body snatching.  When medical science was still fresh and new (as well as frighteningly barbaric) in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, cadavers for medical studies were hard to come by.  Many anatomist resorted to purchasing their stock from sometimes less-than-reputable dealers who would deliver their parcels via the back door.  Roach tells of “flummoxed anatomist who opened a crate delivered to his lab expecting a cadaver but found instead a ‘very fine ham, a large cheese, a basket of eggs, and a huge ball of yarn.’ One can only imagine the surprise and very special disappointment of the party expecting very fine ham, cheese, eggs, or a huge ball of yarn, who found instead a well-packed but quite dead Englishman.”  The book touches on every imaginable (and some unimaginable) aspect of a cadaver’s journey, delivering laughs, gasps, information along the way.  A fine book for those who like a little humor with their science.