Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 2010 Book List

29. Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Gwen was content living with her two cats, Scarlet and Vashti, and when her vet called to ask her to adopt a two-week-old blind kitten, she was pretty sure she was going to decline. Still, she felt she had to see the kitten in question first. As soon as she saw the tiny, black kitten, so willing to love her without reservation, she knew she had to take him in. She named him Homer, after the blind storyteller of The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Her goal in raising Homer was to love him and keep him from harm, but she quickly learned this kitten, though blind, was fearless. He climbed and jumped and played rough, often to the misery of the other two cats. He amazed everyone who met him with his astonishing capacity for love and affection, as well as feats like catching flies in midair and identifying tuna cans in cabinets.

I fell in love with Homer almost immediately and laughed out loud (and shared with Billy) about his escapades. Reading this almost made me want to adopt my own blind kitten.

Gwen Cooper has a blog where she updates readers about Homer and her other cats at Homer's Odyssey.

This was the first ebook I've read. I downloaded it from my library onto a Sony eReader that Billy gave me several weeks ago. I like being able to do that because I can check out certain books without having to go to the library and I can easily take several books with me at once. The only downside to downloading them from the library is that they're only available for 3 weeks, then they're not accessible anymore. There is no renewing. I'd have to download the book again if I didn't finish reading it through the first time, and then there's the possibility that someone else might have downloaded it and I'd have to wait. There aren't unlimited copies of it just because it's on a computer file.

30. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I have to admit, I've been sorely disappointed by Christian fiction. The plots of so many of the books have the same thread, and many of their covers picture women in simple bonnets. I know, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but seeing that everywhere I turn isn't appealing. Thankfully, the cover of Redeeming Love isn't quite like that.

I read this book primarily because it had come highly recommended by a former student of mine. Several of her friends commented on a Facebook thread that they loved that book as well, many of them saying it was their all-time favorite. That said, I had to give it a try. I figured if I didn't like it, I could always put it down.

Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. Rivers retells the biblical account of Hosea and his prostitute wife Gomer, set in the mid-1800s in gold-crazed California. Sarah, aka "Angel" and "Amanda", loses her mother and is sold into prostitution at the tender age of 8. Knowing no other way of life, and having hardened her heart to any kindness shown her, she is caught off guard when Michael Hosea rescues her from her prison - even after she'd rebuffed him and mocked him several times. Determined to make a life of her own, she leaves Michael, only to be trapped into resuming her old way of life. He tracks her down and brings her home, only to be left again.

Much to her disappointment, "Angel" finds herself drawn to Michael and depending on him more and more until she looks to him as her savior. After she leaves him the last time, circumstances cause her to turn toward the Lord as her savior and she finally finds peace and happiness in life.

I've read other books by Rivers and have been impressed with her style. She has several other books out that I haven't read, but I'm more than willing to give them a try.

There's possibly a movie based on the book in the works: Abba Productions: Redeeming Love Movie. I'll be interested to follow this and see how things progress. I think it'd be a wonderful movie with the right leading.

31. Sisters by Danielle Steel

Four sisters in different lifestyles live in various places around the world. Still they find time to come home to be with their family three times a year. The Fourth of July picnic seems to be the biggest family celebration, or maybe that's because Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together and July seems so far from them. Regardless, they all drop what they're doing and gather at their parents' home to spend some quality time with each other. Without warning disaster strikes, leaving their mother dead and one of the sisters in critical condition.

Their father loses himself in grief and the three other sisters make big sacrifices to live together again for one year to help Annie, their newly blind sister, come to grips with her life.

Several years ago, I couldn't get enough of Danielle Steel; then I burned out and didn't want to read anything else of hers for a long while. Sisters was an okay book to pick back up on. The story was good and brought me to tears a few times, but it's not one of her best. I was disappointed in the way the father was treated by his daughters. And as I read the story from a Christian perspective, I kept coming back to how hopeless the whole scenario was and how it could've been written so differently. Overall, I liked how the sisters are so different in their appearances and their personalities, since I see that in my own family.

Hopefully the next Danielle Steel book I choose will remind me of why I found her books so hard to put down once upon a time.

32. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The third and final book of the Millennium trilogy picks up right where the second one (The Girl Who Played with Fire) ended. Lisbeth Salander and her father Zalachenko have both been rushed to a hospital with life-threatening wounds. Mikael Blomkvist is being held at the site of the attempted murders by a bumbling police officer who is more concerned with wielding his power than getting to the bottom of what happened at Karl Axel Bodin's (Zalachenko's) estate.

Thus begins a tale of political espionage, corrupt government police, and the lengths they'll go to to keep themselves a continued state secret. Salander's list of supporters grows ever longer as more and more details of the secret police agency and their cover-up become known.

Just like Larsson's other books, this one was hard to put down. I'll admit there were a few boring parts, filled with details about political history. I tended to skim over them, and apparently didn't miss anything crucial to the story.

There's a rumor that Larsson was writing a fourth book (300+ pages already written) about Salander and Blomkvist before he died of a heart attack. Whether or not that book will be finished and published remains to be seen.