A Spate of Book Reviews and an Afternoon on the Road

I spent five hours today talking to nice people at the Yakima Farmer’s Market about the importance of shopping at small, independently-owned businesses which was somewhat like preaching to the choir. Most people I talked to were already fans of small stores and farms and realize that the health and flavor of our Valley depend on keeping them healthy.

Then we did something I love to do. There is nothing better than an afternoon drive up to Snoqualmie pass to meander through the brilliant golden tamaracks and red vine maple on the bumpy backroads of my childhood. Jim’s expert driving and great listening skills make reading aloud a joy we can share. I decided when I got home that it was time to write a few reviews.

“A Country Called Home” by Kim Barnes

A fledgling physician and his willing wife move from the east coast to establish a practice and a home in the backwoods of Idaho in the early 60’s. His idealism, endearing at first, but later bordering on dysfunctional laziness, drives his pregnant wife to confront her own significant needs. Beautifully written.
“The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things” by Leighton Ford

This book drew me in because I thought it was a “manual” of sorts about paying attention spiritually, but instead I found a contemplative book from an evangelical viewpoint. Given Leighton Ford’s career with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, I expected a wise treatise on Scripture and prayer, but I was surprised by so much more. This is a deeply personal memoir, interspersed with quotes and poetry by Rilke, Sarton, Eliot, Nouwen and Kenyon.
“Child of Steen’s Mountain” by Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker

I grew up in the mountains and I’m always drawn to books by others like me who enjoyed long, unstructured hours in nature, inventing games, and observing wildlife. This memoir tells the story of a young girl growing up on a sheep rancher’s homestead in eastern Oregon in the 30’s. Eileen tells of the wonders and dangers of having adult responsibilities as a child, taking care of valuable livestock and shouldering a staggering amount of work, and she tells it with humility and humor. I read this aloud to my husband as we bumped along the backroads of my mountain home on a brilliant fall day, grateful for my much less demanding rural heritage.

“Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay

This is an amazing book. Telling the chilling story of a round-up of Jews in Paris in 1942, from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl, this is one of those books that grabs you in the beginning and won’t let you go. The quick transition from a tranquil childhood to the horrors of being mistreated just because you carry a certain label is a theme that I don’t often think about, but millions experienced it during the Holocaust. I’m down to the last few pages and I’m so impressed by the author’s skill in taking me into this little known chapter in France’s history. I can’t wait to finish it.
Published in: on October 20, 2008 at 3:39 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Your tootsies had a great view! Hope they felt pampered and better for the ride. The books sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing reading ideas with us!

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