Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Book Review: Several short reviews
The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
I remember reading this book as a young girl and just loving it. The premise is a young girl who feels overlooked and underappreciated at home, so she decides to run away. She takes her younger brother with her because he has money. They run away to a museum and stay there, spending the nights behind the roped off areas, in a grandiose bed. It seemed like such an adventure to me, to spend the nights in a museum. Reading this as an adult, it is simple and obviously written for children although it wasn't as disappointing as "A Wrinkle in Time." I would recommend this for 4-6 graders, especially girls. And it is a Newberry Award Winner, which is saying something.
Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson. This is the memoir of Stephanie Nielson, a popular blogger who focuses on family and the joys of being a mother. In one frightening moment, she is involved in a horrific plane crash with her husband and a flight instructor. She was burned over 80% of her body and in a coma for 4 or 5 months. She is a devoted mother of 4, in the book. Her family has now grown to 5 children. She sets the story up by writing about her life before the crash. This part kind of dragged for me. It seemed too picture perfect and I've never been one for sappy lovestories. She then details the terrible crash and the difficulties in recovery. It is a really heart-wrenching story. I was touched, even by the Spirit, several times while reading the book. I didn't think I would like it but I really did. I came away feeling optimism and hope and renewed enthusiasm for family and being a mother. Its worth your time if you read it. Sterling just finished it and really enjoyed it as well.
The Beginning of Better Days by Sheri L. Dew and Virginia H Pearce
This book is subtitled, "Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith." That part of the book was a little dry for me. It is actually just the notes taken by Eliza R. Snow and are choppy and a little hard to follow. I'm sure I just wasn't in the right frame of mind and lacking focus because it seems really small minded of me to judge it as dry. Anyway, Snow's notes are preceeded by two essays, written by Sheri Dew and Viriginia Pearce. These are both very engaging and I enjoyed them very much.
Daughters in My Kingdom by Church Distribution
It is always nice to know where you come from. Its also nice to know the history of organizations you are involved in. So this short book is nicely organized and inspiring in the presentation of the history of the Relief Society. I enjoyed learning about the previous leaders of the Relief Society and the difficulties they faced in their time and place in history and how they rose up in strength and unity to meet those challenges. It inspires me to rise up and to take action and be a force for good within this great Relief Society organization.
Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz
Sydney is reading this as a class. I don't know why. I can think of a lot better books with an actual message and greater discussion topics. As a school read, I have my doubts. As a fun read, this book was great. The story follows the typical confused hero blueprint. The protagonist, Matt, is a hero, who makes a poor decision and ends up in a situation where things are not as they seem and he has no one to trust. Those who he does trust end up dying. I was surprised at the speed that the body count added up. Myself, I was wondering what the author was thinking, killing off so many characters. And there is something strange, mystical and magically going on in the city. The writing keeps you at the edge of your seat as you try to figure out, with Matt, what is going on and how to get out of the sinister situation. It is clearly a set up for more books. It will be interesting to see where this book goes. I like it. But I'm still going to follow up on the classroom reading list.