Sunday, October 26, 2008
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
Saturday, October 25, 2008
A Sight For Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell
Francine has had a rough start to life. When she is seven, her mother is murdered by a man who comes to the house, and Francine escapes by hiding under her bed. Teddy has had a rough childhood also. His parents were shocked to have him, and were too self-centered to pay him any attention at all. In Ruth Rendell's A Sight For Sore Eyes, Francine and Teddy find each other and form a relationship.
Characterization and plotting are hallmarks of Rendell's style. In addition to the two main characters, there are several other women who play large parts in the plotlines. Julia is Francine's stepmother, and tries to keep her a baby because of her early trauma. Harriett is a rich woman, married to a man who no longer loves her and going through a series of young lovers. Both these women share the self-centeredness that seems to move the book forward.
I can't remember ever reading a Ruth Rendell that I didn't enjoy, and this one was no different. Rendell's plotlines are tight and the evil that happens seems inevitable with the characters involved. For fans, this one is highly recommended.
Make A Joyful Noise by Chariss Walker
The first section is titled Understanding Spiritual Laws. In this section, Ms. Walker tells her story and how she came to believe in these ideas. She talks about concepts such as how we come to understand truth, that we are led to those who can help when we are ready for such help. She discusses the power of words, and how having the right attitude can change the way a life unfolds.
The second section is titled The Spiritual Laws. Ms. Walker devotes a chapter to the following laws: The Law of Oneness, The Law of Vibration, The Law Of Attraction, The Law of Polarity, the Law Of Action, The Law of Rhythm, The Law of Cause and Effect, The Law of Asking and Receiving, The Law Of Increase,The Law of Compensation, The Law of Transmutation, The Law Of Relativity, The Law of Reciprocation and The Law of Forgiveness. Each law is interpreted through the filter of Christian concepts and Bible verses are used throughout to illustrate the principals. Each chapter ends with various affirmations the reader can use when practising the law.
The last section is titled Putting Spiritual Laws Into Practice. It covers topics such as prayer, meditation, thanksgiving, praise, affirmations, visualization, dreams, miracles, light of the world, and angels. The same format is used; each topic is explained with either a short parable or Bible verses or both. I found the indexing of angels into various groups very interesting. The book ends with recommended reading and a glossary of terms.
The audience for this book would be either a reader who is interested in the Christian faith, or one who is searching for answers to make sense of their life. Readers in those categories will find this book informative and helpful.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
Natsuo Kirino does not write about pleasant people or situations. A few months ago, I read her book, Out, that takes as it's subject matter three factory women who band together to commit a murder. She explores this territory further in her latest book, Grotesque.
Kirino explores the relationship between two sisters, and their classmates at an exclusive girl's school. Yuriko is the most beautiful girl in the school by far, so beautiful that she is considered almost monstrous, as no one can relate to her. Her older sister, intelligent but average looking, chooses to distinguish herself by becoming the most malicious girl in the school. Her main target is Kazue Sato. Kazue is intelligent but hopelessly awkward, and is teased and humiliated by the others. The top ranked girl, Mitsuri, drifts between cliques, but befriends the older sister.
Years later, these women have turned out differently than might have been expected. Mitsuri, after becoming a doctor, gets involved in a religious cult and is imprisoned for crimes she committed out of devotion to the leader. The older sister lives a life of quiet desperation, stuck in a dead end job and with no human contact or warmth. Both Yuriko and Kazue become prostitutes, and both end up murdered by the same man.
This is not an uplifting book. There are no characters that I'd like to know better, and the book is very bleak. I was left wondering if Japanese society is really as depressing for women as the book portrays. In particular, the prostitutes were willing to degrade themselves in any way requested, without even knowing themselves why they did so. I'm not sure I would recommend this book to others.