Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I've been reading.

I have been doing a good bit of reading lately.  Over the last few years I have had some responsibilities that kept me from doing much pleasure reading and consequently it is very enjoyable now to have the time to read for enjoyment.  I will comment on the following books so you can get an idea what I have been reading and maybe you will see something that would be interest top you. 

If you click on the books below it will take you to the page that gives more details about them.

The Hunger GamesCatching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)

Hilary contacted me this last year and ask if I had heard of these books: The Hunger Games and the two sequels which are written to the YA (Young Adult) audience (I must point out here that what the YA books seem to do is have young characters in their teens who are dealing with or at least thinking and reacting beyond their years in some aspects--similar to the Harry Potter books).  She said that they were a big deal at BYU and she had heard what great reads they were.  I was getting the first one for her younger sister and was glad to hear that they were enjoyable.  I had heard from Mallory in our ward that these books were great and her mother had read them as well and agreed they were very enjoyable.  I had seen them around and read some reviews on them.

They are about a dystopian (the opposite of Utopian) society where the central government has a yearly contest to the death where each province provides 2 youths each to be involved in a 'to the death' fight with only one victor surviving.  The reason for the yearly contest (mandatory viewing on T.V. for all the citizens by the way) is to remind them of their subservience to the government.  Needless to say one young woman, Katniss, ends up in the games who has a conscience and begins to see that things in the government aren't as they appeared to her when she was just a simple peasant. Combine that with a mild romance (a la the Twilight Saga in that it is chaste) it appeals to many people.   The writing though is what really makes this great. 

Before I read the book I was concerned about the idea of a game where people had to kill each other with only one victor.  That story line is handled as well as I can imagine and from Katniss' view (the main character) she has some unique views of what is going around her as well as unique (for her society) ways of responding.  Suzanne Collins is able to write about various things that come up in the story in a way that avoids the disturbing traps that other writers fall into that turn away those who want a great story and not a bunch of sex and/or perversion. She does an excellent job of developing the characters such that you can see parts of yourself in them as well as parts of what you wish you were in them.  I've enjoyed the first two books and look forward to the last one in the trilogy. 

Space Boy

Orson Scott Card must be my favorite author.  That being said this book, Space Boy, is not one of his better books in my opinion.  This is more of a novelette.  It seems it might be written to teach a particular thing--something like a fairy tale.  The lesson from it might be that we should do the thing in our life that we were born to do, and that children can save adults even though they are young.  I didn't enjoy it particularly and don't really recommend it.  Instead I suggest you read some of his other books.

The Great and Terrible, Volume 6: Clear As the Moon

Clear as the Moon is the final book in a the 6 book "Great and Terrible" series.  It is a Christian book in that the many of the main characters are believers in Christ and sometimes that becomes a main point.  It is not exactly an end of the world series but might be described as a Satanic attempt to control the world series that is averted by good people including Christians.

Chris Stewart writes books of military fighting and wars for a general audience and has had a lot of success in that realm.  This series is his first to be put out by Shadow Mountain a part of Deseret Book and is a very enjoyably inspiring and realistic view of a possible future. 

This series starts prior to the creation of the world in a place called "the pre-existance" and carries the battle's between Satan and his followers versus Christ and his followers of that time into our present day and a couple years into the future.  It has scenes of military operations but centers more on one particular family and how their efforts to do what is right help to save the United Stated from the evil that threatens to take it over.  It is an excellent end to that series and was worth the wait I had so I could spend the time and effort to read it.  If you read it be prepared to feel excitement, come to tears and a variety of emotions in between. 

The Second Ship (The Rho Agenda : Book One)
The Second Ship is what I call an "Area 51" novel of alien ships found on the earth. That is to say it is a novel about an alien ship that has come to the earth and of course it is in New Mexico (for some reason that is the preferred landing place of aliens small and large).  It seems to be a YA book for the first half as we follow teenagers who accidentally find an alien ship and explore it only to find that the technology is enhancing their natural abilities.  The writing is not that great, nor is anything about it but it was adequate...until in the middle it brought in some adults who take it out of the realm of YA into the realm of creepy horror gross perverted stuff that I didn't want to read so I stopped reading it and deleted it from my Kindle. 

Harvest: Memoir of a Mormon Missionary 
Harvest: Memoir of a Mormon Missionary is an interesting and odd book.  It does not fit the expected genre.  I picked it up to read about a missionaries experiences in Russia.  It fulfilled that well but included an unexpected confessional of the missionary who struggled with various personal weaknesses.  In polite company we would just simply call these 'struggles' but in reality this missionary laid bare some disturbing thoughts and behaviors.  The response of the mission president is sometimes curious while the parents respond as one would expect.  After going through his struggles in extreme detail it rushes to the end showing the victory of the young man over his weaknesses.

This is not an inspirational book, at least not in the traditional sense.  I was expecting it to be more traditional in that regard.  It is however a good book that deals with the nitty gritty of a mission and the temptations that a young man may deal with while serving if he isn't careful about obeying the rules.

I don't think this book would be a good one for young men planning on a mission to read.  However it might be good for parents and probably most definitely for Mission Presidents to read to see what some of their missionaries may be dealing with. 

Don't read this if you are looking for inspiration, but do read it if you want to read the nitty gritty of a mission that you might not read any where else.

So that is the good and the bad and the ugly of what I have been reading lately.  Enjoy.  If you have any books that you think I should consider reading let me know.

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