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...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What I've Been Reading #16

The book igloo: what would yours look like if books you've read in your life were used.  Would it be to small for you to live in?  Would it be embarrassing what you had been reading?  Or would it be a strong structure that helped you become the person you have always wanted to be?
Reading gives us the chance to test ourselves without the reality of experience.  We may want to know how it would feel to live with a controlling government that didn't foster the growth and freedoms of it's people.  We may wish to experience adventures that do not exist in our time or life.  We may want to feel to test the fears of an uncertain tomorrow without living through it or maybe in preparation of it.  We may want to understand how our minds work and what are the traps that our decisions so easily fall into.  Generally we read to understand not just the world around us but to understand ourselves and our part in the world.  We want to challenge ourselves but also want to imagine how we could succeed even in the most difficult times.  Reading not only can strengthen us, increase our knowledge and help us prepare for the future but it can help us imagine ourselves to be better people who may...or may not have the opportunity to prove it in ways similar to the heroes in the books.

Crossed by Ally Condie
Crossed continues the story of Cassie, Ky and Xander in a dystopian future.  Cassie begins to have questions and determines to seek for answers even when the choices to do so are uncomfortable and sometimes even daring (which is not highly valued in her society).  She follows Ky until she is able to meet up with him and trying to escape the control of the government she seeks to understand the reasons why her world is so controlling.  Naturally there is the love story/triangle between the three and she learns that their connections are more than she knows.  Ultimately the story gives some answers and then returns them to a place where answers to greater questions will be revealed in the next book.  This story is enjoyable.  I find it comparable to the Hunger Games without the violence.  So if you enjoy that sort of reading you may well enjoy this book.  If you would like to read another review of the book click here. 

Ranger's Apprentice: Book 5: The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan
Will is now a full fledged ranger.  He is new and young but he has built a great reputation due to his exploits in the previous books.  He is assigned to a district in the kingdom that is not known for problems but of course they begin to pop up.  Will using his daring and good sense begins to unravel what is real and what isn't.  Fortunately he is aided by Alyss who enters the story as a spy disguised as a royal from an adjoining kingdom.  Halt is a distance away and is concerned about his previous apprentice and sends additional help in the form of another friend.  The story unfolds well and we see Will struggle to determine what is happening and what is needed.  He makes errors in whom he can trust and learns from them.  The book ends somewhat abruptly and we are fortunate that the next one is readily available and we need not wait for its publication.  If you would like to read a good review of this book please click here.   

Last Light by Terri Blackstock
Last Light is the first book in a series called Restoration.  It begins when the world changes overnight as all electronics become useless.  Nothing works that requires computers or electricity.  We go back hundreds of years overnight so to speak.  The Bannings live in Alabama and are an affluent family that has been spoiled by success and they live in a neighborhood where everyone has done similarly. The process of maintaining that success has not led to knowing their neighbors well but with the new reality they find themselves needing each other very much.  Old prejudices come forward as well as new alliances.  Those who were prone to cheating become more so, while some determine to cooperate more and a few even increase their faith and reliance on God.  While this book is not strictly an end of the world type scenario (at least not yet) it is a story that illuminates what many of us fear--losing all the technology that allows us to be as selfish and independent as we are.  This is a Christian novel but in this volume the believers seem a little stilted and not fully converted...yet.  But as is typical with God, when we ignore Him there are multiple opportunities to be reminded and to turn ourselves back to him. 
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
This was an excellent nonfiction book that deals with how our brains make appropriate decisions, and the kind of decisions that can trick our brains.  The thing that really makes this book readable and understandable as he deals with discussions of brain chemistry and neurology is the great examples in real life activities.  He delves into a variety of studies that support the idea that our brains have two functional decision making systems that not only make decisions on different types of things but also have their areas of weakness.  The books teaches and then encourages us to use both systems and then to know when one is better suited than the other.  I found this to be very enlightening as well as enjoyable reading.  Give it a try. 

"The books which help you the most are those which make you think the most."
Theodore Parker   Minister

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