Saturday, July 26, 2014

Church of Mercy by Pope Francis

I saw this in the new audiobook section of my library online and decided to give it a shot. I'm not Catholic (or Christian for that matter) but there is something about the new Pope that I really like. He seems more open minded to the current state we are in and that's actually a nice change.

This is a Vatican-approved collection of his speeches, homilies, and papers. Since it was audio, I honestly don't remember what each section was called, but some overlapped. Basically, among the biblical verses and teachings, he spoke of universal truths, much like His Holiness The Dalai Lama does. These are things everyone, regardless of religion, can do to make the world a better place.

Helping the poor and downtrodden is a huge service that the Pope pushes (for lack of a better word). Not getting caught up in money or things. I appreciated the sections about trying to get the hypocrisy out of the church so people respect the Catholic church again. Getting rid of gossip among the parishioners. These are all things everyone can work on to improve everyone's lives.

This was a very short audio (about 4 hours) but it was a good listen. Much like the Buddhist books I enjoy, it did make me come away wanting to be a better person, to myself and to others.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I took this on vacation, just planning to read it in the room in the evening. Turns out, it was so good and so engrossing I took it to the beach (*gasp* a library book on the beach!).

Another recommendation from Books on the Nightstand...

This was beautiful, sad, heartbreaking and uplifting. An amazing book that I just couldn't stop reading... until I was forced to.

Marie Laure lives in Paris with her father and she became blind at a very young age. Her father, Daniel LeBlanc, is an amazing dad, who built Marie a small model of their entire neighborhood - exact model - so she could learn her way around and not depend on anyone.

Werner Pfennig lives in Germany as an orphan in an orphanage with his sister. He is a whiz at fixing radios and is a very smart boy. Unfortunately, in the time of Hitler's law, smart young boys are pulled in to the Hitler Youth and into the war.

Our main characters lead us on a horrifying path through World War II and Hitler's Nazi regime. Every character we come in contact with leaves a mark, they are so well-written and fleshed out that you feel like you are standing there with them, having a conversation.

We all know how WWII ends, but the fates of some of the beloved characters and our main characters aren't necessarily happy endings.

A beautiful must-read.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

My second book for beach reading and it was a little bit more than I had anticipated. I thought I just grabbed a no-brainer YA book. Wrong.

Speak is an amazingly good book about a high school freshman, Melinda, who is entering high school as a complete social outcast. She became an outcast over the summer when she called the cops on a party she was at and her friends would not forgive her. The book shows Melinda now but shows us that she has become a completely different person than everyone knew.

I figured out pretty early what happened to Melinda at the party and, despite that, the book keeps a fairly light voice to it even as Melinda falls apart.

It is painful to read about such an outcast (I was not remotely close to popular or covered in friends in high school either) and it irritated me so badly that her parents just lectured instead of TALKING to try and find out what happened.

I ran through this one pretty fast, as it was a good read.  I'm leaving it at the hotel for another person to enjoy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Desert Heat by J.A. Jance

One beach read down and given to the hotel library... or another hotel patron. I don't know where it ended up.

I swear I've read this. Goodreads seems to think I've read this. But I only knew the character Joanna Brady but none of the story. So I think I've read later books with Joanna as sheriff but not the first? I have no idea.

I think I plowed through this in a day at the beach (and an evening on the balcony).

Joanna Brady and her husband, Andy, live in a little desert town where Andy is running for sheriff. Unfortunately for him, someone decides to kill him. Joanna is left with her 9 year old daughter, fighting to clear Andy's name of suicide, drug dealing and being a dirty cop.

This felt like a standard mystery, which actually kept some things a mystery until they were revealed, and although some of the sex scenes were just too much, it was a good book.