Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom

This book should be a must-read for students in high school or college.  Even if one doesn't hold to Christianity, the stark humanity expressed in the story speaks volumes.  But I'm getting ahead of myself....

If you're unfamiliar with the book, Corrie Ten Boom was a concentration camp survivor of WWII.  She and her family lived in Holland and hid Jews from the SS until they were discovered.  I had read it once before in high school, I believe, as it was a favorite book of my father.  I was excited to read it again for my book club. 

There were SO MANY 'ah-hah' moments in this story, so many times where the message of love being conveyed was tremendously moving.  If I had my own copy I would've marked it up for future reference.  But I didn't.  Also, when you're reading against a deadline and you have four small children sometimes you just have to read without the luxury of basking in received enlightenment. But I will share two moments that stood out for me in particular:

Corrie's sister Betsie said once that no matter how deep our misery is, His love is deeper.

When Corrie was on a speaking engagement after her release and she came face-to-face with one of her former guards.  He thanked her for her message of forgiveness, that even he, too, could be forgiven through the Savior's sacrifice.  Corrie froze.  She didn't know if she could practice the forgiveness she'd been preaching when it came to this man.  She prayed in her heart for forgiveness for him, and when she still felt none she asked the Savior to give her His forgiveness.  Then the thought came to her, that Jesus had already died for the guard's sins, was she going to ask for more?  She shook the guard's hand and electricity surged between the two.  And she forgave him.

So powerful, the impact this woman and her family had on so many.  It was speculated that her family helped save 800 Jews from the camps.  Such a blessed woman, such an incredible tale.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton

I got my hands on another Kate Morton book.  I loved The Forgotten Garden so much, I've been meaning to read more of her books!  (I've already started on the third one, I couldn't resist.)  All I can say is I loved it.  I took more than one 2-hour bath reading it, because it was one of those books where you can't just read a few pages and go on to your next task.

Where TFG took place in three different time periods, House is told in two.  The theme of disconnected motherhood was present in both books, which makes me wonder what Morton's relationship with her own mother is like.  I think House is a combination of Downton Abbey (TV series) and The Great Gatsby.  I remember while reading often asking myself if the writers of Downton Abbey had read House, because there were many similarities in events and even some names, but I guess if you're writing a well-researched era piece there are bound to be similarities like that.  I am always impressed with Morton's list of resources she used to write her books.  It tells the reader how dedicated she is to telling the story right in doing so much reading and research. 

People have been asking me if Morton's 3 novels are a series and they are indeed not.  Just for clarification. 

So, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a big Morton fan and I think everyone should read her books!

Friday, February 3, 2012


When I started my Newbery goal I guessed I could have it done in one year.  That means I'd have to read almost two books every week.  Don't forget I'll be involved in book club and also some personal reads.  Oh, and don't forget to throw my 4 kids and husband into the equation.  So, I was pretty much insane when I said one year.  If I carve out one book each month, it'll take me 7 1/2 years to complete the whole list.  This is definitely a long-term goal.  (Read:  I'll be approximately 38 by the time I finish it.  Wowzers....)

Reading Updates

Newbery Update:   I've been working on "Tales from Silver Lands" by Charles Finger for the past few weeks.  It's a charming little book, but it struggles keeping my attention span because it is a collection of short stories from South America, cultural legends likened to Aesop's fables.  I don't mind the topic, rather the style that I'm bored of.  I finally decided if it's taken me a month to only get halfway through the book, plus I have zero desire to read the rest of the stories, then it's time to give up and move on.  If it was a beginning-middle-end type of story with a plot, I'm sure I'd be more determined to figure out what happened to the characters.  But, frankly, while the stories are imaginative and charming, I have no interest in reading any more of them.

The next Newbery book will be "Shen of the Sea" by Arthur Bowie Chrisman. 
Edit:  Oh crumbs, I just googled "Shen of the Sea" to get an idea of what it's about and it's a collection of short stories from China.  It said they're humorous, so maybe that'll be better for my waning attention span?  Good grief.

Book Club:  The book we will discuss in our February meeting will be "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom.  I have read this before, but it was sometime in high school, so I am eager to read it again.  I enjoy reading WWII/holocaust stories.  So, while I'm ditching my last Newbery book, I'll dive into this one (when I get my hands on the copy I'll borrow from a friend).

Personal Reading:  I made an Amazon order last month and needed to spend a few more dollars to get my free shipping, so I bought "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton.  I loved her "The Forgotten Garden" so I'm excited for this one!  I'll tackle it after "The Hiding Place."