Several of you have sent emails asking what the "heaven" book I mentioned in the last posting is. So, I thought it might be time to go ahead and do another book update. With all that's been happening, my reading has slowed substantially, but it still hasn't come to a halt. Two of the books on this list I haven't actually finished reading, but here we go:
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter: This was my selection for our book club. It is a kid's book, really, but it is wonderful. I actually retold the entire book to Mom on our last trip to the beach... It's the story of a little Irish orphan boy, filled with valor, a hard work ethic, and love for his "Swamp Angel." The book opens as he is running away from his first job out of the orphanage. He was abused because the plantation owner who hired him didn't know that he was missing an arm. The rest of the story is about how he overcomes his disability, finds "family," falls in love with an unobtainable beauty, and earns the respect of all he meets. It is very touching and has a surprise ending. Porter was also an avid nature lover and this colors the entire novel.
Middlemarch by George Eliot: This is one of the books that I haven't actually finished. I bought an antique copy, and it actually came with two of Eliot's books in one. For this reason, it is HUGE, and I had people at the doctor's office ask me if it was an antique Bible I was reading :) Perhaps it's the daunting size, or maybe the problem is that I watched my BBC movie and ruined all the surprises, but I have had a hard time getting into it. I have never started a book and not finished it, so I will get around to it eventually, but right now I've been too pre-occupied to read a book that isn't going to drag me along with it.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster: Florence in springtime, English countryside, charming little community...this book has a great back-drop. The story, however, is a little on the strange side. This books shows the difference between loving someone from your mind and loving someone from your heart. Unfortunately, my heart never did fall in love with the "hero" of this novel...He was just a little flighty. I would recommend the movie over the book in this case, which is something I rarely would say.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: I LOVE THIS BOOK! My love for reading started as a young girl reading my Mom's old Nancy Drew books. Perhaps that's why there has always been a special place in my heart for the mystery...the twist. This book has all the elements I love: rags to riches love story, English estates, old-world setting, and SUSPENSE. The creepy house matron, Ms. Danvers, is sure to make an ever-lasting impression on your psyche, and there are twists that will make you gasp out loud. I should probably clarify that this is just a Gothic novel and not Stephen King or anything like that. If you've read Jane Eyre, you will see some definite parallels. Rebecca was my favorite book in high school, and re-reading it as a wife was even better.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: First of all, can you tell me how I am supposed to pronounce that author's last name :) There was a very nice black man at Books-a-Million who looked up this book title for me so that I could locate the book by the author's last name. I asked him to repeat it three times, turning more red with each re-pronunciation, until he finally laughed and said, "That girl was one letter off from being really wrong."
I decided to forgo our book club selection of the month because I read the first page and it sounded depressing. I decided there was enough in my life bringing sadness, and I just wanted an easy-to-read page turner to take me into some other fascinating world. I remembered this unusual title being mentioned by one of our book club members, so I decided to give it a go. It was a page-turner, the story line was very clever and must have taken a LOT of planning for the author. I have just still yet to find a book written in the last 15 years, about present-day society, that I would place on a level playing field with the old stuff. This, like most other new stuff I've read, seems to need to use crude language, or sex, or some convention like time traveling, to keep the reader's attention. Something about that just seems plastic to me.
Saying all that, I couldn't put this book down. It may have seemed a little plastic and a little raunchy at times, but the plot was intriguing. Unfortunately, I ran from a book that I thought had a depressing tone, straight into this book where a mother dies of cancer and other death that I hate to give away.
Heaven by Randy Alcorn: I haven't finished this one yet either, but it is fascinating. There is so much that I never knew! Alcorn does a good job of showing different opinions, and then stating his own. Everything (at least so far) has been based on Scripture. Did you know that the heaven that exists now is not the same heaven that we will live in for eternity? Did you know that the verse everyone quotes about there being no more tears or sorrow in heaven is referring to the New Jerusalem, not the intermediate heaven that exists now? Alcorn believes that the Saints (those in heaven now) can see those of us on earth, and they even pray for us. I won't give any more away, but I would highly recommend this book.