Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beach Reads and Then Some

We'll start with the "then some." A good friend loaned me Friends for the Journey a few months ago which I fully intended to savor on vacation, the way anything by Madeleine L'Engle should be enjoyed. But my willpower was lacking and I devoured it in two days the week before we left. In this "spa for the soul," Madeleine and her long time friend, poet and publisher Luci Shaw share journal entries, reflections and poetry in this celebration of friendship. It's one of those books that invites you to just soak in the grace and goodness of the gift of friendship.

I headed to the beach with only five books in tow, in addition to my Bible. Big mistake - what was I thinking! I finished the first book, Plain Truth, in two days. As usual, Jodi Picoult tells a compelling story, this time centered in an Amish community dealing with the murder of a newborn infant by its young unwed Amish mother. Defending the naive but strong-willed Katie Lapp was the last thing high-powered attorney Ellie Hathaway wanted to do when she escaped to Lancaster County for some rest and refreshment. Readers are quickly drawn into the budding relationship that ensues between the attorney and her client, as Ellie struggles to understand the Amish way of life as it relates to sin and crime, truth and confession. Intriguing characters and a subtle surprise ending made for a fast-paced easy read.

On my pastor's recommendation, I checked out The Organic God, by Margaret Feinberg, from the library but quickly realized it was one of those books I wanted to mosey through. So I purchased it from Amazon and toted it along. In each chapter, Feinberg explores a different attribute of God - amazingly wise, outrageously generous, abundantly kind, etc. Her insights are interspersed with stories of her life in Alaska and reflective scriptural insights. The end of the book contains some "Rainy Day Reflections" - questions and scriptures to ponder in depth. I'm pretty proud of myself for still lingering in Chapter 2!

In This Beautiful Mess, another pastoral recommendation, Pastor Rick McKinley reminds readers that the kingdom of heaven which Jesus came to establish is right here and now - already but not yet. Great book but not exactly beach reading! I mean, it's hard not to feel uncomfortable about the waste and over-the-top luxury one sees at a major tourist site when you're reading about people passing out sandwiches to the homeless of their city. This was an easy but thought-provoking read that left me with more questions than answers.

Monday night I realized I was about out of reading material (the other books were a writing book and another thought-provoking one I just wasn't ready to dive into yet) and so we hit Books-A-Million where I found Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hate to pay full price for a book but there wasn't much on the clearance rack that interested me. Then I picked up Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life for just $5.97 - what a deal! I think this one warrants a post of its own, but suffice to say this was one of the best books I've read in a while.

It sounds like I did little else on vacation besides read, but since I get up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., I was able to get a few hours in before we hit the beach . . . where of course, I read some more! Besides, that's all you really wanted to know about my vacation, right?!


Viv said...

I may need to know what else you did, but I'm so glad you are back and blogging again. How did it feel to be without a computer? No, don't tell me. Just glad you enjoyed your time, and of course, your books.

Katrina said...

A vacation full of reading sounds perfect to me! Loved hearing your thoughts on these books.

I am curious to see how MacG did on your trip, though. :)

Joan B. said...

I have learned that all ME's books will be devoured instantly - and I think I've been through them all at this point. And Plain Truth was the same way -- read the whole thing sitting in an airport one night. Isn't it a pleasure and a privilege to be able to pick up a book literally anywhere we go?? Couldn't LIVE without good books. Thanks for the recommendations. Glad it was a good vacation! (And we do want to hear about vacationing with McGyver!

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

So glad you had a good trip! I wondered how much reading you'd get done (I always have high expectations, but don't always get a lot read, but then again, we don't do beach vacations!). You did great :)

The first Jodi Picoult book I ever read was Plain Truth and I really enjoyed it. The others I have read by her have been good, but that still remains my favorite, or tied as my favorite :)

Look forward to hearing more about the other books and your trip. Can't wait to hear how the canine traveler fared! Oh, and I do want to hear what you think of Eat,Pray,Love - I've decided to bypass that one for the time b/c I haven't heard great things about it. So far.

Glad you're back, hope you're rested and refueled :)

Bev said...

It feels like you've fallen off the planet, or maybe I did - one way or another we need a two hour cup of coffee. Let me know when.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I have read quite a few on your list--Friends for the Journey, Plain Truth and Eat Pray Love. Enjoyed all of them.

Reading is a wonderful part of vacations.

gail@more than a song said...

Reading on vacation sounds wonderful! Plain Truth is the Picoult book I'm wanting to read but haven't found it at the library yet.