Thursday, November 13, 2014

Grisham's Latest
Gray Mountain, John Grisham
I've read a fair amount of Grisham.
I own a fair amount.
I get Grisham moods.

Sadly, I wouldn't number his latest offering among my favourites.

Gray Mountain sees a long-deferred return to a female protagonist! (The only other he's had, I'm aware of, was back in The Pelican Brief!  ...some people are saying this is his first, but I'm pretty sure those people are wrong).  Anyway, a female heroine!  A clever lure, old friend.  Sadly, the epicentre of the novel's weakness;
  • I didn't relate to Samantha.  I wasn't convinced I was reading a female voice.  I was told Samantha was brilliant.  I did not detect her brilliance in the narrative.  Quite the opposite.  She seemed a little stup'.
  • I'm told Samantha has chemistry with multiple other characters.  I had felt none by any other device.  (Related note: There is a small amount of sex.  It is pretty "meh.")
  • These things aside -- you know, ignoring the Main Character Blow-out -- I still wanted to read.  It felt like Erin Brokovich meets The Pelican Brief.  The best content, is all the research and supporting examples for his anti-strip-mining propaganda...
  • ...But because it is an Issue Novel, it isn't so thrilling.  Although there are a few moments that I went, "Nicely done, John.  Nicely done," it lacked suspense.
  • But I like some of the moral points.  But there's a fair amount of repetition and shouting of messages here.
  • There was a shortage of courtroom speeches.  I like a drummed up, emotional courtroom speech.  It's craving those that brings on the mood!  But I respect that this was a different aspect of the ol' lawyering.
  • Overall?  It was okay.  If you too, are taken by Grisham moods, now and then, you'll find a good legal tale here.  You will not find a ripping thriller, so much.  Or a love story to talk about.  But it's Grisham.  ...?    /feeble-thumbs up
Review copy supplied by Hachette.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Visit to the Central Fire Station

We joined a gaggle of other home school families for a visit to the city's central, historic (and active) fire station, yesterday.  A round of "I-Spy SK Humes," anyone?  There's at least one of my kin in every shot...
  • Yes, I was chosen to don the uniform. 
  • Bombing my moment was apparently exhausting for a certain mini me.  I hadn't even turned the key before she struck the final pose in this series.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Sex Book

And They Were Not Ashamed, Laura M Brotherson
Yup, I read this.  And I'm sayin' so.
I don't think talking about sex just anywhere and in any way is prudent. But I think talking about sex is important, and it doesn't happen enough -- not in the way I wish it would.
Written from the perspective of a female member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found this book offered depth without the cringe-content, and I've considered so much while reading it and since that I'd never considered before.
I think it's a valuable book for a woman like me.  Or a woman like a younger version of me.  Or the husbands of those ladies.

I will be referring to it for reminders as I raise our girls of how I would like to talk about sex in our family.

Highly recommended to others for whom this angle appeals and who feel like they are always willing to gain insight that may assist in (continually) improving their marriage.

Monday, November 10, 2014


The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis

I will make no friends in what I have to say today.

But here it is:
  • The idea here is cute.  But I wish I'd read these as a periodical (as they first appeared), instead of back-to-back in less than 2 hours.  Read in a single stretch, the novelty wears thin.  Approaching these gathered in a single volume, I hoped for a deeper connection to an overarching narrative or for a genuine interest in a character.  I found neither.  
  • Althoooough, these lacks lend the anthology an almost post-modern feel, and I agree the letters could be studied out of order quite nicely.  In fact, I'd prefer them this way...because as they stand, (or as I read), it felt like a fervent zealot's bullet points, written in reverse.  Because you see, written from the perspective of a Temptor, all the content must be mentally flipped to be read true, by a Christian.  And the impatient version of myself I took to this reading grew weary of the flipping.  I longed to be opposite Lewis in a room and say, "Okay, you can step out of character now and just tell me what you really think, as you."  Because I love Lewis.  And I would listen to him muse all day.
  • So did I enjoy Narnia then?  Because isn't that allegory? Or another "real message" couched in fiction?  Characters and tale voicing testimony?  Well, yes.  It is all those.  But I loved Narnia.  I guess Screwtape (or rather the limitations of the periodical form) failed to ignite my imagination, but rather called upon my analytical sensibilities whilst simultaneously assaulting my creative ones (and my poor ability to cross between when overtired).  Short version: Lovers of it? You must be smarter and/or more awake than me. /wink
  • I don't mind satire.  I don't seek it out like nectar, but I'm not opposed to it.  The edition I read including corresponding satirical and playful illustrations.  I wasn't a fan.  I wish I'd read one without them first.
  • I felt a little like a believer was donning an unbeliever's hat to issue a licence to complain about the ways of believers, in portions.  The sweeping stereotypes "Screwtape" made about certain groups bugged me a little.  I have often consented Lewis is an expert on people.  He is insightful.  I give him that.  That's not what I got here.
  • As for the actual content suggested (Temptors assigned to mortals) -- I'm not sure how it all works.  But I've never been opposed to this parody being our that perhaps contributed to the unsettling sensation I encountered at seeing chubby cartoons representing Spirits I wouldn't deny exist.  Still wouldn't.
What do you think?  Did I just tackle this at the wrong time?  Or in the wrong way?  I may not have comments enabled any more, but I welcome your emails. x

Saturday, November 8, 2014


You've probably already seen this.  I only saw it for the first time this week.  Thanks, Sarah.
I cry with laughter whenever I watch it.  The music's timing is SO good! 
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