Monday, March 25, 2013

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

A young Quaker woman, Honor Bright, sails to America from England with her sister, Grace in 1850.  Grace plans to marry in Ohio and Honor is fleeing after her intended leaves her for another woman.  After a difficult voyage and Graces death in America, Honor has to depend on strangers in this foreign land.  It is interesting to hear of her impressions of this new life, and after marrying a farmer, her views of farm life, the work, and the animals.  Writing touching letters home of her life and difficulties adds to the story. Honor's abilities with quilting aid her in this new land.

Slaves are escaping and coming through this area to travel to freedom.  Honor helps them even though the family she is living with disapproves and later forbids it completely with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law.  She is sympathetic to the slaves and does not understand how the Quaker people can turn them away. She clashes with, but also has an interest in a slave catcher, and is a friend of his sister.  The author builds interesting characters and relates the personality and feelings of Honor well.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed has been writing anonymously for the Dear Sugar columns on the Rumpus website before her New York Times best seller memoir Wild was published.  The book is a compilation of her advice columns in which she responds to the questions that plagued her readers.  Although her language is "strong" at times, she does offer sound advice reflecting her own struggles and tragedies.  The loss of her mother was a turning point in her life...  She comes off as your best friend talking with you.  She urges her readers to let go of toxic people in their lives, accept yourselves and work hard, but most of all, if you have a dream, don't wait, go for it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enough by Will Davis Jr.

More is better, at least that is what our culture tells us. The cover of this book says "Finding more by living with less". This was a concept I wanted to know more about. The Author Will Davis Jr. is a pastor in Texas who stopped to ask the question When is enough, enough? He states "that the Bible teaches that it's foolish to try and satisfy the needs of a priceless, eternal human soul by throwing stuff at it". Don't panic he doesn't ask us to take a vow of poverty, but he does present a very powerful case that those of us in America have more than enough. By giving away to the point of having enough we will be richer (not necessarily wealthier) for living a life of giving. I liked the many Biblical references and study questions at the end of each chapter. Although I found it hard to put this book down, it also was very thought provoking and I stopped often to think through what I had read. I found this book so good I hope to own my own copy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

In this story the author gives us a trip through Holocaust history. It is also a story of family  and love from past to present. There are themes of hardship, secrets, and second chances. The family bakery and some nice recipes are intertwined into the story as well.You find yourself anxious to keep  reading as you travel with Hope to uncover the truth of the past before it is too late. We are also given insight to Alzheimer's through Rose, the beloved grandmother. This story was very sad in parts, but ultimately ended well.