Thursday, June 02, 2011

Books of Late

I've gotten so behind in blogging! Oops! I'll try to catch up in the next few posts. Today's post is my monthly book list which I think I'm about 2 months behing on. Oh well.

I just commented on a friend's post about how I find that I am no longer immediately drawn to "fluffy, chick lit" types of books, but actively search out more "meatier" topics. I find that I am really enjoying being challenged in my beliefs, thoughts and am (gasp!) enjoying historical fiction!
My theory is that when I was a student and working, I wanted something for escape so would choose light reads, usually romantic comedyish books. Now that most of my days consist of laundry, housework (rarely!), playing outside, some subbing and occasional births to attend, I find I am longing for something that stimulates my brain a bit more and makes me think. No longer am I looking for something to just pass the time, but I'm looking for something to learn from.

Not that I never read "fluff" any more, but definitely less frequently. Anyway, on to my latest reads:

As I wrote my last book post, I was getting ready to read

The Midwife of Venice

by Roberta Rich

I absolutely loved this one. I loved the storyline and loved that it was historical in setting. It had a wonderful story, laced with mystery, suspense and drama. Highly recommended.

Sarah's Key

by Tatiana de Rosnay

This one was also great. I'd heard many good things about it and its been sitting on my bookshelf for months waiting to be read. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. It was haunting, heartbreaking and incredibly sad at the same time as being humerous, relateable (is that a word?) and a great story of one woman's quest for truth, both in the past and for her future.

The narration alternates between two females: Sarah, a young girl in Paris during WWII, who happens to be Jewish, captured and sent off to a concentration camp with her family and Julia, an American journalist living in Paris and writing for a magazine based there. Both characters are ones that are easy to relate to and easily fall in love with. Following their journeys brought me to tears in more than a few places and when I was done, I sat for a moment, just thinking and thankful of the life I am priveleged to have.

In case you haven't guessed by my review, I highly recommend this book. A definite must read.

From Sarah's Key, I moved on to something a little lighter.

Sleepwalking in Daylight

by Elizabeth Flock

In all honesty, this book was just mediocre. It was an easy read and tried to deal with some pretty juicy characters- a promiscuous, lost, drug using, adopted teenage daughter and her lonely and adulterous mother- but in truth, it didn't stand up to its potential. Not only did I feel that it just dusted the surface of what it could have delved into with these characters, but I thought the ending left too much open. While I was happy with the choice made at the end, it still left me with some unanswered questions and without a sense of closure.

The Red Tent

by Anita Diamant

I'd heard this book talked about, especially within the circles of birthing professionals, but hadn't really given it much thought. When I finally decided to search it out at our local library, I started reading it immediately and absolutely could not put it down.

At first, it is difficult to follow with many Biblical names being thrown into the mix, but after bookmarking the family tree provided at the beginning to use as reference, it got much easier to keep track of who was who.

Here is a short summary taken from

The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider's look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob's daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah--all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery.

"Remembering women's earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it's been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God's daughters, instead of her sons." --Gail Hudson

There isn't much that I can say about it other than it was amazingly wonderful, and I have plans to re-read Genesis 27-50 and compare the story in the Bible, to this female version of the story.

Absolutely recommended.

I'm currently reading
Island of Lost Girls
by Jennifer McMahon

I've only just started but the beginning definitely drew me in. I think its going to be an interesting story.


Catherine Dabels said...

The Midwife of Venice is on my list to read and the Red Tent is sitting on my bedside table impatiently waiting it's turn. It feels sad and neglected. Sarah's Key was just hard on the heart. It seems as though we may have the same-ish taste in books. I LOVE historical fiction. Have you read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks? If not, you may like that one.

The Tompkins Family said...

Funny, The Red Tent was just recommended to me yesterday so I put it on my list already. Sarah's Key I'm patiently waiting my turn from the library since I saw you reading it while I was visiting!