Books, books, books

Here’s a short list of my recent and not-so-recent reads and my opinions. Be inspired to read them yourself, or not.

1. The Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Conservative people who think it’s best for moms to stay at home and raise their kids will love this book. Those who don’t necessarily feel that way should read it anyway and see what she has to say.

Carolyn Mahaney talks about seven virtues a godly wife and mom should have, from love to self-control. This was definitely geared more toward married women, but it’s also a good read for single people who want to get married someday and are interested in becoming a biblical woman. It’s an easy and fast read, and I would highly recommend it.

2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Or, for the more visually inclined among us, a movie trailer that sticks pretty close to the novel:

I hesitate to recommend this book because it has a lot of questionable content in it. Nothing too obscene, just a lot of references to some unsavory things, but the author is British, and the British are ahead of the US in moral decline by about 50 years, so what can you do?

That being said, this book is incredible. The writing is beautiful and more in a literary style, yet the plot and characters are compelling like a genre novel. It’s told in flashbacks (managed well) and is about a girl and her friends who attended a special school because there’s something different about them. It has nice doses of love and betrayal, too, and is very intriguing and, ultimately, sad. What I really liked was the way the author said things without really saying them, so you understood major plot points without him being explicit. Like, I understood the two main characters were in love without any kind of sentence that involved hearts speeding up or thoughts of someone being pretty/handsome. That was cool.

3. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

I discovered I liked the Percy Jackson series a while back, so I’ve given this new Rick Riordan series a try. This series is excellent, and I’ve been super impressed by Riordan. The premise of this fantasy series is that Greek mythology is real, and it focuses on demigods who are fighting Gaea, a powerful goddess who’s trying to destroy the world. You know, the usual peril and extremely high stakes in books like this.

Not only are the books engaging and exciting, but he’s an excellent writer. Especially in The Mark of Athena, which is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series, Riordan has seven extremely strong characters, all of which can (and have) been main characters of their own books at some point. He balances the characters and their interactions with each other very well, though, and the reader never feels overwhelmed.

He also does some great research. This is one of the only YA authors I’ve read who really is up to date on young adult speech, technology and trends and doesn’t sound forced or cheesy. He integrates dub step and iPads with ease, not like he was just trying really hard to “relate” to his audience, and I appreciate that.

I’m so impressed with his grasp of his audience, I’m including some dialogue from his other Heroes of Olympus book, because I studied this kind of thing in school and appreciate it:

“Hey!” said the guy in the video. “Greetings from your friends at Camp Half-Blood, et cetera. This is Leo. I’m the…” He looked off screen and yelled: “What’s my title? Am I like admiral, or captain, or-“

A girl’s voice yelled back, “Repair boy.”

“Very funny, Piper,” Leo grumbled. He turned back to the parchment screen. “So yeah, I’m…ah..supreme commander of the Argo II. Yeah, I like that! Anyway, we’re gonna be sailing towards you in about, I dunno, an hour in this big mother warship. We’d appreciate it if you’d not, like, blow us out of the sky or anything. So okay! If you could tell the Romans that. See you soon. Yours in demigodishness, and all that. Peace out!” -The Son of Neptune

4. Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

This is a great book, especially for people in my stage of life. It talks about how Christians often misunderstand the will of God. We wait forever and ever for confirmation to move or marry or whatever, when sometimes God just wants us to do something.

It was very interesting, and I think he’s right. I’ve personally known people who have literally seen signs in the clouds that made them think they should date a certain guy. That’s kind of ridiculous, but I do the same thing without realizing it.

Inspirational. Motivational. Scriptural. Interesting. Read it.