Thursday, October 5, 2017

What I Read- September 2017

I managed to emerge from my biology textbooks long enough to read some stuff for fun in September. I'm adding something new this month...a 1-5 star rating for each book. Hope you enjoy! :)

Pollyanna (Eleanor H. Porter)

5 stars

Technically, I didn't read this, mommy read it to us. It was a very fun book. Of course, we had to follow the book by watching the Disney movie. The book was just as good as the movie. Maybe better.
Anyway, for those of you have not heard of Pollyanna before, she a spunky girl (I think 9 years of age) who has lost both her parents. She is now going to live with her dignified Aunt Polly. If that doesn't sound like trouble to you, then you have never met a spunky nine year old! I loved every one of Pollyanna's adventures...from being banned from talking about her father, to making her Aunt play the Glad game, to getting Jimmy Bean a home, to talking to grouchy old Mr. Pendleton. The sad part comes at the end when she gets hurt (paralyzed, actually) and she can't find anything to be glad about. And let me just say brothers liked Pollyanna, and they usually can't stand books with female protagonists!

  Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
5 stars
 This is a family favorite. I read this aloud to Jellybean (who, by the way, is amazing and is having 6 different chapter books read to her at the same time and is keeping track of them all!), and it was very fun.
This is the adorable story of a runt pig named Wilbur. A little girl named Fern saves him from certain death on a morning when she feels like 'ridding the world of injustice'. She then bottle feeds him until he is old enough to be sold. Her uncle Homer takes him, where Wilbur has a pleasant home in a manure pile in Homer Zuckerman's barn. He even makes a new friend...a tiny gray spider named Charlotte who lives in the doorway. But one day, Wilbur finds out the truth...Zuckerman is feeding him to fatten him up so he can have a Christmas pig. Wilbur is shocked and devastated at the news. He bursts into tears and makes quite a scene, but Charlotte tells him to go to sleep and that she has a plan to save him. Charlotte's plan consists of weaving words into her web like "Some Pig" and "Radiant". Zuckerman (and the entire town) is convinced that a miracle has occurred and that Wilbur is special. He is saved from certain death, given a buttermilk bath, and taken to the fair, where he wins a grand prize as "Zuckerman's famous pig". But the trouble isn't over. Charlotte, who made the journey to the fair with Wilbur, has created an egg sac and is now dying. She will be unable to go home to the barn. So Wilbur takes her egg sac with him and tenderly cares for it all winter. One spring day, Charlotte's children emerge, providing many friends for Wilbur.

The Munich Signature (Bodie Thoene) 

3 stars
 This was an interesting book, but not as good as others that I've read by this author. I'm not sure I'm going to read the rest of the series.
Unless you read the book before this, it would be difficult to understand.
This is set right at the outbreak of WW2. Elisa Murphy and her friend Leah are trying to get two little Jewish boys out of Europe. Meanwhile, reporter John Murphy is covering a desperate ship overloaded with Jewish refugees trying to find a country that will accept them. Elisa also gets tangled in a web of spying and message passing that nearly gets her killed. The book ends on both a happy and sad note, as Elisa, Leah, John and the Jewish boys make it safely to the U.S., but the ship of refugees sinks, leaving only one survivor.
I'm not sure I'd recommend this to someone. It took some doing to finish because I was bored. The only reason I actually finished it was because I had to find out what happened to the refugees.

The Giver (Lois Lowry)

5 stars
This book came recommended from a friend. I already knew the basic plot of the book because she had described it to me already. I'm not normally a huge SciFi person...I have liked a few books in this genre, but it's not what I prefer to read. All that said, I enjoyed this book until the end.
Jonas lives in what seems (at first) like a perfectly normal world. But you don't have to get very far in the book to realize it is far from normal. I can't even describe this alternate world. Birthdays and the privileges that come with it are the same for everyone. You are an adult at 12 and training for your career (which has been selected by the elders) begins. There are certain words and things that are not allowed. Dreams must be shared with the rest of the family every morning. There are mandatory "feeling sharings" each evening. Everyone rides a bike. There is no death, rather a celebration called "release". Your spouse is carefully chosen for you by the elders. There is no conflict, no war, no death, no sickness...This is the world that Jonas is born into. He has one younger sister. When Jonas is 12, he is chosen to be the Receiver. This means he meets with the former Receiver (now called the Giver) and is given memories of all the things not in the world he lives, anger, love, war, and color. That's right, the world Jonas has been living in is grayscale. Jonas must keep these memories to himself. One day, he and the Giver decide that they have to share the memories with the people...somehow. The book ends with Jonas and the Giver setting some kind of plan into motion to bring feelings and memories back into the community.
Yes folks, that is how the book ends. And then I realized that it is the beginning of a four-book series.... <sigh>

Ida Scudder (Janet and Geoff Benge)

Ida Scudder

five stars
 This was another one that we read as a read-aloud all together. I think I've mentioned this series or it's companion, the "Heroes of History" series, before...I've loved every book I've read.
Ida was born in India to missionary parents from a whole line of missionaries in India. She hated her childhood in India and vowed never to go back as a missionary herself. She went off to college in the U.S., and at some point, the Lord directed her steps into medicine (something else she said she'd never do) and missions in India. She spent the rest of her life there, setting up a hospital for women, then a school for female nurses, then a school for female doctors, and finally a school for males and females together, and a huge hospital to go with it. Ida was loved by the Indian people.

For Love and Honor (Jody Hedlund)

five stars
 If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I love an occasional romance book. This one is set in Medieval times, as are most of the other romances I read.
Lady Sabine has been hiding a skin blemish since her birth. You will never see her without her gloves. She has a pet parrot and she a insatiable love for art and antiques. This is what draws her to meet Sir Bennett at his castle. He is a collector of rare art and antiques. But Sabine's Grandmother and Bennett's mother have different plans. Sabine's Grandmother is trying to find a husband for Sabine, and Bennett needs a rich wife to help get his family out of trouble. But Sabine, who never wants to marry, doesn't have a clue that this is the real reason they are here. Gradually the two fall in love...until the secret comes out. Now Sabine doesn't want to marry a man who wants her only for her money, and Bennett is trying to convince her that he truly loves her. They are almost reconciled as friends again when Sabine's secret comes out. Bennett at first is repulsed by her blemish, then sorry for his reaction. Sabine, meanwhile is nearly ready to go on trial for being a witch. Through a variety of circumstances, Bennett eventually rescues Sabine, convinces people that she is not a witch, and in the end the two marry...for love.
One recommendation....don't follow my mistake and read the 3rd book in the series first...Read an Uncertain Choice and A Daring Sacrifice, THEN read For Love and Honor. :)

Have you read anything good recently? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Charlotte's Web is amazing! Would you recommend the rest of the Bodie Thoene books for a WWII fanatic?

    1. Possibly. I noticed that they don't really explore the war as much as how the personal lives of the characters were affected by the war, if that makes sense.
      Personally, I enjoyed the other series, "The Zion Chronicles" much better. These are set right after the war, when Israel is trying to become an independent nation. But again, you have the same problem that the books don't dwell on the history as much as on the fictional characters...and how the history "affected" their lives...if that makes sense at all I hope it helps!!!

    2. Thanks! I'll have to try those! That's my favorite kind of book--fiction with history in the background. Well...besides the Bible, of course.