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Good Reads, Part II

>> Friday, September 30, 2011

My second installment of books I enjoyed.  I read a good bit, so it takes alot to make it on my "favorites" list.

I read this book when I was part of a book club a couple of years ago.  Probably not normally something I'd pick, but I was so glad I read it.  It is the true story of one woman's life within, and escape from, the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints), along with her children.  The FLDS has been in the news alot the past 3-4 years.  I was fascinated and appalled by the details of the life within the FLDS she provides.  I can't even imagine living that kind of life.

Another book that I'm not sure I would have picked up on my own.  A friend brought this one to me.  It is a memoir describing the author's dysfunctional upbringing.  With an alcoholic father and mentally ill  mother, the author and her two siblings had an unbelievably difficult childhood.  They experienced tremendous hardship and were neglected in an extreme way by their parents.  I couldn't even fathom some of the stories she tells, yet the tone of the book is forgiving and never "pity me".  Great read.

This book is really different.  In a nutshell, the author wrote a book called "Blue Like Jazz", which was a huge bestseller and led 2 movie producers to approach him about turning his life into a movie.  He quickly realized that his life was not a movie, not even much of a story.  So he sets out to improve his "story" by dealing with issues he'd never dealt with (an absentee father), tackle new challenges, and become the kind of person he wants to be.  The style is very conversational, and he muses alot about God.  There were several points/quotes/thoughts in the book that really resonated with me:  "What I'm saying is I think life is staggering and we're just used to it.  We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we're given - it's just another sunset, another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral....If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story.  The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you."  "There is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing.  And I smiled.  I'm not saying I was happy, but for some reason I smiled.  It hurts now, but I'll love this memory, I thought to myself.  And I do."

Another true story.  This book follows Louie Zamperini, an Olympian runner, from childhood to his 90s.  The largest part of the book details his experiences as a POW during WWII.  I was hooked from the beginning; as a mom of 2 ornery boys I found the stories of Louie as a boy irresistable.  I loved his mother -- a quiet woman of faith.  It would be impossible not to be inspired by Louie's character and his triumph over such incredible circumstances.  The book is very real, in that it also talks about Louie's struggle with alcoholism after the war and his conversion to Christianity which ended the alcoholism.  The book is very well-written (this is the author of Seabiscuit) and one of the best I've read in the past couple of years.

I really like this book for mothering inspiration/encouragement!

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