"The Seven Basic Plots Why We Tell Stories" by Christopher Booker is, at over 700 pages, overwhelming at times.
Overall, I see it more as a textbook."The Seven Basic Plots Why We Tell Stories" by Christopher Booker is, at over 700 pages, overwhelming at times.
Overall, I see it more as a textbook. It goes into great detail about what he considers the seven basic plots: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth.
The book itself is divided into four parts with thirty-four chapters. There is a lot of information packed into the pages--analysis of stories, a lot of psychology, a lot of history. It's not really a book to sit down with and read cover to cover, but a book that needs a lot of time to really think about what Booker puts down on the pages. Since the book is required for school, time isn't a luxury I had while reading this book.
As a writer, I found the first twenty pages the most helpful (parts one and two). The types of plots Booker identifies are dissected in great detail, using well-known works as examples. I have a lot of highlighting and post-it flags in those two sections. There is a lot of helpful information in what Booker says; information that will be useful in my own writing. This is a book I will keep close at hand.
"Life After Life" is the title of this novel and is a title that addresses not just life after death, but also fresh starts.
The primary character of t"Life After Life" is the title of this novel and is a title that addresses not just life after death, but also fresh starts.
The primary character of the novel is Joanna. She is the owner of a local hot dog stand--left to her by her late father--but her primary job is to sit with the dying at Pine Haven Estates, a retirement community. She keeps two notebooks--one is the official one she turns over to the nurse when Joanna goes off duty--and the second one is a personal notebook, in which she keeps notes about everyone she sits with. It is her way of preventing them from disappearing--a trait she mastered early in life, and is still learning to undo.
Joanna's life after life involves returning to her hometown and facing the reputation she's gained as an Elizabeth Taylor; i.e. a woman of too many marriages. She also must deal with a difficult family situation--her mother died when she was gone, and her father isn't ready to forgive Joanna for that. Returning also involves dealing with Ben, her childhood friend, who is now in a loveless marriage, but has a daughter he adores. His wife, on the other hand, has plans to start a new life with someone of a much higher social status in town, a well-respected doctor who can't afford to have the secrets of his double (and more) life become public.
C.J.(Carolina Jasmine) is half Joanna's age, but the two are still best friends. C.J. also works at the nursing home--one of the many jobs she's had in her young life. C.J. has done whatever she had to do to survive , but she's determined her young son Kurt will have a childhood far better than C.J. had. If need be, she has the means to support a new life tucked away in a safe hiding place.
Pine Haven Estates is populated with unique characters as well--the highly respected lawyer Stanly Stone, who is faking dementia in the hopes his son will a life of his own, former third grade teacher Sadie Randolph, and Rachel Silverman, a new widow who left her Massachusetts home for this retirement community in Fulton, North Carolina, for reasons she keeps to herself--are just a few diverse residents living out the rest of their days with each other, and sometimes family, for company. In one way or another, each of the residents is looking for a new life--not always through death--in place of the one they used to have.
The possibility of a new life is what each of these characters faces at some point in the book, and following their journeys can take paths totally unexpected, which made this novel enjoyable to read.
Bringing home a new baby is a seismic lifestyle shift. Rattled, Surviving Your Baby's First Year Without Losing Your Cool,is a book that is easy to reBringing home a new baby is a seismic lifestyle shift. Rattled, Surviving Your Baby's First Year Without Losing Your Cool,is a book that is easy to read and full of wisdom from author Trish Berg, a mom of four who knows of what she writes.
Rattled is split into five parts that cover pregnancy (when the seismic life-shift really begins)birth, adjusting to the newest member, re-connecting with your spouse and how to do it without losing yourself in the process.
Each part is further split into chapters, which are themselves subdivided into sections, making it easy to find your place if you're (most likely) interrupted. Each chapter starts with a short bible verse. Small sidebars (small bits of information printed off to the side of the text)called "Food for Thought" relay bits of information. Other subtitles are: "Faith on Fire" is a short prayer, "S.O.S--Spiritual Opportunity to Savor" is a short devotional for busy moms, "Shelter from the Storm" brief testimonials from experienced moms, and "First Aid Kit" bullet point list of helpful information. Trish follows the sections with a true-life example from her own life, good and bad. Study questions end the chapters.
Appendix A at the end of the book lists milestones and what to expect during your baby's first year. Appendix B lists helpful websites covering a variety of issues related to this new lifestyle.
Rattled is written by a woman passionate to help other moms raise their kids in a Christian home. Her honesty comes through in this book; she's not afraid to list her mistakes as well as her on target actions.
A mom of four, Trish knows of what she writes and it comes through in this book. For more help with family and meals, check out her first book, "The Great American Supper Swap." ...more
American Sophie Grace is caught up in a nightmare. She’d originally journeyed to Spain in search of her fiancé, Michael. She’d found him, but lost himAmerican Sophie Grace is caught up in a nightmare. She’d originally journeyed to Spain in search of her fiancé, Michael. She’d found him, but lost him later to a sniper’s bullet-another victim of the Spanish Civil War. After his death, she learns another woman is pregnant with his child, forcing her to battle grief and betrayal.
But war doesn’t stop to allow one woman to grapple with her pain, for it is too busy inflicting pain and terror on anyone it chooses. Yesterday it chose the Spanish town of Guernica. First came the bombs that blew apart the buildings. Next were the firebombs, burning those trapped in the buildings. The last waves were the fighter planes that strafed the villagers fleeing the fires. Sophie had seen it all and intended to use her painting skills to put to canvas what she had seen, in order to let the world know the carnage that had occurred. The only bright spot in this violent world is Philip, a fellow American Sophie has fallen in love with.
But even that small bit of happiness is denied her. A skilled photographer as well as a painter, Sophie has photos of the German planes raining devastation from the skies. It is evidence that becomes crucial when Spanish President Aguirre announces on the radio that the Germans deny bombing Guernica, for centuries the “shrine to the Basque spirit of freedom and independence.”
Before she can solidify plans to deliver the photos, the conflict spins her in another direction. Walt Block, an American newspaper reporter, draws her deeper into the intrigue that is the undercurrent of war. He has news that she doesn’t want to hear, but must. Michael is alive and, as Walt continues, is a man of many identities. Walt’s job for the past two years has been to track Michael and his associates, keeping track of his every move. Walt is sure Michael is involved in the theft of a large amount of Spanish gold-reserves the government is using to pay the Russians for help. She promises Walt she will find Michael and do her best to get close to him again, even though her heart now belongs to Philip. The American artist who came to Spain in search of her fiancé has now entered the dangerous world of espionage
Are her feelings for Philip strong enough? When she sees Michael, will her emotions reassert themselves, placing her in greater jeopardy? Following Walt’s advice, she slashes her paintings of the bombing and gives him her photos because he’s promised to deliver them into the right hands. But the “right hands” will be determined by Walt, as much of a chameleon as Michael.
As country descends further into chaos and anarchy, others struggle with this new world they find themselves in. Subplots further add to the suspense as new characters appear and revelations continue about characters from the previous book.
A Shadow of Treason is Tricia Goyer’s second book in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War. (A Valley of Betrayal was the first). As with her previous World War II books, she has brought to life a little known era through her use of meticulous, but not over-bearing, historical detail. She’s also ratcheted up the suspense in this novel, leaving me not sure at all where this is all going to go. But I’m going to find out by reading her next novel, A Whisper of Freedom, coming in February 2008.
In this informative book, the authors--E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien--take the reader through the multiple (but not all) ways Western ChIn this informative book, the authors--E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien--take the reader through the multiple (but not all) ways Western Christians misread words written hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, in cultures far removed from ours. This misreading is done by interpreting Scripture through the wrong lenses, and some of these lenses are: race & ethnicity, language, individualism and collectivism--where conduct isn't determined by an individual, but by a larger group--time, or virtue and vice.
The strongest chapter, for me anyway since it's one of my own pet peeves, is toward the end of the book and is titled "It's All About Me: Finding the Center of God's Will." In this section, the authors tackle the huge problem that is endemic in evangelical Christianity--the cult of "me." When Scripture is interpreted through the lens of "me", fundamental differences arise between current belief and what the ancient words actually mean. The authors state in the conclusion to this section: "[t]his cultural assumption about the supremacy of me is the one to which we Westerners are perhaps blindest...When we realize that each passage of Scripture is not about me, we begin to gradually see that the true subject matter in the Bible, what the book is really about, is God's redeeming work in Christ...I am not the center of God's kingdom work" (207-208.)
It's worth the price of the book if that is the only concept anyone walks away with.
While I don't agree with everything in the authors say--what they say is very much worth reading. When Scripture is read without consideration of, or knowledge about, the societies, cultures, and time periods these passages were written in, reading Scripture becomes a selfish act, one that ignores what is our spiritual heritage, lived out by our spiritual ancestors. Our history is rendered irrelevant, which leads back to the cult of "me."
The book is divided into chapters, with subheadings. Each chapter has a conclusion and a set of questions at the end, making this book ideal for group study.
Leslie Leyland Fields didn't know what to expect when she married a commercial salmon fisherman and moved to a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska. ThLeslie Leyland Fields didn't know what to expect when she married a commercial salmon fisherman and moved to a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska. This book is her story. The reader is alongside Leslie as she struggles to adapt to a lifestyle that is physically and emotionally demanding, lived out on a remote Alaskan island with no running water, electricity, or contact with the outside world.
She writes honestly of her struggles to live in this harsh environment while trying to build a marriage and, later, to raise a family. It's difficult life that challenges her physically, mentally and spiritually, but a life she learns to embrace as the years go by.
Her writing brings to life her trials as a twenty-year old newlywed adapting to life with her husband's family, inductee into the world of salmon fishing in wild Alaska, to new mother; each new role bringing a new set of challenges into her wilderness life. Like the waves sometimes threaten to swamp her fishing boat, challenges threaten to swamp her life as well. But she never quits; instead choosing to move through her challenges, emerging on the other side. At times bruised and battered, but never totally giving up. In that respect, this is also a book of hope, of working through the challenges instead of giving up. ...more
In 1988, Joe Coutts's mother Geraldine is raped by an unknown assailant. She isolates herself in her bedroom, refusing to talk about the attack. Her sIn 1988, Joe Coutts's mother Geraldine is raped by an unknown assailant. She isolates herself in her bedroom, refusing to talk about the attack. Her self-imposed isolation leaves Joe and Joe's father, Bazil to fend for themselves.
When Joe becomes frustrated with the lack of progress in his mother's case, the thirteen year-old takes matters into his own hands. His search takes him to The Round House, where the attack occurred, and which rests close to the boundaries of three different jurisdictions. Since the exact location of the attack is unknown, there is no way to determine who has jurisdiction over the case. Frustrated, and wanting to free his mother from her prison of fear, Joe takes matters into his own hands, a choice with life-long ramifications.