Saturday, January 29, 2011

1. To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S Monson by Heidi S Swinton

Cassie gave me an authographed copy of this book for Christmas which was very exciting.  As the president of the LDS church, Thomas S Monson is a much-admired man and I was anxious to know more about him.  This book does not disappoint.  At first, I was a little put off by the writing style.  As early incidents in the prophet's life are described, Swinton would tie them into later experiences as a type of foreshadowing.  But I soon got over it.  The fact is is that Monson is a remarkable man.  He grew up in normal circumstances and seems to have been a pretty good kid but not a saint by any means.  The book gives a great lesson in how important it is to teach your kids to serve others and to love the Lord.  What I found most impressive about President Monson is his immense capacity to serve and the total energy he has to give.  And he was still able to give his family quality time, read books and continue learning, and raise prize chickens.  I love that he raises chickens.  I am so amazed at his mental abilities as well.  I have always felt great love from this man and the book reinforces that as well.  I love that there are lots of photos included so you can see his ancestors, children and associates.  Obviously, the author is a huge admirer of her subject, but can you blame her?  Even though I am trying desperately to downsize my library, this book is a welcome addition.  Thanks for the great gift, Cassie.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

78. The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory

Every year at Christmas, I like to read a few Christmas novels to help me with my seriously lacking Christmas spirit.  The author, an animal activist who runs a animal rescue foundation and a self-proclaimed dog person, tells how he becomes the owner of a straggler, half-wild cat on Christmas Eve.   First of all, it's not really a Christmas story so that was a disappointment.  Second, I'm not an animal activist but I found some of his stories about efforts to relieve animal suffering around the world interesting but didn't really relate.  But mostly, I found his conversations with the cat became a little tedious after a while.  I've owned several cats in the past and loved them, but I never felt like they were actually talking to me.   I'm probably not a good listener.  I did like the fact that the cat does not die at the end of the book.  That was a refreshing change from other cat books that I have read.  Several times I considered quitting the book mid-stream but did manage to finish it, just didn't love it.  Maybe if I had read it at a different time, I would have enjoyed it more??  Rating:  2.5

77. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Whenever I need a good laugh, I can always count on Terry Pratchett's books to provide one.  This book is no exception.  It tells the tale of a wizard rushing to a remote location to pass his staff on to the eighth son of an eighth son just as the baby is born.  Unfortunately, the baby turns out to be a girl; but the wizard is taken by Death just as the transfer is made.  But girls can't be wizards.  So a witch takes Esk under her wing to train her to use the magic within her.  But the staff is always there in the background; and it become apparent that Esk should try to attend the Unseen University to become a full-fledged wizard.  The whole book is highly entertaining.  I'm not sure exactly what book follows this one in the recommended reading order because my chart is packed in some obscure box, but I'm hoping to read more about Esk, Granny the witch, and Simon.  As always, Pratchett has created a bunch of great characters in a tale that pokes fun at everything.  Rating:  4.5