Wednesday, February 22, 2017


by George Eliot

Any reading nerd knows Middlemarch is listed on every "top 100 books" list and as such it would also be on their own "to-read" list.  I'm glad to say I can finally check it off mine! Eliot is in the same genre as Dickens, Austen and Alcott who present long, drawn out dissertations on society, culture, class structure, roles and relationships. I tend to like these stories and this was no exception.

The story begins with Dorothea Brooke, an intelligent young woman anxious to find her life's purpose. Then there's Dr. Lydgate caught between medical advancement and debt, Reverend Casaubon living with his aging spinster sisters but wishing instead for a wife and Mary Garth with her nose to the grindstone. Gradually we become acquainted with the whole little village of Middlemarch with all of its cares and concerns. There are so many characters it can become confusing, but each one has their own challenges along with supportive friends who guide them through. This is definitely a character driven novel, so there's no hurry to get it done and even when you do finish, it seems as if Middlemarch just keeps marching right along through time.

If you're a fan of the aforementioned author's then this is right up your alley.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness
inspirational idea Siobhan Dowd

I've read a string of different but fun books the past few weeks.

The first was A Monster Calls which is an elementary grade story about facing death. What's fun about death? Having a monster who navigates you through the pain both physical and emotional. That is what happens for Conor O'Malley as he lives with the stress of his mother dying of cancer and dealing with his future prospects for life without her. Conor is thirteen and lives with his single mother. His father has remarried, moved across the ocean and doesn't have much interest in maintaining a connection with his son. His grandmother is prim and stern and doesn't know what to do with a rowdy boy. And Conor is angry with all of them: his mother, his friends, his teachers and himself.

That is when the nightmares begin and the monster comes calling. The tree monster provides Conor with explanations for his actions and emotions that free him from guilt for his seemingly selfish thinking. While this story is mostly sad, there are many life lessons presented, which would be great springboards for discussion with your kids. But even us more mature people benefit. Read it with your kleenex nearby.

Friday, February 10, 2017

For the Love

by Jen Hatmaker

Last month a local university hosted Jen Hatmaker to speak at their chapel, interact with students and share some life/love tips mixed in with lots of funny! I was fortunate to get tickets, as both sessions sold out in a flash (thanks to my friend looking out for me). I really enjoyed the evening and found Jen's speaking very much in line with her writing. When you're reading For the Love, it is really like having a chat with your girlfriend. Sharing struggles, pet peeves, frustrations and laughs. It is a light hearted, quick and easy read and will remind you to love yourself and love others. Grace first- always!

I have a little card I carry that says:
Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. -- Thomas S. Monson

I need lots of reminders. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

by Katarina Bivald

Have you ever read a book and wondered why you kept reading? That's this one in a nutshell. I guess I kept thinking the Readers at Broken Wheel might actually begin to love books and recommend something. Instead the Swedish visitor to the tiny town in Iowa name drops a bunch of titles that some of the townspeople seem to read. But their main purpose is to be matchmakers of all sorts-- and there's LOTS of preachiness about it. Homosexual, bisexual, interracial, intergenerational, whatever and however you want it!

Why did I keep reading? Just so I could tell you not to.