My mom was visiting us from Alaska, and so last weekend I read the books she brought with her for travel reading.
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency)
Amazon has a bunch of reviews of this book, so I won't reinvent the wheel. The book has a particular rhythm to it. If you don't get in sync with the abbreviated sentences and interior views of the characters' thoughts between their words and actions, the book reads sort of bumpily, or so I thought. Plus, the characters aren't really introduced, so it took a while for me to get straight who was who. But by about the third chapter I was really enjoying the minor conflicts, the reflective pauses, and the wisdom and simplicity of the characters.
Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
My mom read this because some one recommended it to her. We both thought it an interesting read. A 4 year old boy almost died during surgery from a ruptured appendix and later reported spontaneously that he had seen Jesus and been to heaven. The book, written by his pastor father, is about the details of what he saw according to what he said.
One notable part of the book was the mention of Akiane Kramarik, a child prodigy who reportedly started seeing visions of heaven when she was about 3 or 4. She had been raised by atheist parents who homeschooled their children and had no TV, so the parents had no explanation for her reports.
In a nutshell, I would say that I don't base my faith upon what one might call private revelation. Neither would I say that such things can't happen. God works in mysterious ways.
First Family by David Baldacci. This was a fast read..... a thriller, with a PI man and woman who used to be in the Secret Service and went independent. The woman is tough and sarcastic and comes from a family of cops, the man is more easy-going. One notable feature -- one of the main characters, the kidnapped 12 year old girl, was called Willa! I hardly ever hear about anyone with my name. This girl was smart and resourceful and loved Jane Austen books. In fact, this was one of those books where most of the adults are seriously messed up people and only the children are normal and clued-in to reality. It made me wonder at what point (in thriller-world) kids drop off the cliff and get to become the troubled and self-centered grown-ups. But anyway, I definitely rooted for my namesake throughout this.
Also a couple of Kindle reads (temporarily free from Amazon)
Getting Away is Deadly. An army wife on a working vacation in Washington DC with her husband and some of her army-wife friends. She finds herself involved in a mystery involving blackmail, repercussions from the Korean War, an illegal immigrant "wedding" scam, and even in helping organize the bedroom of the neglected little daughter of a Washington rising star. Since the army wife has a business as a professional organizer, the chapters are interspersed with tips about how to organize for your vacation. Fun to read, light, temporarily free at Amazon.
When You Went Away -- a love story written from the point of a man. Author: Michael Baron. As the story starts, Gerry is raising his 4 month old son. As it progresses, it turns out he lost his wife of 20 years only a couple of months back, when Reese, the baby, was a newborn. He has also lost his 17 year old daughter, who ran away several months before with a dark "philosophy student" of twenty, and is now following a Grateful Dead type band. The book is about Gerry trying to pull his life back together, find his daughter and restore his troubled relationship with him, and be a good father to his infant son.
The scenes with the baby were both meticulous and luminously written. The author seems to be writing both what he knew and liked. (see this post; HT Jessica at Homemaking through the Church Year). The loving details about an infant's progress through his first year were from a masculine perspective and also very true to life. It was also interesting to me to read about the protaganist's interest in music, baseball and good cooking.
Less true to life, to me, were the bits about Gerry' trying to bring his daughter back home. The breakdown in their relationship which led to her leaving with her boyfriend Mick seemed implausible to me. The idea was that the daughter's relationship with her mother was so close that she felt like her dad was a rival. I think it would be more likely to be the other way around.