January 31, 2016

read with us: a book you can read in a day

As it's January 31st, it's time to tell you about the books we read for the 2016 MMD reading challenge! Unfortunately, Steph didn't have time to get her book read (because we didn't tell her about the challenge until last week), but our mom did, so she's going to jump in in Steph's place.
Our books this month are Bird Silence, The Little Prince, and The Wedding Chapel.

Bird Silence by Matthew Roth
Susan (Mom) says:
My cousin, Matthew Roth, has published this slim volume of his poems. Having never read it, I decided it was the perfect book for the first challenge.

I have always loved poetry...I had a real love affair with Rupert Brooke poetry when I was in high school, but that is a story for another day. I enjoyed reading Bird Silence and definitely enjoyed some of the poems more than others.

"Calling" was my favorite, with a sweet section about a young boy, "not yet two" who is quietly calling out from his room in the still-dark of the early morning his "tiny sing-song liturgy." His father hears and goes to "swoop down on him, whispering his own name in return."

While not everyone will enjoy Bird Silence, it is a worthwhile read for poetry lovers.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Val says:
I read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, published in 1943.  This is a book you could definitely finish in a day, probably in an hour. It is short, there are lots of illustrations, and the print is big. So this is an easy way to up your “have-read” count for 2016.

The basic plot is that a pilot crash-lands in the desert, and it is here that he meets the Little Prince.  Although apparently human, the Little Prince is not from earth – he is from a planet whose name is never given, but we do know it is as small as a house, and the Little Prince is essentially its caretaker – pulling weeds (a necessity on such a small planet, for were he to let them grow too big, their roots would pull the planet apart), raking out the volcanoes (very small volcanoes, and only two are active), and tending to the flowers.  One flower in particular is very fickle and vain, and while he loves the flower, and she loves the Little Prince, a misunderstanding with her causes him to decide to leave his home and explore other worlds. The Little Prince visits several worlds before landing on earth.  The pilot grows to love the Little Prince, for he reminds him what it is like to live with the heart and eyes of a child, something the pilot longs to do again.  One of the main themes of the book is the way a child’s logic is often much simpler, cleaner, and far more magical than an adult’s mundane explanations of the world.

While technically a children’s book, I think it would have more of a lasting resonance with adults.  There’s a sense of wistfulness and longing throughout the book – the Little Prince longs to return to his home and his flower, the pilot longs to return to who he was and the things he loved as a child.  I can distinctly remember thinking as a child, “Why don’t grown-ups understand kids? When I’m a grown-up, I’ll remember how I feel right now. I’ll still get it.” Fast-forward 20 years to me now, stymied every week by the actions of the kindergarteners I corral on Wednesday nights…

This was one of those books I am glad to have read so I know what it is about. It did capture my attention, and it made me think about who I was as a child vs. who I am now. I would say it is worth reading at some point in your life, but I wouldn’t call it a MUST READ.

The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck
Becky says:
I read The Wedding Chapel in one afternoon--the first Saturday in January, which was also my last free Saturday for eight weeks, thanks to my speech meet schedule. At 368 pages, it's not a book that everyone could read in a day, but it is a very quick, easy read. I chose it because, well, I happened to read it in a day, and with speech starting up, I knew I wouldn't have much time for "extra" (beyond my book reviews) reading.

The Wedding Chapel is a dual timeline story, taking place in the 1940s-50s and in the present. Jimmy Westbrook fell in love with Colette Greer the moment he first saw her picture. Their romance seemed picture perfect until wrong choices, jealousy, and misunderstandings drove them apart. Taylor Branson, Colette's grand-niece, connects with Jimmy when she is hired to photograph the wedding chapel he built for Colette decades earlier. She's having a bit of a romance crisis of her own--she married Jack, her high school crush, soon after reconnecting with him in the city, and their marriage is on rocky ground. As Jimmy, Colette, Taylor, and Jack's stories intertwine, secrets are revealed and healing finally occurs.

While many romance novels are mere fluff (and believe me, I do enjoy fluff!), The Wedding Chapel has a depth to it that makes the story rich and fulfilling. The four main characters, while not always likeable, are wholly fleshed out and completely interesting. It's the kind of story that keeps your attention and touches your heart. This is a beautifully romantic and compelling novel about secrets, sin's consequences, family, and redemption that will stick with you beyond the final page.

I would recommend The Wedding Chapel to anyone who enjoys inspirational fiction--it's one of the best novels I've read in a long time! (Of course, I also reviewed it on my book review blog. You can read the review here.)

Are you doing the reading challenge? If so, tell us about your January book in the comments--or leave a link to your blog post about it!

Next month, we'll be reading a book chosen by a relative. I chose Val's book, she chose mine, our brother Andrew chose Steph's, and Steph chose Mom's. We'll check back in with you on February 28. Until then, happy reading!


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