Book Review: The Red Tent

April 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is a series of brief book reviews of literary works that have been read by Ben or myself. The book list will be published at the end of the month and will include titles that have been finished in the previous month. All books are rated using the following system:

5 Stars – Excellent. Couldn’t put it down, a real page turner. It’s easy to be a bookworm when the material is this good!

4 Stars – Very Good. Liked most of the book, a little slow in parts. Was an enjoyable read overall.

3 Stars – Average. Nothing really made it stand out. A bit boring. Unrealistic plot.

2 Stars – So-so. Blah. Could only read a few pages before I fell asleep.

1 Stars – Poor. So boring…I couldn’t even finish it.

Cover of "The Red Tent: A Novel"

Cover of The Red Tent: A Novel

  • “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant
  • 3.5 Stars

The Red Tent is a historic fictional tale of the story of Dinah from Genesis. I kept hearing about this book and finally decided to pick it up. The kindle sample amused me enough to pay for the full copy.

The story chronicles the life of 3 generations of women who are the wives or daughters of the descendants of Abraham. The red tent is a fictional place but functions to explain some of the life and separation of women during their monthly menstruation.

In many ways, it is a beautiful picture of the bonds of womanhood and the daily lives of these nomadic families. I really love how they included the torture and despair of Rachel’s infertility, as that is a personally important area for me. Although even with this angle brought to light, It was still hard to read at points because much of the focus was about the amazing nature of the female and the wonder of our bodies producing offspring. That’s just not the case for me or many other women.

Some notes of caution: it is highly sexualized and may be offensive to some. Also, there is still a lot of idol worship in spite of the forefathers worship of the “One true God.”

I enjoyed the author’s fictional take on the story of Dinah and her later years. It was an interesting read and would be a great book for discussion groups.

{Post by the Husband} Book Review: Anna Karenina

April 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

This is a series of brief book reviews of literary works that have been read by Ben or myself. The book list will be published at the end of the month and will include titles that have been finished in the previous month. All books are rated using the following system:

5 Stars – Excellent. Couldn’t put it down, a real page turner. It’s easy to be a bookworm when the material is this good!

4 Stars – Very Good. Liked most of the book, a little slow in parts. Was an enjoyable read overall.

3 Stars – Average. Nothing really made it stand out. A bit boring. Unrealistic plot.

2 Stars – So-so. Blah. Could only read a few pages before I fell asleep.

1 Stars – Poor. So boring…I couldn’t even finish it.

English: Title page of first edition of Anna K...

English: Title page of first edition of Anna Karenina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not long ago, I read and reviewed War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  Inspired by this epic novel and intrigued after the recent film Anna Karenina, I decided to try reading this Tolstoy classic as well.  I expected that Anna Karenina would be of similar caliber to War and Peace, especially as sits near the top of many listings of the greatest books ever.  However, I was surprisingly disappointed by Anna Karenina, and after reading 40% of it, I had to put it down.  I tried to finish it, but I couldn’t find enough redeeming value to complete the work. « Read the rest of this entry »

{Post by the Husband} Book Review: Shake Hands with the Devil

August 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

This is a series of brief book reviews of literary works that have been read by Ben or myself. The book list will be published at the end of the month and will include titles that have been finished in the previous month. All books are rated using the following system:

 

5 Stars – Excellent. Couldn’t put it down, a real page turner. It’s easy to be a bookworm when the material is this good!

 

4 Stars – Very Good. Liked most of the book, a little slow in parts. Was an enjoyable read overall.

 

3 Stars – Average. Nothing really made it stand out. A bit boring. Unrealistic plot.

 

2 Stars – So-so. Blah. Could only read a few pages before I fell asleep.

 

1 Stars – Poor. So boring…why did I even finish this??

 

 

  •  Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire
  • 3.5 Stars

 

I recently completed Romeo Dallaire’s book “Shake Hands with the Devil”, a first-hand account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Dallaire was the commander of the UN Peacekeeping force, and he watched helplessly as the genocide against the Tutsi’s took place amidst the indifference of the UN and its member nations.  This book is shocking on several levels – it is shocking that people are capable of such violence and brutality.  It is shocking that the West in particular was so indifferent to cries for help.  It is shocking that this happened less than twenty years ago.

 

The book gets a bit repetitive and is perhaps overly detailed.  Also, Dallaire understandably comes across as frustrated that his pleas land on deaf ears, thus it may appear like he is blaming everyone for not doing enough.  However, I am certainly sympathetic as he witnessed unspeakable horrors and was unable to take action to prevent this disaster.  Overall, this is a necessary book as it provides a glimpse into recent history and the horrors which man is capable of inflicting upon his fellow man.

 

 

May’s Book List

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is a series of brief book reviews of literary works that have been read by Ben or myself. The book list will be published at the end of the month and will include titles that have been finished in the previous month. All books are rated using the following system:

5 Stars – Excellent. Couldn’t put it down, a real page turner. It’s easy to be a bookworm when the material is this good!

4 Stars – Very Good. Liked most of the book, a little slow in parts. Was an enjoyable read overall.

3 Stars – Average. Nothing really made it stand out. A bit boring. Unrealistic plot.

2 Stars – So-so. Blah. Could only read a few pages before I fell asleep.

1 Stars – Poor. So boring…why did I even finish this??

  •  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Read in paperback, available as an e-book and audiobook
  • 5 Stars

I thought I was a decently read person. Then I met a friend here in Lusaka who shall remain nameless (*cough*Eric*cough) who has a “basic” list of both Christian and secular titles that should be read in order to consider yourself well read. I’m currently on the secular list and have completed only a few of the 100+ titles that he has listed. The Great Gatsby was on the list and I dug in after finding a second-hand copy at a local market.

The Great Gatsby chronicles the life of the wealthy Jay Gatsby and his obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan, an old flame and who is now married to another man. The story is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s neighbor and cousin of Daisy. It is set in New York City in the 1920s.

Fitzgerald does an interesting job introducing the characters and the storyline. I felt like I was a rubbernecker at an accident scene watching the train wrecks of people’s lives unfold. The story becomes a chase after the wind, showing the emptiness of vain pursuits. Interestingly, the story doesn’t seem very far off from the craziness of his own life. I’m now reading “the Paris Wife” (a novel based on Hemingway’s memoir) which features Fitzgerald as a character and it’s interesting seeing this other side of him after reading his work.

It’s a sad book but it is an easy and enjoyable read.

The movie bearing the same title releases on Christmas Day later this year. The trailer can be seen below:

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