Wednesday, July 09, 2008
What I've Been Reading
My book club chose two books for us to read for the past month: THE ALCHEMIST by Paul Cohelo and KEEPING FAITH by Jodi Picoult. Two very different books.
THE ALCHEMIST: You've probably heard of THE SECRET and the law of attraction that is all the rage today. This fable basically teaches that theory through fiction. If you're interested in learning about the law of attraction, reading this book is an enjoyable way to do so. Plus, it's short and a quick easy read. Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it--"This inspirational fable by Brazilian author and translator Coelho has been a runaway bestseller throughout Latin America and seems poised to achieve the same prominence here. The charming tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who dreams of seeing the world, is compelling in its own right, but gains resonance through the many lessons Santiago learns during his adventures. He journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where a fateful encounter with an alchemist brings him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment. The story has the comic charm, dramatic tension and psychological intensity of a fairy tale, but it's full of specific wisdom as well, about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams. The cumulative effect is like hearing a wonderful bedtime story from an inspirational psychiatrist. Comparisons to The Little Prince are appropriate; this is a sweetly exotic tale for young and old alike."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
KEEPING FAITH: To be honest, though Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, I had serious doubts about liking this book after reading the premise. The protagonist's young daughter manifests stigmata. One chapter in, I couldn't put the book down and read into the wee hours of the morning to finish it. Great characters, intriguing storyline, fantastic writing. Read this! Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say-- "Fans of Picoult's fluent and absorbing storytelling will welcome her new novel, which, like Harvesting the Heart, explores family dynamics and the intricacies of motherhood, and concludes, as did The Pact, with tense courtroom drama. In the small town of New Canaan, N.H., 33-year-old Mariah discovers that her husband, Colin, is having an affair. Years ago, his cheating drove Mariah to attempt suicide and Colin had her briefly committed to an institution. Now Mariah's facing divorce and again fighting depression, when her eight-year-old daughter, Faith, suddenly acquires an imaginary friend. Soon this friend is telling the girl how to bring her grandmother back from the dead and how to cure a baby dying of AIDS. As Faith manifests stigmata, doctors are astounded, and religious controversy ensues, in part because Faith insists that God is a woman. An alarmed Colin sues for custody of Faith, and the fear of losing her daughter dramatically changes meek, diffident Mariah into a strong, protective and brave womanAone who fights for her daughter, holds her own against doctors and lawyers and finds the confidence to pursue a surprising new romance with TV atheist Ian Fletcher, cynical "Spokesman of the Millennium Generation." Though the novel feels a bit long, Picoult's pacing stabilizes the increasingly complicated plot, and the final chapters, in which Mariah fights for Faith's custody in court, are riveting. The mother-daughter relationship is all the more powerful for being buffeted by the exploitative and ethically questionable domains of medicine, media, law and religion; these characters' many triumphant transformations are Picoult's triumphs as well."Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.