Book Review: The Handmaiden and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg

December 21, 2009 at 6:42 am (To Do) (, , , , )

Book Details
Title: The Handmaiden and the Carpenter
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Historic Fiction, Religious
Length: 153
Copy: Courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics

  • A 13 year old girl meets her future husband, the charming 17 year old that is the catch of the town.
  • The girl is visited by an angel.
  • Before they are married, the girl is pregnant, yet a virgin.
  • Joseph must decide if he will or will not marry Mary.

What makes it different

  • The focus is on both Mary and Joseph, completely leaving out Jesus except where he is essential to the story line.
  • Mary is accepting based on the experiences of her mother as well as her cousin Elizabeth.  Yes, Elizabeth the mother of John.
  • Joseph is not the strong believer that Mary is.
  • Joseph believes in the traditions of his people, but not necessarily that Mary’s son is also the son of God.

Why you should read it

  • While the Bible tells quite a bit about Mary’s confusion and acceptance, little is said about Joseph.
  • It is very cool to see one author’s view of how Mary and Joseph adjusted to their life with Jesus.
  • The bit about the Wise Men visiting really cemented in my mind how that may have taken place.

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • It challenges what the Bible says about Mary and Joseph’s acceptance of their situation.
  • It’s speculation, which may or may not sit well with certain personalities or religions.
  • It isn’t your traditional Christmas Story.

Final Word

I really liked this book, but I’m fairly opened minded about Christianity.  It doesn’t bother me not knowing whether or not it is true; it possible that Mary and Joseph had the very reactions that Berg outlines.  I really enjoyed that side of the story.  It puts flesh on a great story outline, the same way that the Red Tent by Anita Diamant.


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Book Talk: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

December 15, 2009 at 6:39 am (To Do) (, )

Book Details

  • Title: Leviathan
  • Author: Scott Westerfeld
  • Genre: Steampunk
  • Length: 434 pages
  • Copy: Courtesy of Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics

  • Aleksandar Ferdinand escapes a plot to murder him.
  • Deryn Sharp, a girl, has tricked the British Air Service into enlisting her.
  • The Great War is about to begin.

What makes it different

  • Clankers or giant machines owned by Austro-Hungarians and German.
  • British Darmwinsts fabricate animals from life threads for weapons.
  • It’s not quite history, nor is it alternate future, but a great blending of both.

Why you should read it

  • Westerfeld’s previous series, the Uglies, lends credibility to his ability to write on the line between sci-fi and straight out fiction.
  • It’s a fun way to discover history.  There’s just enough there to make you wonder what’s true and what borrowed.
  • You’re tween or teen may be reading it too.  Great conversation starters in here.

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • It’s pretty light weight reading.  Plan for it to take one or two days.
  • The story is split between Deryn and Alek.  The continuous flip flopping inevitably leads to them meeting but it is frustrating to switch.
  • It’s my first steampunk novel.  While I liked it, it could be trite to someone familiar with the genre.

Final Word:

  • I’m going to add book two to the TBR list.  I liked the first one and it’s something my 9yo may like in a year or two.

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Book Review: Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout

October 6, 2009 at 6:37 am (Book World) (, , , , )

Story Basics:

  1. A prize bull is to be butchered as a publicity stunt.
  2. A man is murdered in the bull’s pen.
  3. The truth behind the crime is not what anyone but Nero Wolfe would expected.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • Punctuated with complex language that kept me on my toes because of the wit abounding in each sentence.
  • I adored the language. Everyone of Stout’s characters had a vocabulary that astounded.
  • I find a novel to be the next best thing to primary resources for gleaming the pop culture of a time. I was both pleasantly surprised and amused by my preconceptions.
  • It made me harshly aware of how fast novels are paced today. I fear the conclusions future readers will make about the pop culture of this time.
  • Stout’s two female characters fit into stock roles of the good girl and the bad girl. The bad girl gets more print time and is featured in solving the case. I wonder if this says more about Stout specifically or the time frame in general.
  • I am interested in reading more of Stout but think I’d want to also read other greats from that era to see how the pop culture compares between authors. Life is nothing without the people.

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Book Review: Bogus to Bubbly

September 21, 2009 at 6:45 am (Book World) (, )

Slang words I love from the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield

  1. Happy-making
  2. Bubbly
  3. Crumblies
  4. Littlies
  5. Uglies

This title is a guide to the Uglies series. A fun read for adults too but definitely one to suggest to teen readers or mature tween. Great conversation starters in there.

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Book list: Magic Tree House Six: Midnight on the Moon

September 14, 2009 at 6:41 am (Book World) (, , , )

  1. Books take Jack and Annie to magical places
  2. The tree house takes them to the moon
  3. The find the fourth M thing
  4. The spell is broken

This series by Mary Pope Osborne is a favorite of the 6yo. It completely captivated him. Now he is even putting the clues together and solving the mystery mere paragraphs before Jack and Annie.

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