I’m going to share a few thoughts on the books and movies I’ve enjoyed this last month. Due to some down time in my husband’s teaching schedule, he had some time to play video games, which means I had time to read.
Blood Price and Blood Trail by Tanya Huff: I did not enjoy these two books as much as The Silvered, which was excellent. Huff is fun to read and I stay engaged in her books, but I get tired of the belief that sleeping around doesn’t affect your soul, and it had a now standard vampire-love-triangle. The two clever points that gave me a fit of giggles was the vampire who writes romance novels and is good at it, and the werewolf colony mistaken for a nudist family. Very funny. These are what I would consider a weekend read: they didn’t really grow me or feed my soul, but they were entertaining. One point, as a writer, drove me up the wall. She could not stay in her character’s Point of View and constantly switched in mid-paragraph leaving me scrambling to figure out who was thinking about whom.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: I have loved Peter Pan from afar for most of my life. I loved the Disney cartoon, the short-lived TV cartoon, and Hook. I always felt like my own childhood slipped too quickly through my fingers giving me a strong emotional connection with always being a child and never growing up. The book was beautiful, sweet, tragic, scary, and melancholy. It truly captured the magic of being a child and the edge of selfishness children have. Barrie never painted Peter Pan as safe, for he is much too self-focused to be safe. This is a book I plan on enjoying again!
Rated: G (Just don’t read about Barrie’s life in general. You have been warned.)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conner: I’m going to admit that this is the type of book that’s lost on me—too intellectual. It’s supposed to be a spiritual comic, but I never laughed once and found it disturbing. My Dad asked me if I thought it more King or Koontz, and by far King. Koontz always has a happy ending. Because of the cleverness of O’Conner, I had to go read some articles about the point of the story which did help. I recommend reading them before you read the book. You do need to know she is a Roman Catholic and she considers the ending redemptive, which creeps me out even more. It was a good read, just not enjoyable.
The Shorter Catechism for Study Classes, Vol. 1 by G.I. Williamson: A very easy to read, straight-forward explanation of the questions and answers in the Catechism. It is Presbyterian, so Baptist will need to do a little bit of filtering. The short article presentation is useful for personal or family study.
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman: This is a collection of short stories from the mind of Neil Gaiman. All of them are clever and interesting, though I did find that he tended to be less ‘clean’ in his short stories than he is in his full-length novel. He had one very disturbing story dealing with the problem of Susan not returning to Narnia. It was so awful. I almost wished I hadn’t read it, but after giving it some thought, I realized that Susan doesn’t ring true to many people. For me, it’s that once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia. For Gaiman, as a non-Christian, it’s Aslan and the White Witch trapping the children so they could eat them. It’s always interesting to get a peek at what an unbeliever thinks about something Christian. I just wish it’d been a cleaner peek.
Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner: One of the best books I’ve read for women, Fierce Women is about a woman who destroyed her marriage. The Lord broke her down and showed her she was unsubmissive and fierce in a bad way. This is a must read for any woman on how to be a soft warrior. It is very pointed. Wagner doesn’t pull any punches. A strong woman can tear their husband down, or use their strength to build him up. This is an honest, real, and helpful book. Wagner doesn’t only give a list of things strong women do that are wrong, she shows how we can exchange those traits with the fruit of the Spirit.
The Pastor’s Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand: What a book! While I don’t agree doctrinally with everything in this book, it was still an amazing story about Christ preserving and using his people in the worst of circumstances. This would be a great book to read in high school while studying the rise of communism. She is honest about how full of lies that form of government becomes when it gains a foothold. Through all their trials in Romania, they kept waiting for America to come rescue them, while most Americans didn’t know anything about what was going on. It made me wish we had gone and rescued them, but then I remember that it is about how Christ is moving, not the might of this nation.
Prometheus: We finally got around to watching this movie. It was good, but not great. They had never obviously watched an Alien movie because they kept doing stupid things. It made me want to watch Aliens again, which I did. The God element—searching for their creature without losing faith in God—makes for interesting dinner conversation.
Terminator 1 & 2: I had an exhausted day and needed a break, so I plugged in these two old favorites and wasn’t disappointed. Other than a few cheesy 80’s elements, these are still great movies. The story is clever and unique, the characters are great—yes, I love Sarah Conner. When I watch them, I see the effect they’ve had on my storytelling over the years. I think this might be where I got my love of generational stories.
Aliens: This is one of my top favorite cheesy action flicks. I have happy and silly family memories wrapped around it and have seen it more times than I can count. What struck me this watching was how great Ripley and Hicks are. Ripley is a strong women but not unfeminine. Her strength isn’t forced by surrounding her with weak and stupid men. They didn’t have to down play the men in the movie to make Ripley seem stronger. I love that. I love that Ripley and Hicks can stand shoulder to shoulder. I love that it is her maternal instinct that gives her the power she needs to take out the aliens. Great flick.
Jack the Giant Slayer: This movie was surprisingly cute, fun, and enjoyable. It’s along the same lines as many fantasy movies which graced the silver screen in the 80’s and 90’s like The Neverending Story and Krul. We both enjoyed it very much. A great kid’s movie and family movie. I did love the part when the Princess says being a princess is such a useless thing, and Jack reminds her that she has the chance and power to change the world. This is perfect for helping your daughters see that being a woman isn’t a useless thing: the hand that rocks the cradles rules the world.
Rated: PG-13 (I think this rating is for some epic deaths by giants and squashings.)
Lots of good books and movies here with a few duds thrown in on the side. I hope it’s been helpful. Feel free to ask any questions about the ratings. Have you read, watched, or played any of these? What did you think?