Five book reviews for "The Monthly Reading Challenge"
|1. Walden On Wheels by Ken ILGUNAS ( eBook from Amazon Prime)
This is an amazing story. Ken ILGUNAS makes a grab for freedom from debt after graduating from college. There are some really normal relevant quotes in this story brought on by the adventures Ken lived through as he tries to pay off his school loans in a dying economy. “We are an accumulation of experiences that we have fashioned into our own grand, sweeping narrative.”
The reader may feel obliged to wonder what people can and do live without at different times of life. Now, in 2018 more of us are contemplating what it would be to live without the technology that has been offered to consumers, in abundance, in the last twenty years. At one point in his narrative Ken states, “We can only miss what we once possessed. We can only feel wronged when we realize something has been stolen from us.”
Ken springs from a normal family in a suburb. The struggle they have to endure as they watch their son take a swim in a different social life from theirs is as interesting as the decisions Ken makes as he pays off his monetary debts. “Life is simpler when we feel controlled. When we tell ourselves that we are controlled, we can shift the responsibility of freeing ourselves onto that which controls us.”
Ken has a friend that struggles with the same debt and it gives us a view of those of us who are simply not into entrepreneur living.”Happiness comes from living a full and exciting life.”
This real life story proves there is still individuality in our society. The story challenges us to look at the real possibilities and to prepare for the differences we see in our society. “A college education is one of the few purchases a person can make that cannot be repossessed or auctioned off.” (316 words counted on The Journal 7)
2. The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon (A library eBook from Overdrive) ( a Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery)
I have reviewed another Brunetti Mystery some time. I like the first one and I like this one even more. Here is a different social setting to look at as you read about a mystery that tickles your curiosity.
Commissario Brunetti spends his days not only detecting but also in contemplation of modern Venice society. “Make people afraid of something and you can make then do what you want.”
This particular story finds the detective taking on a very cold case. At first he thinks there is no clue because of the time element involved but as if he is unraveling a piece of knitted material he begins with the aide of his crew to find the clues others have not paid any attention to, so the story unfolds like a fan.
One of the small entries examines the way a very small condo in the street was once maintained for street cats. The new ideas of society eliminated it. This caused the cats to disappear from the street area and were missed by nearby residents who enjoyed the company of the felines.
“Brunetti found himself thinking of Dante’s belief that heresy was a form of intellectual stubbornness, the refusal to abandon a mistaken idea.” Commissario Brunetti is a thinking agent, who acts on his beliefs. He manages to understand other people’s circumstances and help them overcome life errors.(248 words counted by The Journal 7)
3.A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Armand Gamache series) (a library pdf. Book from Overdrive)
This story picks up the life experiences of Armand Gamache and continues them. There have been 10 books written before this one, that explain other Gramache adventures. He is a retired head of homicide for the Surete du Quebec.
Penny uses her skills as a writer to try, in the same frame of mind as Gamache, to outsmart the reader. She has created a story that is so involved it will take you to the ending to figure out who the protagonists and the antagonists really are. At one point in the story, as a reader, I actually wondered if it was murder or suicide.
Another interest you will experience are the quotes from poets. The Gamache stories are always decorated with poetry. Some of the quotes are very exceptional wisdoms to use in life. One from Marcus Aurelius, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane” also this one from, “ a Buddhist nun, “Don’t believe everything you think.””
And not to be denied, are the villagers and the village, in which Gamache abides, as he travels through his life of murder and murderers. They are friends with character. Each person described holds a special place in the life of the characters. These unique characters have their own lives and their own souls.
Louise Penny’s stories are tales to be savored, poetry to be discovered, and sayings to be tucked into your memory and applied to life’s experience. (277 words counted by The Journal 7)
4. Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger (A kindle library eBook from Overdrive)
Cork O’Connor is an on and off sheriff in this award winning series. It is series that plays it’s stories within the small town community setting. The characters are people familiar with the great lakes areas in Minnesota. Cork’s heritage plays a part in the story. He is part Ojibwa and part white. The stories travel back and forth between the reservation near the community and the local community.
In this story a Native American boy is accused of murder. Because of a startling vision his life is changed drastically causing doubt and confusion as the murder is investigated. His only defense equals, “I know that God is.”
“All human beings. It seemed to him, were a collection of conflicting impulses stuffed into one skin, trying somehow to find peace” and “The earth is alive, and all things on it--water, air, plants, rocks, even dead trees--have spirit.” These are two examples of the local ideas that will infuse the story with wisdom and give the reader some ideas of rural living, in the setting where the story plays out.
The story starts with the disappearance of a young girl. The following investigation will introduce the characters and their way of life to the reader. Because this is a series character, this story falls about 4th within the series. In the online library it is packaged with books 5 and 6. They are fast moving stories and have a lot of wilderness description. Beautiful scenery for the reader to play through their mind as they read.(270 words counted on The Journal 7).
5. Israel (a concise history of a nation reborn) by Daniel Gordon ( an eBook from Amazon)
The thoughts and plans about the need for a new state for Jewish refugees started in the 1800’s. Daniel Gordon gives an excellent account of the modern history of Israel as a state. Gordon’s historical account also tells about the state of the Jewish lifestyle, from the 1800’s until today. If you look at the refugee problem in the world during 2016 and 2017 you soon realize this story is about refugees everywhere and the need to stop war everywhere.
On February 3, 1956 David Ben-Gurion was being interviewed on CBS news. Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister. During the interview he made this statement, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” The introduction to this historical account starts with this quote. There is a great many facts that will not be covered in this short review. The story is very worthwhile reading.
You will find maps, notes, several appendixes, and works cited within the eBook. The kindle eBook version of this book proves to be easily used, when you move from notes to maps or back to the main body of chapters.
Everything about the new nation had to be planned. The need for a Jewish state had to be cleared by other nations. Where would it be started? How would they acquire land? Every little detail had to be cleared and accounted for with plans, to build a country. How many people were for it and against it?
Interestingly, all these plans were being hashed among people from different countries; even while Jewish people were being expelled from many nations.
In Chapter 12: Six Days of War Change a Country, there is a startling accounting of why the famous Six Day War started. The following quote shows how the soviets meddled by giving false information to Syria and Egypt, “by informing Syria and Egypt that Israel was planning a war, the soviets were, in essence, sparking one.”
Historical accounts like the one written by Gordon quite often take away the curtain of unreality and show us the truth as it was played out. This is a history story that tells what other countries were doing while the Jewish people were struggling to find a place of safety to live and raise families.
(355 words counted on The Journal 7)