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Rated: E · Review · Action/Adventure · #2158977
Five book Reviews for the Monthly Reading Challenge
1. Before The Fall by Noah Hawley (A library eBook from Overdrive)

The protagonist, Scott, is a major observer during this story. He seems to be a major participant in random coincidence throughout the narrative. “life is full of random coincidence, that not everything that seems meaningful is meaningful, but the truth is, it’s not your decision to make."

The title can be used in many ways to look at the story from different angles. How Scott became a hero is also a surprise and part of the way life prepares people for life experiences. Life preparation shows the character how to proceed as Scott continues to grow and learn.

There are lots of quotes, that give meaning to the text, “Albert Einstein, who once said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”” The reader will meet religion, random consequence, and science throughout the story.

At the end of this book there is a reading book guide, with discussion questions. Noah Hawley is the executive producer and writer of Fargo on FX. Hawley has expressed in Before the Fall an ability that people have to accomplish things they were aware they could accomplish.

The story never lacks an attitude of looking at life as a surprising adventure from beginning to end. (213 words counted by the Journal 7)

2. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (a library eBook from Overdrive)

Anne Tyler has won many awards for her novels. A spool of Blue Thread is about the interaction within families. It reviews the emotions and experiences families experience as their lives grow and change down through the years. Each person within a family is an individual with individual knowledge to love and share.

In this story one of the important scenarios work around a special house. It is a house that is coveted and wraps itself around the experiences of the family as the family grows. Houses produce history while they are viable on the earth. As they age they need upkeep and care even as a human who resides in the house needs care. One of the questions the reader can ask is: What happens to a house when the family matures and it is no longer needed? “It makes you wonder why we bother accumulating, accumulating, when we know from earliest childhood how it’s all going to end.”

One of the most intriguing characters I ever met is in this novel. Denny will keep you wondering and guessing throughout the entire story. “Oh, well, who can figure these things?” Denny asked the row houses slipping past.””

The story is a presentation of human families and growth. (221 words counted by The Journal 7)

3. Sign Off by Patricia McLinn (An eBook from kindle by way of Bookbub)

Sign Off is a terrific mystery. It keeps you guessing. The characters are original and believable. The main character is a female TV journalist who has been reassigned to a small Wyoming community TV station. Elizabeth Danniher’s life story develops as she becomes acquainted with the people in the new town where she now works. The reader learns how a TV Journalist thinks and works.

“Something someone says hits that nerve and pop! out comes the question.” This is the way Elizabeth sometimes reacts when interviewing for the story she is following. In Cottonwood County a relatively old mystery about a missing police officer is waiting when the new journalist moves into the County. The case has been mysteriously shuffled to the back of law enforcement's case load. So, concerned citizens look to the new girl in town to take up the investigation. That’s when the excitement begins.

A small girl gets into the act when she expects Elizabeth to take her father’s side in a murder investigation. The action takes the reader into the country of western hats, trucks, and cowboy boots. Have fun reading this one. (201 words counted by the Journal 7)

4. The Vatican Diaries by John Thavis (An audio library book by way of Overdrive)

John Thavis was a journalist that covered the Vatican during parts of his life. The Vatican Diaries is a clear eyed look at Vatican life. It was published in 2013. The story is “A Behind-the-Scenes look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church.”

There is humor and experience in the lifestyle of journalists as they attempt to adequately cover the trips made by mentioned popes. Journalist try to give authentic accounts of politics and movements of their subjects. One of the mentioned subjects is the amount of people and governing branches that are within the realm of the Vatican and their freedom to make decisions on a daily basis, within their own departments.

Thavis gives details and descriptions of more than one Pope. . An impressive remark quoted from Pope Benedict says, “It is inconceivable then, that believer’s should have to suppress a part of themselves, their faith, in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy ones rights.” In a spiritual sense this is an affliction of all beliefs.

The book tells about many of the problems that crop up on a daily basis within the Vatican. It tells about the daily struggle to keep a spiritual city that makes decisions for the lives of millions of believers and how those decision affect the way the Catholic church is perceived. If you like church history this is an interesting look at the Universal Church.

From Blackstone audio read by Malcolm O. Gardener.( 256 words counted on The Journal 7).

5. Arcadia by Iain Pears (A library eBook by Overdrive)

Arcadia as a complete story is about time travel. There are numerous characters and the reader needs to keep them all straight as the story bounces from one scene to another.

Iain Pears has succeeded in using the story to delve into the philosophy of The Bible, Shakespeare, and other well known works of writing. There is also some science here but not in depth enough to be a teaching tool. “The greater the coincidence, the greater the importance of the hidden causation.”

A new universe has been accidentally created. The people found in this new universe follow a story as their guidance to life. The people in charge of the story are the educated elite of the new universe. What happens when people from the earth pop in and out of the newly created universe called, Anterwold?

In the many arguments about whether time travel is possible we find this quote, “It would need only a brief moment of weakness for any man or woman to think this power is theirs by right...”

Iain Pears is a well educated best selling author of many books which include detective novels. The book also includes a Reading Group Guide. (214 words counted by The Journal 7).
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