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Braking Points

Pausing in the midst of Life to ponder, pray and find footing to continue.

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Book Review

Barefoot Book Club: Recent Good Reads, Recent Good Listens, Currently Reading

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One ongoing goal I set EVERY year involves reading.  I love a variety of genres so I am open to suggestions.  I say that but I shy away from syrupy romances filled with hot sweaty bodies and torrid sex scenes. Last year I attempted to run across the room, leap into my husbands arms only to collapse both of us onto a piece of furniture thankful neither of us broke a hip.  So aside from that, I welcome book suggestions and love discussing what I am reading or have read.

I try to read at least ONE Classic a year.  Terry and I both tackled Mobey Dick and I swear there were moments in the multiple pages on ‘WHITE’ that I almost quit..Glad I didn’t.

So with that being said:

What I read on my Christmas Vacation

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

On the surface this novel, the second of Corban Addison’s that I have read with The Garden of Burning Sand being the first, is about human trafficking of children. Ahalya and her sister, 17 and 15 find themselves orphaned and homeless following a tsunami. These middle class Indian girls who have lived a privileged protected life at home and at the convent where they attend boarding school. With few resources scavenged from their destroyed home, they set out for the convent only to be abducted, sold, and transported to a brothel in Bombay.

“Corban Addison leads readers on a chilling, eye-opening journey into Mumbai’s seedy underworld–and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade.”
At the same time, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke left by his Indian wife after the SIDS loss of their infant daughter faces both his personal unraveling and a professional crisis. With only a few options and an experience of a young girl’s abduction on a North Carolina road fresh in his mind he makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent’s human traffickers. He also is motivated by the possibility of reuniting with his wife.

There tagging along on a raid of a brothel notorious for under age prostitutes he becomes a part of the rescue of Ahalya, but Sita has already been sold and transported. Learning this Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue Sita, setting the stage for a showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals.

While the subject matter sent me into waves of revulsion, slavery exists all around us, the conclusion of the novel was one of redemption and hope.

What we listened to on our 2 day trip to Florida from Kentucky

The Guilty by David Baldacci

Fourth in the Will Robie Series

Will Robie is the government’s most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies’ advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.

But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.

So what does he do he returns to the backwater Mississippi town where he was a star quarterback in high school, but where he has not set foot in over 20 years. Why does he return? To help his father, to whom he has not spoken in the same 20 some years. Obviously, there is a back story here. Also, his father, a judge is in jail for murder, he has a stepmother close to his own age and a half brother who is a toddler. This plot has twists and turns from beginning to end with Jessica Peel, Robie’s colleague coming to his rescue and then hanging around to see it out.

A great book for a long drive. Good narration by the two readers.

What I am reading now

Audacious by Beth Moore

Just on the third chapter of this book that asks the questions–not unusual ones, if you are in the first half of your life:

What is your dream? What is your vision for the future?

And yet, here at almost 71 years old, I am contemplating those very questions, AGAIN.

Hey! I am not dead yet. There is so much I want to do, to experience, to share….SO

I suspect God had a reason for Carolyn and Charles Foster giving me this book for Christmas.

Here’s the blurb on the back of the book, if you are interested.

“Thirty years in the making, Audacious is a deep dive into the message that has compelled Beth Moore to serve women around the globe. Glancing over the years of ministry behind her and strengthening her resolve to the call before her, she came to the realization that her vision for women was incomplete. It lacked something they were aching for. Something Jesus was longing for. Beth identifies that missing link by digging through Scripture, unearthing life experiences, and spotlighting a turning point with the capacity to infuse any life with holy passion and purpose. What was missing? Well, let’s just say, it’s audacious and it’s for all of us. And it’s the path to the life you were born to live.”

Please let me know your suggestions for a good read.  I would love to hear from you.

THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt, A Christian Listener’s Review

image At one time when a good book approached 800 pages I would read it from cover to cover. However, my tendency to get sleepy, busy, hungry rather than settling in with a good LONG book has made reading a long “Dickensian” tome less appealing. Also, I discovered the AUDIO book, which makes the time in the car pass more quickly and I love being read to as well as reading. So having discovered THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014) on audio CD (26 of them), I checked it out of the library.

David Pittu, narrator of the A-Z children’s mysteries, 39 Clues books and many other children’s fiction works brings Donna Tartt’s characters, words, and plot to life. So he accompanied Terry, my brother Tom, and I on our trip to Lake Wales, FL on May 20th, on short trips while we were there for two weeks and home to Nortonville, KY on June 1st as we entered the life of Theodore Decker from age 14 to age 28.

The novel opens with Theodore (Theo) alone, burning up with fever and with fear in an Amsterdam hotel room. In a state of delusion and personal angst he begins to dream about his mother and the tragedy that took her life 14 years before, a fictional act of terror set at the New York Metropolitan Art Gallery. As Stephen King points out in his review of this novel in October 2013, the whole of the novel turns on “happenstance”, a rain storm in New York City and a quick duck into the museum. The bomb, the encounter with a dying old man, a ring, a snatched work of art, followed by the desolate hours that follow while Theo stumbles home to wait for his mother. Audrey Decker has been Theo’s true north, his moral compass and she will know exactly what to do. But, Audrey did not survive the explosion.

Throughout the novel listening to Theo’s conversations and thoughts as he finds refuge first with the wealthy but not so mentally healthy Barbour family, we were aware of the effects of Theo’s choices, some good–returning the dying old man’s ring and meeting James Hobart “Hobie”, a good hearted talented if somewhat clueless man, who would become the single most stable permanent person in his life post the museum bombing and his theft of The Goldfinch. But even with Hobie Theo shares little of the agonizing child, young man, adult illusions, delusions, altered state fantasies that plague him.

Donna Tartt does share those through passage after passage of dense, visual language brought to life in narration by David Pittu and frankly, I admit it, if I had been reading and not listening to this book, there are passages I would have skipped to just get on with the story which at times got lost in the words. However, I was not reading, I was listening and there were times I wanted to jump into some his conversations, especially with Boris, the only friend, another abandoned boy that he makes after his father returns to whisk him away to the outskirts of Las Vegas, and yell at both of them. And his stream of consciousness led my husband to state as we drove, “He way over thinks things.”

Some say the book is about grief and it is, but the overriding theme to me was abandonment. From the moment his father left Theo and his mother to the major vortex created by the terrorist attack, Theo was sucked into a vacuum that according to the principle “nature abhors a vacuum” filled quickly with his obsession with the painting, his need for human touch, drugs, alcohol, because those were the things that were there. Without his mother, he had no one and would allow no one to steer him to the moral or spiritual high ground.

As a Christian, I could not help but sense his alienation with God and although he denied it “his need for that God” WHO he felt abandoned by. I could not help but notice that no one he encountered at his points of crisis as they happened steered him to Christ. Hogie came the closest, but fell short. The closest point came from Boris of all people near the conclusion of the story with a fractured parable that combined, the Prodigal Son with the faithful steward with a few other thrown in.

Even at the end of the book, Theo setting out to make things right as strong feeling of loneliness fills his thoughts. In some ways I so wanted to reach out at times and shake him or hug him or…But it was only a story. And yet I wonder how many lost souls I encounter daily filled with dense delusions, illusions, fears and fantasies, who feel abandoned by God.

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