Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#18: The Betrayal (Helen Dunmore)

Set in Stalin’s Russia, The Betrayal is a sweeping drama that centers around the tragic illness of child who loses his leg due to cancer.  Despite the doctor’s best efforts, the child succumbs to the illness and dies.  The saga addresses universal themes of parental responsibility, the corruption that comes with power, and medical ethics while providing interesting historical commentary on the Soviet regime that was respected and feared.

Helen Dunmore’s prose is exquisite, transporting the reader from the regal dance halls of Leningrad to the hellish nightmare of Moscow’s interrogation rooms and infamous prison cells.  Dunmore is certainly a gifted writer who I look forward to visiting again in the near future.

5 of 5 stars!

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#17: The Harbinger (Jonathan Cahn)

Recently, a friend and colleague shared a book recommendation with me that was passed on to her by her mother. Initially, I thought the book sounded intriguing, but not something that I typically enjoy. While driving to Pigeon Forge last week for a few days of rest, I again heard the book referenced on talk radio. When I went into a local bookstore looking for my next read and stumbled upon the book, I decided to give in and read it.

The Harbinger is a Christian examination of Isaiah 9:10 and its prophetic fulfillment in 21st century America presented as a novel. Set in New York City primarily, the work follows a journalist who encounters a mysterious prophet throughout New England. The prophet points out the Old Testament prophecy from Isaiah and then, through a series of engraved stones, begins to reveal the fulfillment of the prophecy in America beginning with the tragic events of 9/11. It’s only in the closing chapters of the book that it is revealed that the work is actually a “prophetic word” presented in the form of a fictional work in order to reach a larger audience.

I suppose we have to look at this work from two points of view. Simply as a book, the writing is easy to follow and has a decent flow to it. It’s not a terribly long read…..I plowed through it in a day and a half. Additionally, it is suspenseful. I found myself coming back time and again to find out what was happening next.

I will be the first to admit that I approach the few prophetic writings I read with lots of skepticism. While I don’t know that I agree with everything presented here, I must admit that the logic and parallels drawn between the situation in ancient Israel and modern America are laid out clearly and appear to be plausible. I further appreciated Cahn’s extensive footnotes to aid the reader in separating fact from contrived fiction.

Whether or not I agree with everything presented in the novel, the message is clear: America needs to repent and return to the God of her earliest foundations or face the judgment of God upon our nation. Simply by looking at our current situation as a nation, any Christian can see that our country’s political and moral choices do not reflect those of a Christian nation. It’s time for a change. The Harbinger may be just the read to draw the focus of many back to the precepts that are so important to “one nation, under God.”


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#16: The Tortilla Curtain (T.C. Boyle)


Now that THAT is out of the way, let me explain why I adored this book.  Set in the canyons and hills of Woodland Hills, California, the novel takes a fresh look at the pursuit of the American dream.  Through the lives of two couples — a wealthy American couple and a homeless pair of illegal immigrants struggling to make their way in a foreign society — Boyle beautifully explores the similarities despite their individual struggles.  Reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, I would recommend that teachers and book lovers of all types take the time to read The Tortilla Curtain in order to be challenged and inspired.

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#15: Jesus Boy (Preston L. Allen)

ImageSchool is out for summer, so that means I actually had time to read an actual book!  Jesus Boy told the story of the members of The Church of Our Blessed Redeemer Who Walked Upon the Waters church located in central Florida.  This congregation is filled with talented members who all struggle with their own frailty, immorality, and sinfulness.  Despite its title, the novel is NOT intended for a Christian audience.  Filled with humor and stereotype, Allen’s novel explores the charismatic church movement of the African-American community with a sharp — and often irreverent — tongue.

I’m glad I read the book, but don’t offer it as a recommendation for others.  2 out of 5 stars.

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#14: The Lost Years (Mary Higgins Clark)

I actually listened to this book a few weeks ago and am just finding time to post it here.  Essentially, the story centers around a long-lost manuscript written by Christ to Joseph of Arimathea.  Whether the concept is based in fact or fiction, it was an interesting read to consider what people would do to obtain a “holy relic”….regardless of their personal faith at the moment.

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