Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#8: Please Look After Mom (Kyung-Sook Shin)

My reading life has been a bit slow so far this year, so when I found myself with some free time to dive into a novel, I wanted to make sure that I found something that was well-written and moving. That means I returned to My Library Shelf project and began reading Please Look After Mom, a touching story of love, loss, and family.

As you might guess from the cover art and the author’s name, the novel is set in South Korea. Mom and Dad are country people whose four children have moved to urban areas to pursue their careers. As the parents travel to Seoul by train, the two become separated in the busy train station and Mom is lost. The novel now revolves around the family’s efforts to locate their missing mother in this massive and fast-paced city.

As each child participates in the frantic search, the children reflect upon their relationship with Mom as well as numerous interactions with her throughout their lives. How did they fail to notice that she was becoming sicker with each passing day? Why did her questions frustrate them? Were they ashamed of her? Did they view her as an inconvenience and a nuisance instead of a treasure and source of wisdom?

Please Look After Mom came into my life while I was already struggling with being separated from my own parents. The novel’s messages have continued to resonate with me in light of my mother’s health challenges in the past week. (Thankfully my family was not facing that crisis while I was reading the novel; I’m certain that would have sent me over the cliff!) Shin’s novel is not an easy read. The English translation can sometimes be cumbersome while attempting to maintain as much of its distinctly Korean aspects as possible. Despite its occasional awkwardness, Please Look After Mom was a beautiful story of love, regret, and hope that is common to all families and will definitely stay with this reader for many years to come.

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Update: Books #3-7!

So it seems that I have been quite slothful in updating my book reviews. Although I have been almost too busy to tell anyone about the books I’ve read, I have managed to fit reading into my routine and proceed toward my annual reading goal.  In order to keep this post from getting far too long, I’m going to try to summarize my feelings about the novels quickly and succinctly.

#3 and #4:  Rejoice and Reunion by Karen Kingsbury. These were the final books in the Redemption series. I have traditionally avoided Christian fiction because I find it to be predictable and unmoving. Kingsbury’s series completely changed my opinion. I fell in love with these characters and found myself laughing and crying as their lives faced challenging circumstances that were overcome through their faith. Definitely a series that I would recommend.

#5: Every Fifteen Minutes (Lisa Scottoline). I began reading this thriller as an audio book while traveling to San Antonio for a music conference. I was intrigued by the story about a psychopath and the doctors treating patients in a prominent mental health ward. Fascinating, exciting, and well worth the time!

#6: Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult). If you have known me very long, you won’t be surprised to hear that I adored Jodi Picoult’s latest novel. This book was probably my favorite of her works yet. The story centers around an African-American nurse who faces severe racism while caring for the newborn child of a white supremacist couple. As a result of the couple’s feelings, the nurse is removed from the baby’s care team. When an emergency on the ward arises, she finds herself monitoring the baby — who suddenly experiences distress. The child dies and the nurse is now on trial for murder. Was it appropriate for her to follow the instructions of her supervisors and the wishes of the parents or should a moral imperative directed her response? Timely topic and interesting discussion for those who choose to read with an open mind and open heart.

#7: Forget Me Not (Fern Michaels). Life is going well for Lucy. She is the successful owner of a book franchise and is loving her life. A single phone call changes everything as she learns that her parents were tragically killed in a car collision. Or were they? Hidden stashes of passports, cash, and guns in mysterious home safes are just the beginning of the mystery Lucy must unlock as she discovers who her parents really were and what she has unknowingly gotten involved with. A fast, fun read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

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