Tuesday, November 25, 2008

reading Challenge 2008

I've been slightly remiss in posting my books, and also slightly remiss in reading in general.  Not a lot of free time lately...but the latest fun book I read (before today) was The Boleyn Inheritance.  It was a fun Philippa Gregory...a princess book, quite literally.  Following the women who spent their lives chasing after, trying to hold, and fearing Henry VIII.  It was an intriguiging court tale, as all her books are!

Today I spent the day in my pjs (though I did work from home for a few minutes), and I read The Virgin's Lover, another Philippa Gregory princess book--this time about Elizabeth.  I think it's the novel that immediately precedes her latest, The Other Queen, which is about what happens to Mary Queen of Scots when Elizabeth's paranoia gets the better of her.  This book is about Elizabeth's first two years as queen, and in essence is about what happens to Robert Dudley (and his wife)...in some ways, a cautionary tale about unbridled ambition, in other ways a story about the lizard brain and what happens when it takes over.  (um, to use more technical language, when the sympathetic nervous system rules and the parasympathetic nervous system gets shoved aside.)  It was a fun fluff book for today!

Just in time for the high school retreat (which was, by the way, fabulous--we had a good time and we explored lots of different types of prayer, including waking up in the middle of the night to just hang out with God in creation...at a campfire, of course.  It's November, after all...) I finished Downtime: helping teenagers pray.  It was great, of course.  With the one small problem I have with nearly all Yaconelli youth ministry books:  I'm not always convinced that the teenagers he writes about (and about whom he writes with such authority, it makes me forget that in some ways he stereotypes an entire generation--which makes me crazy when people do it about young adults!) are the same as the teenagers I work with.  He insists that teens are dying inside for lack of downtime, for space to pray and be quiet and that they will just fall all over contemplative practices.  I think the first part of that is true, but I'm not convinced about the second yet.  Having said that, on this retreat we had more silence and more real conversation about prayer than we've ever had before.  So maybe it's just an atmosphere thing...if you take them out of their comfort zones, they'll become contemplatives?  hmm...maybe not.  We'll see, I guess!  Anyway, I really liked this book--more than some of the others, actually.  Probably because it had concrete practice suggestions, many of which I already do and really like.  True scholarship because it confirms my biases! (so sayeth one of my church members...usually in jest, I promise!


  1. That book sounds great, though I share your questions. Glad the retreat went well!

  2. What did you think of the Gregory books? I read The Other Boleyn Girl and I have those 2, but I couldn't get into the Virgin's Lover. I was really into reading a bunch of Tudor nonfiction for a while, and didn't completely appreciate the liberties she takes with historical facts (not as much as The Tudors on Showtime, granted), but they're good reads. Did you think the movie was horrible!?!? I certainly did.

  3. I confess I didn't see the movie....maybe I'll get around to it sometime this winter.

    I like Philippa Gregory because it's good fluff. I generally ignore most of the "facts" because I figure historical fiction is fairly liberal in fact interpretation....I did like the newest book (The Other Queen).