Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

Strout, Elizabeth. Olive Kitteridge. New York: Random House, 2008.

Plot Summary
This book is a collection of short stories pressed into a novel. Each story could be read separately, but they follow members of one community so they are intertwined. Olive Kitteridge, the title's namesake, makes appearances in almost all of the stories in some way.

My Thoughts
I really don't have much to say about this book. It wasn't bad, but it's not a book that really touched me (or perhaps I'm still thinking about it to figure out how it touches me). I liked that you could read each story on its own, but the common denominator was Olive strung throughout the narrative.

Strout's writing style is not complex, but she does include descriptions of events or people that create an absolute picture of the character or situation. For example, the piano player Angie is described as having "hungry hands" for the keyboard (Strout 51). Strout offers the life philosophy that "People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it" (162).

As I read, I wondered what my story would read like if other people were telling it, like Olive's story is told.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Shack

Young, Wm. Paul. The Shack. Newbury Park, CA: Windblown, 2007.

Plot Summary
Mack Phillips has endured the most horrible thing a parent could: the murder of his child. Four years after the murder, he receives a note to revisit the shack where he daughter was murdered. What he finds there changes his life forever.

My Thoughts
I appreciate Wm. Paul Young's story. There are questions that he raises and ideas that I've wondered about concerning my faith, and he offers suggestions to the answers. When I began reading the book, I was just into the story. Then I started feeling like certain passages were speaking to me. While reading this book, I watched a movie entitled Amish Grace which seemed to reinforce the idea that Young provides in the book. Another incident happened (a friend providing comforting words to another friend), and I felt like it was The Shack's message coming through again.

I noted some page numbers and put asterisks in my book when I felt God speaking to me or when I thought, "Wow! I need to read this/know this/see this again!" I'm just going to list the page numbers and let the book speak for itself. I don't want to ruin Mack's journey for someone reading the book. 143-144, 147, 150, 165, 173, 175, 176, 180, 183, 193, 199, 206, 207, 209, 225, 226.

This book has become a part of me, like many books do, but this one seems more special. I hope that I can carry out what I learned from Mack's weekend at The Shack.