Sunday, September 18, 2016

Donny's Brain

Munro, Rona.  Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhan Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman. Donny's Brain. L.A. Theatre Works, 2015. Audio book.

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Summary (from SYNC Audiobooks)
The acclaimed Scottish playwright Rona Munro has created a remarkable story about a man who wakes up from a car crash with brain damage. Now, he sees the world as the person he was three years ago, when his life and loves were in a very different place.
An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:
Jared Harris as Donny
Sophie Winkleman as Emma
Siobhán Hewlett as Trish
Moira Quirk as Flea
Paul Fox as Al
Donny’s Brain is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

My Thoughts
Hmmm...this play made me think about how incredible our brains are. It also made me think about people who've had strokes, dementia and Alzheimer's. It made me think about how memories can be so vivid, or skewed or flat wrong. Again, our brains are fascinating.

I also enjoyed the accents of the actors and actresses.

This was a short play (only two acts). At times, I thought it was not being represented as well as an audio book as it would be on stage (or film).  When gathering info. for the blog,  I did read that this was recorded in front of a live audience.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Zac & Mia

Betts, A. J.  Read by Kristin Condon and Nicholas Mondelli. Zac & Mia. Dreamscape Media, 2014. Audio book.
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Summary (from Audiobooks Sync) 
"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.
So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door.
Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices."
My Thoughts
Despite that the story is about kids (teens) with cancer, I really enjoyed listening to this book! Zac and Mia shouldn't be friends--but a stay in the hospital collides their worlds. Not everything is perfect in their relationship. Each must grow and trust each other at different times. We hear from both characters in the very popular dual narrator narrative technique. I thought the characters were very believable.

The story takes place in Australia, and there are some words that are regional (i.e., boot for car trunk).

I was glad the author included an epilogue. If the book ended without this, I would have been mad.

There is some graphic sexual content and cursing.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

John's Story

LaHaye, Tim and Jerry B. Jenkins. John's Story: The Last Eyewitness. New York: Berkley Praise, 2006. Print.
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My Thoughts
I've had this book for four years now. It's been quietly sitting on the pile waiting for me to "find" time to read it. I've often been at church and think, "I really need to read that book! I might understand more about the sermon/lesson/comment." Well, last weekend was the "right" time. I took it with me to Six Flags (oh, I took my daughter and a few of her friends, too).  While the girls waiting in eternal lines in the heat, I found myself on a bench in the shade enjoying this fictionalized story of John.

The story was so believable that I had to remind myself that this is fiction.  It starts in Rome, AD 95 then goes back a year when John was in Ephesus (almost 20 chapters of the book take place during this one year--when John is telling his stories of Jesus to Polycarp to write down in order to share with the world). Chapter 23 moves ahead to AD 96. After the "account" of John's life, the book includes the transcribed stories "The Words of John" that we now know as John, 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. I didn't read these as part of the book.

I'm now ready to start my Revelations bible study that I've been planning to do all year. I have some background and am not afraid to read this book in the Bible that has scared me my entire life.

I've learned Mark & Luke each have a story in this series as well. It might be a few years, but I'm sure I'll get them read when I "find the right time" to read them.

Some things I marked in the book:
"In the first, he [Paul] cautioned against becoming enamored of philosophy and vain deceit. In essence, he was saying that those who enjoy considering every new wave of doctrine run the risk of being blown about by the wind" (LeHaye 30). I think many people do this. I've attended my church for over 20 years. I've seen people come, leave, come back, leave. I've seen other friends "church hop" for various reasons. I compare this quote to the "non-denomination" churches that are turning into mega churches. Lots of thoughts with these two sentences. This also connects to something I marked a little later in the book when John and Cerinthus are exchanging words. Cerinthus proposes that "the number three is key to all the mysteries" and that he has been "mentored by angels." The people chant to hear the new. John's friend Ignatius says, "The crowd has spoken. Desist in trying to cast your pearls before swine" (LaHaye 47). Often, as humans, we want the new because we think it must be better.

Another thing I marked: "'He [Jesus] tried to tell us many times that He had been sent only to do the will of His Father, and He even made clear that this would mean His own death. But we heard only what we wanted to hear'" (LaHaye 83). Yep. How often this happens between people, but I also find it between me and God. I don't always hear what is being said.

On page 99, I had to mark an entire paragraph. "Followers of the Christ feel compelled to draw others into His kingdom, and yet few do all the work themselves. Some plant the seed of salvation, telling someone of the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the work Christ accomplished on the cross. Someone else may till that soil by explaining the Scriptures or living an exemplary life before that person. And finally yet someone else may harvest the crop by leading that one to become a believer" (LaHaye 99). I can see my own spiritual mentors with this description.