Saturday, January 3, 2015

for December 2014-Four books

I re-read Gilead by Marilyn Robinson as it was the book chosen by one of my book groups for December.  Each time I read it, I am struck by the beauty of this book.  It is one of my very favorites, second only to To Kill A Mockingbird.  If you haven't read it, run to the library, bookstore, friends, somewhere to find it!  I first read Gilead in January of 2005.  (if you are interested in my take on the book, I reviewed it on this blog December 16, 2010 after my third time reading it)

For my other book group's choice for December we read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  This was my second reading of this book.  I reviewed it on this blog on January 1, 2014. It, too, is an excellent read.  This book lends itself to great discussion in book groups!

In December, I also read Stephen King's newest book, Revival.  It is the story of a charismatic minister
named Charles Jacobs, who came to a small New England town and became beloved by all of his parishioners.  He befriended Jamie Morton, a small boy whose family attended the church, and shared his passion for electricity with Jamie.  However, tragedy struck the Jacobs family and Charles publicly denounced God during a church service.  He was sent away and not heard from again.

Over the years, Jamie developed an interest in guitar and began playing in bands, traveling around the country.  As can often happen in that lifestyle, he began drinking and using heroin to the point that he was destitute.  Then Jamie met up with Charles Jacob again, and that meeting led to years of consequences for Jamie.

As the jacket cover for the book states:

"Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings."

The story spans about fifty years and is quite interesting.  It has made me think more about Stephen King's writing.  I have always thought that he is a great writer (although I find some of his subject matter quite disturbing and have not read all of his books).  The more that I do read of his writing, the more I think that he puts much more into his writing than what is read on the surface.  I have never read any of his books for a book group, but I think that his writing would lend to great thought and discussion.  I will have to consider this!

The last book that I read in December was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I had not read it
before because I had not seen great reviews for it.  I should have known better.  I liked the book quite a bit.  It is a simple read, but I loved the story.

Orphan Train is a historical fiction account based on the true reality of our country between 1854-1929, when orphan children were put on trains headed west to find families to either live with or be adopted by.  Often the children were taken in to be labor for the families, but there were also families who were truly looking for children to be part of their family.

I liked the way the author set up the story.  It involved two main characters: Vivian Daly, who had come to the United States in 1929 with her parents, but was soon orphaned and sent from New York City on an Orphan Train headed west.  She had a hard youth as she went from family to family.  She eventually married and ended up living on the coast of Maine.  Molly Ayers was a young seventeen year old girl who was living in foster care in Maine and had been caught stealing a book.  Her community service was to help the elderly Vivian clear out her attic.

As the two go through Vivian's belongings that have been packed away for years, slowly the story of Vivian's life emerged.  Both realized that they had had similar lives and experiences, wondering about their pasts and their families. 

It was a good story of loss, and new beginnings.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Oh, you've read Revival, and I so want to read this! I'm interested to see that you find him a deeper writer than appears on the surface. I have often thought so too, that he writes interesting ideas and thoughts, and comments on today's world, but is overlooked because he's in the 'horror' genre. As if horror doesn't have a time-honoured tradition of commenting on society's foibles! Glad you enjoyed it so much. I'm working on his 11/22/63 right now.