13. Read 30 books

As an English teacher, I am aware of the importance of reading as well as the benefits reading gives to those who become lifelong lovers of the written word. However, I have had a bit of trouble recently with finding a book that I can become totally and completely engrossed in. In a way, I blame my iPad a bit– I have been reading off of it lately, but I find that I am easily distracted by other apps and not as focused on the words on the page. For that reason, I am going to start going back to regular, physical books and see if that makes a difference in holding my attention.

Here are some of my recent reads:

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Summary: Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, underwent a rare and serious viral attack on his brain that sent him into a coma for 7 days. It was a miracle that he survived, but even more miraculous was the experience with the afterlife he had while in the coma. His story is an account of his encounter with the “Divine source of the universe itself.”

My take: I always enjoy reading these types of books, but I also can’t help but be skeptical of them as well. In several places throughout the book, Alexander states that he cannot put into words what he experienced, but then he goes on to try to and the result is a bit confusing and a bit repetitive. I did appreciate the main message, even if it wasn’t wholly God-centered, which is, as he states: “None of us are ever unloved. Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator who cherishes us beyond any ability we have to comprehend.” In short, God is love, and He awaits the day we are united with him in His Kingdom with much anticipation.

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GoodReads Summary: An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.

My take: This book was chosen for the book club I am a part of at work. While I typically enjoy a tale that spans a character’s lifespan, I was not at all invested in this character and therefore cared little about what happened to her. McDermott needed to make this character much more multi-dimensional and rounded, but instead I felt like I was reading a dry account of an uninteresting life.

3. silver_linings_playbook_cover_bookGoodReads Summary: Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G! In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.

My take: Of course I became interested in reading this after seeing and loving the movie. The book and the film are very similar, but if I hadn’t already familiarized myself with Pat’s character through Bradley Cooper’s performance, I would have been frustrated with now the narrator was portrayed. He seemed to be child-like rather than being bipolar. I do think I enjoyed the book more because I had seen the movie, but I typically read the book before seeing the movie. In this case, I am glad I did it the other way around.

Reading now:

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