7 Quick Takes: 7 Books

I’m linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.  I’m trying actually to keep this quick, so here are 7 books I’m either reading now or hoping to read soon:

— 1 —

The Bridge to San Luis Rey:

“On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below.” With this celebrated sentence Thornton Wilder begins The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of the towering achievements in American fiction and a novel read throughout the world.

By chance, a monk witnesses the tragedy. Brother Juniper then embarks on a quest to prove that it was divine intervention rather than chance that led to the deaths of those who perished in the tragedy. His search leads to his own death — and to the author’s timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.

This is the current selection for my book club that meets in, oh, less than a week’s time.  Soooo, I’d better hop to it.  Hopefully it’s available at the library!

I don’t think I’ve read anything by Thornton Wilder before, but I’ve seen Our Town.  Also, his Matchmaker was made into the musical, Hello Dolly.   I watched the movie version of that, starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, over and over again as a kid.  From the description, Bridge to San Luis Rey sounds completely different, but it will be interesting to look for similarities.

— 2 —

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp:

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted–a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

I’ve heard great things about this book but I’m having trouble getting into it.  I will persevere though!

— 3 —

Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet:

Suffering from chronic illness and unable to get satisfactory results from doctors, husband and wife scientists Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet took an intensely personal interest in health and nutrition. They embarked on five years of rigorous research. What they found changed their lives— and the lives of thousands of their readers.  In Perfect Health Diet, the Jaminets explain in layman’s terms how anyone can regain health and lose weight by optimizing nutrition, detoxifying the diet, and supporting healthy immune function. They show how toxic, nutrient-poor diets sabotage health, and how on a healthy diet, diseases often spontaneously resolve.  Perfect Health Diet tells you exactly how to optimize health and make weight loss effortless with a clear, balanced, and scientifically proven plan to change the way you eat—and feel—forever!

I’ve read the first edition of this book, but I skipped around a bit.  The second edition comes out on Dec. 11.  It will be an expanded version of the first, with some more information and some corrections made.  It also will have an index, which is something I repeatedly wished the first version had when I was reading it.

— 4 —

Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath:

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?  Chances are, you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.

I got this from Paperback swap a while ago but haven’t read it yet.  I’m intrigued at the idea  When I was 15 I took, along with the PSAT, a career  aptitude test.  I can’t remember what it said my ideal career would be and I gave it almost no credence.  It would be interesting to go back and find it.  Anyway, maybe this book could give me similar information.

— 5 —

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith:

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle’s walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has “captured the castle”– and the heart of the reader– in one of literature’s most enchanting entertainments.

I watched the movie version on a whim when I saw it on Netflix.  I thought it was beautifully sad and that Romola Garai was so charming in it.  I’m afraid I might find the book juvenile and sickly sentimental.  I’m going to give it a try, though, the next time I need a novel.

— 6 —

The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.  Actually this is something I want to re-read.  This description sums it up pretty well:

This trilogy of novels about World War II, largely based on his own experiences as an army officer, is the crowning achievement of Evelyn Waugh’s career. Its central character is Guy Crouchback, head of an ancient but decayed Catholic family, who at first discovers new purpose in the challenge to defend Christian values against Nazi barbarism, but then gradually finds the complexities and cruelties of war too much for him. Yet, though often somber, the Sword of Honour trilogy is also a brilliant comedy, peopled by the fantastic figures so familiar from Waugh’s early satires. The deepest pleasures these novels afford come from observing a great satiric writer employ his gifts with extraordinary subtlety, delicacy, and human feeling, for purposes that are ultimately anything but satiric.

So these are three books but they read like one.  A funny, unexpectedly pro-life story.  I read this toward the end of my Evelyn Waugh binge of a few years ago, and it’s possibly my favorite of his (though it’s hard to beat Brideshead Revisited).  I love the way this trilogy combines the biting satire of Waugh’s earlier works with the flawed but sympathetic characters you find in Brideshead.

I got to thinking about this trilogy when I read Jen’s blog post here.  There’s a line in the last book of this trilogy that sums it up so well: “Quantitative judgments don’t apply.”  Indeed.

— 7 —

Finally, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne:

Is it too early to read this to Girl 1?  She’s 3 and 11 months.  She loves listening to this wonderful recording of House at Pooh Corner that my mom got for us.  I don’t want to rush things, but I think Winnie the Pooh would be a great first chapter book to read to her.


Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


9 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: 7 Books

  1. So glad I found your blog through Quick Takes, Laura! I love to read, too–a book list is such a good way to put this feature together! I love reading about nutrition and alternative health, so I’ll have to check out Perfect Health Diet. I Capture the Castle is wonderful; I read it back when I was in high school (I heard it was J.K. Rowling’s favorite book, which made me want to get my hands on a copy), so it’s been a while, but I don’t remember it being overly sentimental at all. Sweetly romantic and a little Jane Austen, as I recall!

    • Great! I look forward to reading it. My problem lately is that I’ve been reading more blogs and, of course, writing mine. So I don’t have as much time to read books. Hopefully I’ll reach a balance before too long.

  2. Evelyn Waugh was always one of my favorites- but Brideshead Revisited still is the stand out volume for me. They did a movie a few years back that was a pretty awful read with a really singular agenda. Books are always better….

    • Ugh. I’ve been afraid to watch the recent BR movie bc it sounds Like such a travesty. BBC made a really excellent one back in the 80s with Jeremy irons. It’s looooong but very true to the book. Also there was a fairly good movie made of sword of honor a few years back, starring Daniel Craig. But yes the books are always better!

  3. I’m going to be the exception on Pooh. We tried to read that (the original you’re talking about, right?) to our first child when he was 2 or 3, and I found it unbearably tiresome, and we fell off reading it. I know. Sorry.

    I’m checking out some of the others on your list though!

    • Kathleen if you ever want to give pooh another try get the audiobooks read by Peter Dennis. They would be great for a road trip. My whole family, including my mom and my 8 year old brother, loves them.

  4. We used something like Strengthsfinder at work. I can’t remember exactly which title it was. I didn’t like it so much because you have to take a quiz online and you have to purchase a code to take it. Each book comes with a code, but it can only be used once. I still don’t understand how we are supposed to bring these strengths to bear in our working environment.

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