Jen’s January 2009 Books

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The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

Very intriguing story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, complete with murder, mystery, and loads of linguistic-rich tidbits. Written in a compelling and readable style, but intellectual enough to keep my interest. Likable characters and centered on language. A must read for anyone interested in the English language.

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce

Charming British children’s book that deals with interesting questions of time and space. Tom is a sympathetic hero, and the book really made me think about life. The book is considered a masterpiece of children’s literature, and I can see why. The best children’s literature does not just tell a story for children, but it interesting to adults as well.

The Death of the Heart
by Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen was an Irish author of the early-to-mid-20th century who followed very closely in Virginia Woolf’s footsteps. However, Bowen’s prose style is much more approachable than Woolf’s, and her stories seem more tangible. This particular novel is rife with quotable quotes and observations about life that I really identify with.

The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson

I’d been introduced to this book a long time ago, but never actually read it. Even though it is short, I really enjoyed it. Sweet and concise, this author challenges readers to pray a new kind of prayer. Since prayer is something that I’m really interested in (how does it work, exactly?), this book was certainly appropriate. We are using it for our winter Bible retreat next month.

The Boy With the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Wow. Even though the book flap says that it doesn’t want to give away the story, I felt like I had most of it figured out in the first few pages. But, the ending did actually surprise me. This book is written from a child’s perspective and seems to be on a child’s level, but it definitely deals with some very heavy issues. Supposedly is being made into a movie.