Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's that reflection in the coffee machine?

Our Texas son might be moving to Colorado soon, and our Utah son might move to Portland. In between, we'll offer help choosing apartments, assessing the beauty of views, and searching for furniture. We may even travel to see them too, put bookshelves together and books onto shelves, or offer food and drink. But for now most of our help is offered by internet and telephone, our conversations sprinkled with such strange questions as "Do you think that's a bathroom cabinet behind the next-picture arrow?" and "Is that a reflection of the living room in the side of the washing machine?" Would I even believe this dialog if I read it in a book?

Anyway, long dialogs are my reason for being so late with these book reviews, and much coffee has been consumed. So choose your novel, and choose your brew!

The End of the Line, By Jim Power, looks at society moving rather than people, in a sweet interracial romance that perhaps offers a chance at ending that line between separate and equal. A son's loyalty to his mother and a daughter's to her father are challenged as love grows between them, for all that Latesha tries to pretend Peter's just a very helpful friend. With a great sense for people and place, nicely humorous dialogue, and a touch of Shakespeare (the play must go on), this is a fun, fast and maybe even thought-provoking romance, best enjoyed with a balanced full-flavored three-star coffee.

Dream Student, and Dream Doctor, by J. J. DiBenedetto, are books one and two of an intriguing mystery series. The novels follow the life of an 80s pre-med student who suddenly finds herself hearing her neighbors' dreams, which is fine if the neighbor happens to be falling in love with her, but less so if they're dreaming of walking naked across the stage at graduation. Still worse are the dreams of a predator, but how can you tell ask the police for help catching him with only dreams to guide you? In Dream Doctor, the protagonist marries and enters medical school. with co-ed dorms and too much alcohol flowing, these stories are set against a very real 80s and 90s backdrop, but the characters are warm-hearted, honest, and kind. They suffer the consequences of their mistakes with grace. And I'm eager to read more. Enjoy this series with some bright-lively, easy-drinking two star coffee.

A fun magical book for small children is Magical Toys, by Uncle Amos, a nicely told tale of a boy who would rather play than put his toys away. Bright simple illustrations attract the eye, and there's even a narrated video bonus for kids to enjoy on their computer. A couple of the pictures don't match the text too well, but they're all bright and interesting, and the lesson's well taught. Enjoy with a mild crisp one-star coffee, then tell your kids to tidy up.

And finally, here's something completely different. How Did We Become Angry, by Paula Rose Michelson offers intelligent spiritual Biblically-based help to women whose low self-esteem leaves them forever angry and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Read it slowly, do the exercises, look up the references, and drink some mild crisp coffee to refresh you.


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