Friday, January 16, 2015

Resting my eyes and reading, or maybe drinking coffee.

My Mum had her cataracts removed a few years ago. The operation went really well, and she was enormously excited at being able to see again. Still, when she visited me, I would always be the one who could find my way around the local supermarket. Familiar aisles combined with my younger eyes and faster reading speed I supposed... and so I continued to suppose until this year. But now it's Mum who says, "Sheila, the milk's over there," and, "It says hair products are on that aisle," as we wander in search of shampoo. It doesn't seem fair.

I went to the opthalmologist again yesterday and learned my "not yet ripe" cataract has a spur that's growing through the center of the lens. Nobody's sure, but that could be why I'm starting to struggle so much. So here I sit today, after all those tests, with itching eyes well-washed with sandpaper, a headache that says don't try to look too closely at anything, decisions to make about whether to have that cataract removed before my sight gets worse, and a whole slew of book reviews overdue.

And an urge to drink more coffee of course.

So pick your brew and I'll post these reviews as fast as I can, then rest these eyes.

A wonderful faith-filled book seems a good place to start when worrying about sight, and the Joy of the Gospel, by Pope Francis, certainly fits the bill. It's an enticing and thought-provoking read, from beginning to end. But it's structured for dipping and seeking too, with separate sections and subsections nicely numbered and outlined. There are some fairly ponderous references, and fascinating concepts carefully explained. But the overall feel is of a book of joy, inspiring joy, written by someone who knows what joy really means, and wishes we'd enjoy out faith instead of condemning our neighbors for not understanding. Enjoy this with a rich, elegant, complex 4-star cup of coffee.

The Genesis One Code, by Daniel Friedmann, is a somewhat different book, again offering enormous food for thought, with careful diagrams and background, beautifully researched and well laid out. I'm not sure yet if I agree with its analysis, but it's a truly fascinating synthesis of Genesis 1, Jewish mystical studies, and science, and I really enjoyed reading it. Have some rich elegant 4-star coffee on hand as you follow its path.

Down and Out, by Marcy G. Dyer, is Christian romantic suspense, and offers another joyful look at faith, including it very naturally in the lives of naturally flawed characters. Jumping to conclusions about our neighbors or ourselves proves to be a mistake as two people are drawn together by romance and torn apart by danger. Enjoy with some lively easy-drinking 2-star coffee, but keep something bolder, 5-star perhaps, on hand for when things turn dark.

Margaret Vandenburg’s The Home Front, explores the real, the virtual and the secret through the lives of an officer flying drones, an autistic child, and a mother falling for the internet's quick-fix allure. Oddly unsettling in places, deeply intriguing, and truly enthralling, it's threaded with hope and humor, and richly elegant and complex, deserving an elegant complex four-star coffee.

Sinking Down, Road Ghosts Book 2, by Eric Garrison, will take your thoughts in a very different direction, but there's still food for spiritual thought in a modern day road-trip horror story with Wiccan overtones and questions of soul and salvation. I loved book 1, and I love book 2 as well. Enjoy with a well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored 3-star coffee.

Reclamation is Jackie Gamer's third Leland Dragons book, and it's a wonderful end to the series, possibly the strongest novel of the three. Filled with great characters and fascinating revelations, it sends it's human/dragon protagonist on a quest to save the world, but she'd really rather just stop and stay in the home she's only just returned to. Enjoy with rich complex tale with a rich complex four-star coffee.

Then there's Finding Home by J.W. Phillips, where not-quite angel meets not-quite-demon and romance ensues. Cross Beauty and the Beast with Twilight and you'll get the picture.

And for something completely different, here are two wonderful children's books.

The Carrot Race, by Sigal Adler, is a nicely illustrated rhyming tale to read to the kids, teaching how what's hidden just might be what's important. Enjoy with a mild crisp one-star coffee.

And Cinderella’s Secret Slipper, by Alinka Rutkowska, offers a truly fun tale of Cinderella's life after marriage, with promise of forgiveness and hope for kids who occasionally break things. Enjoy with a live bright easy-drinking two-star coffee.

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