Kindle convert-3rd edition

Read about why a book-lover would even care about a Kindle here and here.

One of the more intriguing aspects of my Kindle is that I can post quotes from books I'm reading to Facebook and Twitter. I enjoy social media, and what better way to share interesting thoughts from a book you are working on than a tweet or FB status? It's a way of sharing interesting thoughts, and sparking discussions. I like how people comment or reply with their own take on the book, which sometimes is quite different from my own. And I really like how sometimes people will suggest other books I might like based on a quote or note or thought I share through the Kindle on these social networking tools. I like being part of a community of thinkers, and it has surprised me how my Kindle has contributed to that.

I held back for a while because I feared the fragility of the device, but I finally got brave enough to tote my Kindle to the gym. I was totally surprised by how much I thoroughly love it! Reading on a treadmill is...tricky, to say the least. It still requires some effort at concentration, but what I love about the Kindle is that you don't have pages flopping over or have to be worried about losing your place. You hit the "next page" button mid-stride, and it waits for you to consume it. It's sweet like that. :)

An ed-tech blogger recently posted this about the "eBook Revolution" in schools.
I also caught this link on Twitter about the Kindle Revolution.
Great stuff!


Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (Dan Cruver, John Piper, Jason Kovacs, Scotty Smith, & Richard Phillips)

Having recently experienced international adoption and having my eyes opened in such radical ways, I've also become sensitive to the adoption community. My family has attended adoption conferences and seminars, and have been able to learn from some incredible thinkers in the adoption world. The authors of this book are among them.

My husband and I felt called to adopt an orphan, and it was during the long and arduous process that we learned levels of Ephesians 1 that we had never contemplated before. How very interesting it is that while the most significant encounter of our lives is becoming adopted into the family of God, (and for Christians is the primary motive for adopting), it is nearly insurmountable that we truly and fully understand the depth of our adoption by God until we have experienced the adoption of our own child.

"One of my dreams is that when Christians hear the word adoption, they will think first about their adoption by God." (author Dan Cruver, first chapter, first sentence). Dan, along with several other authors, sets out to encourage just that in their newly released book Reclaiming Adoption. Within each chapter, John Piper, Dan Cruver, Jason Kovacs, Scotty Smith, and Richard Phillips each take turns delving into separate and unique characteristics of our vertical adoption as God's children, along with application in the horizontal adoption of our own children here on Earth.

The voice of each writer is evident, as is their careful choreography of collective authorship. I found their words encouraging as an adoptive mother and as a believer striving to grow in my relationship with God.  I also found myself quite pleasantly surprised and challenged by their fresh ideas in our meditations as believers of being adopted as heirs with Christ, as well as some cutting edge thoughts and philosophies in regard to orphan care within the church.

Thanks to my Kindle, I can easily navigate back to my list of notes, marks, and highlights from this book. It is truly the mark of a great work when, out of its 100 or so pages, I have 50 of these notations to review.

For more information about the authors, the book, or the T4A network, visit:



The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

Of all the books I read, there are precious few that grab hold of my heart the way this one has. I have not fallen so deeply in love with a book like this since To Kill a Mockingbird. The hubs was privy to many of the hilarious occurrences buried in these twenty or so odd chapters, and I love him for always listening when I started out with "You are not gonna believe what Minny Jackson has done to Miss Hilly Holbrook now!"

Set in the tumultuous 1960's in the even more volatile city of Jackson, Mississippi, this is the tale of a blossoming novelist and her desire to write about the precarious relationship between white ladies and their black maids. "The help" finally get their chance to tell their side of the story, but it is not without consequence for these truly brave women of Jackson.

Like all great novels, The Help is wondrously complex, with its side stories twisting and turning all over one another in one red hot mess. Skeeter is a new graduate with no prospects for a husband and, much to her momma's chagrin, is itching to put her shiny new English degree to use. While writing for the town paper, Skeeter's eyes become opened to the injustice of the way black people are treated. She begins to question the lines that have always been so clearly assumed between the white family and the help. Aibileen is one of the first maids willing to share her stories, and is soon followed by several others, all with the strictest condition of anonymity. They all have much to lose if they are discovered.

There are some truly lovable women in this book. Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter are just the kinds of characters you love to love. Hilly, Stuart, and Elizabeth are simply the ones you love to hate. Regardless of which side they are on, every character is distinctively complicated. Their natures and their situations would easily give way to endless discussions in a book club or high school lit class.

I'm definitely filing this one under "Favorites." :)

For more about the author: http://www.kathrynstockett.com/ 

I also just discovered that The Help is coming to a theater near you in August! :)


Numbers (Moses)

The book of Numbers kicks off about a year after the Israelites were liberated from Egyptian bondage, about a year after the Lord sent the people the 10 Commandments (which formed them into a nation).

The next step for the nation of Israel was to form their military. The Lord decreed that a census be taken, in order to discover the number of men available for military service in each of the 12 tribes. At this time they were also given their assigned places in the camp setup. Every time the cloud or fire of the Lord that hovered over the tabernacle indicated that it was time to stop, the tribes were to form a rectangular shape, with the tabernacle in the center. And actually, there were 13 tribes, but the tribe of Levi had been set aside as the priesthood. The Levites were in charge of the tabernacle; all the tedious setting-up and taking-down of the place with every change of campsite. They were in charge of making offerings, and had a gajillion specific things to do to properly prepare. There were tens of thousands of Levites, and all the guys were numbered off to take their turn in the tabernacle. Being born as a Levite meant lifetime of preparing for entering the presence of the Lord. To do so in that time without proper preparation would result in immediate death, so it was a rather hazardous career.

One especially interesting chapter was Numbers 5, which is subtitled in my Bible as the "Adultery Test." It was decreed that if a "spirit of jealousy" were to come over a man regarding whether his wife might have committed adultery, he could take her to the priest for the adultery test. The woman would have to stand before the presence of the Lord with her hair let down and holding a grain offering, and the priest would have the woman swear an oath. If she had not committed adultery, she would be free to conceive children. If she was guilty, she would be cursed with a swollen abdomen and her thigh would waste away. I'm still reading and re-reading this chapter to try and sort it out. I have questions. One is, why single out the women? Dudes were much more likely to have relations with another woman/wife than women were to go looking for a man to cheat with. Another question is, um, wouldn't a pregnant belly look like a "swollen abdomen?" Say the wife was innocent and resumed her life, only when she conceived and her womb began to grow, how were people to know whether she was living the curse of the swollen belly or simply with child? I can't imagine that they would go peeking around under the girls' dresses, checking for that whole wasted thigh thing. Or who knows...maybe they did. This perplexes me.  And it certainly seems to me like such a provision in the culture would give rise to paranoid husbands.

Another Numbers chapter that sparked questions within me was Numbers 12. Miriam and Aaron were super duper important to Moses. However, apparently they had let their importance to him go to their heads because suddenly they were criticizing his choice of a wife and became greedy for the power he had. They grumbled and whined and complained, and even argued with Moses to his face. They made a critical mistake, and certainly deserved punishment. Numbers 12:9-15 tells us that the anger of the Lord burned against them, and "their" punishment was that Miriam was stricken with leprosy and shut outside the camp for 7 days. Uh, what about Aaron? I haven't been able to find what his punishment was, though it's possible that I've missed it.

Also as part of their first anniversary of their exodus from Egypt, the people observed the Passover. Instructions were given for this, as well as descriptions of the various types of offerings to be given and their purposes.

Enter Caleb. He was a good chap, and one of the only 2 who left Egypt as an adult who would actually enter the promised land. Caleb was part of the group of spies sent on a recon mission in Israel's first approach to the land that God had promised them, and one of the only team members who didn't return with exaggerative statements about how gigantic the people were and how they were like grasshoppers in comparison.

And oh my word, these Israelites were some whiney hineys in Numbers. They whined about the food (apparently their miracle manna was sub-par to their spoiled little taste buds), about Moses's leadership, about not having any meat, about the land, etc. They even try to stone old Moses before this book is up! God got a wee bit angry with them, and threatened to "smite them with pestilence," and Moses pleaded on their behalf. God spared them, but decrees that the whiney hineys shall not be entering the promised land. Which meant the nation of Israel then had to wander around for about 40 years, until the generation of losers died off. Gracious, this challenged me so much! I do not want to be the stumbling block that prevents my children from receiving blessings from the Lord.

Chapter 15 goes into great length about the laws for atoning for unintentional sin. This was a good reminder for me that the Bible is clear: even unintentional sin is still sin. Chapter 16 is wildly dramatic, when another dumb gang of rebel leaders starts verbally condemning the leadership of Moses, and they come to a strange demise when the ground opens up and swallows them whole.

And it is in chapter 20 that Moses makes a critical error. God was using him in yet another miracle, which of course had become routine for Moses. Only Moses made the mistake of stating that "we bring forth water for you out of this rock." Oooh, Moses. It makes me cringe. The Lord's response was something like, "Uh, excuse Me?! NO PROMISED LAND FOR YOU!"

A note I had previously written in my Bible beside this passage was "May we never attempt to share in God's glory." For Moses, this cost him his entrance to the promised land. For us, this is costly as well. I can't imagine how much Moses would have grieved this punishment. But if he was half the man I think he was, he would have understood the justice of it.

The end of Numbers is filled with brief but important milestones for Israel. There's this dude named Balaam who had a rather interesting encounter with a talking donkey. The army that assembled at the beginning of this book eventually began to take action going about the physical conquering of the promised land. There was a second census, which proved that the generation of whiney hineys were gone. Joshua was named as Moses's successor as leader of the Israelites. Inheritance guidelines were set in place.

The nation of Israel was beginning to prepare for their promised land.


20 Boy Summer (Sarah Ockler)

Anna and Frankie are best friends and have grown up together, spending their whole lives as next-door neighbors. The one and only secret that they have between them is Anna's crush on Frankie's brother, Matt, and his reciprocated feelings. Anna and Matt fall in love, and plan to tell Frankie about their relationship...until Matt's very sudden death. Anna stows Matt away in her heart and grieves alone with her secret, all while trying to help her friend deal with the loss of her brother. Frankie's parents are of very little help to their daughter as they are cycling through their own waves of despair. 

Frankie deals with Matt's death by closing herself off from the world and becoming barely recognizable to her family and friends. Perpetually living on the dangerous edge, her newest wild notion is a competition between herself and Anna, in how many guys they can meet in the 20 days of their summer trip to the beach. An attempt to lose themselves in a sloppy mess of boys proves to be both an adventure and a mistake. 

Eventually, Anna and Frankie have their first real conversation about Matt, and it becomes evident that this book is not about whether friendships can withstand secrets, it's about whether friendships can survive secrets revealed. The answer for Anna and Frankie will surprise you. 

*I won this book in a giveaway over at this blog, along with some homemade oatmeal soaps, some fun office supplies, and a lovely bookmark. Isn't it super fun to win something? It's even better to win something that you actually like. Thanks again, @mrsookworm! :) Y'all be sure to check out her blog, too.



Leviticus (Moses)

The third book in the Bible deals with the holiness of God. In my Bible there is a footnote that I found quite interesting. In this book alone, the term "holiness" is mentioned 152 times, significantly more than in any other book of the Bible. In a word cloud of Leviticus, "holiness" would likely be one of the largest words visible. Interesting. And rather humbling. I could not be less worthy of reading a book from God's Word specifically written about holiness. Yet, here we are. This is grace.

The book is divided into two main sections: the people's worship of a holy God through sacrifices and celebration, and directions for living a holy life. Leviticus shows His very specific instructions for the priests (from the tribe of Levi), as well as guidelines for the nation of Israel. The type of sacrifices and manner in which they were to be presented, the feasts and times of worship for the people to set apart from their normal routine, and precepts for the preservation of the health of people in the community are listed in painstaking detail. The people knew without question what the Lord expected of them and their society as a whole. I like that. There is safety in clearly-communicated expectations. And there is the gracious provision of atonement through burnt, grain, wave, etc. offerings when those clearly-communicated expectations are broken.

In the first several chapters, the people are presented with directions for preparing their offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. When worshiping the one true holy God, the people had to provide a sacrifice on behalf of their breaking of the law of that time. He permitted them to lay their hands on the animal and transfer their sin to the animal in order for them to retain favor with God. There are explicit admonishments against idol worship, especially offering human sacrifices to such idols; they were strictly forbidden.

Near the middle of this book, Aaron and his sons are set aside and consecrated as the priests of Israel. There is a very fancy ceremony, with oil and anointing and all that jazz. As I read about all the specific things that Aaron and his sons had to do in order to prepare the altar for offerings, I noted that it must have taken them HOURS to prepare. Their whole life was wrapped up in preparing the altar.

In chapter 11, the Lord gives the people boundaries for the consumption of animals as food. I found this extremely interesting, because the hubs and I have done a lot of research lately about the most healthful and wholesome foods, and much of what we have discovered was right here all along in Leviticus.

Check this out:
-11:3-DO eat animals whose hooves are completely divided and chews cud (this has to do with the type of digestive system the animal has-the whole chewing the cud deal is really the animal's filtration system-examples: buffalo, cow, goat, sheep/lamb, moose, deer, giraffe)
-11:4-DO NOT eat of animals whose hooves are divided and/or does not chew cud (camel, pig, rabbit, shaphan/hyrax, etc.)
-11:9-DO eat anything in the water that has fins and scales (fish)
-11:12-DO NOT eat anything in the water without fins and scales (again, these are the animals on the lowest levels of life in the sea and have very poor filtration systems; examples: shrimp, lobster, catfish, crabs, oysters)
-11:13-19-DO NOT eat these birds: eagle, vulture, buzzard, kite/raptor, falcon, raven, ostrich, owl, hawk, sea gull, pelican, stork, heron, bat, hoopoe (OK, so that means we get a pass on chicken)
-11:20-DO eat these insects: locust, cricket, grasshopper (all other are "detestable")
-11:27-DO NOT eat an animal that walks on its paws (cat, dog, etc.)
-11:29-30-DO NOT eat things that swarm on the earth (mouse, mole, snake, gecko, crocodile, chameleon, "great lizard"-dinosaur? Komodo dragon? etc.)

It's definitely very thought-provoking.

Continuing on, there are guidelines for cleanliness as related to childbirth, leprosy and other diseases, and the cleansing of germies. All of this was for the protection of the people.

Many times I noticed (and underlined) that all throughout Leviticus, as soon as the Lord issued a guideline for a certain category, He always included provisions for the poor...for them to offer what they can afford, for their sacrifice to be acceptable, etc. This is a noteworthy observation because it indicates yet again God's heart for the impoverished. It challenges me not to overlook the poor and ways to help them.

In chapter 18, I chuckled a bit because there are several verses that deal with not viewing so-and-so in his or her nakedness. Seems like one blanket verse could have worked, but I suppose there is a reason for the specificity. But seriously. Apparently they must have been having a lot of trouble with nakedness and peepers, and that sort of just makes me laugh when I imagine it!

Leviticus is wrapped up with the instructions for parties, celebrations, and festivals to be conducted as part of rest and worship. The Year of Jubilee was particularly interesting as they were supposed to celebrate in the 50th year with total amnesty from debt, servitude, and returning all land to its original owners. I had not heard or read of the Year of Jubilee before (other than that "Days of Elijah" song from 10 years ago) and was intrigued by it. I haven't discovered much more about it, but it's nice to think about. That would be quite a party, wouldn't it? It's on my list of things to ask Him about.

I'm glad that the same God who very specifically lays out the details of living a life of holiness and offering sacrifices is also a God who likes to plan parties.


Mockinjay (Suzanne Collins)

Katniss and Peeta have been forced to enter the arena yet again. Their victories in Hunger Games and Catching Fire were insufficient for the Capitol's cowardly scum, and Katniss and Peeta (along with dozens of other victors) must take part in a special round of the Games. This round will change everything. For everyone. 

The Games go badly, and Peeta is taken hostage by the Capitol. The President, who has developed an intense hatred of Katniss and Peeta over the past year, makes it his personal goal to torture Peeta beyond all recognition. 

Katniss has endured more, lost more, and been hurt more than any other tribute in the Games. She has to somehow find it within herself to pull it together for Peeta, and for the people of the districts. 

In a dramatic ending to a wildly climactic series, Katniss is faced with the opportunity to physically lead her people in a new direction. She shocks the world, and herself, with her choice. 

Best. Series. EVAH. Run along now and read it up today, people! 

The end. 



Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)

Surely by now the Capitol has realized that by messing with Katniss Everdeen, they have messed with the wrong girl? 

Apparently not. 

Even though she survived her first Hunger Games, Katniss has been brought back for another round. The trivial matter of lifetime immunity has been brushed aside by the bloodthirsty savages in the Capitol. Interestingly enough, when Katniss emerged as a winner in her first Hunger Games, she began a spark of rebellion in the people of the districts that just may propel them all to freedom. With every subsequent victory, she grows in popularity as the symbolic leader of the insurrection against the Capitol. 

Interestingly enough, a key element in the success of the rebellions involves Katniss and Peeta's exploration of a romance...and no one, not even the two of them, can decipher its authenticity. 

Catching Fire was irrefutably substandard to Hunger Games, but an essential stepping stone to the phenomenal conclusion of Katniss and Peeta in Mockinjay. Stay tuned! 



The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Sometime in the future, there are 12 Districts. Each District is responsible for a certain industry, but is never permitted to flourish because of the tyranny of the Capitol. This means that every district is filled with people who are sick, starving, and always worried about basic needs. The Capitol controls boundaries, food, and medicine, and tightly so. 

As part of the Capitol's efforts to remind the people in the districts exactly who is in charge, every year the Hunger Games takes place. Two tributes from each district are selected by lottery to take part in a fight to the death, as the world watches it live on TV. The winner of the games is awarded a lifetime supply of food and shelter, which in turn benefits their entire district. 

Katniss Everdeen suddenly finds herself as one of this year's tributes for her district. Along with Peeta Melark (the other tribute from her district), Katniss enters the arena with a few dozen others who are eager to kill her as quickly as possible. The fights are gruesome, revealing the very worst of human nature, and leaving some definite surprises in the outcome of the most unique Hunger Games of all time. 

Without question, this book was the single best work of fiction I consumed in 2010. I was intrigued because there had been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the novel, and rightly so. To me, The Hunger Games was sort of The Giver meets The Lottery with a slice of Survivor and The Hatchet on the side, but somehow that strange combination was brilliant. I borrowed this book from a young adult library in my school's feeder pattern, and was so thankful that I had a Kindle to immediately download and begin the second book in the series! 

I barely even closed the cover of The Hunger Games before beginning the second book in the series. Next up, Catching Fire... 



2010 Faves

Better late than not at all! :)



The Confession (John Grisham)

Donte' Drumm is a young man wrongly accused, wrongly convicted, and potentially on his way to being wrongly executed by the state of Texas. There is a team of legal experts working feverishly to save him, but the one person who can set him free is the man who actually committed the crime of which Donte' is accused. 

Enter Travis Boyette. Total freak and creepazoid with one disgusting crime after another on his record, Travis is one troubled man. He decides it's time to confess to the world that he knows Donte' is innocent, and explain how he knows that, and chooses a Lutheran minister in Kansas as his recipient. Pastor Keith Schroeder is in for the ride of his life as he and Travis race to Texas in a last minute attempt to set Donte' Drumm free. 

The Confession was an absolute fantastic read! I do love a good Grisham, and this one was definitely one of his best. No confusing legal jargon, no technical and detail-heavy plots that twist beyond all recognition. Just a great story that leaves you thinking, truly thinking, about what you believe and why you believe it. Capital punishment is definitely an issue that divides America, and not always along party lines. It is good to examine your beliefs in order to alter or affirm them, and it's why I am liking this one a great deal. I do love a good book that makes me think! 



Kindle Convert-2nd edition

It's good to have become more comfy with my Kindle. Read about my conversion here. At this stage, I would say easily that I read every single day for at least 10 minutes on my Kindle, and that of the 8 books I have going right now, 7 of them are on my Kindle. My reading has not changed, but my reading habits are.

Here are some additional perks I've noticed about using the Kindle:

  • pre-orders are available for hotly anticipated books, and are magically directly delivered to your Kindle at the stroke of midnight on release date (actually, whenever you turn on the device after it is released...but technically that could be midnight!)
  • the aforementioned books are always cheaper than purchasing it in a store
  • some library systems are beginning to provide e-checkouts for Kindle users
  • the already impressive battery life easily quadruples when wi-fi/3G is disabled
  • because of the ability to create and manage collections (lists), you can easily batch-add lists of books to your "To-Read" list
And in the interest of presenting a fair and balanced review, here are some of the less desirable qualities of an eReader:
  • Use on airplanes (especially smaller ones) is limited. I once tried using mine anyway with the wireless disabled (rebel that I am), but the flight attendant was having none of that, thankyouverymuch. 
  • There's no getting around it...books are just pretty. I like stacks here and there, and using them around our home. No matter how cute your case is, you just can't decorate with a Kindle. 
  • Even though the stamina of the Kindle's power charge is ah-may-zing, I still love that an actual physical book can never deny me access because of a low battery. 



The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Stieg Larsson)

This is the third and final installation in Stieg Larsson's "Dragon Tattoo" series. 

In the first, I met Salander and Mikael.

In the second, I tried to figure out what to think of them.

It is in the third book that I made peace with Salander and Mikael, and in many ways they found some peace (or at least closure) themselves.

Because of events that transpired in The Girl Who Played With Fire, Salander is now in critical care, literally fighting for her life...both from her own injuries and from the man down the hall who's trying to off her.

More than anything, she is trying to regain her mental faculties and physical abilities because she has things to do and people to kill. Oh, Salander...

There's also the trivial matter of that pesky triple murder case in which Salander is the only suspect.

I liked this series quite a bit, but this wasn't my favorite book of the three. It tended to be a bit slower and lacked the "pow" factor that was so heavy in the other two. However, I did love that in this book, FINALLY Salander gains some control and the ability to make some choices in what was to happen to her.  



The Girl Who Played With Fire (Stieg Larsson)

Meet the second installment in the Stieg Larsson series.

Salander remains a force to be reckoned with, as does Mikael Blomkvist.

Just before an expose' on the prevalence of sex trafficking in Sweden was set to be published, its authors are cruelly murdered. Mikael has the distinct misfortune of arriving at their apartment very briefly after the killings occur, and becomes intrinsically linked to the case.

Salander disappeared after the conclusion of their last adventure and is tucked away minding her own business until suddenly she becomes accused of the murders, and another-the slaying of a man who she had every reason to kill.

Oddly enough, the hunt for Salander eventually leads to the discovery of her father, whom she never wished to see again after a time in their life she referred to as "All the Evil." It is in this book where we find out exactly what happened to Salander to shape her into the fascinating, ruthless woman that she has become.

All along the way, Mikael trails her, attempting to exonerate her (despite her efforts otherwise). He is the friend to her that she never had, though she fails to recognize it even now, and even though she is determined to kill...again?


The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

Thousands of years ago life was obviously much different than modern existence. One rule of nature that has not changed, however, is the waning and waxing of the moon's monthly cycle...and the way women marked their own monthly cycles by the moon. The Red Tent is a book about so many things and biblical characters, but centers on the way women took their place in the red tent of the family during their monthly bleeding. I have had this on my list for a long time and always thought the women were SENT to the red tent, and that they had to go in order to separate their uncleanness from society. Po thangs. Yeah, only, Diamant paints a much different picture. There was quite a par-tay going on up in that red tent. Or there was in her telling of it, anyhow. 

So Dinah is our narrator, and she just so happens to be the only surviving daughter of Leah. For some biblical background, Leah was the first wife of Jacob (Isaac's son and Abraham's grandson) and sister to Rachel. Jacob ended up taking 4 wives total, all sisters. It seems as though Dinah truly was the only surviving daughter of Jacob and his wives, even with a whole fleet of brothers.

We learn, along with Dinah, that every month, the appearance of the new moon was a signal for the women of Dinah's family to retreat to their red tent. This is where the women would go and have their "time" away from the rest of the men. They also birthed their babies and recovered from delivery in the red tent. They sang songs together, rubbed one another's feet feet with oil, told family stories and legends, ate sweet cakes drizzled with honey, and massaged one another's shoulders. This was 3 days of pure girl time that gave them the opportunity to rest and relax before another month of the grueling service of everyday life. 

It's also important to note that included in Dinah's tale is the (fictionalized) version of the events surrounding the biblical Old Testament Jacob (who cheated his twin Esau out of a birth right); his wives Leah, Rachel, and their sisters; his pack of sons who ranged from precious and gentle to hateful and greedy; Dinah's marriage and the tragedy that resulted at the hand of her brothers; and the sale of Joseph into slavery, along with his rise to power in Egypt. All of these are embellished with Diamant's imagination and characteristics of people of this time that could have occurred, though there is no biblical record. 

Those women were on to something! Retreating to the red tent for sweet cakes, pedicures, hand massages, singing, and storytelling...they had the world's best-kept secret because no man would dare try to enter their tent and disturb them during this time! Why in the world aren't we permitting ourself a trip to the red tent?!  

For all that I loved about their red tent, I also considered it a dangerous foothold. The women had no religion other than the worship of the household and fertility idols passed down in their family, and the idols were quite prevalent in all the women's dealings, to say the least. In this book the only exposure Jacob gave of his worship to the one true God was that he did so himself, failing to teach his wives about the Lord as well. This can be a danger for every believer, and I pray that I will not be selfish with what I know and learn about my God. 

The idolatry was bothersome, and there were also some other troublesome details about everyday life, including the suggestion of bestiality among the shepherds, the physical use of an idol to "unlock" a girl's  womb, and Dinah's version of eternity...to name a few. 

I don't take all the details in Diamant's book as truth, but I do enjoy having my mind opened to what daily life might truly have been like for Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, Zilphah, Joseph, and our dear sweet Dinah. Interestingly enough, I always sort of felt sorry for Joseph. You know, favorite son, target, odd man out, sensitive, visions and the like; however, this book paints him as a real prick. And the more I consider it, the more likely that seems to have been. The Bible indeed does give clear indication that he had quite a bit of pride to reckon with. 

So although I really raised my eyebrows at some of its contents, I really enjoy and value any book that gives me pause to consider the blanks left in the biblical account. 

*Find The Truth about Dinah and her peeps in Genesis 29-38. 



True readers...

Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being, which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented…. In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.

-C.S. Lewis