The Substance of Faith

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Beach Reading – Some Authors to Try

mina

It’s the time to start thinking about books for the beach or lake.  Many of us enjoy a good page-turner, but we don’t want to spend our time on pure trash.  Here are some authors to consider for your summer reading.

First is British author Denise Mina, with three main sets of books.  I started with the Garnett Hill trilogy, then read the Paddy Meehan novels, and I am now working on the Alex Morrow series.  Mina’s female heroes are real people with real foibles.  Paddy does love to eat.  Try to read each set in their order of  publication.

These women walk in the real world of dark crime and Mina can disturb you with her images.  The style is very British (which I like) and I often have to infer the meaning of her slang.  Her descriptions, however, are second to none and she can capture images of real life with deep feeling.

Here is a paragraph  from The Red Road, describing Rose, a 14-year old being used by a pimp:

She had been covered in blood when they found her. They’d given her a basin to wash in but no mirror. Her face was washed with watered blood. Every future furrow, every crease that would one day be, picked out in dried crimson. It was in the folds of her forehead, the laughter lines around her mouth, the prophetic tracks of sorrow around her eyes.  This newborn ancient looked up at Julius with the eyes of a disappointed mother.

I think that is a powerful paragraph.  Enjoy Denise Mina, but be prepared to meet the underbelly of society.

furst

Alan Furst writes historical espionage from pre-war and WWII in Europe with different protagonists in each novel.  Furst’s primary characters are average people and often unlikely heroes.  Each book contains revelations into how it must have been, living in Spain, France, Poland, or the Balkans.   Furst’s books are stand-alone novels and can be read in no particular order.  I’ve read Dark Star, The Polish Officer, Red Gold, Dark Voyage, The Foreign Correspondent, The Spies of Warsaw, andMission to Paris.

If you want something a little more educational, try Bill Bryson, who walk in woodsmakes science and history amusing.   Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States is a fascinating look at the development of English in the USA.    A Short History of Nearly Everything covers scientific discovers from the cellular level to galaxies.  It is full of interesting information on a wide variety of scientific subjects and is a treasure trove of  illustrative material for preacher.  A Walk in the Woods is the anti- Wild. Bryson and a high school friend attempt to hike the entire Applalchian Trail.  Their preparations and trials make you realize how lucky Cheryl Strayed was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail unprepared – and lived to tell about it.  Bryson is as witty as he is informative.  A Walk in the Woods is hilarious.

I am a little reluctant to mention Philip Kerr.  I have enjoyed his Bernie Gunther novels, about a detective who gets pressed into the WWII Gestapo against his will.  It’s interesting to read fictional accounts of Heydrich’s and Goebbels’  feuds.  I was extremely disappointed, however, with his stand-alone novel, Prayer, and it’s anti-God message.

If you have any favorite books that you think others may enjoy, let me know.

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comments

Thank you, Joel-I LOVE receiving book recommendations from friends with whom I share tastes. I just finished Annaliese from Off, set in North Georgia in the early 1900’s; I recommend! Am now reading local author Raymond Atkins’ book “The Front Porch Prophet” after also reading “Camp Redemption”.
I describe Raymond’s style as “Ferrol Sams meets Lewis Grizzard, with shades of Joel Snider”, and in fact Camp Redemption was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and also won the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction. I laugh out loud every few pages when reading Raymond’s books! I work with Raymond; he teaches English at GNTC. I recommend! No need to read his books in any order; each stands alone. http://www.raymondlatkins.com/
http://literaryfestival.org/2014/09/13/2015-featured-author-raymond-atkins/

Nina Lovel

June 5, 2015

I will be looking for Camp Redemption, ASAP. Thanks Nina.

jsnider

June 5, 2015

Dogwood Books on Broad St or Kindle.

Nina

June 5, 2015