Monday, June 08, 2009

Books That Made My Fingers Sore* And a Movie That Made Me Giggle

I read Tears Of God by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
It was one of the books I agreed to review for The Catholic Company. Here's the description from that site:

"Fr. Benedict Groeschel, best-selling author and beloved spiritual teacher, writer, and psychologist, wrote this latest book for all those who have suffered great sorrow or catastrophe in their lives and for those close to such persons, who share their deep suffering. Sorrow comes into the life of every person, but only into the lives of some people comes catastrophe. These are disasters that occur either suddenly or with terrible effects, like the death of a child. They can be natural disasters like hurricanes, or they can be horrific accidents or tragedies caused by people's evil acts. They can also arise from wars and situations of great tension."

I admit, I don't have a huge issue with worrying about "Oh why did this awful thing happen to meeeeeee?" but I know a lot of people who do, so I thought I'd get Fr. Groeschel's take on that whole deal. I liked his simple approach. He doesn't offer a million excuses as he explains how God's mercy works. I thought he might have a few too many teenyweeny, little, political jabs here and there that I didn't exactly agree with (I recognize them when my hackles go up as I'm reading), but I just took those details with a grain, realizing that that's the world he lives in and that's just fine. I turned them around in my mind a little, thinking that maybe I was just being sensitive. Sometimes, you know "the truth hurts"? But, upon further reflection, I don't think so. I just think that he is a religious man with a lot of good insight into the bad things that happen and the good God who helps us through those bad times, no matter how bad. It is a simple message, but sometimes, that is the kind that has the most impact.

I liked it. I do recommend it. I don't read that sort of book very often, you know, the sort of "religious, self-help book" but I could handle this one without getting bored or frustrated with it telling me a bunch of junk I already know. It's a very slim volume with a lot of compassion and truth in it. Check it out.

It also prepared me somewhat for the next book I read:
(which I didn't review specifically for The Catholic Company, but it is available at this link from them. I got it at my mom's house. My aunt had read it and borrowed it to my mom to read.)
I'm probably one of the few women in America who hadn't yet read the book...

Left To Tell
It is a true story.
I finished it in one day.

I don't think I can do justice to her story by telling you how I felt while reading it, but I'll try.

I felt cold and warm, all at the same time, while reading this book. Cold, from thinking about the worst that humanity can do to itself, and warmed by the love of God and the BEST that humanity can find to do for itself. Oh, just read it and you'll see what I mean. I can only say that I never knew anything about the Rwandan Genocide before I read it. I love world history. This thing happened in MY time, and I never knew ANY of it.

Read the book. PLEASE. This kind of thing has happened so many times before and could happen again in the blink of an eye. What will you do when/if it does? Prevent it from happening again. Learn about forgiveness and faith. READ THE BOOK.

Another "Catholic, self-help" book I've read lately (I know! I'm totally on a roll here! You should SEE my gross fingernails!) is called Daughters Forever, Sons Forever by Linda Kracht. I got it from Karen who opened a Catholic book store in the old convent/parish center in St. Michael. She wanted to know what I thought so here goes...

Normally, I am pretty critical of any kind of Theology of the Body stuff but this woman has really done her research. I would recommend this book for anyone, (with special instructions for the non-Catholic parent...being sensitive to the fact that these are universal truths, but that the protestant parent might not know anything about Catholic culture and might shy away from the terminology a bit). I also would like to publicly state, for the record, one of my wishes:

Whomever is in charge of raising our children, should Butch and I die while they are still young...This is the book you should read to understand our philosophy in how we wish them to be raised. It touches on the very sensitive things about being a teenager LONG BEFORE the whole "troubled teens" even take place!

I would love to quote from the book but I find everything so pertinent and good that I am just going to say that you should read this one, too. Not even especially if you have young children! This would be a good one for grandparents and any other person who knows some young person. How are they going to know this stuff unless we TELL them? I know a lot of adults who don't know this stuff, for Pete's sake!

Okeydokey, then. On to the movie review. I already commented on it on facebook but EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THE MOVIE "UP". There, I said it. I laughed very hard and cried a lot too. It had some of my favorite things in it....Old guys, silly little kids, and construction workers. Just trust me on this one and go see it asap. I wouldn't recommend it in 3D. It would take away from the beautiful work of art that I believe this movie is! Maybe save the 3D glasses for the second viewing?

*In case you didn't know, I bite my fingernails while I read. I don't know I'm doing it until I'm done reading and my fingers hurt. It's totally gross, I know...but I found out that not having any nails, and having calluses on my fingertips from years of biting really prepared me for playing the guitar!