In Search of the Source

19.  In Search of the Source:  A First Encounter with God's Word
by Neil Anderson with Hyatt Moore
The fascinating autobiographic account of a missionary in Papua New Guinea as he translates the Bible into the language of the Folopa people.
Non-Fiction - Autobiography
Appropriate for probably 10-12 & up as a read aloud, read alone, maybe 13-15 and up
I read this to my 13 year old daughter, we loved it!
My Library

This was a fabulous book, and such a wonderful read aloud.  I read it as part of our homeschool curriculum from Sonlight, and it is another reason I love Sonlight.  I never would have read this book, and almost didn't, but it impacted both my daughter and I for life.  It was so fascinating to step into a radically different culture and see their initial interactions with the word of God.  Most chapters tell of Anderson struggling to translate a specific passage, and then some interaction between he and the Folopa people which allows them to understand each other and the scripture better.  I am so grateful for the discussions that this allowed my to have with my daughter and I will never read the Bible the same way.

Favorite Quotes:

(upon tasting a chocolate bar for the first time)
"Brothers," he said in the Folopa language, I'm dying of the deliciousness of whatever this is.  "What's it like?"they asked.  I wondered how he would answer.  I could see the wheels turning his his head, his tongue still savoring over his teeth.  To what would he compare this most different of tastes?  Finally  he looked up.  "It's like pig's liver," he said.

The term in Folopa is bete'.  
It's a word they use and use and use; it never gets tired, never old, never used up.  Like words in any language, it has many moods, nuances, senses, shades of meaning.  At once it embodies the concepts of root, basis, prime beginnings, deep structure, first cause, life, meaning underlying strength, essence, source.
It is the fundamental verb of "being" and the most basic metaphor in the entire language.

(on Luke 14:26)
We'd translated that into good Folopa and the men were giving their approval.  "That's good," they said, "but there's one little thing you've got to change.  It's just a small thing.  Just a word.  Everything else is good.  You don't need to change anything else, but there's one part you've got to change."
"All right," I said, "what part is that?"
They smiled a little.  "Well, the meaning is mixed up.  The way you translated it there it says, 'Unless a personal hates his father, mother, wife, children, and all, he cannot be My disciple.'"
"Yes," I said.
"But what you should have said is, If a person hates...he cannot be My disciple.'"
I suppose I should have seen it coming but I hadn't.  I could could see what they meant.  They knew enough about the Gospel at this point to know that love is the key, not hate.
"Yes, you're right," I said.  "of course you can't be a disciple if you're going to hate someone.  I know it and you know it.  But the trouble is, this is what the Lord really said:  'Unless you hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, you cannot be My disciple.'  We did not translate it wrong."

"Now we know God, the true bete' of all things.  Why should we ever go back to anything less?"

The Alliance

18.  The Alliance
by Gerald Lund
A tale of a future, post-nuclear holocaust society where safety trumps individual choice.
Science Fiction
Appropriate for young teens & adults
My 13 yo loved it!
The Library

Lund tells the story of two societies seeking to survive after the world we know is destroyed by war.  The main character is likable and the setting is thought-provoking.  "The Alliance"  asks questions of individual responsibility, how to fight injustice, and security versus freedom.  A great book to discuss with youth.  And if you are like me, not ready for your youth to tackle "The Hunger Games" this gives them a good chance to begin dealing with some of the same issues on a less-disturbing level.

My Favorite Quotes:

With a sigh he decided it was a problem of infinite complexity and limited interest.

My father used to tell us that love and goodness are interwoven and interdependent. The more goodness a person exhibits in his life, the easier it is to love that person.  Selfishness, cruelty, exploitation -- any evil act makes it harder and harder to feel love for a person.

Lady of Milkweed Manor

17.  Lady of Milkweed Manor
by Julie Klassen
A not-so-fabulous story about a Brittish wet nurse in Victorian England.
Fiction - Christian
Appropriate for older teens & adults
My Library

This is the second book I've read this year by Julie Klassen.  I didn't really care for this one.  It was a bit gloomy for a "fun read" and the main character lacked the spark that makes you root for her happiness.  I should probably add the disclaimer that I read this book in a single day - I was sick - and my malaise probably doesn't make me the most impartial reviewer.

Bound on Earth

16. Bound on Earth
by Angela Hallstrom
A sincere and well-written story, told from the various perspectives of family members.
Fiction - LDS
Appropriate for adults and older teens ready to deal with more mature themes
My Library

This book was very well done.  It is rather somber in tone, but that fits the subject matter.  I am not generally a fan of LDS fiction (sorry!) but this book was definitely worth the read. Hallstrom addresses mental illness, the realities and challenges of marriage, and parenting; all without sugar-coating or over simplifying. My only criticism was that telling the story from so many perspectives didn't give me a singular character to connect with.

Favorite Quotes:

Nathan took a deep breath.  He wasn't good at these conversations, never had been.  He had a hard time understanding Alicia's eagerness for complication.

And that's the prayer she prays as she rocks, over and over, as insistent as the Indian chants she hears sometimes, throbbing down from the mountains at night.  I've had all I can bear.  She knows that he can hear her.  She doesn't know if he agrees.