Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moving Right Along...

We are winding down February - where does the time go? I just wanted to do a check in with everyone to see how you are doing with your reading.

So far we've had postings about our Feb book, "Sarah" by Mimi, Pat and myself. Still waiting to hear from Amber, Andrea and Rozel about their views. Where are you guys? This isn't a nag - if for some reason you have not finished it yet (or even if you never started) there is no bat to beat you up! This is not school homework. We agreed from the start this would be a guilt free reading group. Still, we also said we would encourage each other to contribute. So, if you have read the book, or are somewhere along the way, I am genuinely curious what your reactions have been and hope you'll each be posting some thoughts soon.

Meanwhile we should all be locating a copy of our next book for March. We'll be reading Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

This is what it is about: "Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.

A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates' heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war. " (from product description.)

I've got my copy ordered at my local library ...they say it is due March 9 so I should get to start it pretty soon. (HOPEFULLY the current reader won't be late!)

As you are reading if you come up with thoughts for books for the next six months, feel free to throw the ideas out here. I often go to used book sales and it would be nice to have a list of titles to be on the lookout for.

Happy reading ladies!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pious Lies

I finally finished reading Sarah. All through the book I kept noting little things that would be worthy of discussing...things like how Card addressed Sarah's feelings about her infertility, how Sarah and her sister interacted, and whether or not the relationship between Sarah and Abraham had been portrayed in a consistent or believable manner (I would say no to both.)

But all of that went tumbling away from my mind when I got to Cards afterword section where he introduces the notion of "Pious Lies", claiming that Abraham was completely justified in lying about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife when in the court of Pharaoh. (Interesting that Card made it Pharaoh who they were dealing with.)

Anyway I have been thinking A LOT about that, and struggling with the whole notion.
On the one hand I DO believe that the Lord can and does give specific instruction to specific individuals that require them to violate a basic commandment.

For example, in the Book of Mormon we have the story of how Nephi is commanded to slay Laban so that Nephi can get the Brass Plates and preserve his own life. He is told that it is better for one man to perish than a whole nation struggle in ignorance and unbelief which is what will happen if they don't have the critical records to teach their people from. I can accept that.

So if Abram/Abraham was given specific revelation from God to say Sariah/Sarah was his sister, based on my faith in revelation and that Abram/Abraham was indeed a true prophet, I could accept that.

What I do NOT accept is that any time an individual thinks their life is in danger they are totally justified to say or do anything they think they may need to in order to preserve their own safety. I think in some extreme cases it might be understandable and excusable to lie my way out of danger, but I think Card was just a bit too flippant about how he addressed this issue.

Honesty and integrity are precious commodities that seem to be little valued in our modern society. In far too many situations people fall back on thinking the ends justifies the means. So I am wondering - in what cases do I think it would be justified to lie to save my life? In what cases would I not?

Would I deny my testimony of Jesus Christ if I was told I would be killed unless I refuted that belief? I hope not.

Would I lie to a burglar who held a gun at my head if I knew a way to convince him/her that I was more valuable alive than dead? Probably.

I've been thinking about the "social lies" that are often told in order to spare some one's feelings. I'm thinking about all the many ways that I measure my own integrity and whether there are areas where I could specifically do a better job at honoring the truth.

Sarah was an ok book. I strongly preferred the other novel about her life by Marek Halter. Card's version didn't seem to stay true to the cultural / historical context how Patriarchy would have played out and his two primary women characters were way too one sided.

His writing in this book was not powerful for me, as it was in the novel Pastwatch which takes a very interesting twist on the Christopher Columbus story, or Stone Tables that gives us a view into the life of Moses and his family. I'm still a fan of several of his works. This one, for me, falls short.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What a Woman! (Sarah)

I just finished reading Sarah. I thought it was an easy read and it kept my interest the whole way. I helped make these characters of the Bible "real".

One thing I loved was the the author's description of Sarah's aches and pains carrying a baby and giving birth as an OLD woman! (Just reading the account in Genesis doesn't make you stop and think how hard that must have been for her in her advanced age.)

I'm much younger than Sarah was at the time Isaac was born, but can empathize in that the ol' body and joints just aren't what they used to be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Broccoli & Chocolate

I'm really glad that we are all reading the same books and have an opportunity to talk about them. That IS sort of the point of a Book club, whether conducted in real time or a virtual one in cyberspace, right?

I am planning to finish up SARAH soon and will be posting my impressions of that book.

But here's a thought. I'm sure all of us, avid readers that we are, may read OTHER books that we won't be discussing as a group. Any time you come to a quote or an idea in whatever you are reading, how about post it here?

For instance, I just started listening to the book "Finding Noel" by Richard Paul Evans on my commute back and forth to work. I had to giggle at this line:

"Chocolate is God's apology for broccoli."

Hey, I LIKE broccoli. But it amused me just the same.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some words on the creative process

One of my friends over on Facebook posted a link to a FANTASTIC talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat, Pray, Love that we all recently read.
This is TOO GOOD to be missed. It takes about 15 minutes to watch (I think, didn't really time it.) But it has some POWERFUL ideas. When you get a chance, take a look and let me know your thoughts, ok?

Here is the link to Gilbert's speech:
Beyond really appreciating THIS talk, it turned me on to a whole new resource I was unfamiliar with - Do you guys know about this? There's some GREAT stuff here! How am I supposed to go ahead and get ready for my day now when I just want to soak this up???

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sarah: Women of Genesis. By Orson Scott Card

I finished the book this morning, and wanted to open a thread for discussion.

My first blush thought on this book was that I was left feeling like the first half was incredibly detailed and the second half was rushed. In fact, this morning I re-read Genesis to discover if Sarah died (spoiler alert) before Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac due to the fact that the book didn't address it at all other than to hint at it.

I also was curious, after reading Card's afterward, about the additional information about Abraham that is in the Pearl of Great Price, and I look forward to the LDS ladies in this discussion to expand on this topic, if you'd like.

What did you think about Card's decision to make Qira and Sarai sisters, and to make Qira Lot's wife? What did you think about his treatment of the destruction of Sodom?

All in all, what did you think about the book?

I look foward to hearing your thoughts, and to discussing it further.