Friday, August 31, 2007

WRITER MAMA Giveaways!

The WRITER MAMA is giving away FREE STUFF during the month of September! Be sure to stop by her blog and read all the rules and everything. If you comment, please mention that Pattie/Fresh Brewed Writer sent you!

So, be sure to stop by there each day during the month of September.


I finished my 100th book of the year last night (or rather, early this morning...stayed up past midnight!).

The book with the honor of #100 on my list is Wild Rose by Ruth Axtell Morren. I'll be writing a review later, assuming I can get the vacuuming done quickly today!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Breakfast at Tiffany's

This review fulfills two book challenges: Book to Movie and Something About Me.

For a nice analysis of the novel, click here.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a wistful book. I read it a few years ago, and I've enjoyed reading it again. It's a novella, actually, so it doesn't take long to read. And I'm not even sure why the word wistful seems to fit, but it's a word I can't disassociate from this book.

You can find a synopsis anywhere, so I won't really point out the obvious plot points. I still think Holly is likeable in spite of her many flaws. The narrator sometimes judges her, sometimes he chooses to be her friend, but mostly he chooses to tell what he sees.

One thing I noticed as I read Breakfast this week: the language is both old and new. Some of the expressions used by Holly and the nameless, faceless narrator are obviously dated (the book was written over 50 years ago, so that's a given), but a few are expressions still in use today (and all of those are rather crude, so I won't outline them here). I loved her habit of using French words sprinkled liberally through her speech. Quel delight!

I watched the movie sometime during the past school year, and I was horrified by how much had changed from the book (Mickey Rooney as the Japanese landlord was obviously a mistake). But I adored Audrey Hepburn in the role of Holly.

This book was on Lucca's Something About Me list. She says, "There’s a bit of Golightly in me. And it’s not limited to the cat." I somehow think she is a bit wistful herself.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Today's challenge book was...
The Trouble with Lacy Brown by Debra Clopton. It was book 1 in a series, of which I'd already read books 2 and 3 and 4!
Not on a list, just for fun!

Monday, August 20, 2007

A woman of few words

I read this today and wanted to give Nelle Harper Lee a standing ovation, myself.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee is a woman of few words and generally avoids media interviews and public appearances.

But the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" broke her silence briefly Monday at a ceremony inducting four new members, including former home-run king Hank Aaron, into the Alabama Academy of Honor. Lee, who lives in Monroeville, is a member of the academy, which honors living Alabamians, and was in the audience for Monday's ceremony.

At the end of the ceremony, Academy of Honor chairman Tom Carruthers joked with Lee, saying he knew she had something she wanted to say to the crowd.

"Well it's better to be silent than to be a fool," Lee said.

The audience burst into laughter and gave Lee a standing ovation.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Something About Me Book 1

I've completed my first book in the "Something About Me" challenge, hosted by Lisa of Breaking Fourth.

Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy by Geralyn Lucas, from Think Pink Dana's original list. She actually chose another book after this was a choice, but this is the one I found first. I'll try to catch the other one, The Five Gifts of Illness, another time.

I've known Dana online for several years now, and for the longest time all I really knew about her was that she was younger and cuter than I am, that she mothered little girls as do I, that she was a minister's wife as I was---and that she was a breast cancer survivor. Her email signature line has always said something like, "Young women can and do get breast cancer...and survive! Surviving and thriving since 1996." I've read her blog with her cancer story, and it is nothing short of amazing. Through the years I've learned more about her: her strength, her hunger for God's word, her desire to serve God, her compassion, her intolerance for silliness and unnecessary drama. She challenges me often to reexamine what I think and believe about things. I am proud to call her my friend.

Lucas's book was, in many ways, an echo of Dana for me. I am glad I read this book, because I feel it gives good insight into what it is like for a young woman in today's society facing the loss of something profoundly and foundationally female: a breast. I have always had respect for Dana, and this book only served to remind me of what she has gone through.

Cancer, that evil in a cell, manifests in many forms. It claims lives like my friend Nattie's; it claims breasts and portions of breasts; it crops up in the most unexpected places. But it can never conquer the human spirit, and it will never, EVER, conquer God.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Book To Movie #1: Legally Blonde

First in this challenge (I had to read it early so I could send the book to my sister, so she could read it before her school year starts):
Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown
I watched the movie before I knew it was a book, and then I couldn't find the book until this summer, when I discovered it at a Half Price Books in Minnesota. It didn't take me long to read it, and I have to say I enjoyed it...but this is one of those rare cases where I believe I liked the movie better.
Most of the characters are the same, basically, but instead of trekking all the way to Harvard, Elle only follows her ex-boyfriend Warner from LA to Stanford, which puts her not as far away from her friends as she was in the movie. She's still a "fish out of water," though.Elle still gets the internship to help with Brooke's trial, and she still nails Chutney. But no Luke Wilson character, and that makes me sad. It does, however, show that Elle can do it all on her own.
I think the book is a good one, but I enjoyed the movie better.

Book to Movie Reading Challenge

Callista, thanks for a fun and unique challenge! Details HERE.

As I scrolled through Midcontinent's list (and let me just say I LOVE that library system! I still have my card, in fact...), I realized that I do this already! I have quite often gone back to read the book after finding a movie is based upon it, or read the book first, before watching the film.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (film is entitled Grand Isle)
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (review to follow)

Bonus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (review to follow)

Well, folks, I went back to work so my blogging about books is just not happening anymore!

I did not reread "The Awakening" or "Girl with a Pearl Earring," But I HAVE read them and seen the movies...and I did substitute in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and I watched all three movies with my 11 year old, as well.

Therefore, I am declaring that I have completed this challenge successfully.

Thanks again for reading and have a super day!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

So who is this Mary chick?

Mary DeMuth, that's who! (Ain't she purty?)

I first became aware of Mary De Muth through the American Christian Fiction Writers organization, and I was immediately impressed because she was a writer AND a missionary serving in France. I loved that. In the past year, however, she and her family have relocated to Texas (almost its own country! Just kidding!), and she continues to pursue the writing life while spreading the word about postmodernism awareness in the context of Christianity. Let's face it, folks, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand about the world around us.

I am proud and excited and honored to be a part of helping Mary promote her new book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. This afternoon I purchased the only copy to be had in my city (sorry!), and I could barely put the book down long enough to write this blog! Never fear, however; you can purchase your very own AUTOGRAPHED copy directly from the author herself! Just follow this link to find out how. (And YES, I will be ordering my own autographed copy and passing The Last Copy In My Town along to my sister's husband, who is working toward his master's in marriage & family counseling.)

And now for your reading pleasure, here is an interview with Mary!

Why did you write this book? Aren’t there already a bazillion parenting books out there?

Yes, I do believe there are a bazillion. I always struggle when I write a parenting book because I feel so darned small and weak. I don’t parent perfectly. But, we did live through two and half years in France, the hotbed of hyper-postmodernity. We had to learn how to parent our kids in that culture. It occurred to me that the things we learned would be helpful to American parents too.

What does postmodern mean, exactly? And why should it matter to parents?

Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. According to several postmodern scholars, we’re in a shift right now, leaving modern ideas behind, but what we are shifting to is not yet fully defined.

Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. They are skeptical, and often question whether science is something to be embraced or feared.

The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

How can a parent help their children prepare for the world outside their door?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story.
Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them.
Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children.
Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Do you engage your neighbors? Are you more interested in God’s kingdom than your own?
Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

You are the first to admit that being authentic might require a parent to apologize after an angry outburst. Are you saying that authentic parents don’t always have it all together as some would like to think?

Yep! We are all frail, needy humans. If we present ourselves as perfect parents, never failing, always doing this correctly, we show our children we have no need of Jesus. We also set up a standard of perfection—that to be a Christian, one has to be perfect. This can lead to our children creating elaborate facades or hiding behind masks. I’d rather have my children see that even mommies make mistakes. Even mommies need Jesus every single day.

You talk about the twin values of engagement and purity. What does that mean?

Many parents subconsciously believe that true parenting means protection at any cost. We received a lot of flak for putting our children in French schools because the atmosphere there wasn’t exactly nurturing. Believe me, the decision was excruciating. But through it all, I realized that Jesus calls us all to be engaged in the culture we live in, yet not to be stained by it. That’s the beauty of engagement and purity.

Abraham understood this. After God told him to leave everything and venture to a new place, he obeyed: “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8). Oswald Chambers elaborates: “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.” As parents journeying alongside our children through a postmodern world, this concept of pitching our tent between communion with God and engagement in the world should encourage us.

What bothers you about postmodernism?

I happen to believe in absolute truth, so that’s a problem! But more than that, I worry that all our rambling about it, trying to discern what it is, has caused us to rely more heavily on our own intellectual pursuit of God than our heart. When I get caught up in that, I remind myself of my friend Jeanne’s son Jacob, whose heart after Jesus takes my breath away. Living with a brain injury, Jacob throws off pretense as he worships God, arms vaulted to the sky in unashamed heart worship. That’s the kind of believer I want to be. That’s the kind of heart I want. I love this verse: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For me, for my children, that’s my prayer, that we’d be simply and purely devoted to Jesus no matter what worldview we find ourselves in.

Thanks Mary! For more about Mary, tune in to her excellent blog, Relevant Prose. And tune in here tomorrow for more about the book!

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating on the Authentic Parenting Tour this week. For a complete listing of the blogs participating in the six week tour, visit here.
Almost Hypergraphic
Audra Marie
Blogging for Writers
Camy’s Loft Coming Home
Good Word Editing
Heather in Madrid
Lexical Light
Mother Inferior
Pattie’s Place
Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted
Seedlings in Stone
Spoiled for the Ordinary
They Hang Like Paper Lanterns
Traveling Together

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Authentic Parenting

Mary E. De Muth is the author of Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. Check back later this week for more about this new parenting resource!

Mary's blog can be found here.

Christian Genre Challenge

Christian Genre Challenge at Miz Books' blog
Book Choices:

Christian Fiction, women's fiction:

Something Beyond the Sky by Siri Mitchell
(Air Force characters; from Mt. TBR)

This book ROCKED. I highly recommend it!

Christian Fiction, historical:

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser
(from Mt. TBR)

This was an excellent read. I highly recommend it as well!

Christian Nonfiction - Essays:

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
(also a bonus Non-Fiction Five book)

Christian Nonfiction - Personal Growth:

Big Girls Don't Whine: Getting On With the Great Life God Intends by Jan Silvious
(from Mt. TBR)

Christian Nonfiction - Artistry:

Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle (begun but never finished)

Summer Reading Challenge

I think what I am going to do with this one is continue the Spring Reading Thing that I don't think I'll finish because of the nonfiction choices, and be more flexible. It seems to be a very fun and relaxed challenge--share what you are reading.
I'll post this on the blog when I have access. Week 1 reading: PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern, My Heart's in the Lowlands by Liz Curtis Higgs, and A Seahorse in the Thames by Susan Meissner.
Others on the Summer TBR List, not currently on other lists:
Wishing on Dandelions by Mary De Muth
The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang
Wild Rose by Ruth Axell Morren
The Plight of Mattie Gordon by Jeanne Marie Leach
The Secret of Us by Roxanne Henke
What She Left for Me by Tracie Peterson
Gone With the Groom by Janice A. Thompson
Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini
**I didn't finish this challenge, but I do plan to continue reading from this list!**

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Something About Me Reading Challenge

I've joined another challenge. To find out more, you can click here. The idea is that each of us chooses five books that represent ourselves, and then we get to choose books to read between August 1 and the end of the year. This challenge has closed, but I have to tell you, if you are looking for some awesome reading suggestions, look no further than this blog!

These are the books I chose about myself:

1. Fresh-Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson (Coffee and Journaling Lover)
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Hopeless Romantic)
3. SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken (SAHM)
4. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (lifetime journaler)
5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (gorgeous prose)

My Choices for the Reading Challenge (and in parentheses, the person whose list it is from):

Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy by Geralyn Lucas (Dana) (She actually chose another book after this was a choice, but this is the one I chose first and found on sale. I'll try to catch the other one another time.)
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (Heather T)
Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins (Nattie)
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (Megan)
Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer (Kristin) - also a Nonfiction Five choice
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (AlisonWonderland, Beachreader) - I've started this more than once & never finished.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (Juli) - also a Newbery Challenge choice
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (Lucca)

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...