What have I been doing? Reading, playing the keyboard, itching to take on a new house project, and preparing to become a FATHER! Yep, the Beam's are expecting a baby in November. Those are just a few things on the horizon, but I do have some catching up to do. Only two more Fanny Friday hymns remain in the Celebration Hymnal, and I don't plan to leave you hanging! They're coming, I promise.
Back to book reviews: First, Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire. This is a great read. It is a parallel novel to The Wizard of Oz, and I love that you go into it with so much of the work already done. Everybody already knows Dorothy's story, but here you get another side that is so real, so immediately engaging, that I was totally enthralled all the way through. As you might expect, it is a bit dark, but you end up seeing exactly how all the witches of Oz came to be who we know from the other, more famous story. It is tantalizing.
I began reading Brother West, about Cornell West, but found his endless, braggadocious banter about his superior education and womanizing so exhausting that I could not finish it.
Then I read The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks. Again, here is a story that continues on something we all know at least a little about, The Civil War. I enjoyed this book. It chronicles the life of Carrie McGavock and her time at the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, a true place that Amanda and I have visited. This is part romance, part blood and guts battle, part history, and all together fascinating.
Dog On It is a mystery/thriller by Spencer Quinn, written from the perspective of a dog named Chet. Chet's commentary is so true to dog behavior that it alone, without the story, could have kept me entertained throughout the whole book. His owner, Bernie, is a private detective, and together they search for a missing girl. It's not going to be on anyone's recommended reading list for college lit, but for a super quick summer read, it is perfect.
The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley is a book that has been on my shelf for years. Dave Ramsey, the famous financial advisor recommends it for anyone who wants to know how to have more money. The book is full of case studies that disprove many commonly held beliefs about your average millionaire. Most commonly, you learn how thoughtful they are about the money they make, not necessarily the massive amounts of money that they bring in. In getting ready to possibly spend a good amount of money on a house, this was great to help me think about ways to keep from spending too much, and to make the absolute most of the money I do earn.
That's it! You made it through my reviews! I hope you stayed awake, and maybe found something you either wanted to read or to avoid like the oily shores of Panama City Beach.
(Just kidding PC Beach, you know I love your pink high rises, super sized surf shops, and drunken, sunburned, puking teen spring break parties.)