Book Chat

This month’s book reviews:
A neighbor recommended Chasing Fireflies: A Novel of Discovery by Charles Martin. I’d never read anything by Martin before, although he was this neighbor’s favorite author. “Fireflies” is the story of Chase, a journalist who never knew his parents and was adopted by “Unc,” a colorful resident of a small Georgia town whose sayings and kind heart make him a memorable character. Chase is investigating the story of another orphan, this one a mute boy pushed out of a car on train tracks just before a train hit and killed his loser custodial “parent.”

The book explores various issues:  what makes up a family? What is Unc’s true story, and why did he take the fall for his evil older brother? There are many more tangents and twists, and while I wouldn’t say this was one of my all-time favorite books, it was an enjoyable read.


Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp explores parenting teens. With a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a 9-year-old, this one seemed like a good idea to pick up.

I enjoyed it overall; I’ll give it a B. Why not an A? Well, the first 2/3 of the book were heavy on basic advice:  talk with your kids, live a godly life, etc. etc. All good things, but nothing really new or fresh. The final 1/3, practical strategies, was most helpful to me. I’ll also say that in parts this book struck me as a bit idealistic (ie, sit down with your teen and confess your sins to each other. Sounds great, but in real life – how many people do this?). That’s not to say I don’t support its basic beliefs. I suppose that after reading it I felt a bit as if I’d been plonked down in the middle of the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting – I’m not sure I’m “good enough” for the life described here!


Ronald Reagan:  he was my favorite president of my lifetime. He was president during my late high school and college years, a time when the world is fresh and new and everything seems possible. And really, that’s the feel I think Reagan gave to our nation.

Before I read books I like to look up reviews on them, both to make sure a book isn’t a totally dud and also just to get a feel for what others think. The Faith of Ronald Reagan didn’t rate all that highly, with reviewers saying it was too fawning and sweet. But I’m so glad I went ahead and read it, because I just loved it.

It was the story of Reagan’s life – from his childhood which was greatly influenced by his Christian mom, Nelle. Like Reagan, Nelle had an irrepressible positive outlook that she passed on to Ron. Was the tone of the book positive? Yes, but from a book of this type I’d expect that. It’s not an expose. And some “negative” aspects are covered – Reagan not attending church much while president (he said it was because he didn’t want to put fellow churchgoers in danger), Nancy’s faith not being nearly as strong, and Reagan’s disappointment at his son Ron’s lack of faith.

Reading the excerpts from Reagan’s speeches, it really brought me back to that great time in our nation. Can you imagine these things being said by the President today?

After a military exercise in Grenada:  Success seems to shine on us and I thank the Lord for it. He has really held me in the hollow of His hand.

My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this:  We win and they lose. What do you think of that?

During his speech at the 1980 Republican convention:  I must confess that I’ve been a little afraid to suggest what I’m going to suggest – I’m more afraid not to – that we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer.

Reagan’s favorite verse was John 3:16, and when asked what it meant to him, he answered, It means that having accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I have God’s promise of eternal life in heaven, as well as the abundant life here on earth that he promises to each of us in John 10:10.

My word – can we bring this man back? Please?

Thanks to the BookSneeze program for a review copy of this book.


And now, a partial review for a book I read only partially. I’d seen a review of I Shudder comparing it to David Sedaris’s work. I think Sedaris is usually hilarious, so I checked it out.

And … I shuddered as I read it. It contained numerous R-rated situations, and had quite a bit of profanity. And it wasn’t even funny. Or interesting. I suppose someone out there would enjoy this book, but it’s not me.


10 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. Interesting thoughts on Age of Opportunity. I think that you summed up what I DON’T like about many marriage and parenting books — they seem a bit idealistic. But I do like the idea of viewing this time (with my 12 year old) as an “age of opportunity” not a burden.


  2. I enjoyed your thoughts on these. None of them were familiar to me. It’s good to have some titles in mind as my kids approach their teen years!

    And yes, if only we could find another Reagan.

  3. Funny how strongly we relate to the times we matured in. I read your review about hymns and agree with you too. You read an interesting variety of books. I came over from 5 Minutes With Books as I’m doing Nightstand again after a bit of a break. Happy reading in February.

  4. What a great list! I’ve been wanting to check out Age of Opportunity, so I appreciate your thoughts on it.

  5. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about The Faith of Ronald Reagan too, which is why I’ve avoided it. I wasn’t alive during his presidency anyways, so I thought that I’d start with a different book about him–one that’s more about his policies–and then maybe move on to a book like this.

  6. I have to agree with your thoughts on Age of Opportunity. It just seemed a little unrealistic at times. The Reagan book look like a good read. I’ll have to look for it.

  7. Hmm… I have to admit I’m intrigued by the Ronald Reagan book. I am a big Reagan fan–but I’m also pretty critical of biographies that present someone wholly in a positive light (or wholly in a negative light). It makes me wonder whether I’m actually getting an accurate picture or if I’m just being told what some imagined audience wants to hear (conservatives, evangelicals, liberals, whatever.) Am I allowed to have a “think” pile next to my TBR list?

  8. When Crickets Cry was on our Book Club list last year. I had never read anything by this author either…I went on to read: Chasing Fireflies and Where the River Ends….I will read more of his.
    Mama Bear

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