Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Not This Week

One of my goals for this year is to post a book review every other Wednesday. There are two reasons for that. One is to make sure that this blog isn't all about me. I want to share books that I've read and enjoyed, as well as give an honest opinion on those that I haven't liked as well. The other reason is that, by making myself think about why I liked or disliked a book instead of just finishing it and saying, "That was good", I'm learning more about writing from the books I read.

I've spent the last few years reading a lot of mystery novels, since that's what I've been trying to write. Lately I've been expanding into other genres. The book I had been reading this month was "Showdown" by Ted Dekker. All of Christian fiction is new to me and the idea of a Christian thriller was intriguing.

"Showdown" is about the conflict of good and evil which, from what I've read online, is typical of a Ted Dekker thriller. It's also a whole lot darker than the cozy mysteries or romantic suspense novels that I generally read. There are elements of Stephen King as well as Orson Scott Card in it. I was having some trouble with continuing to read this book because of its disturbing nature, but was pushing through it because I wanted to give it a chance. I was trying to get over my gut reaction to elements of the story because often the books that most disturb me also most impress me in the end.

Then the shooting took place in Tucson. I used to shop at that Safeway store and, had I not moved two years ago, could very well have been in that shopping center last Saturday morning. Gabrielle Giffords is my congresswoman.

You never think one of these tragedies will take place close to you. I've lived through the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, and Bobbie Kennedy. I remember Kent State, Oklahoma City, and lived in Boston on 9/11, where two of the planes with the terrorists aboard took off from. Nothing will match the horror of 9/11 for me, but the Tucson Tragedy comes close.

Tucson is a small city, a mixture of cultures both from its proximity to Mexico and the influx of retirees and snowbirds from northern states. It's proud of its western heritage, with schools closing down for Rodeo Days every February. The U of A is a center for both education and sports. There's the funky and fun Fourth Avenue Street Fair twice a year. And recently we've added the Tucson Festival of Books, which is now the third largest book fair in the country. There are so many good things about Tucson, even though it struggles with its growth from a small town to a real city and the problem of illegal aliens and drugs coming in from Mexico. It's not one of those big, bad cities like New York or even Phoenix. But now all most people will think about when they hear the name Tucson is the horrible events of last Saturday.

When I could no longer watch the news last weekend, I wanted to escape to a book. Reading has always been a way for me to cope with bad things in life. Or not cope, as the case may be. But I just couldn't bring myself to read "Showdown" at this time. Instead, I downloaded "The Drums of Autumn" by Diana Gabaldon to my nook. Jamie and Claire are like old friends to me. And you need old friends at times like this.
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